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The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1982)

Anthony Hopkins , Derek Jacobi , Michael Tuchner  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, Derek Jacobi, Lesley-Anne Down, John Gielgud, David Suchet
  • Directors: Michael Tuchner
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dubbed, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Dubbed: French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 102 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001GH3CLA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,043 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

It’s one of European literature’s most vivid and romantic tales, so it’s no wonder that Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame (actually entitled Notre Dame de Paris by the French novelist) has been adapted for screens both big and small for literally the past 100 years. And while the wicked, tormented priest Dom Claude Frollo is perhaps the most important character, it’s the relationship between Quasimodo, the pathetic but pure-hearted bell ringer, and Esmeralda, the gypsy girl who bewitches him and turns most every other man who comes near her into a fool, that lies at the heart of the tale--hence such notable pairings as Lon Chaney and Patsy Ruth Miller (in the 1923 silent classic), Charles Laughton and Maureen O’Hara, Anthony Quinn and Gina Lollobrigida… even Mandy Patinkin with Salma Hayek. This 1982 made-for-TV version sports Anthony Hopkins as Quasimodo, and not surprisingly, he acquits himself well; even subsumed in a red fright wig and the slabs of makeup that turn him into a hideous monster, Hopkins conveys the mixture of innocence, confusion, and defiance that makes the character so poignant. Lesley-Anne Down, though undeniably beautiful, is much less convincing as Esmeralda, but Derek Jacobi hams it up effectively as Frollo, whose lust for the gypsy dancer turns him into a sanctimonious lunatic. Director Michael Tuchner’s film creates a pretty persuasive ambience for his medieval Paris, with its mud and squalor contrasting with the majesty of the great cathedral, and the most famous scenes (like Quasimodo being paraded around as the King of the Fools, or Esmeralda giving him some water after he’s been publicly flogged) pack a punch. All in all, while this sometimes over-ripe and corny version can’t measure up to those with Chaney and Laughton, it’s still plenty entertaining. There are no bonus features. --Sam Graham

Product Description

Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer of Notre Dame's cathedral, falls in love with the beautiful gypsy dancer, Esmeralda. When Esmeralda is arrested for lewd dancing, she catches the eye of Quasimodo's guardian, the archdeacon of the cathedral. Further unwanted affections are lavished upon her by a poor street poet. But Esmeralda's love is reserved for a handsome soldier. When a mob accuses Esmeralda of being a murderer and a witch, Quasimodo must rescue her by claiming sanctuary for her in the cathedral.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Adaptation April 1, 2009
Format:DVD
Directed by Michael Tuchner and first aired for television in 1982, this version of Victor Hugo's classic novel features a storyline that stays rather close to Hugo's story and features Anthony Hopkins as one of the better Quasimodo's seen on film.

The overall story of THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME is fairly common knowledge. Quasimodo is the deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame. Quasimodo's master, Dom Claude Frollo (Derek Jacobi), falls in love with a Gypsy dancer named Esmeralda (Lesley-Anne Downs), but when Esmeralda spurns Frollo, he orders Quasimodo to capture her. Later, after an act of tender kindness, Quasimodo falls in love with Esmeralda, but she's enraptured with Captain Phoebus (Robert Powell). Phoebus is intrigued by the women, but just as another trophy to mount. When Esmeralda is sentenced to death for crimes she didn't commit, Quasimodo comes to her rescue and shows himself to be a true hero.

There have been many versions of Hunchback made, but most choose to ignore or skim the more interesting characterizations of the novel. Other than the ending, which has been altered from the original story but remains bittersweet in tone, this version of the novel gets many of the characterizations right. For instance, Dom Claude Frollo is not really a wicked man but a saintly man who becomes consumed by his lust for that which he knows he cannot have. Many versions of the story turn him into an evil villain. This version doesn't and shows Dom Claude Frollo as the good man he is and the internal struggle he faces. Also, in many versions of the story Phoebus is shown as being an almost saintly soldier who is well-matched for Esmeralda. This version shows him for being the selfish, man-whoring, pig that he is described as being in the novel.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Collection is Complete April 7, 2009
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This movie was required viewing in my 9th grade English/French classes back in 1982. It was a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie at that time. I loved the movie and I have waited for it to become available on video/DVD for years. Anthony Hopkins is great in the role of Quasimodo and I liked the romance between Esmeralda and Philip. I loved the ending except of course for poor Quasimodo.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD
In some 15 years of buying VHSs and DVDs, I have never taken the time to write even one movie review (I leave that to The Hound and to the Leonard Maltins of this world), but I just could not pass this one.

In one word, this version of "The Hunchback of Notre-Dame" is 'sublime'. Forget Lon Chaney or Charles Laughton or Anthony Quinn - see this version first, then you can add the others as second best or 'alternates'. But this one, you will cherish.

Think for a minute; Anthony Hopkins in the title role, Derek Jacobi as the villain, and a young and gorgeous Lesley-Anne Down doing her sexiest best as Esmeralda ! Add a superb story line plus color and you have a "must".

Tell you what. Out of some 2000 titles on DVD that I own, which - say 5 - would I take on the proverbial "desert isle" if I HAD to ? Well, this version is one of the 5 !!! (The other 4 ? - "Cyrano de Bergerac" with Gérard Depardieu --- "Amadeus" - the Saul Zaentz Company production --- "The 10 Commandments" by De Mille just for the all out quality of script, splendor, story, acting, and no-expense spared for a once-in-many-lifetimes production, and "A Tale of Two Cities" with Chris Sarandon and Peter Cushing a.o. ----- All 5, including the present version of "Hunchback" can be tagged as "sublime' in my book)

I never thought they'd ever issue this one on DVD because I previously had the VHS and the cheapos who issued it some 15 years back had the gall to encode the film in EP mode ! (You know, those small non-ethical and often bootleg-artists who relish flogging "as is" reissues as cheaply as they possibly can) It was attrocious quality-wise.

But lo and behold, this release by Columbia/Tristar (Canada) or Sony (U.S.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding adaption of the Hugo story! February 16, 2009
Format:DVD
It's about time this version of "Hunchback" made it to DVD. Anthony Hopkins rivals Lon Chaney in portraying Quasimodo as Hugo described him in his novel. The supporting cast is superb; and, with the exception of the surprise ending, this version is faithful to the novel. The DVD has several extended scenes that the old VHS and TV version lacked. There is once scene not in the VHS or TV version in which Dom Claude is standing by the river Seine mumbling to himself about "killing her". Two men come upon him and escort him back to the cathedral. I'd rank this version superior to the Laughton version but just under the Chaney version. Needless to say it leaves the Quinn, Clarke and Patinkin versions in the dust. If you're a "Hunchback" fan, make sure you have this version in your video library.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
I have to say ever since I read Victor Hugo's masterpiece, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I've been waiting for a great adaptation. Although this film doesn't follow the original path of the book, it's still very entertaining. You'd think that with all the adaptations they've had they could have at least gotten one right. Maybe someday it will happen.

Ever since I was a kid I enjoyed watching this movie. It's strange but I always thought of it as a sad and wonderful movie. Probably the best thing about this film is the protrayal of Quasimodo. Anthony Hopkins has an amazing performance that, in my opinion, will never be toped. Besides Hopkins though, the acting is very sub-par in the film. The film all in all is well made and very enjoyable.

The BIG question your probably asking yourself right now is, What's going on with that expensive price?

Well the thing is, this film was never popular. Even when it first came out. So naturally it's gone out of print. This in turn causes the price of used copies to go up a lot. It's also very hard to find. I've never seen it in a store.

Another question your probably asking yourself is, why isn't it on dvd?

Basically for the same reason as above, it was never popular. I seriously doubt that it will ever be released on dvd.

If your really wanting an entertaining adaptation of the Hunchback of Notre Dame, look no further than that expensive copy on the New & Used page.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Hadn't seen this in decades; glad it has been released on DVD.

Top acting, sets, etc. Anthony Hopkins is moving as the unfortunate Quasimodo; Derek Jacobi excellent as... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Steelers fan
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but without depth of feeling.
Definitely a SWASHBUCKLING adaptation of Hugo's novel, with lots of action centered around pursuit of the damsel in distress, but without depth of character. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Ballet Fan
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthony Hopkins!
This is the made for TV movie that put Anthony Hopkins into my consciousness long ago. I've seen other versions, but Hopkins, in my opinion, makes the best Quasimodo.
Published 2 months ago by Deborah R. Shields
4.0 out of 5 stars Not the best Hunchback movie, but there are certainly elements to love
At this point, I've watched several Hunchback adaptations ('39, '56, '77, Disney's '96, '97) and personally, I've got to say that this version is my favorite, mostly due to Derek... Read more
Published 2 months ago by C. Quillen
2.0 out of 5 stars HOPKINS in fine form but no LAUGHTON
As much as I have enjoyed William Dieterle's minor classic starring Charles Laughton as the ultimate Quasimodo, I didn't quite enjoy this TV adaptation of Hugo's Classic tale. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Pat Cronenberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie
Great story line! Lovely actress! Great beast story! Very enjoyable movie and touching story! Would recommend this movie to any love story!
Published 7 months ago by jeldoi
4.0 out of 5 stars Great movie!
Movie is great, its sticks to the original hunchback plot. Actors were perfect match to play roles. Very satisfied. yay
Published 13 months ago by Nicole
5.0 out of 5 stars Just as I remembered
I HAD to see this in high school french class, and for some reason I was reminded of it and ordered it. My whole family loved it! Real tear jerker!
Published 16 months ago by Wendy Barber
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite......
There's good and there's not-so-good.
The good: You get nice and relatively accurate late medieval pageantry on screen. Excellent for bridging gaps between Ren Faires. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Maori
3.0 out of 5 stars Great for younger people
I bought this DVD to show to 9th graders with learning disabilities. The movie was easy to understand and since it was shown on TV, it did not have any inappropriate scenes. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Heather Heatherly
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