Joyeux Noël

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Joyeux Noël
Merry Christmas
Joyeux noel cover.jpg
Movie Poster
Country BEL.jpg Belgium

FRA.jpg France
GER.jpg Germany
ROM.jpg Romania
UKD.jpg United Kingdom

Directed by Christian Carion
Release Date November 9, 2005
Language English
Distributor UGC Fox Distribution (France)

Sony Pictures Classics (U.S.A.)

Main Cast
Character Actor
Nikolaus Sprink Benno Fürmann
Lieutenant Audebert Guillaume Canet
Private Ponchel Dany Boon
Leutnant (Lieutenant) Horstmayer Daniel Brühl
Anna Sörensen Diane Kruger
Leftenant Gordon Alex Ferns

Joyeux Noël (French for Merry Christmas) is a 2005 anti-war film directed by Christian Carion. France, December 1914. In a comparatively confined space of just a few hundred square meters, Franco-British and German units lie ready to fight in the freezing cold. They all have only one wish, that finally there should be an end to the killing. On Christmas Eve, however, when music resounds from the other trench, the troops on both sides decide to put aside their weapons for a short period and celebrate together. This fictionalized account is based on the true story of the Christmas truce of 1914. Most of the plot is inspired by the actions of the German tenor Walter Kirchhoff, whose singing in December 1914 caused troops in the French trenches to stand up and applaud.

The following weapons were used in the film Joyeux Noël:



MAS Mle. 1892

At the beginning of the movie, French Lieutenant Audebert (Guillaume Canet) is seen with an Mle 1892 Revolver during the attack on German lines.

Modele d’Ordonnance Mle 1892 Revolver - 8x27mm SR
Lieutenant Audebert makes a quick ammo check before the assault.
After briefing his men, he readies them for what will come next. The collar insignia shows that he belongs to the 26th Infantry regiment.
Audebert leads the charge through the German trench.

Luger P08

Two Luger P08s can briefly be seen as Oberleutnant Horstmayer (Daniel Brühl) unloads various arms.

Luger P08 - 9x19mm
He takes one of them to remove the magazine.

Webley Mk. VI

Leftenant Gordon (Alex Ferns) keeps a Webley Mk VI revolver in his brown leather holster.

Webley Mk VI - .455 Webley
The Major (Christopher Fulford) informs Lt. Gordon about the situation. The bottom of the grip is seen with the lanyard with the string. Judging by the uniforms (especially the Glengarry bonnet), these are the Royal Scots Fusiliers.


Berthier Mle. 1907/15

French soldiers including Ponchel (Dany Boon), Le couturier (Mickey Dedaj), Gueusselin (Lucas Belvaux), and Morallec (Philippe Beautier) use Berthier Mle 1907-15 rifles. The appearance of this rifle in 1914 is an anachronism in two ways, first, the Mle. 1907/15 was introduced in early 1915 to colonial troops and the French Foreign Legion and second, regular French infantrymen were not equipped with these rifles until 1916 due to the shortage of Lebel 1886 rifles that should be used instead in this movie set in 1914. Some captured Berthier rifles are carried by German soldiers after the attack.

Berthier Fusil Modèle 1907/15 - 8x50mm R
Ponchel awaits his mon lieutenant outside the shelter.
Before attacking, he takes deep breaths to steady himself. Oddly enough, Lt. Audebert gave an order to cycle the bolts which leads to the assumption that the rifles are not loaded since no ejected casings are visible. This would also mean, among other things, that only two cartridges would be left in the magazine, which would be disadvantageous during the following battle. This order is just to show the viewer that things are now getting serious.
"En avant!"
French soldiers going over the top with Rosaline bayonets attached to their rifles.
A French soldier dies with Mle. 1907/15 in hands which offers a close view of the receiver and the bolt handle. The rifle seen behind him is not equipped with a bayonet which is strange, because every soldier executed the order to fix their bayonets before leaving the trench.
Le couturier's Berthier lies next to him as he and Lt. Audebert witness a strange action in No Man's Land.
While in a crate between the lines, Gueusselin holds his Berthier at the ready. The ejecting hole of the 3-round magazine is visible.

Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk.III*

The Lee-Enfield No.1 Mk.III* is the standard rifle for Scottish soldiers. While the use of the SMLE is correct, it is worth mentioning that the Mk III* variant without the magazine cut-off was introduced one year later. The two brothers Jonathan (Steven Robertson) and William (Robin Laing) wield SMLEs throughout the movie.

Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mk III* SMLE - .303.
The soldier next to the letter-writing Jonathan cleans the extracting bolt-handle. The box-magazine is also removed for cleaning purposes.
Father Palmer (Gary Lewis) walks by a soldier carrying an SMLE over his back.
A Scot fires his SMLE in the air to play a trick on his commanding officer.
Scottish soldiers armed with SMLEs getting out of the German trench.
A close-up of the rifle's muzzle and front sight.
Three soldiers ordered by the Major to aim their SMLEs at a single German crossing No Man's Land. Note the right ones have fluted box-shaped strikers while the one on the left has an earlier rounded striker.
Other soldiers agree not to carry out the shoot to kill order. The safeties can be seen
Jonathan chambers his SMLE after taking the shot.

Mauser Gewehr 1898

Nikolaus Sprink (Benno Fürmann), Oskar (Alexander Wüst), Otto (Otto Beckmann), and other German soldiers are armed with correct Gewehr 98 rifles. Oberleutnant Horstmayer discharges various Gewehrs while burying the dead. The matching Seitengewehr 98/05 bayonets are seen, but never fixed to them.

Mauser Gewehr 1898 - 7.92x57mm Mauser
Sprink following an officer to the rear has a Gewehr 98 slung over his shoulder.
OLt Horstmeyer cycles the straight bolt-handle to eject a spent casing, after this, he will lock it and put it aside.
Detailed view of the Lange Visier rear sight on another Gewehr. Also note the black and white ribbon of the Iron Cross 2nd class on Horstmeyer's uniform button.
A view of the muzzle, front sight, and the parade hook.
After making an important decision, Sprink and Anna (Diane Kruger) stand at the edge of the French trench.

Mauser Puška vz. 98/22

Some post-war Czechoslovak Vz. 98/22 Czech Mauser‎s are also used by German soldiers like Jörg (Frank Witter). These Mausers have flat tangent-sights instead of Lange Visiers. It may be an anachronism, but it is a better choice than Turkish models or Karabiner 98ks that have been used several times in WWI films.

Czech BRNO Vz.98/22 Mauser - 7.92x57mm Mauser
A German soldier reports the situation to OLt Horstmeyer while keeping his eyes on the battlefield.
Jörg's Mauser lies in a trench loop-hole.
A front view of the same rifle.
Two Mausers being carried by a German soldier; the upper one is a Gewehr 98 and the lower one is the Czechoslovak Mauser. Note the different rear sights of the two rifles.
The Czech Mauser carried over Jörg's back, who wears a Krätzchen M1910 field cap.

Machine Guns

FN MAG 58 (Maxim MG08/15 mockup)

An anachronistic FN MAG 58 mocked up as a Maxim MG08/15 is used by German soldiers. It is identifiable by the barrel that is at the center of the water jacket and that the bullets feed from the left. This mock-up, however, is still incorrect for Winter 1914, where the original Maxim MG08 would be more accurate.

FN MAG 58 - 7.62x51mm NATO.
Maxim MG08/15 - 7.92x57mm Mauser, for comparison
German soldiers repel the Franco-Scottish attack with the mockup MG08/15 - the different position of the muzzle in the water jacket and different front sight can be seen here.
The left receiver is visible as Sprink picks up his gear.
The closest view of the MAG in the trench. Note the unusual cut out and tube present in the faux MG08/15 stock. The red "93" on the Pickelhaube stands for the German Anhaltische Infanterie-Regiment Nr. 93.

Vickers Mk. I

The rear part of a Vickers machine gun is briefly seen in the Scottish trench.

Vickers gun with ribbed water jacket - .303 British
The Vickers is seen in the right background manned by an attentive soldier after the trick while the camera is pointed at the giggling Leftenant Gordon.

Hotchkiss M1914

Also seen very briefly is a Hotchkiss M1914 transported by two French soldiers.

M1914 Hotchkiss Machine Gun with tripod - 8x50mmR Lebel / 7.92x57mm Mauser / 11mm Gras
A French soldier transports the Hotchkiss, which allows a view of the handguard.
Le couturier holds the barrel.


Citron Foug Mle. 1916

The French soldier Gueusselin (Lucas Belvaux) arms himself with several Citron Foug modèle 1916 grenades. This grenade an anachronism because it was introduced 2 years later.

Citron Foug modèle 1916 with 1st Model cap.
Gueusselin holds one grenade before the attack.
Later, on Christmas Eve, he takes two grenades when he volunteers for a reconnaissance mission.

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