In the French Alps, during the year 1943, Sébastien is a seven year old orphan boy living with César, an adoptive "grandfather" and his daughter, Angélina. The unusual little family lives in the small village of Saint-Martin, whose inhabitants, despite the German occupation, secretly organize the passage of Jewish exiles into Switzerland. The village is also plagued by a mysterious "Beast" who preys on the flocks of the shepherds and the inhabitants, including Cesar's animals. Sébastien is a very lonely child who is suffering from the absence of his mother. He believes that she migrated "to America, just over the mountains", and spends all his days in the mountains. One day, on the way home, he meets a huge dog, wild and completely discredited: it is the so-called "Beast". Sébastien is not slow to make friends with the animal, a female sheepdog, and names her "Belle" because he is struck by her beauty after she is cleaned up from the mud that she was coated with. Sebastian decides to keep his friendship with Belle secret to protect her.
Jo Weisman, a young Jewish Parisian, and his family are taken by the Nazis and Vichy collaborators in the rafle du Vel' d'Hiv. Anna Traube, a 20-year-old woman, walks out of the velodrome with forged papers; her mother and sister are captured. Annette Monod, a Protestant nurse, volunteers for the velodrome, and assists Jewish doctor David Sheinbaum. From the Vélodrome d'Hiver Jo's family and Sheinbaum are transferred to the Beaune-la-Rolande internment camp. Monod comes along. She does what she can to help the children, who are soon falling sick from the camp diet and conditions.
Héléna Bourdelle, called "The Bourdelle," is a great singer and wife of maestro André Bourdelle. Joining the Resistance, he is killed by the accidental explosion of a grenade. Following the defeat, the family's mansion is taken over by German forces, leaving the family occupying a few back rooms, complaining to the Kommandantur about his excesses and those of his men. Bourdelle, her daughters and their tenant help by chance an English soldier to escape and are then forced to hide him. The family, whose former caretaker Ramirez has become a Gestapo agent, is favoured by the General Spontz who has a soft spot for Bernadette Bourdelle. He is willing to ignore the fact that Guy-Hubert, son of the family, a seemingly cowardly and effeminate hairdresser, is actually the elusive vigilante known as "Super-Resistant".
Set during the German occupation of Paris during the Second World War, it tells the story of Lucas Steiner, a Jewish theatre director and his Gentile wife, Marion Steiner, who struggles to keep him concealed from the Nazis in their theatre cellar while she performs both his former job as the director and hers as an actress.
The film follows Maxime Nathan and his Jewish family in France during the years leading up to World War II. François Grimbert (played as a young boy by Valentin Vigourt and as an adolescent by Mathieu Amalric) grows up in Paris in the 1950s. He is the skinny, sickly son of two marvelously athletic parents, Tania (Cécile de France) and Maxime (Patrick Bruel). For a while, he dreams of a stronger, fitter, more charismatic older brother to compensate for his own feelings of inadequacy. Only gradually does he learn of his parents' tragic past and that he has a sibling — a half-brother named Simon, his father's first son.
In 1942, 10-year-old Sarah Starzynski (Mélusine Mayance) hides her younger brother from French police by locking him in a secret closet and telling him to stay there until she returns. She takes the key with her when she and her parents are transported to the Vélodrome d'Hiver, where they are held in inhuman conditions by the Paris Police and French Secret Service.
1944 : Justine est arrêtée tandis que sa sœur Juliette devient la maîtresse du colonel S.S Erik Schorndorf. Justine est déportée à la "Commanderie", en compagnie d'autres jolies filles, pour être les instruments de plaisir des chefs S.S.
In Nazi-occupied France, Lucille Angellier and her domineering mother-in-law await news of her husband. A regiment of German soldiers arrives, and promptly moves into the homes of the villagers. Lucille tries to ignore Bruno, the German commander coopting her house, but he soon infatuates her.
It is 1940. When the movie begins, film star Viviane Denvert sits in the audience of a premiere of her new movie and notices a man who keeps staring at her. She is disturbed, and when the film is over and the audience has finished praising her, she rushes home, discovering that she is pursued by that same man. He chases her into her apartment.
In 1944, art masterpieces stolen by the Wehrmacht from French museums are being shipped to Germany; the officer in charge of the operation, Colonel Franz von Waldheim (Paul Scofield), is an ardent art lover and is determined to take the art to Germany, no matter the cost. After the Germans remove the art chosen by Waldheim from the Jeu de Paume Museum, curator Mademoiselle Villard (Suzanne Flon) seeks help from the French Resistance. Given the imminent liberation of Paris by the Allies, they need only delay the train for a few days—still, it is a dangerous operation and it must be done in such a way that does not risk damaging the priceless cargo.
During the winter of 1943-44, Julien Quentin, a student at a Carmelite boarding school in occupied France, is returning to school from vacation. He acts tough to the students at the school, but he is actually a pampered mother's boy who still wets his bed. Saddened to be returning to the tedium of boarding school, Julien's classes seem uneventful until Père Jean, the headmaster, introduces three new pupils. One of them, Jean Bonnet, is the same age as Julien. Like the other students, Julien at first despises Bonnet, a socially awkward boy with a talent for arithmetic and playing the piano.
As the Allied Forces move toward Paris, Adolf Hitler commands Gen Dietrich von Choltitz to destroy the city. Choltitz sends a team to demolish the city's famous land-marks and to overflow the Seine, led by Lt Hegger and advised by a captured Parisian engineer named Mr Lanvin. The land-marks being targeted include the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde, the Notre Dame de Paris.
1940 in Paris, Michele de la Becque (Joan Crawford) is a career woman in love with industrial designer Robert Cortot (Philip Dorn). Together they enjoy a luxurious lifestyle unfazed by the approach of World War II. After the Battle of France and subsequent German occupation, Michele discovers her lover is socializing with German officers and his plants are manufacturing weapons for them. She confronts him and he does not deny her evidence. She is outraged. She aids a downed American in the Eagle Squadron of the Royal Air Force bomber pilot Pat Talbot (John Wayne) from Pennsylvania and finds herself falling in love with him. Later, she discovers Cortot is turning out defective weapons for the Germans and organizing a French fighting force. Michele is happily reunited with Cortot.
In Paris during the German occupation, an ill-assorted group of resistance fighters commits disorganized attacks. Missak Manouchian, an Armenian exile, is ready to help but is reluctant to kill; for him, being ready to die but not to kill is an ethical matter. However, circumstances lead him to abandon his reluctance. Under his leadership, the group structures and plans its actions and thus the Manouchian network is born. The film traces the story of this group, from its shaping to the execution of its members in 1944.