Little Nicholas

Little Nicholas

French theatrical release poster
Directed by Laurent Tirard
Produced by Olivier Delbosc
Marc Missonnier
Genevieve Lemal
Alexandre Lippens
Screenplay by Laurent Tirard
Grégoire Vigneron
Alain Chabat
Based on Le petit Nicolas
by René Goscinny
Starring Maxime Godart
Kad Merad
Valérie Lemercier
Music by Klaus Badelt
Cinematography Denis Rouden
Edited by Valérie Deseine
Fidélité Productions
Wild Bunch
M6 Films
Mandarin Films
Scope Pictures
Distributed by Wild Bunch Distribution
Central Film
EOne Films
Release dates
  • 30 September 2009 (2009-09-30)
Running time
90 minutes
Country France
Language French
Budget $22.7 million[1]
Box office $59.4 million[2]

Little Nicholas (French: Le Petit Nicolas) is a 2009 French-Belgian family comedy film directed by Laurent Tirard who co-wrote with Grégoire Vigneron and Alain Chabat. It is based on a series of children's books by René Goscinny. The film features an ensemble cast led by Maxime Godart in the title role of Nicolas. The film was theatrically released in France on 30 September 2009 by Wild Bunch Distribution, Central Film and EOne Films.[3]

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics and earned $100.8 million on a $22.7 million budget. It won the TFO Prize for Best Youth Film at the Cinéfranco in 2010 and also received nominations for the César Award for Best Writing – Adaptation, the European Film Award for People's Choice Award for Best European Film and the Cinema Brazil Grand Prize for Best Foreign-Language Film. A sequel, Nicholas on Holiday, was released on 9 July 2014.


Somewhere in Paris, in the 1960s. A young boy named Nicolas gets into all sorts of mischief with his friends. Some unintentional, some intended. Matters get worse when Nicolas, a single child, thinks his mother is pregnant and a baby brother is forthcoming. And another friend of his has a baby brother and thinks it horrible but, thanks to his friends ideas, he believes this means his parents don't love him anymore and will abandon him. He and his pals embark on several schemes to raise 500 francs to have the baby kidnapped and left in a jungle. But before any drastic consequences are successful, Nicolas learns how nice it is to be a big brother. Then he discovers his mother isn't pregnant, and is upset about that. His parents eventually have a baby, which Nicolas looks forward to, except he gets a sister instead, and tells his parents he should have asked for a puppy![4]




Producers Olivier Delbosc and Marc Missonnier from Fidelity Films offered Laurent Tirard the project, who immediately accepted it as he has grown up with the characters from the story. Talking about that he said that "It is, however, struck me as obvious. I grew up with Le Petit Nicolas. I read (it) when I was a teenager. This work represents me and speaks to me. I immediately knew what the film would look like."[5] He further added that the character of the Nicolas was very personal to René Goscinny, "I knew that the key would be to adapt the both in his work and in his life, so I tried to understand the character of René Goscinny . This was someone who was looking for his place in society, and he had to win through laughter. At the time he was an accountant, his pleasure was to think it was the grain of sand that would make all the rails. He had a taste for the mess and realized that laughter could be both a defense a society where you do not feel out of place and a way to insert. These are things that I read between the lines of his biographies and spoke to me. The little boy looking for his place in society has become the axis on which to build the story."[5]


On 8 April 2008 it was announced that Valerie Lemercier and Kad Merad have joined the cast of the film as Nicloas's mother and father.[6] Maxime Godart was cast as the main protagonist Nicolas. Tirard said about his casting that "Maxime Godart has a very clear vision of the place he wants to be in the company of what he wants to do with his life. With his outgoing personality, I thought he would not be afraid in front of the camera. But it happened the other way around. The first day, when huge crane arm with a camera approached him for a first round crank, he was petrified! Chez Maxime, even more than in other children, the desire and the pleasure of playing were great. He never gave any sign of fatigue or expressed the need to stop."[7] Triard also cast his own son Virgil Triard as Joachim, one of Nicolas's friend and classmate.[8]


Filming begin on 22 May 2008 in Paris and continued till 11 October 2008. Most of the filming took place at Studio Monev at Sint-Pieters-Leeuw. Scenes were also shot at Laeken near the old school of boatmen on a vacant lot and at the corner of the street Claessens and Rue Dieudonné Lefèvre.[9][10]

Music and soundtrack

Le Petit Nicolas: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by Klaus Badelt
Released September 28, 2009
Length 40:23
Label EmArcy Records
Producer Klaus Badelt
Klaus Badelt film scores chronology
Dragon Hunters
Le Petit Nicolas
Solomon Kane

The score for Le Petit Nicolas was composed by Klaus Badelt and performed by Geert Chatrou, Dirk Brossé and Loïc Pontieux.[11] It was released on September 28, 2009 by EmArcy Records.[12][13] Renan Luce's second single On n’est pas à une bêtise près (was not a mistake near) from his 2009 album Clan miros appears at the end credit of the film but it is not part of the album. It was later released by Luce in October 2009.[14][15] The album received positive response on its release. Movienthusiast gave the album a positive review and awarded it three out of five stars by saying that "Music of this film is able to fill a variety of themes, scenes usually pose a ticklish feeling in the audience themselves. But for serious little scene, Badelt uses intelligent sound combining bass drums, strings of a violin with the sound of the harmonica, triangle even whistle. Overall, every scene is filled by a variety of sounds from various instruments giving them extra charm."[16]

Track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Un drôle de sujet de rédaction (A funny essay topic)"   07:42
2. "Générique (Generic)"   02:46
3. "Mord aux prof (Kill the teacher)"   01:14
4. "La Roulette (Roulette)"   0:58
5. "Les Filles, c'est pas intéressant (Girls are not interesting)"   01:00
6. "Papa et Maman se disputent souvent (Mom and Dad often argue)"   01:43
7. "3 Francs par rose (3 Francs for a rose)"   03:02
8. "Un Jeu drôlement compliqué (An awfully complicated game)"   01:40
9. "Une Balade en forêt (A Walk in the forest)"   01:21
10. "Le Spectacle (The Show)"   01:11
11. "Je vais avoir un petit frère! (I'm having a little brother!)"   01:09
12. "Ménage (Cleaning)"   01:19
13. "Gangster-à-louer (Gangster to rent)"   01:08
14. "Et en plus, c'est un sale cafard! (And besides, it's a dirty cockroach!)"   01:11
15. "Potion Magic (Magic Potion)"   03:50
16. "Rivalités fraternelles (Sibling rivalry)"   02:05
17. "Rolls Folle (Rolls mad)"   03:58
18. "Neuf Mois (Nine Months)"   02:04
19. "On dirait un poivron confit (It looks like a pepper confit)"   01:02
Total length:


Theatrical release

The film was theatrically released in France on 30 September 2009 by Wild Bunch Distribution, Central Film and EOne Films.[17]

Home media

The film was released on DVD on 3 February 2010 by Wild Side Video.[18] Bonus features include a Booklet with a history of Petit Nicolas and commentary featuring the child artists of the film.[19]


Box office

In its first week of release Le Petit Nicolas sold over a million tickets in France.[20] The film grossed $48,398,428 in France, and $11,088,066 in international territories for a total of $59,486,494.[21]

Critical reception

Cast and crew at the premiere of the film at the Le Grand Rex in Paris, September 20, 2009.

The film received mostly positive reviews from critics. David Parkinson of Empire Online gave the film three out of five stars and said that "Charmingly capturing the misconceptions of childhood and ebulliently played by a knowing cast, it should delight all ages."[22] Phelim O'Neill of The Guardian gave four stars out of five by saying that "It presents a gently humorous, beautifully shot idyllic version of childhood, all blue skies, good manners and not a hair out of place. It's a nice place to visit for the duration."[23] Omer Ali of Little White Lies praising the film, said that "A diverting alternative to more high-octane kiddie fare."[24] Amber Wilkinson of Eye for Film praised the actors by saying that "In a refreshing change from Hollywood films aimed at this market there is a blissful lack of toilet humour and there's plenty of fun to be had for an older audience in watching Nicholas' hapless father (Kad Merad) attempt to win a promotion from his boss by bringing him home to dinner. The acting from the adults has a slight pantomime edge to it, but this complements the source material and gives a real sense of the way in which children tend to view grown ups as larger than life. The children, meanwhile, form a sweet and believable ensemble, with Maxime Godart in the central role and Victor Carles as class clot Clotaire, in particular, likely to crop up in other films."[25] Similarly Bernard Besserglik of The Hollywood Reporter said that "This screen version, "Little Nicolas," technically proficient and featuring two of France's best comic actors."[20] However Jordan Mintzer of Variety criticized the film and said that "The clan of boys, and especially Nicolas himself, are too impeccably coiffed, dressed and mannered to resemble the ruffians depicted in Sempe’s drawings, or anything like real kids at all. Along with Francoise Dupertuis’ flamboyant sets and tidy lensing by Denis Rouden (“MR 73″), the result is a look of squeaky-clean postwar nostalgia, closer to Christophe Barratier’s “The Chorus” than to Truffaut’s “The 400 Blows,” which was set around the same time period."[26] Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph also gave a negative review to the film by saying that "English-speaking children will have to read very quickly indeed to keep up with the subtitles in this meek French family entertainment, based on a series of children’s books by René Goscinny, original writer of the Asterix strips. Just William in mid-century Paris is a fair indication of tone, if perhaps not entertainment value."[27]


Year Award Category Recipient Result
2010 César Award Best Writing – Adaptation Laurent Tirard
Gregoire Vigneron
European Film Awards People's Choice Award for Best European Film Laurent Tirard Nominated
Cinéfranco TFO Prize for Best Youth Film Laurent Tirard Won
2011 Cinema Brazil Grand Prize Best Foreign-Language Film Laurent Tirard Nominated


In August 2013, it was confirmed that the sequel to the film titled Nicholas on Holiday (Les Vacances du Petit Nicolas) would be released on 9 July 2014.[28] Valerie Lemercier and Kad Merad reprised their roles in the sequel, with the character of Nicolas played by newcomer Mathéo Boisselier.[29]

See also


  1. "Alain Chabat adopts Petit Nicolas". Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  3. "LE PETIT NICOLAS". Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  4. "Le Petit Nicolas A film by Laurent Tirard". Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  5. 1 2 "Genesis Project". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  6. "Kad Merad and Valérie Lemercier parents "Petit Nicolas"". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  7. "Entretien avec Laurent Tirard". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  8. "Petit Nicolas". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  9. "2008: Le petit Nicolas (Laurent Tirard)". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  10. "Le Petit Nicolas Laurent Tirard". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  11. "Le Petit Nicolas". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  12. "LE PETIT NICOLAS (FRO)". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  13. "Petit Nicolas, Le (2009)". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  14. "La France rebelle!". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  15. "Renan Luce". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  16. "Movie Scoring, Soundtrack & Musical Review – Little Nicholas / Le Petit Nicolas (2009)". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  17. "LE PETIT NICOLAS". Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  18. "Le petit Nicolas: DVD, Blu-ray, VOD". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  19. "DVD: Le Petit Nicolas - Prestige Edition". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  20. 1 2 "The Little Nicolas -- Film Review". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  21. "LE PETIT NICOLAS". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  22. "Le Petit Nicolas Bonjour les enfants". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  23. "Petit Nicolas – review This immaculate big screen transfer for the French children's fiction charms Phelim O'Neill". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  24. "Petit Nicolas Review". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  25. "Little Nicholas". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  26. "Review: "Le petit Nicolas"". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  27. "Films in brief: Circumstance, The Watch, Petit Nicholas, F for Fake, review". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  28. "Le Petit Nicolas: After the success of the first film, a new player for the future!". Retrieved September 22, 2013.
  29. "Cinema: the new kid Nicolas". Retrieved September 22, 2013.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Le Petit Nicolas.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Le Petit Nicolas (film)
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 10/18/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.