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|Index||25 reviews in total|
27 out of 29 people found the following review useful:
Wajda's French masterpiece, 9 November 1999
Author: ieaun from dudley, england
Set in the 1794, the second year of the French republic formed after the execution of Louis XVI, this film portrays the power struggle between the revolutionary leaders Danton (Gerard Depardieu, at his finest) and Robespierre (a commanding performance by the Polish actor Wojciech Pszoniak). The moderate revolutionary Danton has returned to Paris from his country seat where he has been since being deposed as leader of the Committee of Public Safety in the previous year by Robespierre. He is opposed to "The Reign Of Terror" which has resulted in the executions of thousands of citizens, mainly by guillotine, who are thought to be opposed to the Revolution. Danton is confident of the support of the ordinary people and tries to persuade Robespierre to curb the bloodletting. But Robespierre and the Committee are afraid that the popularity of Danton will lead to them being overthrown, and put Danton and his supporters on trial for being traitors. This was the first French language film made by Andrzej Wajda after he had arrived in France from Poland. His Polish film company was closed down by the government due to his support for the Solidarity trade union, which had opposed the Polish government in the late seventies and early eighties. His previous film "Man Of Iron" (1981) had dealt with the Solidarity union and its leader Lech Walesa, and it is easy to draw comparisons between the relationship of Walesa and the Polish leader General Jaruselski, and that between Danton and Robespierre. Danton/Walesa are the voice of reason opposed to Robespierre/Jaruselski who continue dictatorial rule despite having lost the support of the people they claim to represent. The film is based on the Polish play "The Danton Affair" written by Stanislawa Przybyszewska in the 1930s, and on its release the film was criticised by some for being static and theatrical. But what the film does is to concentrate on the behind-the-scenes meetings of the Committees and the scenes in the National Assembly and the courtroom rather than the activities on the streets of Paris.
20 out of 22 people found the following review useful:
Historically accurate film regarding the Reign of Terror, 26 April 2000
Author: Charles Reilly (firstname.lastname@example.org) from Los Angeles
The last desperate days of Danton and the so-called Moderate faction of the French Revolution is given an excellent treatment by Polish director Andrzej Wajda. Wojciech Pszoniak is truly outstanding as the icily determined Robespierre and Gerard Depardieu brings the full-bodied Danton to life. The last scene in the film, when a child reads the "Rights of Man" proclamation to Robespierre, is an eerie omen for what will come next. For students of the Reign of Terror and anyone else interested in this volatile time in history, this movie is a must.
23 out of 30 people found the following review useful:
Very strong, 6 July 2000
Author: Mario Bergeron from Cap-de-la-Madeleine, Canada
French cinema had always been very strong when comes the time to present historical subjects. 95 % of the time, they never make errors. This film is of one of the best of the genre, due to very very strong acting by Depardieu and Pszoniak. Wajda work, as the director, is truly a wonder. Everyone should see this great film.
19 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
Let the good films roll- vive Wojciech & Depardieu!, 19 April 2005
Author: dr_salter from Australia
I have read the pro & con reviews and wonder too about the cold
disparaging comments of Manicheus? Why not let your students watch a
movie and choose for themselves? I felt this was a well presented, well
acted and well scripted film that told the story about a confusing time
in history. It was a time when Britain was sending its criminals to
begin a colony in Australia and the Enlightenment had reached its
The French Revolution was a pivotal time in Europe's history and I realized that as the film unfolded, I was learning about the emotions and its inner workings of these great names- Danton and Robespierre. Robespierre was as desperate and dedicated to the Republic as any Fascist was to Franco's bloody vision for Spain.
Robespierre's character showed his dedication to his ideals while being torn by moral considerations of stopping Danton by sending him and his friends to the guillotine... and it was this sense of being treated like I was intelligent that held my attention.
I have often wondered about the French Revolution and the vying of the factions, and the violence of the guillotine... but the Hollywood versions make it a mindless bloodbath while Wojciech & Depardieu have brought some humanity and reasoning to the whole period. I am only grateful that I could see it on the big screen at a free showing at my local Art Gallery in Sydney, Australia.
16 out of 20 people found the following review useful:
The Terror, 13 December 2001
Author: Michael La Vean (email@example.com) from RENNES, FRANCE
This is one of the best movies on the French Revolution ever produced.
Being a person well versed in the the period I was amazed at the level of
detail. The costumes are spot on. Even the detailed little day to day
items such as ink wells, serving plates etc are all perfect. As an
living in France who has access to the sites in the movie through his
membership in various historical associations such as the Napoleonic
Alliance I can not over state how impressed I was with the visual accuracy
of the film.
The dialogue where known is virtual quotations and the where not recorded is in character. I was extremely pleased with this movie and am disappointed that it is not out on DVD yet. This is how historical drama should be done. Must see....
9 out of 10 people found the following review useful:
Depardieu was born to play Danton, 24 May 2008
Author: Igenlode Wordsmith from England
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
If there were two parts that the physically towering, ugly-charismatic
actor Gérard Depardieu was born, as a Frenchman, to play, it must
surely have been Cyrano de Bergerac and the orator Georges Danton. Here
he dominates the film both through the breadth of his shoulders and the
power of his voice; his charisma carries the part despite the fact that
it is made clear that the character has as much blood on his hands as
any of the rest of them. Danton feasts while the people of Paris
starve... but he is the one man who can challenge the tyranny imposed
by the dreaded Committee of Public Safety in the name of 'freedom', and
he is presented as the hero of the film -- despite the fact that the
source play practically idolises his opponent Robespierre!
For those who know the characters from history, there is interest to be had in identifying the minor parts: the frog-faced Tallien, Couthon the cripple, Fouquier-Tinville the tribunal's prosecutor, the dashing fop St-Just, the epic painter David. But the script cuts little slack in this respect; names are often late in coming if minor characters are identified at all, and there is no Hollywood-style 'info-dump' to make sure that the audience can place events in their historical context. The film takes it for granted that you know what has gone before, and what will happen after -- sometimes it takes too much for granted, as when it relies on a close knowledge of dates to provide the sting to its tail in the fact that Robespierre followed Danton shortly to the scaffold.
Considered as a film, it's not entirely satisfactory in that it ebbs away towards the end. The structure of the story leads up to some great confrontation between the protagonists in the courtroom or some dramatic climax to the trial, which, thanks to history, never actually happens. Things just fizzle out: there is no revolt, there is no overthrow of tyranny, there is no assumption of power by the victor, there is no triumph on either side. It may be historically accurate, but it's not entirely satisfying as the outcome of a screen scenario -- it seems an odd place to stop. As others have commented, it might have been more logical to take events up to the end of the Terror and show in apposition the fall of Robespierre.
12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:
aside from a less than perfect ending, it's an excellent film, 20 March 2006
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida
Danton was a hero and one of the founders of the French Revolution of
1789. This movie is set five years later and the revolution has morphed
into something ugly. While initially the revolution promised freedom,
at this point the small committee running the country is extremely
repressive and is a dictatorship. Danton and his friends were angry at
how the country wasn't better off in 1794 than it was BEFORE they got
rid of their king, so they begin criticizing the government. The movie
begins as the printer who makes critical pamphlets concerning the
government is beaten and his business is destroyed. So much for
"liberty, equality and fraternity"! So, as a result of being silenced
this way, Danton et al begin publicly criticizing the government.
Eventually, Robespierre (the leader of the committee) and his cronies
trump up charges, have a show trial and get rid of the dissent. Some
have mentioned that the Polish director, Wajda, also intended this to
be a criticism of his own nation--which, at the time, was
Soviet-dominated and very repressive as well. This makes sense as you
see the movie unfold--especially when the government destroys all
dissent "in the name of the people".
The acting is fine, the story compelling and I have no major criticism of the film. However, I really wish the ending had been handled differently. Especially because other than history lovers and French people, most probably have no idea that this execution helped to end the government. AFTER this purge of Danton in April 1794, Robespierre himself was executed in July 1794 because the country had just had enough--plus, those surviving Frenchmen knew that they, too, would face the guillotine sooner or later if this sick system remained in place. Some sort of an epilogue would have been nice--such as showing the soldiers coming for Robespierre. He responded by trying to kill himself first, but he only succeeded in blowing off part of his face--still alive, he was guillotined shortly afterward. This would have been a dandy little epilogue and could have been done in about five minutes. However, not showing a connection between Danton's death and the fall of the government is an odd thing to omit.
11 out of 16 people found the following review useful:
Historic film about the struggles among two greatest figures of French revolution, 19 April 2006
The film tells upon the title role , Danton (Gerard Depardieu) ,
confronting Robespierre ( Wojciech Pszoniak ) during French revolution
. The film is based on real deeds , they are the following :
Danton(1759-1794) as lawyer participated in overthrowing of king Louis
XVI and the proclamation of the Republic , being Minister of Justice in
the Convention (1792)and founder of Cordeliers club . He proposed
creation revolutionary committees as the Public Salvation Committee
which he presided but was substituted by Robespierre , starting a
period of revolutionary dictatorship known as ¨the Terror¨(1793) .
Besides , in the film appears other historic personages as Camille
Desmoulins (Patrice Chereau , nowadays a famed filmmaker ) , Louis
David (the prestigious painter) , Saint Just (a famous Jacobino) ,
The picture especially narrates the happenings surrounding the facing off of the two main figures , one-time revolution partners , and their posterior fall and execution , though gives results a contemporary parable about the modern Poland , thus Danton is Lech Walesa , the leader of syndicate named Solidarity and Robespierre is Wojciech Jaruzelski who was the Prime Minister who imposed the martial law in Poland . Gerard Depardieu is excellent in the title character and magnificently portrayed , also in secondary roles turn up awesome actors as the recently deceased Jacques Villeret ( Dinner game,Crimen in paradise ) and Angela Winkler ( The tin drum ). The motion picture is well directed by Andrzej Wajda , justly considered the best Polish director . The flick will appeal to historical cinema buffs and Gerad Depardieu fans .
12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:
Incredible, 26 April 2003
Author: geofille from Shoreline
This is one of the most amazing movies...
Anyone who says that Gerard Depardieu portrayed Georges Jacques Danton
"wrongly", and who purports that Danton was "not" the huge, strong,
charismatic, man of the people that Depardieu portrayed him as obviously
not done much research on the French Revolution. George Jacques Danton
like this exactly. The contrast between
Robespierre's incessant paranoia and reservedness (conveyed perfectly by
Wojciech Pszoniak...an EXCELLENT job) and Danton's relaxed approach
the problems with which he was faced, extreme easiness and likeness among
people, and the dynamic way with which he approached the mob of Paris'
unemployed masses and people in general was spot on: the two men were
This movie developed the characters of the French Revolution so well, it
unbelievable. It ENTRAPPED the personalities of all those great, complex,
astounding men that gave this extraordinary period of time its distinct
shape. Saint-Just, Desmoulins, Robespierre, Danton, all of them...they
painted so accurately. This movie truly brought these incredible men to
I have to say, the score of this movie was incredible. It brought out all
the proper emotions.
Overall, an astonishing movie.
4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
Georges And Max, 3 August 2010
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Georges Danton is given a full blown and full blooded portrayal in the
film Danton by Gerard Depardieu. Danton is a joint French/Polish
production and it's interesting to see the French Revolution portrayed
by someone other than in the English speaking world which is always so
heavily influenced by the work of Thomas Carlyle and the Tale Of Two
Cities by Charles Dickens.
I don't want to write anything like a mini-Carlyle so I won't give you a whole history of the French Revolution. Let's say that as this film opens what is commonly referred to as the Terror is in full swing as the Revolution gorges itself on blood for real or imagined slights. The two guys responsible for bringing it to where it is in 1794 are Georges Danton and Maximilien Robespierre.
Robespierre is at the height of his power now and like most tyrants in the making confuses his own political survival with the principles for which the cause he espouses was started. As his rivals and potential rivals keep being denounced and keep going to the guillotine, there is only one man whose voice can make a difference, Robespierre's former colleague Georges Danton.
These guys are as opposite in character as you can get. Danton is a lusty and hard living man who takes his earthly pleasures in great quantity and that's how Gerard Depardieu plays him. Polish actor Wojcieck Pszoniak plays Robespierre one of the creepiest human beings to attain power in any country in history. Cold-blooded and aesthetic he's merciless in his drive for total control of France and sees himself on some divine mission. Kind of like Osama Bin Laden.
Danton would be surprised at how the film shows him going almost Christlike to his eventual doom. I'm sure that's not how he saw himself, still Depardieu and Pszoniak are remarkable in their work.
Danton the film if not accurate history is an interesting interpretation of some very important history.
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