Arch of Triumph
Film poster
Directed byLewis Milestone
Written byLewis Milestone
Harry Brown
Screenplay byLewis Milestone
Harry Brown
Irwin Shaw (uncredited)
Based onArch of Triumph
by Erich Maria Remarque
Produced byDavid Lewis
StarringIngrid Bergman
Charles Boyer
Charles Laughton
Ruth Warrick
Roman Bohnen
Ruth Nelson
Michael Romanoff
CinematographyRussell Metty
Edited byDuncan Mansfield
Music byLouis Gruenberg
Enterprise Productions
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release dates
  • February 17, 1948 (1948-02-17) (Miami, Beach, Florida)
  • March 6, 1948 (1948-03-06) (United States)
Running time
120 minutes
133 minutes
(restored version)
CountryUnited States
BudgetUSD 5,000,000[1][2]
Box office$4,250,000[3]
$1.7 million (US rentals)[4]
$4,100,000 (total)[3]

Arch of Triumph is a 1948 American romantic war drama film directed by Lewis Milestone and starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Charles Laughton. It is based on the 1945 novel Arch of Triumph by Erich Maria Remarque, which he wrote during his nine-year exile in the United States.


Pre-World War II Paris is crowded with illegal refugees, trying to evade deportation. One of them is Dr. Ravic, who practices medicine illegally under a false name, helping other refugees. He saves Joan Madou from committing suicide after the sudden death of her lover. They become involved, but he is deported and she becomes the mistress of Alex, a very wealthy man. Ravic eventually returns, still seeking revenge against the Nazi officer, von Haake, who tortured Ravic's beloved to death. Von Haake is in Paris, in civilian dress, for some unknown, sinister purpose.

On September 1, 1939, Germany invades Poland. Two days later, Britain and France declare war on Germany. Ravic kills von Haake, but so quickly that the villain does not know why he is dying. Meanwhile, Joan's jealous lover shoots her, then comes to Ravic for help. The bullet has injured her spine. Paralyzed, except for her left arm, Ravic operates on her in a vain attempt to save her but she is left paralyzed. Dying, she begs him to end her suffering. He comforts her and they speak of their love while she dies. He goes home to find that the authorities are checking papers at the hotel. He waits in line with his friend, Boris, who predicts a stay in a concentration camp. Ravic believes that they will be useful, now that war is here. Boris bids him an affectionate farewell, promising to meet at Fouquet's after the war. The last shot of the film is through the Arc de Triomphe.


Background and production

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2015) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

The film's name is a reference to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, where the film is set.

Irwin Shaw spent five months writing a screenplay which minimized the love story. Lewis Milestone disagreed with this and other aspects of his script. Milestone and Harry Brown created their own version, which was preferred by the producers and Ingrid Bergman.[5]

The rough cut of the film was four hours long, and several subplots and at least one actor were cut in reducing it to two hours.[5]

Ingrid Bergman's salary was $175,000 + 25% of net profits.[5]

William Conrad, in his fourth film, has a small, important (uncredited) role as a policeman.

The head of the MPAA's Production Code Administration at the time, Joseph Breen, made the studio tone down the violence in the script.

Breen also objected to the fact that the murder went unpunished, but he relented on the basis that it was a war story.[5]

1984 film for television

In 1984, Charles E. Israel adapted the novel for British television, with Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Ravic, Donald Pleasence as von Haake, Lesley-Anne Down as Joan Madou and Frank Finlay as Boris Morosov. Waris Hussein directed.[6] This made-for-television film was released in the United States in 1985.[7]

See also


  1. ^ Brady, Thomas F. (1 February 1948). "Hollywood Deals - Prospects Brighten for United Artists - Budget Runs Wild and Other Matters". The New York Times. p. X5. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  2. ^ Balio, Tino (2009). United Artists: The Company Built by the Stars. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-0-299-23004-3.
  3. ^ a b "Ent's Loan". Variety. 14 July 1948. p. 12. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  4. ^ "Top Grossers of 1948". Variety. 5 January 1949. p. 46. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "Arch of Triumph". Retrieved 2021-08-30.
  6. ^ BFI Screenonline: Hussein, Waris (1938- ), Retrieved 18 January 2021.
  7. ^ John J. O'Connor, "'Arch of Triump,' Paris on the Eve of World War II", The New York Times, 29 May 1985. Retrieved 18 January 2021.