A history of the French Revolution from the decision of the king to convene the Etats-Generaux in 1789 in order to deal with France's debt problem. The first part of the movie tells the ... See full summary »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Andrzej Seweryn ...
Marianne Basler ...
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Vittorio Mezzogiorno ...
Jean-François Stévenin ...
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L'envoyé du Pape (segment "Anées Lumière, Les")
Michel Galabru ...
Abbé Maury (segment "Années Lumière, Les")
Michel Duchaussoy ...
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Storyline

A history of the French Revolution from the decision of the king to convene the Etats-Generaux in 1789 in order to deal with France's debt problem. The first part of the movie tells the story from 1789 until August 10, 1792 (when the King Louis XVI lost all his authority and was put in prison). The second part carries the story through the end of the terror in 1794, including the deaths by guillotine of Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Danton, and Desmoulins. Written by Erika Grams <erika@email.unc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Thriller | War

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Details

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Release Date:

25 October 1989 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The French Revolution  »

Filming Locations:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (part 1) | (part 2)

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Executioner Sanson's line "Courage, Madame" was not scripted and Christopher Lee's own idea. See more »

Goofs

Necker is depicted as being a Swiss by Louis XVI. In fact, Necker was from Geneva and this city was still independent until 1815, when it became a part of the Swiss Confederation. See more »

Quotes

Camille Desmoulins: [Danton has just called Robespierre a eunuch] Well, how did it go?
Georges-Jacques Danton: I could have been more diplomatic.
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Soundtracks

Hymne à la Liberté
Music and Lyrics by Georges Delerue
Performed by Jessye Norman, soprano
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A fine portrayal of a complex slice of history
21 June 1999 | by (Ottawa, Canada) – See all my reviews

I loved this film, both the English and French versions! The detail was astounding, and the film managed to tell this complicated story without dropping any threads. Jean-Francois Balmer is touching as the hapless Louis XVI, a well-meaning but out-of-touch ruler totally out of his depth in the political and social upheaval that was to destroy him. The three main revolutionaries, Desmoulins, Danton and Robespierre are shown as genuine human beings with emotional ties to each other, but who start going their separate paths, at a time when disagreement leads not to estrangement but to death. The film is divided into 2 halves, "The Years of Light", describing the political changes taking place in France as the revolution approaches, and "The Years of Terror", beginning with the arrest of the King and proceeding through the Terror through to the death of Robespierre. The second half is better, with more action and suspense, as familiar characters become swept up in the destruction and insanity of a Revolution going out of control. Andrej Seweryn is superb as the cool tyrant sending his enemies and their families to their bloody deaths, while gently describing his view of the world as one governed by a spirit of goodness and virtue. His sudden fall from power in the National Assembly is spellbinding, and the movie roars to a conclusion as the first of the revolutionaries becomes the last victim of the guillotine. The only jarring performance in this film is that of Peter Ustinov in the first half, who tends to play himself rather than the great moderate, Mirabeau. The rest of the international cast is wonderful.


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