The Triplets of Belleville

June 11th, 2003


The Triplets of Belleville

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When her grandson is kidnapped during the Tour de France, Madame Souza and her beloved pooch Bruno team up with the Belleville Sisters--an aged song-and-dance team from the days of Fred Astaire--to rescue him.

Release Year: 2003

Rating: 7.7/10 (25,352 voted)

Critic's Score: 91/100

Director: Sylvain Chomet

Stars: Michèle Caucheteux, Jean-Claude Donda, Michel Robin

Madame Souza, an elderly woman, instills in her grandson Champion (for who she acts as his guardian) a love of cycling. As a young man, he does become a dedicated road racer with his grandmother as his trainer. During a mountainous leg of the Tour de France in which Champion is racing, he goes missing. Evidence points to him being kidnapped. Indeed, he and two of his competitors were kidnapped, the kidnappers who want to use the threesome's unique skills for nefarious purposes. With Champion's overweight and faithful pet dog Bruno at her side, Madame Souza goes looking for Champion. Their trek takes them overseas to the town of Belleville. Without any money, Madame Souza and Bruno are befriended and taken in by three eccentric elderly women, who were once the renowned jazz singing group The Triplets of Belleville. The triplets help Madame Souza and Bruno try to locate and rescue Champion.

Béatrice Bonifassi - Triplets (singing voice)
Lina Boudreau - Triplets (voice)
Michèle Caucheteux - (voice)
Jean-Claude Donda - (voice)
Mari-Lou Gauthier - Triplets (voice)
Charles Linton - (singing voice) (as Charles Prévost Linton)
Michel Robin - (voice)
Monica Viegas - (voice)


Official Website: Official site [France] | Official site [Russia] |

Release Date: 11 June 2003

Box Office Details

Budget: $8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: £129,925 (UK) (7 September 2003) (60 Screens)

Gross: $7,002,255 (USA) (4 July 2004)

Technical Specs

Runtime: Argentina: (Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente)  | Canada:

Did You Know?

The obnoxious American tourist family from Sylvain Chomet's short animated film The Old Lady and the Pigeons make a cameo on the streets of Belleville.

Continuity: The odds on the chalkboard when cyclist #2 falls off his bike.

[first lines]
Madame Souza: Is that it, then? Is it over, do you think? What have you got to say to Grandma?

User Review

Unusual and delightful

Rating: 8/10

Rarely am I riveted by animated cinema that isn't good Japanese Anime, but 'The Triplets of Belleville' had my eyes glued to the screen from the beginning. The story is quite simple: A grandmother tries to make her young grandson (who is living with her) happy, and discovers his fascination for bicycles, so she buys him one. Cut to years later, and he is now a contender for the Tour de France, with his grandmother still doting on him, now acting as his trainer. During the race itself he and other riders are kidnapped and taken to Belleville, so the grandmother and their enormously fat dog go looking for him. Without money or shelter, the two are discovered by three old women, former famous vaudevillians – The Triplets of Belleville. They invite her and the dog in to stay and help her attempt to rescue her grandson.

'The Triplets of Belleville' is wonderfully unusual in many ways. Firstly, the character design by director Sylvain Chomet is abstract and garish. Most characters are extremely ugly, and almost every citizen of Belleville other than the primaries are grotesquely obese. (Even the Statue of Liberty in Belleville's harbor is ridiculously fat) The goons who kidnap the grandson are hilarious in their design – they have tall, completely square shoulders and at times morph together. The cyclists have half inch waists, agonized faces and enormous leg muscles. Also, there is almost no dialogue during the 81 minute film. There are a couple of songs, (the music in 'Belleville' is great) but other than some incidental sounds, there is maybe a couple of lines of actual dialogue. This serves as definitive proof that the film was brilliantly told through the action and animation.

To be sure, 'The Triplets of Belleville' is not for everyone. It is probably the antithesis of Disney or Pixar in its abstractness, intelligence and design. Not to say that the others are not intelligent, most aren't, but films like 'Finding Nemo' rely on pop culture to convey their wit, whereas 'The Triplets of Belleville' is brilliantly compelling with a handful of words. A strong 8/10.



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