Set in 1940, the story concerns an unlikely pair forced together due to approaching Nazis. S.L. Jacobowsky, a Polish Jewish intellectual, has purchased a car. Meanwhile, Stjerbinsky, an aristocratic, anti-Semitic Polish Colonel knows how to drive. The two men happen to meet each other at a Paris hotel and agree to escape the Nazis together. They then pick up the Colonel's girlfriend, Marianne. On their trip, they experience many adventures but trouble ensues when Jacobowsky falls in love with Marianne.