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Les Miserables [VHS]

4.5 out of 5 stars 62 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Michel Boujenah, Alessandra Martines, Salomé Lelouch, Annie Girardot
  • Directors: Claude Lelouch
  • Writers: Claude Lelouch, Victor Hugo
  • Producers: Claude Lelouch, Jean-Paul De Vidas, Tania Zazulinsky
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: French, German
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Number of tapes: 2
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • VHS Release Date: September 1, 1998
  • Run Time: 175 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6304032595
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,264 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Editorial Reviews


This brilliant film manages to reinterpret the story of Victor Hugo's classic novel, critique it, and investigate the nature of art and life on top of that--all in three hours that zip past, fueled by the dynamic performance of French icon Jean-Paul Belmondo (Breathless, Le Doulos). In 1900, Henri Fortin (Belmondo) is wrongfully imprisoned for murder; his loyal wife is forced into menial labor and prostitution; then in the beginning of World War II, Fortin's son (Belmondo again) helps a Jewish family elude the Nazis, setting in motion his own imprisonment, escape, and adventures as a criminal. Not only is that just the first half of the movie, there are also the story lines of the husband, wife, and daughter of the Jewish family, who each have their own struggles. The conclusion is joyous and heartbreaking. Director Claude Lelouch (A Man and a Woman) handles the entire movie with supreme skill, humor, and compassion. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
"After 34 films, I am dedicated to filming hope." -Claude Lelouch

This is neither a movie based on the book or the broadway musical; it is not merely a retelling of Hugo's novel in modern times- it is a beautiful masterpiece that follows a period of time filled with fear, ignorance, oppression, suffering, miserable ones, war, greed, and betrayal. We follow the story of Henri Fortin (Jean Paul Belmondo), whose father died while trying to escape from a prison that unjustly sentenced him based on appearances. Henri Sr. was the driver of a man who commited suicide, and the police assumed that Henri Sr. killed the man. His wife, much like Fantine in the book, does everything she can to raise money for a lawyer, making her son Leopold, who she now calls Henri, work to raise money. She is forced into prostitution. Henri Sr. dies on an attempt to escape, so the wife kills herself. Henri Jr. starts a boxing career, and World War I ends. However, peaceful times never come because soon comes World War II. The Jews are being betrayed by all their friends. Henri is called a Jean Valjean because many people feel that his life parallels that of Jean Valjean. He helps a family of Jews travel towards Switzerland and gets their daughter into the Academy of the Sacred Heart for safety. As they drive they read him Les Miserables since he cannot read or write. He is amazed at the story and feels that Les Miserables can be applied to any situation in life. He starts seeing parallels to Cosette and Valjean.

It is a beautiful story that will surely make you cry! It is in French and has subtitles. I don't speak French but I had no problem with it. I read quickly and I had to rewind a couple of times because the subtitles go by so quickly, but that was no problem for me!
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Format: DVD
I first saw this film in February 1997, with a female friend I had recently met. We went along to a beautiful Art Deco cinema in Melbourne, Australia and frankly, nothing could have prepared us for the life-changing experience this film provided.

Jean Paul Belmondo's performance, while breath-taking is well and truly matched by the incredible ensemble cast's performances. The beautifully measured pace of the film and the exceptional story telling transported us through every emotion possible and left us not only wanting to live better lives, but with a shared experience that cemented our friendship forever.

That's the power of great story telling.

I rank this film as among the best ever made and can not recommend it highly enough to others, seeking to experience its rare riches.

ps. Of course, all good stories end with the morals firmly in place - For me, Les Mis's is "Be True" - Oh.... and the girl is now my wife and we will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of our Les Mis outing in a few days.

UPDATE: The quality and power of this film notwithstanding I can't express my sadness and disappointment vigorously enough to learn that it is NOT available on DVD or BLU RAY with English - utterly ridiculous .... to deny so many people the chance to enjoy the film in its fullness because of this is just plain dumb. It is also the reason pirate copies are floating around on the internet I imagine.
Comment 13 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
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.
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Comment 13 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: VHS Tape
Claude Lelouche has truly given us a masterpiece in this version of Les Miserables. Jean-Paul Belmondo and an outstanding ensemble cast give the audience characters we believe in and truly care about.
The film runs the gamut of human emotion - from the horrors of war to the joys of young love and hope for the future. For all of the miserable things that exist in the world - this film shows us the rays of hope that truly make life worth living.
This is truly a cinematic work of art. The cinematography is beautiful and the soundtrack is profound and emotionally-charged.
Don't miss this one - it is film-making at its absolute best.
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