This Special Friendship (1964)

This special friendshipI have wanted to view this film for quite some time but never got around seeing it or struggled to find a copy. Well, I’ve finally seen it.

It could be argued that character arcs are somewhat absent in this film, but I think it has the classic structure of a tragedy. The storyline follows an unlikely friendship between a 16-year-old and a 12-year-old who attended a strict Catholic boarding school in the 1920s.

The special friendship featured in this heartbreaking and impactful film took place at a time and place when certain thoughts or doings were deemed very wrong. It was an environment in which purity was number one on the list. It is a beautiful and, at the same time, gut-wrenching relationship. At times, one may question the protagonists’ motives. Above all, it is a strong tale of friendship and the outside forces that can disrupt friendship.

Francis Lacombrade and Didier Haudepin are both fantastic in their roles, most notably Didier as Alexandre. What a fantastic young actor in a role that had many challenging moments and progressions that needed to be consistent with the film’s overall tone. I think both were very good at this.

Christian Matras beautifully shoot it. His choice of shooting it in black and white adds so much to the feeling of the time and place, and the simple yet elegant shots contribute to the story well.

This is one of those films that will stay in your mind long after it has concluded. It is an impactful film that some might find controversial or even wrong. But if you look deep into what this film is about and what it says, its themes are very prevalent even 50 years later in today’s society.

Film title: This Special Friendship

Also known as: Les amitiés particulières

Release year: 1964, Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France

Director: Jean Delannoy

Cast: Francis Lacombrade, Didier Haudepin, François Leccia, Dominique Maurin and others

See also: The Fire That Burns (1997)

Alternative review by Sky Kid ( George ) – Les Amitiés Particuliéres (1964)


  1. Heartbreaking, gut-wrenching movie and even more so when judged by `100 years of Catholic Church hypocrisy This movie projected an innocent, deep love by one adolescent for a child.

    And I am fed up with the blocking of this beautiful movie on Youtube and other sites. Yet they happily display “For a lost soldier”

  2. Did you find this film? Please advise: thanks
    I am researching all Didier’s films but they are hard to find and download as UK is Region 2 for DVDs so films like Nino y el Lobo must be bought Europe in Spanish. So Didier speaks English French and Spanish and plays the keys as well: such a rare talent

  3. From Roger Peyrefitte’s 1945 classic novel… was remade in 1997 as “La ville dont le prince est un enfant” (The Fire That Burns) with a new twist ending. This one’s in color.

    • La ville dont le prince est un enfant is by Henry de Montherlant. A very simular story line, but not the same novel as Roger Peyrefitte’s Les amitiés particulières.


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