Germinal (1993)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  31 March 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 3,351 users  
Reviews: 17 user | 8 critic

In mid-nineteenth-century northern France, a coal mining town's workers are exploited by the mine's owner. One day, they decide to go on strike, and the authorities repress them.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Renaud ...
Étienne Lantier
Judith Henry ...
Jean-Roger Milo ...
Laurent Terzieff ...
Bernard Fresson ...
Victor Deneulin
Jean-Pierre Bisson ...
Jacques Dacqmine ...
Philippe Hennebeau
Anny Duperey ...
Madame Hennebeau
Gérard Croce ...
Annick Alane ...
Madame Grégoire
Pierre Lafont ...
Léon Grégoire


It's mid 19th century, north of France. The story of a coal miner's town. They are exploited by the mine's owner. One day the decide to go on strike, and then the authorities repress them Written by Michel Rudoy <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mine owner | mine | coal | strike | worker | See All (153) »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense depiction of suffering and class conflict | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




| |


Release Date:

31 March 1994 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Germinal  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


FRF 164,000,000 (estimated)


$378,854 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Finnish censorship visa # V-02591. See more »


Near the end of the film, when Etienne and Catherine are looking for the way out of the mine, we see the shadows of the lamps on the right wall of the tunnel. It's to be supposed that the only light inside the mine came from the lamps. See more »


Etienne Lantier: Capitalist tyranny is destroying us.
See more »


Version of Germinal (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

A decent attempt at a complex story
30 April 2004 | by (United Arab Emirates) – See all my reviews

Tackling a book such as Germinal is a mammoth task - and one that I always thought was extremely difficult to transfer onto the big screen.

There are two ways you can do it, keep it simple or explore everything and bore the audience to death. You can see here that the director has decided to keep the story as simple and straightforward as possible.

This means there are a few gaping holes in the film, as it ignores some of the intricacies of the story and many of the sub-plots which punctuate the story and add to the feel of the book.

In one sense he succeeds, as the tempo of the film is high and it rattles along at a fair pace, not reading like a 2 and a half hour story.

But the major drawback of this tactic is that Germinal ends up looking like a simplistic noble workers versus the greedy bosses story, when the novel is anything but that.

Scorn is poured on both sides with equal contempt by Zola, and plenty of sympathy is given to some of the "wealthy" protaganists in the book.

Having said this, I do understand that in order to keep the film from turning into a 4 hour behemoth, you need to try and keep it as simple as possible.

On the whole, however, it is pretty well acted and the art direction is utterly breathtaking. The villages, the pits, the landscapes, the mines are fabulously shot. You really can feel the poverty oozing from every inch of the screen.

Gerard Depardieu (Maheu) and Renaud (Ettiene) put in some pretty convincing turns but feel that Jean-Roger Milo rather over-egged Chaval, turning him into some pseudo incredible hulk type character who is incapable of speaking normally. Judith Henry also seems a little to young and fresh faced to play Catherine.

I think I let my interpretation of the book cloud my judgement, and as a result I was disappointed because I expected more from the film than I should have.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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