7.4/10
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42 user 18 critic

Les Misérables (1995)

Les misérables (original title)
A variation on Victor Hugo's classic novel by means of the story of a man whose life is affected by and somewhat duplicated by the Hugo story of the beleaguered Jean Valjean.

Director:

Claude Lelouch

Writers:

Victor Hugo (novel), Claude Lelouch
Reviews
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jean-Paul Belmondo ... Henri Fortin / Jean Valjean
Michel Boujenah ... André Ziman
Alessandra Martines ... Elise Ziman
Salomé Lelouch Salomé Lelouch ... La fille Ziman (as Salome)
Annie Girardot ... Thénardière 1942
Philippe Léotard ... Thénardier 1942
Clémentine Célarié Clémentine Célarié ... Catherine / Fantine
Philippe Khorsand ... Le policier / Javert
Ticky Holgado ... Le gentil voyou / Kind Hoodlum
Rufus ... Thénardier 1830 / 1906
Nicole Croisille Nicole Croisille ... Thénardière 1830 / 1906
William Leymergie William Leymergie ... Toureiffel
Jean Marais ... Mgr Myriel
Micheline Presle ... La mère supérieure / Mother Superior
Darry Cowl ... Le bouquiniste / Bookseller
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Storyline

Henri Fortin is poor and iliterate former boxer. Ziman is rich Jewish lawyer from Paris. During WWII they meet when Fortin agrees to drive Ziman's family to Switzerland. Intrigued by Victor Hugo's novel "Les Miserables", Fortin asks the Zimans to read that book to him during the travel. Before the end of movie every main character would see his character in situations similar to those in Hugo's novel. Written by Dragan Antulov <dragan.antulov@altbbs.fido.hr>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In a time of chaos, in a world of change, he was moved by a book he could not read to become a hero he never imagined.

Genres:

Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence, brief language and sexuality | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Goofs

In the scene when Elise Ziman, André Ziman and the other escaping Jews are led to what they believe is the border of Switzerland and the Germans are waiting along the tree line for them. A close up of a German solder wearing a Wehrmacht (army) uniform is shown behind a machine gun. In reality the solders waiting for them would have been Waffen SS. During the war Wehrmacht Units did not have anything to do with rounding up and evacuation of the Jews. This was the job of the SS, SD, Polizei and Gestapo. See more »

Quotes

Henri Fortin: I've got things to say that people would like to hear.
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Connections

Version of Les Miserables (1978) See more »

User Reviews

 
Superior Rendering of the Hugo Classic
25 April 2001 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

Carried on the winds of fate, injustice often settles upon the poor and downtrodden, whose only link to salvation may lie in the truth they carry in their hearts and the manifested courage of their convictions. And sometimes that quest for justice and truth must be mounted against all odds, as in this 1995 version of `Les Miserables,' written for the screen and directed by Claude Lelouch. An imaginative retelling of the Hugo classic, Lelouch updates the story to the Twentieth Century, beginning with the stroke of midnight that ushers in the New Era. It's an inauspicious beginning of a new year for Henri Fortin (Jean-Paul Belmondo), however, as he becomes a victim of circumstance and is convicted of a crime he did not commit. As he goes off to prison, he leaves behind a wife and a young son (also named Henri), who must fend for themselves as best they can. It leads to a miserable existence for all concerned, but steels the young Henri for what is yet to come, and he quickly learns that when things seemingly cannot get any worse, they not only can, but do.

Ultimately, this becomes the story of the young Henri, whom we next encounter at the end of World War I. Now a boxer, he is soon to become a contender. By 1931, however (when we next meet him), that part of his life is behind him as well, and he has become a furniture mover; and with his own truck, he is able to at least make a passable living. But at this point, we are introduced to Andre Ziman (Michel Boujenah) who has just met the soon-to-be Mme Ziman (Alessandra Martines), who by the beginning of the Second World War are destined, along with their young daughter, Salome (Salome), to become an integral part of Henri's (also played by Jean-Paul Belmondo) life.

Henri, like his father, is illiterate; and when circumstances bring him together with the Ziman's, he is inadvertently introduced to Hugo's novel, and soon begins to realize how his own life parallels that of, initially, Cosette, and later-- and most significantly-- Jean Valjean. When they end up taking a journey together, Henri implores Ziman to read the story to him as they travel. And it's as if in the words of Hugo and the life of Jean Valjean, Henri discovers within himself all that is good and worthwhile.

Lelouch has crafted and delivered a poignant version of the familiar tale of injustice and perseverance that borders on the profound. By interspersing scenes of the Hugo story as they are being read to Henri (in which Belmondo is Jean Valjean), we see the parallels being drawn even as they become clear to Henri. The film is fraught with irony and succinctly captures the essence of Hugo's novel; it's as if Lelouch had been possessed of Hugo's spirit when he wrote the screenplay, as well as later when he brought his vision to fruition, the finished product of which has to rank among the best interpretations of the story ever.

The supporting cast includes Annie Girardot (Farmer's Wife), Philippe Leotard (Farmer), Clementine Celarie (Mme Fortin), Philippe Khorsand (Javert), Nicole Croisille (Thenardiere), Rufus (Thenardier), William Leymergie (Toureiffel) and Micheline Presle (Mother Superior). An emotionally engaging, riveting drama that will sweep you up and carry you away, `Les Miserables' is a tale of dignity and courage, and of what it takes to overcome betrayal and injustice. But even more than that, it's a study of morality; of right against wrong and of good that in the end must triumph over evil. A superior cinematic rendering of the classic story, this film-- especially for those to who love the novel-- is not to be missed. I rate this one 10/10.


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Details

Country:

France

Language:

French | German | English

Release Date:

3 November 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Les misérables du vingtième siècle See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, France See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$740,048

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$740,048
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Canal+, Les Films 13, TF1 See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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