MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Down 1,327 this week

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  29 December 1939 (USA)
7.9
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.9/10 from 6,744 users  
Reviews: 71 user | 36 critic

In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.

Director:

Writers:

(screen play), (adaptation), 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Editors' Spotlight

IMDb at Comic-Con 2014

Follow our coverage of Comic-Con 2014, direct from San Diego July 23-27 in our Comic-Con section.


User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 30 titles
created 02 Mar 2011
 
a list of 25 titles
created 22 Mar 2011
 
a list of 48 titles
created 05 Jan 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 18 Mar 2013
 
a list of 25 titles
created 04 Jun 2013
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) on IMDb 7.9/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

User Polls

Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (TV Movie 1982)
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Quasimodo, the hunchback bellringer of Notre Dame's cathedral meets a beautiful gypsy dancer, Esmeralda, and falls in love with her. So does Quasimodo's guardian, the archdeacon of the ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Tuchner
Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Derek Jacobi, David Suchet
Drama | History | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The timeless tale of the seductive gypsy Esmeralda and the tortured hunchback Quasimodo.

Director: Jean Delannoy
Stars: Gina Lollobrigida, Anthony Quinn, Jean Danet
The Hunchback (TV Movie 1997)
Drama | Horror | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Based on the novel, a young gypsy becomes a Minister's obsession in 1483. Only the bell ringer and her husband and the court of miracles can save her.

Director: Peter Medak
Stars: Mandy Patinkin, Richard Harris, Salma Hayek
You and I (1918)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A stranger comes to work at widow Halla's farm. Halla and the stranger fall in love, but when he is revealed as Eyvind, an escaped thief forced into crime by his family's starvation, they ... See full summary »

Director: Victor Sjöström
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Edith Erastoff, John Ekman
The Cheat (1915)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A venal, spoiled stockbroker's wife impulsively embezzles $10,000 from the charity she chairs and desperately turns to a Burmese ivory trader to replace the stolen money.

Director: Cecil B. DeMille
Stars: Fannie Ward, Sessue Hayakawa, Jack Dean
Ikiru (1952)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa
Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

An aging doorman, after being fired from his prestigious job at a luxurious Hotel is forced to face the scorn of his friends, neighbours and society.

Director: F.W. Murnau
Stars: Emil Jannings, Maly Delschaft, Max Hiller
La Chienne (1931)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Cashier Maurice Legrand is married to Adele, a terror. By chance, he meets Lucienne, "Lulu", and makes her his mistress. He thinks he finally met love, but Lulu is nothing but a ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Renoir
Stars: Michel Simon, Georges Flamant, Janie Marèse
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Sometime in the early years of the century, a boy, Apu, is born to a poor Brahmin family in a village in Bengal. The father, a poet and priest, cannot earn enough to keep his family going. ... See full summary »

Director: Satyajit Ray
Stars: Kanu Bannerjee, Karuna Bannerjee, Subir Banerjee
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The rise and fall of a corrupt politician, who makes his friends richer and retains power by dint of a populist appeal.

Director: Robert Rossen
Stars: Broderick Crawford, John Ireland, Joanne Dru
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In mediaeval Japan a compassionate governor is sent into exile. His wife and children try to join him, but are separated, and the children grow up amid suffering and oppression.

Director: Kenji Mizoguchi
Stars: Kinuyo Tanaka, Yoshiaki Hanayagi, Kyôko Kagawa
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The head of a Japanese theatre troupe returns to a small coastal town where he left a son who thinks he is his uncle, and tries to make up for the lost time, but his current mistress grows jealous.

Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Stars: Ganjirô Nakamura, Machiko Kyô, Haruko Sugimura
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
The Hunchback / Quasimodo
...
Frollo (as Sir Cedric Hardwicke)
...
...
...
Alan Marshal ...
Walter Hampden ...
...
Katharine Alexander ...
Madame de Lys
George Zucco ...
Procurator
Fritz Leiber ...
Old Nobleman
Etienne Girardot ...
Doctor
Helene Whitney ...
Minna Gombell ...
Queen of Beggars (as Mina Gombell)
Arthur Hohl ...
Olivier
Edit

Storyline

King Louis XI is a wise and old king and Frollo is the Chief Justice. Frollo gazes on the gypsy girl, Esmeralda, in the church during Fool's Day and sends Quasimoto to catch her. Quasimoto, with the girl, is captured by Phoebus, Captain of the Guards, who frees the girl. The courts sentence Quasimoto to be flogged, and the only one who will give him water while he is tied in the square is Esmeralda. Later, at a party of nobles, Esmeralda again meets both Frollo, who is bewitched by her, and Phoebus. When Phoebus is stabbed to death, Esmeralda is accused of the murder, convicted by the court and sentenced to hang. Clopin, King of the Beggars, Gringoire the Husband of Esmeralda, and Quasimoto, the bellringer, all try different ways to save her from the gallows. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Drama Unparalleled ! Spectacle Beyond Belief ! ! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 December 1939 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Victor Hugo's Immortal Classic The Hunchback of Notre Dame  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(Turner library print) (copyright length)

Sound Mix:

(RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

RKO specifically wanted to outdo the 1923 silent version of the story, so a vigorous campaign that spared no expense was undertaken. Much attention was given to advance publicity; no pictures of Charles Laughton in full Quasimodo makeup and costume were allowed to be seen so that a first-time viewing would be a guaranteed shock. Also, the studio hired (at Laughton's request) leading makeup artist Perc Westmore to supervise makeup. Unfortunately, Westmore and Laughton had heated quarrels before a final image for Quasimodo was agreed upon. See more »

Goofs

Near the end, in the king's chambers when meeting with Frollo and the Archdeacon, the boom mic shadow follows the king onto a book-stand, then when noticed, it is pulled back. See more »

Quotes

Gringoire: Your hands are like ice. You're not afraid are you?
Esmeralda: Not now oh Gringoire, Why did I ever come to paris?
Gringoire: Don't cry darling
Esmeralda: I keep thinking and thinking How I came here to soften the king heart towards my people until my silly heart betrayed me for that I deserve to die.
Gringoire: You will not! I will get you free
Esmeralda: You will look out after my people when I am gone
See more »


Soundtracks

Ave Maria
(1572) (uncredited)
Music by Tomás Luis de Victoria
Sung by mixed chorus during opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Notre Dame's Celebrated Bell Ringer
30 August 2006 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Though the French have done many versions of Victor Hugo's celebrated classic, this version starring Charles Laughton has certainly stood the test of time and is the best known and loved in the English speaking world.

Lon Chaney, Sr. did an acclaimed silent version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Laughton was following a great tradition. And he did it in the manner of Chaney, almost without dialog. Not that Hugo wrote too much dialog for Quasimodo in his story, but except for his time with Esmerelda in the tower after he rescues her, Laughton is almost speechless in the film. Of course his character in addition to being deformed is also deaf from the ringing of those cathedral bells.

Quasimodo born deformed as he was, was left as an orphan on the steps of the Notre Dame cathedral in medieval Paris. Raised in the sheltered atmosphere of the church, he derives some joy in his duties as the bell ringer in the tower. His mentor is the brother of the archbishop played by Cedric Hardwicke and the archbishop is Walter Hampden. Quasimodo's life is useful, but without love.

But Laughton is crushing out on Esmerelda the gypsy girl played by Maureen O'Hara in her American screen debut. Problem is that Hardwicke is also getting hot and bothered by her.

Hardwicke's role is the second best acted in the film next to Laughton's. He's a man with shall we say some issues. He's purportedly committed to the church and it's celibacy requirements. But Dr. Freud wasn't around back in the day of Louis XI to tell us about sex drives. Hardwicke's desires mean only one thing, Esmerelda has to have bewitched him. When he kills Alan Marshal who is also interested in Maureen and looks like he's about to round third so to speak, the blame goes on Maureen.

What I like about the story is how the lives of two very ordinary people, Quasimodo and Esmerelda, become the focal point for a whole lot of religious and political issues of the day. The church, the peasants, the just developing middle class, and the nobility all have an agenda as far as the Esmerelda murder case is going. The only agenda poor Quasimodo has is he's in love with her.

Maureen O'Hara who was a discovery of Charles Laughton back in the United Kingdom was pushed by Laughton for the role of Esmerelda and traveled with him to America to play the part. She was grateful to him ever afterwards for any career she had and can't praise him enough for getting RKO to sign her.

Harry Davenport probably plays the most benign Louis XI ever put on film. It sure is a far cry from Basil Rathbone in If I Were King or Robert Morley in Quentin Durward. He plays him like the kindly grandfather he usually plays on screen.

Thomas Mitchell as Clopin the king of beggars and Edmond O'Brien as Gringoire the poet are two other significant roles. O'Brien gets his first substantial role on screen in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and this was a banner year for Thomas Mitchell. In 1939 he was also in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Gone With the Wind and Stagecoach for which he won Best Supporting Actor. He could have though for any one of these films.

When all is said and done though the film belongs to Charles Laughton who was the screen's best portrayer of tortured humanity. Even beneath all of Bud Westmore's grotesque make-up we can feel his anguish. He's not a stupid man Quasimodo, he knows how repulsive he is to most of the human race. He's childlike though, something like Peter Sellers in Being There, another character raised in a secluded atmosphere.

To see Charles Laughton at the top of his game in my humble opinion one has to see The Hunchback of Notre Dame.


32 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
The Hunchback rokrox
Film compared to the novel dolce7dolore
what version is the most similar to the novel? Somebody help me! sniper-redwolf
In regards to earlier threads about casts for a modern HoND - Esmeralda LittleElfie
If they remade it without all the liberties... GW1988
Actors LittleElfie
Discuss The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?