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Beaumarchais the Scoundrel (1996)

Beaumarchais l'insolent (original title)
The life story of the titular Beaumarchais, playwright and adventurer, who gets himself into numerous different scrapes and romantic encounters in 18th Century France.


Édouard Molinaro


Sacha Guitry (inspired: Librement inspiré de l'oeuvre inédite de), Édouard Molinaro (scenario, adaptation and dialogue) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Fabrice Luchini ... Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais
Sandrine Kiberlain ... Marie-Thérèse
Manuel Blanc ... Gudin
Michel Aumont ... Baron de Breteuil
Jean-François Balmer ... Sartine
Jean-Claude Brialy ... Abbot
Patrick Bouchitey ... Monsieur Lejay
Evelyne Bouix Evelyne Bouix ... Madame Vigee Lebrun
Isabelle Carré ... Rosine
José Garcia ... Figaro
Alain Chabat ... Le courtisan à Versailles
Pierre Gérard Pierre Gérard ... Comte de Provence
Judith Godrèche ... Marie-Antoinette (as Judith Godreche)
Murray Head ... Lord Rochford
Axelle Laffont Axelle Laffont ... Mariette Lejay


The true life story of Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais, the son of a clockmaker, who writes "The Barber of Seville", works as a secret agent for the French king, runs guns to the American revolutionaries, and along the way finds himself on a collision course with the Chevalier d'Eon, France's notorious cross-dressing superspy. Written by Nichol

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A most remarkable true story of love affairs, scandals and espionage.


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Did You Know?


Awards: Trois nominations aux Césars 1997 à Fabrice Luchini (meilleur acteur), Sylvie de Segonzac (meilleurs costumes), meilleurs décors (Jean-Marc Kerdelhue). See more »


Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais: By "we", I mean France.
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Featured in The Movie Show: Episode dated 29 June 1997 (1997) See more »

User Reviews

Molinaro, the scatterbrained
13 April 2003 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

"Beaumarchais, l'insolent" is definitely a disappointment. First, by reading the title, you could have thought that the movie would embrace Beaumarchais' whole life: from his childhood until his death. Well, it's not the case. It only focuses on the most important part of Beaumarchais' life. The one that takes place between 1775 and 1785. During this era, Beaumarchais was an extraordinary character. Not only, was he a great French writer, but he used to have several other jobs. For example, he was a spy for the king, supporter of the Human Rights (he took part in the writing of the Declaration of Independence).

Unlike to Ariane Mouchkine's movie called "Molière", here, the movie hasn't got the precision and the brilliance of the making and especially the Beaumarchais' lucid and visionary look on the society of the eighteenth century. Moreover, the screenplay only retains the most famous sequences and cues from Beaumarchais' full life.

On another hand, Molinaro had a wrong idea by making nearly all great French actors appear in one movie. Indeed, you only see them for a few minutes (sometimes a few seconds!) and generally in decorative and minor roles that don't bring anything to the movie, notably Alain Chabat. Among these actors, some of them are more specialized in comic films. So, the transition from a comic movie to an historic movie fits badly for them.

At last, the movie tries more or less to introduce a certain humor but this one doesn't articulate very well with the sequences. So, it turns out to be pointless and vain.

At the end, this is a low-key biography where you could have wished more contribution and harshness.

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Release Date:

17 October 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Beaumarchais the Scoundrel See more »


Box Office


FRF95,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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