6.6/10
486
11 user 1 critic

A Tale of Two Cities (1980)

An ex-aristocrat from France and an alcoholic English lawyer find themselves crossing paths and in love with the same woman during the French Revolution.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Norman Jones ...
George Innes ...
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Bernard Hug ...
Valérie de Tilbourg ...
Seamstress (as Valerie de Tilburg)
Robert Urquhart ...
Attorney General
Anna Manahan ...
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Storyline

Dissolute barrister Sydney Carton becomes enchanted and then hopelessly in love with the beautiful Lucie Manette. But Lucie loves and marries Charles Darnay, and remains oblivious to Carton's undimmed devotion to her. When Darnay is ensnared in the deadly web of the French Revolution and condemned to die by the guillotine, Sydney Carton concocts a dangerous plot to free the husband of the woman he loves. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Drama | History | Romance | War

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Release Date:

2 December 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hallmark Hall of Fame: A Tale of Two Cities (#30.1)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Château de Vincennes, Vincennes, Val-de-Marne stood in for the Bastille. See more »

Quotes

Sydney Carton: It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.
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User Reviews

 
Convincing and very enjoyable historical fiction
25 April 2004 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

First things first: I have to say I have never read Charles Dicken's book, but after seeing this movie, I'll be stopping by the state library to pick it up. This is a GREAT movie - enjoyable, moving, and historically convincing. (My history teacher made us watch it to see what the French Revolution (especially the Reign of Terror) was like.)

After reuniting with her father, Dr. Manette (they had been separated from each other for many years), Lucie Manette goes back to England, where she meets a handsome stranger, Charles Darnay. Darnay is really Charles Evremonde, a French aristocrat who disdains his vain and arrogant uncle and who runs away from France. They fall in love and marry. But there is an English lawyer, Sydney Carton, who also loves Lucie. When Darnay returns to France to save his servant, he is thrown into prison and besieged by all the foolishness and speculation of the French Revolution. I won't divulge any more of the story to you.but I have to say the ending is really, really great. It's so moving that I can't watch it without crying at least a little. (Yeah, I cried when we were watching it at school, and hopefully no one saw me.)

For others who know the story, I can't tell you if the movie lives up to the book, but I do think the movie is a very convincing depiction of what happened during the French Revolution. Madame DeFarge, one of the `revolutionaries' (ha!), embodies the spirit of the common people during the Revolution. She felt it was absolutely necessary to kill a lot of nobles, even if they were innocent and had done nothing wrong. In the court scenes, we see how unfair the French tribunals are; defendants are barely given the chance to speak and they are convicted on little evidence and a lot of speculation. (The film compares the French court to the English court, which is infinitely more just.) We see the so-called anti-Revolutionaries being marched to the guillotine.it's a very moving moment. The film works very well because it doesn't lose any part of the story or the historical background. They work very nicely together.

To single out someone for acting, I have to commend the talented Chris Sarandon, who played Sydney Carton and Charles Darnay. That must have been really hard to do, especially since Darnay gets everything he wants and Carton doesn't. It's great acting. However, Sarandon manages to stay on course and the results are wonderful. He manages to combine jealousy, love, and strength all in the same gaze.

A WONDERFUL film.it gets your anger going, pulls on your heartstrings, and keeps you perfectly enraptured through the entire running time. I loved this movie. 10/10


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