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The Plague (1992)

La peste (original title)
In the 1990s, a South American city is rocked by the imminent outbreak of a plague. While many attempt to flee the city, Dr. Bernard Rieux sends his sick wife away and does his best to care... See full summary »


Luis Puenzo


Albert Camus (novel), Luis Puenzo | 4 more credits »

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1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
William Hurt ... Doctor Bernard Rieux
Sandrine Bonnaire ... Martine Rambert
Jean-Marc Barr ... Jean Tarrou
Robert Duvall ... Joseph Grand
Raul Julia ... Cottard
Jorge Luz ... Old Man with the cats
Victoria Tennant ... Alicia Rieux
Atilio Veronelli Atilio Veronelli ... Dr. Horacio
Francisco Cocuzza Francisco Cocuzza ... Miguel
Laura Palmucci Laura Palmucci ... Miguel's Wife
Norman Erlich ... Dr. Castel
Marcos Woinsky Marcos Woinsky ... Doctor Grunewald
Duilio Marzio ... Judge Orbon
Pancho Ibáñez ... Newscater
Horacio Fontova Horacio Fontova ... Attendant


In the 1990s, a South American city is rocked by the imminent outbreak of a plague. While many attempt to flee the city, Dr. Bernard Rieux sends his sick wife away and does his best to care for the plague's victims. The plague means different things to different people: to the doctor, it's a disease to be cured. To a pair of French journalists, it's a breaking news story. To religious leaders, it's punishment for sins. As the sense of isolation and hopelessness grow, Dr. Rieux and his associates begin to question their previously-accepted feelings of justice, loneliness, and love. Written by Murray Chapman <muzzle@cs.uq.oz.au>

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for grim images, nudity and some language | See all certifications »



France | UK | Argentina



Release Date:

26 August 1992 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

The Plague See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Sound Mix:



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Did You Know?


Director Luis Puenzo had originally wanted Gregory Peck to play Joseph Grand after working with him on " Old Gringo " . He proved to be unavailable and Robert Duvall was cast instead. See more »


[first lines]
Jean Tarrou: [bed ridden] The sound... The sound of the plague, can you here it?
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User Reviews

effective transcription of the novel. this movie should be a mandatory part of the high school curriculum.
27 May 2000 | by loui-in-stlouisSee all my reviews

imperfect only because mr. hurt takes his traum-welt sleepwalking characterization too far, and mr. puenzo drops the emotional anvil one time too many, this is nevertheless the most artistic political commentary i have seen. i compare it to CLOSETLAND. camus set the novel in his home of algiers, and mr. puenzo reprises with the buenos aires location that is his home. like post-war camus, mr. puenzo has much to say about his country's recently fallen dictatorship. camus would certainly have approved. the timing, in the face of the literal plague of aids, adds to the momentousness of this film.

sandrine bonnaire, robert duvall, and jean-marc barr are essential to the movie, and the sheer pulchritude of buenos aires shows, even though the city is cast as hapless, plague-stricken oran. it is the tragedy of argentina that makes it a perfect oran. and it is the beauty of its capital federal that makes it a perfect setting for camus' triumph of humanity over inhumanity.

the movie is complex, with explicit visual reference to the holocaust, and even a fair treatment of the complicity of the medical doctor (whose responsibility? remember, camus was above all an existentialist author). but the movie is not about a public health disaster, or oran, or the insanity and subsequent tragedy of civil resignation in germany's 1930's. oran could be anywhere at any time, and mr. puenzo has understood camus well on this point.

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