20 user 8 critic

Germinal (1993)

1:34 | Trailer
In mid-nineteenth-century northern France, a coal mining town's workers are exploited by the mine's owner. One day, they decide to go on strike, and the authorities repress them.


Claude Berri
2 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Miou-Miou ... Maheude
Renaud ... Étienne Lantier
Jean Carmet ... Vincent Maheu dit Bonnemort
Judith Henry Judith Henry ... Catherine Maheu
Jean-Roger Milo Jean-Roger Milo ... Chaval
Gérard Depardieu ... Toussaint Maheu
Laurent Terzieff ... Souvarine
Bernard Fresson ... Victor Deneulin
Jean-Pierre Bisson Jean-Pierre Bisson ... Rasseneur
Jacques Dacqmine ... Philippe Hennebeau
Anny Duperey ... Madame Hennebeau
Gérard Croce Gérard Croce ... Maigrat
Frédéric van den Driessche ... Paul Négrel
Annick Alane Annick Alane ... Madame Grégoire
Pierre Lafont Pierre Lafont ... Léon Grégoire


It's mid 19th century, north of France. The story of a coal miner's town. They are exploited by the mine's owner. One day the decide to go on strike, and then the authorities repress them. Written by Michel Rudoy <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for intense depiction of suffering and class conflict | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Director Claude Berri didn't want anyone but Renaud in the movie. It took three years to convince him and eventually, Renaud disliked his experience on set. He stated that the director had made him his puppet and told him exactly how to act and talk in every scene, leaving no room for a personal touch. Furthermore, the movie was supposed to be 3h38min long but several scenes were cut, most of them involving Renaud's character. The latter said that this made Lantier's part really hard to understand. See more »


Near the end of the film, when Etienne and Catherine are looking for the way out of the mine, we see the shadows of the lamps on the right wall of the tunnel. It's to be supposed that the only light inside the mine came from the lamps. See more »


Coal mine owner: A strike is a disaster for everyone. Within a week you'll all starve. Then what will you do?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK version is cut by about 30 seconds to remove scenes of animal cruelty (two cocks fighting) to comply with the Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937. See more »


Version of Germinal; or, The Toll of Labor (1913) See more »

User Reviews

An engrossing film from start to finish
6 March 2011 | by adrean-819-339098See all my reviews

The pacing of this film was very well done. Not a scene didn't feel like it didn't belong. The production and the recreation of the era was very convincing, much credit to the director who got this right when it's so easy to get it wrong.

The acting was excellent, Depardieu as always fantastic, he was convincing as a hard-working simple man finally at breaking point. The brute was played excellently. Lantier won me over as the film went along. And if I remember correctly the Russian(or Polish) anarchist from the book stole every scene he was in. And of the course the women...(except for that one scene haha) Some people are saying this film is too leftist, but there are scenes to differ as with the book. Essentially a idea proposed is that a working man given a fortune will inevitably go down the same path as the bourgeois. They feel at once hate and envy.

A very good film and very grim but not nearly so much as the book.

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France | Belgium | Italy



Release Date:

31 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Germinal See more »

Filming Locations:

Valenciennes, Nord, France See more »


Box Office


FRF164,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby SR



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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