In a Napoleonic era insane asylum, an inmate, the irrepressible Marquis De Sade, fights a battle of wills against a tyrannically prudish doctor.

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Nominated for 3 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 41 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Royer-Collard
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Madame LeClerc
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Delbené
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Simone
Jane Menelaus ...
Renee Pelagie
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Prouix
Tony Pritchard ...
Valcour
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Cleante
Danny Babington ...
Pitou
George Antoni ...
Dauphin (as George Yiasoumi)
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Bouchon
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Charlotte
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Storyline

The infamous writer, the Marquis de Sade of 18th Century France, is imprisoned at Charenton Insane Asylum for unmentionable activities. He manages to befriend the young Abbé de Coulmier, who runs the asylum, along with a beautiful laundress named Madeline. Things go terribly wrong when the Abbe finds out that the Marquis' books are being secretly published. The emperor Napoleon contemplates sending Dr. Royer-Collard to oversee the asylum, a man famed for his torturous punishments. It could mean the end of Charenton and possibly the Marquis himself. Written by Emily H and Janette W

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

There are no bad words... only bad deeds. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong sexual content including dialogue, violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Letras prohibidas, la leyenda del Marqués de Sade  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$249,383 (USA) (24 November 2000)

Gross:

$7,060,876 (USA) (27 April 2001)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The tune that the Marquis de Sade keeps humming throughout the film is the French children's song "Au Clair de la Lune" by Jean-Baptiste Lully, the second line of which becomes increasingly relevant - roughly translated, it is "lend me your quill so I can write a word". See more »

Goofs

Numerous inaccuracies regarding chronology and biography. The opening narrative does explain that the facts have been "tarted up." See more »

Quotes

Royer-Collard: Take this beast back to his cage!
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Connections

Featured in The 73rd Annual Academy Awards (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Au clair de la lune
Written by Jean-Baptiste Lully
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User Reviews

 
Philip Kaufmann has produced yet another amazing piece of work
14 May 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Quills is one of the best films of 2000, in my reckoning, second best only to You Can Count on Me. It is one of the most brilliantly directed, acted, produced, and written films I've seen in a very long time. There is not a (major) character in this film that is not very complex, and the issues at stake are utterly important.

Perhaps the greatest success of the film is how well it works on commenting both on its own time and situations and our own world today. The issues of free speech, creativity, dementia, corporal punishment, religion, sexuality and especially politics are woven into the film in amazing ways. Yes, politics, for it works as an allegory to the recent presidential scandals.

There are two flaws, one major, one semi-major. The semi-major one involves the epilogue. It is not bad, but it is unnecessary. Perhaps the best way to describe it is superfluous and predictable. The major flaw would destroy any lesser film. Here, it is hardly noticable. Still, if one contemplates it, there is no getting around it. There is never a believable reason why Madeleine should be so helpful to the Marquis de Sade. They present a tiny one, but it is not good enough.

Still, with its successes elsewhere, these flaws do not weaken this film. Without them, it would have been perfect. With them, well, just because it is flawed, doesn't mean it isn't a masterpiece. 10/10


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