Autumn Leaves: The Song’s Cinematic Journey

The haunting melody and poignant lyrics of “Autumn Leaves” have captivated audiences for decades. With its melancholy charm and evocative imagery, this timeless composition has become a classic in the realm of popular music. In this feature article, we delve into the cinematic origins of “Autumn Leaves,” tracing its journey from the silver screen to an enduring piece of musical history.

The Movie: “Les Portes de la Nuit” (1946)

“Autumn Leaves” was originally composed as “Les Feuilles Mortes” by Joseph Kosma, with French lyrics by Jacques Prévert. The song made its debut in the 1946 French film “Les Portes de la Nuit” (The Gates of Night). Directed by Marcel Carné, this romantic drama served as the backdrop for the birth of a song that would transcend its cinematic origins and achieve worldwide acclaim.

English adaptation: “Autumn Leaves” (1955)

After the success of “Les Portes de la Nuit,” the song caught the attention of English-speaking audiences. In 1950, American songwriter Johnny Mercer wrote English lyrics for “Les Feuilles Mortes,” transforming it into “Autumn Leaves. Mercer’s adaptation captured the bittersweet essence of the original composition, and his lyrical interpretation resonated with listeners across cultural boundaries.

Notable performances and popularity

“Autumn Leaves” gained significant popularity through performances by various artists. One of the most notable interpretations was by French singer Yves Montand, who performed it in “Les Portes de la Nuit” and later recorded his own version. The song’s popularity skyrocketed when it was covered by prominent artists such as Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Edith Piaf, among others. These artists brought their unique styles and vocal abilities to the song, further cementing its place in music history.

Enduring legacy and cultural impact

“Autumn Leaves” has stood the test of time, becoming a beloved standard in the jazz and popular music repertoire. Its melancholy melody and introspective lyrics continue to resonate with audiences, evoking feelings of nostalgia, love, and loss. The song’s cultural impact extends beyond the realms of film and music, finding its way into literature and art, and even inspiring other creative works.


“Autumn Leaves” originated in the French film “Les Portes de la Nuit” and has transcended its cinematic origins to become a timeless piece of musical history. With its haunting melody and introspective lyrics, the song has captured the hearts of audiences worldwide. From its first French rendition to its English adaptation and subsequent covers by legendary artists, “Autumn Leaves” has left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape. Its enduring legacy is a testament to the power of music to evoke emotion and create connections that transcend time and borders.


What movie is the song Autumn Leaves from?

The song “Autumn Leaves” originated from the French film “Les Portes de la Nuit” (The Gates of the Night) released in 1946.

Who made the song Autumn Leaves famous?

Roger Williams

Roger Williams made the song a number-one hit in the U.S. in 1955, the first piano instrumental to reach number one.

Was the song Autumn Leaves written for the movie?

“Autumn Leaves” was originally written for the 1946 Marcel Carné film “Les Portes de La Nuit” (“Gates of the Night”), in which Yves Montand introduced the song. According to, Kosma composed for 138 films, and his music appears in another hundred.

Where do Autumn Leaves originate?

“Autumn Leaves,” composed by Joseph Kosma and featuring lyrics by the French poet, Jacques Prevert, debuted as “Les Feuilles Mortes.” Yves Montand performed the song in the 1946 poetic realism film, Les Portes de la Nuit, a dark drama set in post-World War II Paris.

How do I find the name of a song in a movie?

If you’re trying to find a song that played in a film whose tune you can remember but whose title you can’t, go to and type in the film’s title. You’ll be able to hear a segment of most of the songs in the film, complete with their title and singer/composer.

What movie was exit music for a film in Romeo and Juliet?

It landed on 1997’s OK Computer, but “Exit Music (For a Film)” was originally written for Baz Luhrmann’s gonzo 1996 bacchanal Romeo + Juliet, starring your true best friends Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.

Who sang Autumn Leaves the best?

As one of the most covered jazz standards of all time, many artists have recorded a version of “Autumn Leaves,” including Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. Most notably, Nat King Cole had a big hit with it, and also recorded versions in French and Japanese.

What is autumn song about?

In ‘Autumn Song,” Sarojini Naidu uses lyrical language with simple end rhymes in order to parallel personal loss and loneliness with the beautiful frailty of autumn. She capitalizes on wind as a metaphor for change and loss of “joy” in the fair frailty of Autumn.

Who all sang Autumn Leaves?

Autumn Leaves — (Movie Clip) Opening, Nat Cole – Turner …

What song is at the end of Wild Mountain Thyme?


Quote from video: Amelia Warner – Welcome to Ireland – YouTube.


What is the song in Fallen with Denzel Washington?

Time Is On My Side

Sympathy For The Devil” is used as a theme song for John Goodman and Denzel Washington. The song Time Is On My Side by The Rolling Stones is the main theme in Fallen.

Why does Fall Out Boy have a song called Uma Thurman?

As Fall Out Boy describes above, the chorus is about this woman, explaining that “[s]he wants to dance like Uma Thurman,” which is a reference to a memorable dance scene in Pulp Fiction where Uma Thurman’s character asks John Travolta’s character to dance and aggressively leads the dance.