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Danton (The Criterion Collection)

35 customer reviews

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(Mar 31, 2009)
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The Criterion Collection
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Gérard Depardieu and Wojciech Pszoniak star in Andrzej Wajda s powerful, intimate depiction of the ideological clash between the earthy, man-of-the-people Georges Danton and icy Jacobin extemist Maximilien Robespierre, both key figures of the French Revolution. By drawing parallels to Polish solidarity, a movement that was being quashed by the government as the film went into production, Wajda drags history into the present. Meticulous and fiery, Danton has been hailed as one of the greatest films ever made about the Terror.

New high-definition digital transfer
Video interviews with director Andrzej Wajda, screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, and Polish film critic Jerzy Plazewski
Wajda s Danton, a 42-minute behind-the-scenes documentary on the making of the film
Original theatrical trailer
New and improved English subtitle translation
PLUS: A new essay by film scholar Leonard Quart


Absolutely superb...a great historical picture. --Roger Ebert

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Gerard Depardieu, Roland Blanche, Emmanuelle Debever, Ronald Guttman, Tadeusz Huk
  • Directors: Andrzej Wajda
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: March 31, 2009
  • Run Time: 136 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001O549FW
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #55,233 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Danton (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Deron J Dorna on February 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Danton deeply affected me. I have seen it many times now, and each time is as powerful as the first. It is one of those rarest of creatures: a film that succeeds simultaneously as a work of art and a political essay. There is nothing ponderous or pedantic about it, as with many political films (the recently released Cradle Will Rock comes to mind), nor is it shallow as with most artistic works that try to make political statements. It poses very immediate questions about freedom and democracy, while painting very vivid portraits of Danton and Robespierre, both of whom are brilliantly acted and perfectly cast. Not that Danton is an historical documentary. Far from it, it is not really trying to portray history at all. It is not so much about the Revolution as it is about revolution, or about Danton and Robespierre as it is about how leaders, no matter how brilliant or well-meaning, are eminently human, flawed, and powerless against the hard limitations of human society. Robespierre is portrayed as the elevated idealist, trapped in a hopeless dilemma, and ultimately becoming the very thing he most despised. Danton is the down-to-earth realist, the man of the people, yet he grossly overestimates his influence and the power of the people and ends up paying for it with his life. One reviewer complained that Danton is ahistorical, that it reflects more of the director's own experience in Poland than historical research. This is quite so, and quite intentionally so. There is no doubt that we are meant to draw immediate parallels between France and modern day Easter Europe (the Communists have studied the French Revolution avidly for years), which is precisely why it was banned there. It is art, not a documentary - the director is speaking to the soul as well as the intellect.
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50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By M. La Vean on December 13, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is the best drama of the French Revolution currently available. (it is on par with the 5 hour epic on the French Revolution which is still in copyright dispute in France...the one with Jane Seymour as Marie Antoinette and Peter Ustinov as Mirabeau...if you ever see this grab it because the dont even show it on French TV anymore)
This is an account of the last week of life of Danton. The filming, the costumes and the small parphenalia of everyday life that can be seen in the movie are all rich in authentic detail.
The dialogue were it is historically known is virtual quotation. Where it is not known it is in character. Knowing a fair amount about this time period I could find nothing really to quibble with as far as the accuracy of anything fact I was constantly surprized at the attention to every little detail (and I mean down to the accuracy of the price of bread posted on a placard visible behind the crowd scene.)
This movie is a must have for anyone interested in the politics of the time period...I also recommend La Nuit de Varrene which does not seem to be available with Harvey Keitel as Thomas is fictional and the premise is a public coach on the sam route and behind Louis XVI as he is fleeing Paris. The coach has a cross section of people. Retif de La Bretonne, a Lady in Waiting, a rich Industrialist, young Jocobin, etc...who debate the revolution in the carriage. It is excellent for understanding the revolution as seen from a variety of points of view...I dont undertstand why these excellent movies are not put on DVD and made more widely available.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This movie is really outstanding. From beginning to end, it expresses the tension of the French "Reign of Terror" very well. The music, visual style and characterizations blend together excellently to create a mood and to tell the story of the conflict between Danton and Robespierre, and their supporters.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Vlad on July 28, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
It is a really fantastic movie. One of Wajda's best and one of Depardieu's best. The movie is set in post-Revolution France, in which two groups, one headed by Danton (Depardieu) and one by Robespierre (Wodjciech Pszoniak) who also give a great performance.

The movie is a metaphor for how the persuit of power can make a once idealistic movement into the same dictatorship it has overthrown. It is something that has been repeated all throughout history.

Robespierre, one of the leaders of the revolution has become the leader of France once the Revolution has ended. Danton, another of the Revolution's leaders, still, is a very popular figure and has a lot of power.

Robespierre has started to round up and execute any opposition. Danton decides to return to the public spectrum to challenge Robespierre's tyrannical rule and bring rights to the people.

Danton makes a moving argument, but in the end he, himself, is captured and executed. The movie ends with Robespierre being named dictator for life.

The acting in superb, especially from Depardieu who gives a powerhouse performance as the extremely charismatic Danton, courageous until the end.

The movie is a story of a great tragedy. It is one of the greatest historical movies of all time, in my opinion.

It is a crime that it hasn't been released on DVD.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By on September 8, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Wajda's Danton is based on Stanislawa Przybyszewska's The Danton Case though the poor woman would be rolling over in her very cold and miserable grave to see what Wajda has done to her brilliant Robespierrist drama. Dantonist though it is, and sometimes glaringly anachronistic in its parallels between Walesa's Poland and Danton's France, Wajda's film is edgy, vibrant and memorable. It captures the surreal and nightmarish quality of Paris in the spring of 1794. The tragedy of radical social change is poignantly portrayed. The acting, especially that of Depardieu--who doesn't precisely suit the role, and Pszoniak, who does marvellously,--- is altogether very good. Try saying to yourself, Robespierre is *not* Stalin or Jaruzelski.
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