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The Silent World

The Silent World

A Feature film by Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Louis Malle

Produced by Filmad

Release in France : 26/05/1956

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Production and distribution (4)

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Amaya distribution sa

Foreign production company :

Titanus Produzione

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Le Monde du Silence (The Silent World) is based on the best-selling book of the same name by famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. Set on board--and below--the good ship Calypso during an exploratory expedition, this feature-length documentary was codirected by Cousteau and Louis Malle, whose first film this was (Cousteau selected Malle for this assingment immediately upon the latter's graduation from film school). Highlights include a shark attack on the carcass of a whale, and the discovery of a wrecked, sunken vessel. After winning adulation and awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Le Monde du Silence went on to claim an Academy Award.

Source :


The Silent World (French: Le Monde du silence) is a 1956 French documentary film co-directed by the famed French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau and a young Louis Malle. The Silent World is noted as one of the first films to use underwater cinematography to show the ocean depths in color. Its title derives from Cousteau's 1953 book "The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure".

The film was shot aboard the ship Calypso. Cousteau and his team of divers shot 25 kilometers of film over two years in the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, of which 2.5 kilometers were included in the finished documentary.

The film later faced criticism for environmental damage done during the filmmaking. In one scene, the crew of the Calypso massacre a school of sharks that were drawn to the carcass of a baby whale, which itself had been mortally injured by the crew, albeit accidentally. In another, Cousteau uses dynamite near a coral reef in order to make a more complete census of the marine life in its vicinity. Cousteau later became more environmentally conscious, involved in marine conservation, and was even called "the father of the environmental movement" by Ted Turner.

The Silent World was the first of Cousteau's documentary films to win an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature; World Without Sun also won in 1964. The film also won the Palme d'Or award at the 1956 Cannes Film Festival,[4] being the only documentary film to win the award until Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 repeated the feat in 2004.

Source : Wikipedia

Full credits (9)

Director of Photography :

Edmond Séchan

Camera operators :

Louis Malle, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Albert Falco

Narration Writer :

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

Narrator :

Roland Menard

Technical details

Feature film

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Coproducer countries :

France, Italy

Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

Majority French (France, Italy)

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French release :


Runtime :

1 h 26 min

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Posters (1)

Directors (2)

Festival Selections (2)

Academy Awards - 1957

Academy Awards (United States, 1957)


Nomination for Best Documentary

Cannes International Film Festival - 1956

Cannes International Film Festival (France, 1956)


Official Competition

Awards (3)

Academy Awards - 1957

Academy Awards (United States, 1957)


Academy Award for Best Feature Dosumentary

French Syndicate of Cinema Critics - 1956

French Syndicate of Cinema Critics (1956)


French Syndicate of Cinema Critics Price