To Die in Madrid

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To Die in Madrid
Directed by Frédéric Rossif
Written by Madeleine Chapsal
Frédéric Rossif
Produced by Nicole Stéphane
Narrated by John Gielgud
CinematographyGeorges Barsky
Edited by Suzanne Baron
Music by Maurice Jarre
Release date
  • 18 April 1963 (1963-04-18)
Running time
85 minutes

To Die in Madrid (French : Mourir à Madrid) is a 1963 French documentary film about the Spanish Civil War, directed by Frédéric Rossif. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. [1] [2]



In 1936, the Popular Front won the elections in Spain and thus provoked a rise in discontent on the part of the right: monarchists, fascists, conservatives and others nostalgic for the pre-republic, for "eternal, Catholic and imperial Spain", [3] attempted to overthrow the current government in Madrid with a putsch that took place on 17 and 18 July 1936. Although it failed, this coup d'état was the trigger for a bloody civil war that Frédéric Rossif documents in To Die in Madrid.

Production and release

The film is a formidable piece of archival research on the Spanish Civil War, drawing on documents from the Soviet Union, the United States, France, Germany and Spain. Rossif is not a historian, but he teaches us the essential fact that the war was won thanks to the massive support of the Germans and Italians. [4] The commentary is by Madeleine Chapsal, for the most part said by Jean Vilar and Suzanne Flon. The music is by Maurice Jarre. The producer is Nicole Stéphane.

This film was not easy to make and was much attacked at its release by both the extreme right and the extreme left. The French government, in order to please the Spanish dictator Franco, delayed the release of the film for more than a month and asked to cut some scenes[ citation needed ]. According to Nicole Stéphane's testimony in 2006, the Spanish government asked for twenty-five cuts and the French censors finally made six. [5]



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  1. "NY Times: To Die in Madrid". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times . Baseline & All Movie Guide. 2011. Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. Retrieved 9 November 2008.
  2. 1 2 "The 38th Academy Awards (1966) Nominees and Winners". Archived from the original on 11 January 2015. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
  3. Godicheau, François (2016). "Guerre d'Espagne". L'histoire (in French). Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  4. France Observateur, 18 avril 1963
  5. "Revivre Mourir à Madrid". 17 May 2012. Retrieved 29 May 2022 via Dailymotion.
  6. "Prix Jean Vigo - 1963". Unifrance (in French). Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  7. "Le commencement de l'apocalypse Revoir " Mourir à Madrid " de Frédéric Rossif, c'est retrouver une vérité" . Le Monde (in French). 21 February 1990. Retrieved 29 May 2022.
  8. "Film in 1968". BAFTA Awards. Retrieved 29 May 2022.