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Thou Shalt Not Kill (1961)

Tu ne tueras point (original title)
At the end of World War II, a French pacifist is arrested for refusing to fight. In prison, he befriends a German priest arrested for murder of a French Resistance fighter. They discuss morality, obedience, and religion.


Claude Autant-Lara
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Laurent Terzieff ... Zan Fransoa Kordije (as Loran Terzijev)
Horst Frank ... Adler
Mica Orlovic Mica Orlovic ... Major
Marijan Lovric Marijan Lovric ... Kapetan (as Marjan Lovric)
Suzanne Flon ... Kordijeova majka (as Sizan Flon)
Ivo Jaksic Ivo Jaksic ... Iguman u manastiru
Vladeta Dragutinovic Vladeta Dragutinovic ... Stajn
Petar Banicevic Petar Banicevic ... Rober
Jovan Gec Jovan Gec ... General u zatvoru
Zoran Milosavljevic Zoran Milosavljevic ... Zarobljeni partizan
Zvonko Jovcic Zvonko Jovcic ... Pukovnik
Aleksandar Stojkovic Aleksandar Stojkovic ... Kapetanov posilni
Ljubisa Jocic Ljubisa Jocic ... Mil
Milivoje Popovic-Mavid Milivoje Popovic-Mavid ... Advokat
Slobodan Simic Slobodan Simic ... Predsednik suda
Learn more

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At the end of World War II, a French pacifist is arrested for refusing to fight. In prison, he befriends a German priest arrested for murder of a French Resistance fighter. They discuss morality, obedience, and religion.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | War


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The French government refused to help financing the movie because of its pacifist anti-war message, since France was at the time heavily involved in the bloody Algerian War of independence. The budget was finally secured when the Yugoslavian government agreed to pitch in. The movie premiered at the 1961 Venice Film Festival as a Yugoslavian entry, since the French government still wanted nothing to do with it and eventually banned the release of the film in France until 1963, a year after the Algerian War had ended. The French press gave the movie mostly poor reviews. See more »


Referenced in Les échos du cinéma: Episode #1.39 (1962) See more »

User Reviews

Unfairly obscure masterpiece
11 December 2018 | by mackjay2See all my reviews

Laurent Terzieff is at the center of this powerful statement on conscientious objection, war and justice. Terzieff is brilliant as Jean-François Cordier, a young French citizen who, when called for compulsory military service in 1949, refuses to comply based on his objection to war and violence. Though given opportunities to avoid punishment (an offer of a desk job, or objection on religious grounds) he stands his ground, even refusing the court appearance of a priest on his behalf. Watching him so obstinately stick to his guns, as a pure objector is a gripping experience, thanks to Terzieff's acting and an excellent screenplay by Jean Aurenche and Pierre Bost. In contrast to Cordier there is also Horst Frank, equally good as Adler, a German soldier who had been ordered to execute a French partisan in 1944. Adler's agonizing story is seen in a flashback that is as powerful as Cordier's statement, but not necessarily equal to it. This is where the film asks difficult questions: is a soldier guilty of a crime if he is carrying out orders, no matter how unjust, and remains distraught about the killing years later? And is Cordier less guilty of a crime because he has not killed anyone, but only objects to war and military service? The narrative of the film offers answers, but the viewer is left to decide for him or herself. Also featured in the film is Suzanne Flon, as Cordier's mother, who gives a performance of genuine depth.

A great film from director Claude Autant-Lara, it had a troubled history with its pacifist message. The French government would not support its production, due to current involvement in the Algerian War, so financial aid came from Yugoslavia. The film was never properly recognized by France, where it was poorly received by critics (probably for political reasons). It has remained obscure ever since and can sometimes be seen in an Italian-dubbed version

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France | Italy | Yugoslavia


French | Serbo-Croatian | German

Release Date:

26 July 1961 (Yugoslavia) See more »

Also Known As:

L'objecteur See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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