French Boy Choir Movies

Figure 1.--French boy choirs often performed in short pants and white knee socks as portrayed in this film.

Some interesting movies have been made in France about boys choirs. The movies have been of uneven quality, but do show some details about the cotumes worn by choirs in France. Unlike neighboring Germany, the sailor suit was not commonly worn for French boy choirs.


The various movies dealt with all sorts of themes, both religious and secular. The love of music is one popular contining theme. The difficulties of qualifying for a choir, the dedication of the choir master, and relationships and mischieviouness of the boys are continuing themes. The choir costumes sometimes are involved with the theme.


These movies provide information on both the perforing costumes of the choirs, but also typical French boys' clothes. One French film I have so far shows the boys wearing large bows, white shirts, black short pants, and white kneesocks. Many of the French choirs has costumes of short pants and white kneesocks.


Some choirs used to have traveling uniforms such as lederhosen or even sailor suits. Now many choirs just let the boys wear there regular clothes when traveling. Through the 1950s the coristers mostly wore short pants and rather casual clothes. In the 1960s long pants become increasingly common.

Figure 2.--HBC does not yet have details on this film, including the title.


HBc has so far been able to acquire only limited information on French films about boys' choirs, even the titles. We do not yet have details on the story lines or filmography. The movies have been of uneven quality, but do show some details about the cotumes worn by boy choirs in France. Short pants are the most common costume, but some choirs also peformed in cossocks.

Individual Movies

I only know of two specific French film at this time and do not yet have details on them. The most important of course is La cage aux rossignols. Surely there must be more movies about boy choirs or at least where they appear. Presumably our short list is because of our limited knowledge of French films. Hopefully our French readers will provide some addirional information here.

(Le) cage aux rossignols

The French movie La cage aux rossignols ("The cage with the nightingales") used choristers from the French boys choir Les petits chanteurs a la croix de bois, the Little Singers of the Cross of Bois. The story line involves a young professor who is employed in a house for delinquent children. He is a musician and decides to create a choral group to develop the children who are mistreated in the home. The pictures on this page are the choir mememberrs meeting to practice. The movie hasc a contemprary setting, the mid-1940s. The scene here shows the choristers in an informal momment. It shows casual clothes commonly worn by French boys during the mid-1940s.

Figure 3.--The movie, "Le cage aux rossignols", provides insights on casual French boys' wear during the mid-1940s. This scene was set in 1944.

Les Choristes

The French Film "Les Choristes" is a lovingly done remake of an acclaimed French film. The original title was "La cage aux Rossignols". It ran in Britain and the United States as "The Chorus"/"The Chour". The film is set in France during 1949. Clément Mathieu, a unremployed music teacher, is hired by Monsieur Rachin, the very strict principal of a correctional boarding school ( reformatory ) for boys. By introducing his pupils to music he changes their lives. The film features a choir from Lyons, les Petis Chanteurs de Saint-Marc. The reviews I have seen have been quite positive. A Dutch reader reports, "I was in Chartres (France) during the weekend and heard people speak well of ´Les Choristes´ by Christophe Barratier. The music in the film is stunning. The film is a competently told story of an inspirational teacher. There are several similar films. What makes this film rise above the other movies in this genre is the music. Viewers will take the haunting music with them and it lingers in the memory in a way that few film music tracts do.

Unknown film

I do not know what film the color images on this page came from. I understand that they were a short svene in a film that otherwise had nothingh to do with choirs, but am unsure about the name of the film.

Other movies

HBC does not of any other French films which touch upon choirs.

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Created: June 3, 1999
Last updated: 1:27 AM 7/21/2005