On Guard (1997)
"Le bossu" (original title)

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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)
Renato Scarpa ...
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 jorobado (1943) See more »

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User Reviews

Delightful swashbuckling soap, delectable wit, disguises or deceptions, definitely engaging saga to enjoy
18 April 2005 | by (sf, usa) – See all my reviews

"On Guard!" is a delightful saga of a swashbuckling soap, in French, at the capable hands of veteran director Philippe De Broca. I still remember his most entertaining "That Man From Rio" 1964, with adorable Jean-Paul Belmondo and matching comedic tempo of Francoise Dorleac - it was such fun ('tis before the James Bond flicks becoming an annual feverish affair).

What drew me to "Le Bossu" (The hunchback - film's title in French) was mainly due to the 'extraordinaire' Daniel Auteuil, who's the central lead in the film. I first remember him not from "Manon of the Spring" 1987 (as Gerard Depardieu was the star) but from his portrayal of Lacenaire in "The Elegant Criminal" 1990. There's also the ever suave and attractive Vincent Perez (it's the second time seeing him acting opposite Auteuil - they were both in "Queen Margot" 1994; if you haven't seen him in the epic "Indochine" 1992 with Catherine Deneuve, go for it). And in the nemesis role, Fabrice Luchini aptly portrayed the treachery of it all. (He was fascinating to watch in director Patrice Leconte's "Intimate Strangers" 2004, playing opposite Sandrine Bonnaire.)

So with the wonderful script co-written by De Broca himself, witty dialog and intriguing plot turns, it's simply irresistible not to check out "On Guard!" It's available on DVD from Empire Pictures - Koch Lorber Films, and there are behind the scenes extras with interviews of the director, the trio of main actors and actress Marie Gillain, in French with English subtitles option.

Music is by the omnipresent maestro Philippe Sarde, with inclusion of strains from Pietro Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana". By the way, there's another famous Philippe included in the cast: Noiret, indeed.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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