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On Guard (1997)

Le bossu (original title)
The Comte de Gonzague schemes against his cousin, the Duc de Nevers, even though he is the Duke's heir and will inherit his estates. The Count has kept secret the existence of the Duke's ... See full summary »


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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lagardère / Le bossu
Yann Collette ...
Jean-François Stévenin ...
Didier Pain ...
Charlie Nelson ...
Claire Nebout ...
Jacques Sereys ...
Caylus (as Jacques Sereys Sociétaire de la Comédie Française)
Ludovica Tinghi ...
James Thierrée ...
Marcello (as James Thiérrée)


The Comte de Gonzague schemes against his cousin, the Duc de Nevers, even though he is the Duke's heir and will inherit his estates. The Count has kept secret the existence of the Duke's bastard, recently born. When the Duke learns of his child, he journeys to wed the mother, a baron's daughter, in her father's isolated chateau. The occupants of the castle are surprised and murdered by the Count and his men. The only ones to escape are the Duke's friend, the skilled swordsman Lagardère, and the infant, a girl, now the rightful heiress to the Duke's vast fortune. The Count believes the pair to have drowned, when in fact they have been concealed by a travelling troupe of Italian players. Twenty years pass. The Count has discovered that the two survive and seeks to have them slain. But Lagardère gains the confidence of the Count, and employment as his bookkeeper, through his clever disguise as a hunch-back... Written by David Carless

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Si tu ne viens pas à Lagardère, Lagardère ira à toi!


Drama | Adventure


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Release Date:

20 March 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

En guardia!  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$56,158 (USA) (20 March 1998)


$96,750 (USA) (7 February 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


When the Duc dubs Lagardère, the sword he draws and uses is a fencing foil, complete with guarded tip, rather than the rapier he uses in a later scene. See more »


Version of El juramento de Lagardere (1955) See more »

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User Reviews

A Period Spectacle from the Always Inventive Phillipe de Broca!
21 September 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

ON GUARD delivers. Better than almost all other French swordplay films, this film version of the Paul Féval novel 'Le Bossu' has been aptly adapted for the screen by de Broca, Jean Cosmos, and Jérôme Tonnerre and under Phillipe de Broca's keen eye for detail and entertainment it effervesces on the screen.

The story is solid but predictable: a young swordsman Lagardère (a brilliant Daniel Auteuil) falls into the service of the Duke of Nevers (Vincent Perez in a dashing role) to recover the Duke's daughter Aurore (Marie Gillain). But the evil Gonzague (Fabrice Luchini) kills the Duke and the remainder of the non-stop romance involves the revenge and eventual love story of Lagardère and Aurore.

de Broca's style is lushly authentic for the period yet he manages to always infuse his story with light touches of comedy, lush lighting and spectacular photography. The cast is uniformly excellent. This is one of those 'escapist movies' that is bound to entertain and please even the most critical audience! In French with English subtitles. Recommended. Grady Harp

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