The Life of Emile Zola Overview:

The Life of Emile Zola (1937) was a Biographical - Drama Film directed by William Dieterle and produced by Hal B. Wallis, Henry Blanke and Jack L. Warner.


Another successful Muni biopic as the French man of the letters who risked his career and freedom to stand up for an unfairly accused man. Muni stars as the French novelist Zola, who rose from scandal to national treasure, and who threw his reputation and rhetorical skill behind Alfred Dreyfus, who had been wrongly accused of treason and sent to Devil's Island. Dieterie had previously directed Muni in the historical dramas The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936) and Juarez (1939).

(Source: available at Amazon AMC Classic Movie Companion).


The Life of Emile Zola was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2000.

Academy Awards 1937 --- Ceremony Number 10 (source: AMPAS)

Best ActorPaul MuniNominated
Best Supporting ActorJoseph SchildkrautWon
Best Art DirectionAnton GrotNominated
Best DirectorWilliam DieterleNominated
Best Music - ScoringWarner Bros. Studio Music Department, Leo Forbstein, head of department (Score by Max Steiner)Nominated
Best PictureWarner Bros.Won
Best WritingHeinz Herald, Geza HerczegNominated
Best WritingNorman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, Geza HerczegWon

BlogHub Articles:

The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

By Beatrice on Oct 13, 2013 From Flickers in Time

The Life of Emile Zola Directed by William Dieterle Written by Norman Reilly Raine, Heinz Herald, Geza Herczeg et al 1937/USA Warner Bros. First viewing #119 of 1001 Films You Must See Before You Die For some reason I was not wowed by this worthy, well-produced biopic. The story covers the life of... Read full article

The Life of Emile Zola

By Alyson on Jun 15, 2010 From The Best Picture Project

Here’s a quick tip: To get the most out of this film, do not read any sort of quick biography on Emile Zola. ?All you need to know for backup is that he was a writer in France speaking out against oppression in government and society. ?The film should do the rest. We first meet Zola (Paul Muni... Read full article

See all The Life of Emile Zola articles

Quotes from

?mile Zola:: Why didn't Picquart say anything?
Lucie Dreyfus: Colonel Picquart is a good officer. He kept silent at the request of his superiors.
?mile Zola:: You mean they KNEW and they ordered him to suppress the truth? Why,that's monstrous!

Minister of War: Books? Books? I don't read books!

?mile Zola:: What does it matter if an individual is shattered - if only justice is resurrected?

read more quotes from The Life of Emile Zola...

Facts about

"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie on May 8, 1939 with Paul Muni reprising his film role.
Due to severe flooding in Los Angeles in 1938, the presentation of the Best Picture Oscar for this movie was postponed from Thursday March 3rd to Thursday March 10, 1938. (see also - In the Heat of the Night and Raging Bull).
The Latin on Zola's mansion's fireplace hearth, seen twice, is "Nulla Dies Sine Linea": "No Day Without a Line".
read more facts about The Life of Emile Zola...
Share this page:
Visit the Classic Movie Hub Blog CMH
Best Picture Oscar 1937

See more Best Picture awards>>
National Film Registry

The Life of Emile Zola

Released 1937
Inducted 2000

See All Films in National Registry >>
Also directed by William Dieterle

More about William Dieterle >>
Also produced by Hal B. Wallis

More about Hal B. Wallis >>
Related Lists
Create a list

See All Related Lists >>
Also released in 1937

See All 1937 films >>
More "Rags to Riches" films

See All "Rags to Riches" films >>
More "Fame" films

See All "Fame" films >>
More "Paris" films

See All "Paris" films >>
More "Writers and Poets" films

See All "Writers and Poets" films >>