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Madame Bovary (1991)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  25 December 1991 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 2,621 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 »


Referenced in Why (Not) Brazil? (2004) See more »


Pizzicato Polka
Music by Johann Strauß (as J. Strauss) and Josef Strauß (as Josef Strauss)
Performed by M.J. Coignard-Helison
See more »

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User Reviews

An uneven but fairly compelling costume-drama
24 January 2012 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

Madame Bovary enters an unhappy marriage to move up the social ladder. From here she indulges in a number of illicit affairs that leads to serious complications.

First off I have to say that I don't really know anything about the novel from which this was adapted. From what I have briefly read it seems that it was considered unfilmable for some reason. Having seen this movie now, it does have to be said that it is a slightly odd costume-drama. Its story isn't especially romantic and it's not the most focused narrative overall. While I would say that Isabelle Huppert puts in a strong performance in the lead role, it's quite difficult really caring too much what happens to her. None of the characters in the film are particularly sympathetic. I guess the blame for this has to go to director Claude Chabrol. I have seen several of this director's movies from his late 60's early 70's heyday and have to consider myself a fan. All of those films were morally complex but contemporary stories. Madame Bovary shares some of the moral ambiguity but has an unfamiliar period setting. Chabrol directs the film in a somewhat cold manner, making it difficult to empathise with anyone. However, that said it's still a compelling film. The first half is pretty ponderous but it picks up steam in the second as the twists and turns in Madame Bovary's life are ramped up. So not classic Chabrol by any means but an interesting diversion all the same.

3 of 4 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
Arsenic Poisoning? ellen_sar
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