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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:
...
...
...
...
Royer-Collard
...
Madame LeClerc
...
Delbené
...
Simone
Jane Menelaus ...
Renee Pelagie
...
Prouix
Tony Pritchard ...
Valcour
...
Cleante
Danny Babington ...
Pitou
George Antoni ...
Dauphin (as George Yiasoumi)
...
Bouchon
...
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

Official Sites:

Country:

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Language:

|

Release Date:

25 December 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Letras prohibidas, la leyenda del Marqués de Sade  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$13,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$7,060,876 (USA) (27 April 2001)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

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

When Madeleine is putting on her dress after getting her wounds clean, she slips her arm into the sleeve twice. See more »

Quotes

Simone: Tell him that if he discovers our whereabouts, you'll slit your wrists with a razor, and I'll drive a hatpin through my heart.
Prouix, the Architect: You'd do that, rather than forsake our love?
Simone: No. But tell him I would anyway.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saturday Night Live: Sean Hayes/Shaggy (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Not Everything is Black and White!
1 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Geoffrey Rush, star of Pirates of the Caribbean, Elizabeth, and Shakespeare in love, Stars in this tale of the infamous and perverted Marquis de Sade. Imprisoned away from the world in the French asylum of Charenton. In a bid to silence the Marquis, famous for his lewd and pornographic writings which has made him infamous, The French ruler Napoleon sends the cold and reserved Dr Royer Collard (Michael Caine) to cure and prevent him from smuggling manuscripts to a publisher, secretly aided by the beautiful virginal chambermaid Madeleine (Kate Winslett) who often finds herself the object of his writing and affection. However along with the Marquis, Madeleine also finds herself the object of the affections of the young and handsome Abbe du Coulmier, (Joaquin Phoenix) the administrator at Charenton. His priestly vows prevent them from being together and conceals hi love fro her. The Marquis meanwhile is suffering at the hands of the repulsive doctor. Due to an indiscretion, at one of many of Charenton open nights when the French aristocracy gather to watch one of the Marquis plays. The play entitled "the crimes of love" makes exact and deliberate references to the doctor's personal life where he picked a penniless but beautiful young nun Simone (Amelia Warner) from a convent, a girl young enough to be his daughter- to be his wife and subjected her to hours of "nightly wife's duties". The doctor vows revenge on the Marquis and even more so when Simone runs away with an architect after reading one of his most lewd novels to date. The Marquis is stripped of all his privileges; first his paper, quills, and ink are taken but he refuses to be silenced. With tragic consequences. As the punishments grow more severe and each knew novels written b something disgusting objects the marquis and the doctor are locked in deadly battle over power and control, which sends the law and order of Charenton asylum downhill as the fight takes a twisted and unexpected turn. A thrilling story with many twists and turns where egos collide and love interferes where power and money speak and authority is threatened.


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