Friends (1971 film)

Friends is a 1971 teen-romance film directed and produced by Lewis Gilbert and written by Gilbert, Vernon Harris, and Jack Russell. The soundtrack, with music composed by Elton John and Paul Buckmaster, and lyrics written by Bernie Taupin, was released as the Friends album, and John's recording of the title selection charted when released as a single in the United States.[1]

Directed byLewis Gilbert
Produced byLewis Gilbert
Written by
  • Vernon Harris
    Jack Russell
Story byLewis Gilbert
Music by
CinematographyAndréas Winding
Edited byAnne V. Coates
Lewis Gilbert Productions
Distributed by
Release date
  • 24 March 1971 (1971-03-24) (United States)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


In this teen romance, a neglected 15-year-old English boy named Paul Harrison (Sean Bury), living in Paris with his wealthy businessman father, befriends an orphaned 14-year-old French girl named Michelle Latour (Anicée Alvina). She is recently arrived in Paris to live with her cousin but soon finds the situation in her cousin's Montmartre apartment to be disturbingly unwholesome.

Together, Paul and Michelle decide to run away; they travel to the idyllic marshlands of the Camargue where Michelle has in her keeping a very small cottage. She and her recently deceased artist father periodically escaped to the cottage from their home in Arles. There, Paul and Michelle set up housekeeping, become lovers, have a baby, and play at being responsible adults. Along the way, both Paul and Michelle discover many of the troubles that can be involved in family life. Ultimately, however, police searching for Paul find the two. The movie ends before the family's inevitable confrontation with the police.


In the 1974 sequel, Paul and Michelle, the young family has been reunited, and Paul Harrison has to cope with not only a new love interest for Michelle Latour, but also the difficulties he faces balancing work, college, and trying to maintain their family.

Critical receptionEdit

The film was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best English-Language Foreign Film at the 1972 Golden Globe Awards. It was also nominated for a Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture at the 1972 Grammy Awards.[2]

Roger Ebert gave the film a one-star rating, criticizing it heavily for its portrayal of teenage sex: "The archness of their 'innocence' toward sex is, finally, just plain dirty. And the worst thing is that the movie seems to like it that way."[3] Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune also gave the film one star and called it "a saccharine story" that teases the payoff of the two characters sleeping together until "the audience are made to feel like Peeping Toms."[4] Arthur D. Murphy of Variety agreed and found the film's plot "requires a sensitive adult mind," but "lacks by a wide margin the requisite treatment, more often than not being patronizingly voyeuristic."[5] Howard Thompson of The New York Times called the film "rather exasperating" until the "deeply touching finale" when it finally makes its point about pure love with the birth of the baby.[6] Kevin Thomas of the Los Angeles Times was positive, calling it "a film of rare tenderness and charm" with "winning performances" from both leads.[7] Brenda Davies of The Monthly Film Bulletin wrote that producer-director Gilbert "sometimes seems to be inviting guffaws rather than sympathy. The story itself is riddled with improbabilities, and the dialogue seems out of touch with the contemporary teenage idiom." Anicée Alvina, however, was singled out by Davies for praise as an actress with "an alarmingly precocious charm, and she manages to survive the most embarrassing situations with aplomb."[8]



  1. ^ Billboard chart 24 April 1971 - peaked at number 34
  2. ^ New York Times
  3. ^ Roger Ebert (1 September 1971). "Friends".
  4. ^ Siskel, Gene (August 30, 1971). "Friends". Chicago Tribune. Section 2, p. 19.
  5. ^ Murphy, Arthur D. (March 24, 1971). "Film Reviews: Friends". Variety. 26.
  6. ^ Thompson, Howard (March 25, 1971). "'Friends' at the Paris". The New York Times. 46.
  7. ^ Thomas, Kevin (September 15, 1971). "'Friends' Opens at Picwood". Los Angeles Times. Part IV, p. 11.
  8. ^ Davies, Brenda (October 1971). "Friends". The Monthly Film Bulletin. 38 (453): 195.

External linksEdit