The international title - "The Green Ray" - refers to a natural phenomenon of a flash of green light sometimes seen on the horizon as the sun sets. As such, it is an unobtainable thing, much like the pursuit of happiness for this film's lead character. (It is also a novel by Jules Verne which is referenced in the film.) Éric Rohmer tried unsuccessfully to film this natural wonder and was forced to recreate it through special effects.
Marie Rivière first encountered Éric Rohmer's work in the early 1970s. She wrote a letter to the director, expressing an interest in working with him. This led to small parts in some of his films, culminating in this full collaboration with Rohmer where Riviere's contribution to the screenplay was so extensive, she received a co-writing credit. As such, the screenplay was actually just a framework for the actors as practically all the dialogue was improvised. Riviere would actually go on to make a documentary about Rohmer which she completed in 2010, just months before the director's death.
Note how Delphine - who is unwittingly in quest of the green ray - spends most of the film wearing red.
One of the very rare Éric Rohmer films to feature a music score written specially for the film.
At the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion Best Film award, Jean-Luc Godard praised the film for being "resplendent in its youthfulness and greatness".
The fifth of director Éric Rohmer's six "Comedies et Proverbes" series of movies of the 1980s. The other five, in chronological order, are The Aviator's Wife (1981), A Good Marriage (1982), Pauline at the Beach (1983), Full Moon in Paris (1984) and Boyfriends and Girlfriends (1987).
Delphine, back in Paris, reads Gustave Flaubert's novel "Bouvard et Pécuchet" in the park.