Les Misérables (1935)

Approved  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  20 April 1935 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.7/10 from 2,526 users  
Reviews: 29 user | 13 critic

In early 19th Century France an ex-convict who failed to report to parole is relentlessly pursued over a 20 year period by an obsessive policeman.


0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »


Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A parole violator in early 19th Century France is relentlessly pursued and persecuted by an obsessive policeman.

Director: Lewis Milestone
Stars: Michael Rennie, Robert Newton, Debra Paget
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The lives of numerous people over the course of 20 years in 19th century France, weaved together by the story of an ex-convict named Jean Valjean on the run from an obsessive police inspector, who pursues him for only a minor offense.

Director: Raymond Bernard
Stars: Harry Baur, Charles Vanel, Paul Azaïs
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A pair of lookalikes, one a former French aristocrat and the other an alcoholic English lawyer, fall in love with the same woman amongst the turmoil of the French Revolution.

Directors: Jack Conway, Robert Z. Leonard
Stars: Ronald Colman, Elizabeth Allan, Edna May Oliver
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Jean Valjean, convicted of a minor crime, spends the rest of his life being pursued by a cruel and unrelenting policeman, Javert.

Director: Jean-Paul Le Chanois
Stars: Jean Gabin, Bernard Blier, René Fleur
Les Miserables (TV Movie 1978)
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Jean Valjean, convicted of stealing bread, is hounded for decades by the relentless and cruel policeman Javert.

Director: Glenn Jordan
Stars: Richard Jordan, Anthony Perkins, Cyril Cusack
Certificate: Passed Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

When David's father dies, his mother remarries. His new stepfather Murdstone has a mean and cruel view on how to raise a child. When David's mother dies from grief, Murdstone sends David to... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Freddie Bartholomew, Frank Lawton, Edna May Oliver
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An English valet brought to the American west assimilates into the American way of life.

Director: Leo McCarey
Stars: Charles Laughton, Mary Boland, Charles Ruggles
Alice Adams (1935)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The misadventures of two social-climbing women in small town America.

Director: George Stevens
Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Fred MacMurray, Fred Stone
Certificate: Passed Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Elizabeth Barrett's tyrannical father has forbidden any of his family to marry. Nevertheless, Elizabeth falls in love with the poet Robert Browning.

Director: Sidney Franklin
Stars: Norma Shearer, Fredric March, Charles Laughton
Captain Blood (1935)
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An enslaved doctor and his comrades in chains escape and become pirates of the Caribbean.

Director: Michael Curtiz
Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Lionel Atwill
Adventure | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Fletcher Christian successfully leads a revolt against the ruthless Captain Bligh on the HMS Bounty. However, Bligh returns one year later, hell bent on avenging his captors.

Director: Frank Lloyd
Stars: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Three sisters scheme to reunite their divorced parents before their wealthy father marries a conniving gold digger.

Director: Henry Koster
Stars: Binnie Barnes, Charles Winninger, Alice Brady


Cast overview, first billed only:
Florence Eldridge ...
John Beal ...
Frances Drake ...
Ferdinand Gottschalk ...
Jane Kerr ...
Jessie Ralph ...
Mary Forbes ...
Mlle. Baptiseme
Florence Roberts ...
Charles Haefeli ...
John Bleifer ...


Jean Valjean, a Frenchman of good character and great strength, is convicted of stealing a loaf of bread, an act that sets in motion a lifetime of misery for Valjean, as he is pursued by the uncompromising and brutal lawman Javert. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The Immortal Classic That Shook A Nation . . . Is Now A Glorious Picture !


Drama | History | Romance


Approved | See all certifications »




Release Date:

20 April 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les Misérables  »

Box Office


$1,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Noiseless Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was Fox's production head Darryl F. Zanuck's attempt to beat MGM at its own game. MGM had scored several successes with adaptations of literary classics like David Copperfield (1935) and Little Women (1933) under the aegis of wunderkind producer David O. Selznick. This also afforded Zanuck the opportunity to provide his latest star, Fredric March, with a high-class production. See more »


At c. 38 minutes Jean Valjean arrives at the inn spotlessly clean after wallowing in mud freeing a man trapped in a coach on his way there. See more »


Eponine: If that thing on your face is a smile, take it off and get on with your work!
See more »


Version of Aa mujo: zenpen (1929) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Takes His Cues From the Heart
20 November 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Another reviewer of this version of Les Miserables said this was the Cliff's Notes version of the Victor Hugo classic. I'd be hard pressed to disagree, but bear in mind that another reviewer said the novel itself is over 1300 pages. That would be a daunting task for any film maker. Les Miserables whether done in English, French or Sanskrit lends itself to a mini-series.

Nevertheless this version that stars Fredric March and Charles Laughton is a good encapsulation of the mammoth story about a paroled prisoner trying to escape his past and the relentless police official who's made it a life's obsession to track him down.

This is the third and final film that March and Laughton co-starred in and they did all three of their films for different studios, Sign of the Cross for Paramount, The Barretts of Wimpole Street for MGM and Les Miserables for the newly formed 20th Century Fox. I'd be hard pressed to pick one that is the best because all three have something different to offer.

I think what Victor Hugo does is make a great case for situational ethics in this story. March as Jean Valjean the prisoner is jailed for 10 years on a minor charge and thereafter subject to a strict parole system. He misses a check in and he's a fugitive.

But March is shown kindness by a warm and understanding bishop played by Cedric Hardwicke and changes his life around. But he has to move several times because of the relentless Inspector Javert.

Charles Laughton in his career played many a deformed soul and none more than Inspector Javert. He's a convict's son himself and to repudiate his humble origins becomes a policeman, but one with a rigid code that shows no understanding of times and conditions for a crime and makes no attempt at all to temper his rigid code with a drop or two of mercy.

Had Javert chosen the ministry, he'd have made a great hellfire and damnation preacher, getting all the words right but missing the music of love, redemption and forgiveness. And Valjean who is of equally humble origins is a redeemed soul, a conception Javert can't understand. But he also knows that Valjean even through out the trials Javert puts him through is one at peace with himself and there's no small amount of jealousy in Laughton's portrayal.

In a great acting duo, I give the decision by a few points to March, mainly because of his dual portrayal. At one point March hears from Laughton that Jean Valjean has been arrested and is on trial. After a lot of soul searching he goes to the neighboring town and gets a half wit off who is also played by Fredric March. Because of that Les Miserables has become one of my favorite Fredric March pictures.

March never got another shot at a thespian duel so to speak with another screen icon until Inherit the Wind with Spencer Tracy. His three films with Charles Laughton are deserved classics all. This is as good a version as you'll ever get of Les Miserables for a single motion picture.

37 of 40 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Could you see any of the cast members... rowanoak
John Beal (Marius) maybellinezmascaragurl
Does anybody have a copy? chrisstiles
Les Miserables DVD Release--April 24 dnscal
CliffsNotes version for sale!!! hobyandy
'you're in love with her'???? Stacey618
Discuss Les Misérables (1935) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: