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Germinal (1993)

R  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  31 March 1994 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 3,307 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?


Italian censorship visa # 89353 delivered on 2-3-94. 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 »


Referenced in It All Starts Today (1999) See more »

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User Reviews

Very good movie for people who are interested in the life of the ordinary man during the industrial revolution
14 May 2005 | by (Tessenderlo, Belgium) – See all my reviews

I've never been interested in costume drama's that deal with 18th and 19th century high society. As I once said before in another review: "There is just too much gold foil, too much ugly wigs and pompous costumes, too much over the top decors, just too much of everything that I detest in it" and I really haven't changed my idea about that so far. But when I'm able to see a movie that deals with the life of the ordinary man in that time period, than I'm always willing to give it a chance.

"Germinal" is such a movie that deals with life of the ordinary man and woman. It tells the story of the coal miners in the region of Lille, in the North of France at the end of the 19th century. They are all poor, they work too hard in awful conditions and they don't get paid what they deserve by the bosses who only want to get richer and richer by doing whatever they can so they won't have to pay a cent to their workforce. Of course the miners aren't happy with that situation and when they get into contact with two men who both want to change the situation, one a communist union man and the other one an anarchist, the miners soon go on a strike, with some very unpleasant consequences as a result...

What first went through my mind while seeing this one, was that this movie has a lot of similarities with "Daens" (1993), the Belgian movie that tells the story of the poor textile workers in Flanders at the end of the 19th century. It's the same time period and both regions are only about 60 miles or 90 kilometers apart. If you like to see what life in the European industrial regions at the end of the 19th century was like, than both movies are certainly something you shouldn't miss.

What I liked about the movie as well was that it had a good pace and that it stayed interesting from the beginning until the end. It could have been very easy for the director to make a movie about this subject that lasted 5 or 6 hours, but than it might have lost much of its power. Now, you get a pretty good idea of what life in that region during the industrial revolution was like, without having to struggle through too many details that don't really contribute to the story. Next to the good story, I must say that I also liked the acting. Even though Gérard Depardieu hasn't always made the best choices of movies to play in, I always like him in the role of the ordinary man, the underdog that has to fight the system. I liked him in the mini-series "Les Misérables" as well and he has the same kind of role in this movie. The other actors did a fine job as well, even though I have to admit that I don't really know anyone of them, except for Bernard Fresson perhaps. All in all this is a very good adaptation of the novel by Émile Zola. It does exactly what I expected from it and that's why I give it at least a 7.5/10.

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