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Madame Bovary (1991)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  25 December 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 2,622 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 23 critic

In nineteenth-century France, the romantic daughter of a country squire (Emma Rouault) marries a dull country doctor (Charles Bovary). To escape boredom, she throws herself into love ... See full summary »



(based on the novel by), (adaptation)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-François Balmer ...
Christophe Malavoy ...
Christiane Minazzoli ...
La veuve Lefançois
Jean-Louis Maury ...
Florent Gibassier ...
Jean-Claude Bouillaud ...
Le père Rouault - un paysan - le père d'Emma
Sabeline Campo ...
Yves Verhoeven ...
Marie Mergey ...
La mère Bovary - la mère de Charles
François Maistre ...
Le vicomte
Phillippe Abitol


In nineteenth-century France, the romantic daughter of a country squire (Emma Rouault) marries a dull country doctor (Charles Bovary). To escape boredom, she throws herself into love affairs with a suave local landowner (Rodolphe Boulanger) and a law student (Leon Dupuis), and runs up ruinous debts. This film version closely follows Flaubert's novel and includes most of the famous scenes, such as the wedding, the ball, the agricultural fair, the operation on the clubfoot, and the opera in Rouen. Written by English Showalter <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

25 December 1991 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bovaryné  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,942,424 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In its original French version, one of the masculine voices overheard by Emma during the great Bail sequence is director Claude Chabrol's voice saying: "Mais qu'il en soit fait selon votre desir, ma chere... Lucien!". See more »


During the ball, the music is "The Blue Danube" by Johan Strauss, composed in 1866. However, the action is taking place in 1837. See more »


Le docteur Charles Bovary: [after his wife's death] Fate's the one to blame!
See more »


Version of Play the Game or Leave the Bed (1969) See more »


Alexander Quadrille, op 33
Music by Johann Strauß (as J. Strauss)
See more »

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User Reviews

An impossible task?
12 January 2004 | by (Kansas City, Missouri, USA) – See all my reviews

I agree with the consensus here that this film adaptation is largely unsatisfying. However, I question whether Flaubert's masterpiece can ever be translated graciously to the screen. I suspect that a novel famous for having every word exactly in place, and whose appeal lies as much in the relentless poetic flow of its prose as in the brutally frank psychological characterization of its heroine (and a few other characters!), may be forever out of the reach of other media, and might best be left to pursue its own life on paper.

I also agree that Ms. Huppert's portrayal is cold, but I've always seen Emma as being that way. After all--she's nuts. Crazy people are seldom full of human warmth. Emma Bovary is among the select handful of fictional characters neurotic enough to have given their names to a pathological condition (in this case, bovarism).

It's always possible to admire a movie for its visual beauty, and this one wins hands-down in that category.

But if you want the full impact of the wretched, wrenching story--you have to go back to the book. I applaud Mr. Chabrol for trying, even if he didn't succeed, to make a perhaps impossible adaptation.

27 of 31 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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It is pointless to make this novel into a film phil_manic
Rodolphe or Leon had really loved Bovary? malta54
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