Promise at Dawn

Watch Promise at Dawn

"An unforgettable Mercouri experience"
  • GP
  • 1971
  • 1 hr 39 min
  • 6.4  (204)

Promise at Dawn is a drama film, directed by Jules Dassin and released in 1970. The movie is a biography of Romain Gary, a French diplomat, writer, and aviator. The story is based on Gary's own memoirs in which he recounts his childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood as he struggled to find his place in the world and become a writer.

The movie opens with an adult Romain Gary, played by Assi Dayan, receiving a prestigious literary award. As he reflects back on his life, he remembers his mother Nina, played by Melina Mercouri, who had been his greatest source of inspiration and support throughout his life. Through a series of flashbacks, we see Romain's journey from a young boy in Vilnius, Lithuania, to a successful writer in Paris, France.

As a child, Romain is raised by his mother who is determined to make him a success in life. She is ambitious and driven, convinced that Romain is destined for greatness, encouraging him to do everything from learning multiple languages to playing the piano. Nina's ultimate goal is for Romain to become a French diplomat, which she believes will be a sure path to success and happiness.

The family eventually moves to Nice, France, where Romain is enrolled in school. However, he is bullied by his classmates for being an outsider and for his Jewish heritage. Nina encourages him to fight back, to stand up for himself, and to never give up on his dreams. Despite the challenges he faces, Romain excels in school and later joins the French Air Force.

Over time, Romain begins to struggle with his identity and his place in the world. He is torn between his loyalty to his mother and his desire for independence, and feels caught between his Jewish roots and his French upbringing. Romain also struggles with his relationships with women - he is attracted to them, but is unsure how to truly connect with them.

Despite these challenges, Romain's writing career takes off, leading him to become a beloved and respected author throughout France. However, he remains haunted by his past and by his relationship with his mother.

Promise at Dawn is a moving story about love, ambition, and the pursuit of success. It is a tribute to the power of a mother's love and to the enduring legacy of great literature. Melina Mercouri delivers a powerful and nuanced performance as Nina, the overbearing yet loving mother who pushes her son to greatness. Assi Dayan gives a strong performance as Romain, capturing the character's journey from childhood to adulthood with sensitivity and depth.

The movie is visually stunning, with beautiful shots of France and Lithuania, as well as period costumes and sets that transport the viewer to a different time and place. The film also features a memorable score by Georges Delerue, which perfectly captures the emotional tone of the story.

Overall, Promise at Dawn is a well-crafted and engaging film that explores the complex relationship between a mother and her son, and the struggle to find one's place in the world. It is a must-see for fans of biographical dramas and for anyone who loves a good story about the pursuit of success and the power of love.

Promise at Dawn
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 39 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.4  (204)