The Red Balloon (1956)

10 Overall Score
Story: 10/10
Acting: 10/10
Visual: 10/10

Classic great short film


Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Red Balloon

Studio:  Films Montsouris

Genre(s):  Family/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s):  October 19, 1956

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated


I have my briefcase and my balloon…I’m ready for my business meeting!

A young boy in Paris befriends a strange red balloon that seems to have a life of its own.  The balloon follows the boy through the streets, to school, to church, and throughout the town…much to his delight.  When something as magical as a balloon seems to come to life, it won’t go unnoticed, and children can be cruel.

Directed by Albert Lamorisse, The Red Balloon (Le ballon rouge) is a critically acclaimed short film.  The movie received a surprising wide release and won both the Palme D’Or for short films at Cannes and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.  A remastered version of the film has been released by Criterion.

I first encountered The Red Balloon in elementary school.  We watched a filmstrip of the story which was surprisingly effective since the film largely has no dialogue (which made it ironic that it won Best Screenplay).  I then recall finally seeing the film on a vacation in Florida when we had access to cable.  The movie (though short) did remain in my memory.


I hope you are happy…you are responsible for popping a magic balloon

The movie is a great introduction to foreign films for kids because it is so attainable.  The movie’s themes of wonder and fantasies are something that resonates in most kids.  You wished you had a balloon like the boy and when you saw a balloon moving strangely in the wind, it sometimes did seem like they were alive.

The other side of the movie is loss.  The fact that the boy has a magical balloon doesn’t sit with everyone.  Adults don’t like it, and children are jealous.  Everyone wants to destroy the balloon, and the boy can do nothing to defend it.  The boy love for the balloon is rewarded when the other balloons of Paris carry him away.


First they came for me…now the Balloons are coming for you! The Red Balloon 2: Don’t Go to Sleep!

I always found the ending of the story rather eerie because I didn’t know what was going to be the future of the boy.  The balloons couldn’t float forever and I didn’t know where he was being taken.  I found it a bit creepy and it kind of reminded me out of something Roald Dahl.  I found it not fanciful but unnerving.

The Red Balloon is a great short film and rich enough that it can be looked at greater than many feature length films in themes and style.  The movie is both good for children and adults and at only a little over thirty minutes, the movie has a strange richness to it.  The movie bright red bobbing balloon really fills the screen and looks great to this day.  I hope the red balloon floats forever.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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