A Tale of Two Cities (1935)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama, History, Romance  |  25 December 1935 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 3,782 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 17 critic

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.


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(novel), (screen play), 5 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Elizabeth Allan ...
Blanche Yurka ...
Henry B. Walthall ...
Walter Catlett ...
Fritz Leiber ...
Mitchell Lewis ...
Claude Gillingwater ...


An elaborate adaptation of Dickens' classic tale of the French Revolution. Dissipated lawyer Sydney Carton defends emigre Charles Darnay from charges of spying against England. He becomes enamored of Darnay's fiancée, Lucie Manette, and agrees to help her save Darnay from the guillotine when he is captured by Revolutionaries in Paris. Written by Marg Baskin <marg@asd.raytheon.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The most dramatic love story in the history of literature! See more »


Drama | History | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 December 1935 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Charles Dickens' 'A Tale of Two Cities'  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This marked the last time that Ronald Colman agreed to shave his trademark mustache for a film. See more »


Sydney Carton attends Christmas Eve services ca. 1780 during which "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" is sung to music by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847), and John Francis Wade's Latin hymn, "Adeste fideles," is sung in Frederick Oakley's (1802-1880) translation as "O Come, All Ye Faithful." See more »


Sydney Carton: It's a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done. It's a far, far better rest I go to than I have ever known.
See more »


Referenced in Tale of Two Mice (1945) See more »


Adeste Fideles
(1782) (uncredited)
Music by John Francis Wade (1782)
Arranged by David Snell
Latin lyrics traditional
Sung in church by an unseen female
English lyrics "Come, All Ye Faithful" by Frederick Oakeley (1852)
Sung by a group passing by
See more »

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User Reviews

Faithful screen version of the classic Dickens tale...
16 October 2002 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

A TALE OF TWO CITIES contains enough material for a four hour movie but amazingly David O. Selznick's production has managed to tell the epic tale in just a little over two hours. While there are many memorable characters, the ones that stay in the memory longest are Ronald Colman as Sydney Carton and the little seamstress (Isabel Jewell) who gets her courage from him before they go off to the guillotine and he utters those immortal words, "It's a far, far better thing I do..."

Edna May Oliver is just one of the pleasures among the supporting players. Donald Woods makes a handsome, if somewhat subdued, Charles Darnay and Blanche Yurka does an outstanding job as the bitter Madame Defarge. Basil Rathbone is excellent as the aristocratic Marquis St. Evremonde who is annoyed when his horse-driven carriage runs amok and kills a child, setting in motion the bitter Evremonde legacy of hate and mistrust among the French peasants.

The storming of the Bastille is awesome in its detail, as is all of the set decoration for interiors and exteriors which really captures the atmosphere of this turbulent time in history.

Probably Ronald Colman's finest hour--his world weary Sydney Carton becomes a highly sympathetic character by the time he is ready to assume another man's place. A memorable film.

30 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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