Philippe Avron plays a bumbling burglar whose crime career is a textbook case of failure. One evening, Avron comes upon an abandoned nightgown. Upon donning the garment, he feels he has been transformed into an angel. Avron then joins a strange circus, whence he hopes to dispense goodwill to the other misfits of the world. As with the other works of director Albert Lamorisse (The Red Balloon) Lamorisse, it is virtually impossible to determine where reality leaves off and fantasy takes over in Circus Angel, a fact that was instrumental in the film's winning a "Best Special Effects" award at the Cannes Film Festival.