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632 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

“Crammed with adventure” —The New York Times
“First-class escapism” —Daily Variety

“Sumptuously produced, wonderfully acted” —Los Angeles Times

The tumbrels roll through the streets of Paris, carrying enemies of the new French Republic to their appointments with “Madame Guillotine.” But to the revolutionaries’ fury, more than a few of France’s hated aristocrats have escaped execution thanks to the actions of a dashing young Englishman known as the Scarlet Pimpernel (Anthony Andrews, Brideshead Revisited).

One aristocrat interests him above all the rest, the beautiful Marguerite St. Just (Jane Seymour, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman). In his pursuit of Marguerite, he has a dangerous rival, Citizen Chauvelin (Ian McKellen, The Lord of the Rings, X-Men)—a revolutionary leader charged with tracking down the elusive Pimpernel.

Based on the classic novel by Baroness Orczy, this adaptation of the swashbuckling tale aired on CBS and was nominated for three Emmy® Awards, including outstanding drama special.

Due to the age of these programs and the improved resolution that DVD provides, you may notice occasional flaws in the image and audio on this DVD presentation that were beyond our ability to correct from the original materials.

Special Features

SDH subtitles

Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Andrews, Jane Seymour, Ian McKellen, James Villiers, Eleanor David
  • Directors: Clive Donner
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Acorn Media
  • DVD Release Date: April 30, 2013
  • Run Time: 142 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (632 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,852 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

206 of 209 people found the following review helpful By lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 10, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
My sister has raved about this film for as long as I can remember. When I failed to find it in our local video store, she told me not to worry, as she had recently bought it and would lend it to me. Well, having now seen the film, I can understand why she raved about it. It is a vastly entertaining film, filled with a smattering of history, swashbuckling action, political intrigue, romance, and droll humor. Couple all this with some very good acting and direction, and one has a must-see period piece. It is historical fiction brought to life.
Based loosely upon the novels of Baroness Orczy, the Scarlet Pimpernel is the hero of beleaguered eighteenth century French aristocrats. The Scarlet Pimpernel dedicates himself to rescuing aristocrats that, in the Republic of the post-revolution era, are destined to lose their heads in the feeding frenzy engendered by the minions of Robespierre. Just who the Scarlet Pimpernel is, the French have not a clue, other than he is believed to be an Englishman. The viewer, however, is on the secret of his identity from the very beginning.
Anthony Andrews plays the extremely foppish dandy, Sir Percy Blakeney, who is about as blue blooded as one can be and live. He is also the wealthiest man in all of England. Given to amusing his fellow aristocrats with bons mots, he also devises entertaining rhyming couplets about the Scarlet Pimpernel. Speaking in a highly affected voice and sporting the latest in fashionable attire, Sir Percy is a seemingly unlikely action hero. Yet, it is he who rescues those who are destined to lose their heads to the dreaded guillotine. It is he who is the Scarlet Pimpernel.
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107 of 108 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Woodley on March 7, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
... It's not only a superb story; but it's full of scenes which are worth watching again and again for the pure enjoyment of the dialogue, acting, and scenery.
The Scarlet Pimpernel is an English noble who rescues French aristocrats from the murderous reign of terror Robespierre unleashed in France. In "real life" he is a dandified, seemingly idiotic and obsessively fastidious "wimp"; whom everyone regards as wholly incompetent (though incredibly rich); but actually he is a daring, dashing adventurer, incredibly intelligent man who might have been the fictional ancestral concept of Clark Kent and Superman.
Anthony Andrews is utterly magnificent in this film. His performance as Percy (The Scarlet Pimpernel)is flawless, and eclipses even the incredible beauty and acting of Jane Seymour, who is also superb in every manner. Ian McKellan is a great villain. The music is very good; the cinematography beautiful, and the story is non-stop action, romance, and adventure, as we see how this amazing character saves aristocrats and falls in love; as the plot moves towards his attempt to save the heir to the throne of France. He is so enjoyable to watch as the foppish Percy that the film contains humor as well as suspense, intrigue, and danger.
For some reason I've never read this novel; but I will surely do so; and frankly, from a pure enjoyment point of view, this is one of the best 25 or so films I've ever seen. I can't recommend it highly enough; and hope to find it on DVD someday. It's not only a film worth seeing; it's a film worth owning. Sink me; if that's not the truth.
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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Mari Sutien on January 29, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is stunning, spectacular film, full of adventure, intrigue, romance, espionage, beautiful sets, costumes, music, and *incredible* acting. I have watched it over and over and over, and I'm still not remotely tired of it. Anthony Andrews makes a splendid, heart-throbbingly heroic Pimpernel; he is at his chivalrous, romantic best in this role. The contrast between his fop mask and his true daring self are amazing; I adored the scene when he reveals his identity to Armand St. Just. His wooing of Marguerite in the beginning is wonderful (guys, take heed; this is how to win the girls!), and his struggle between his love and his loyalty to the league when he believes she's betrayed him makes me sniffle every time. Jane Seymore makes a wonderful Marguerite; her impulsiveness, her intelligence, her grace, her beauty, and her abiding adoration for Percy are completely beleivable. Sir Ian makes an excellant Chauvelin. Though this character was hardly recognisable as the book's Chauvelin, I thought every last change was an improvement. This Chauvelin was far more multi-dimensional; his hatred for Percy made sense when the love triangle was added. In fact, I felt very sorry for him when he is so humiliated in the last scene; it was less than he deserved, even if he did try to kill Percy. But his love for Marguerite and his slow corruption added an interesting side-plot.
With lots of derring-do, chivalry, humor, excellent fencing and a few pretty good kisses, this it truly a movie for everyone (I repeat, *everyone*, not just girls) to see. So haul yourself away from the computer this instant and go rent it!
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
This is definitely a wonderful film, as evidenced by its popularity. Unfortunately, Artisan Entertainment has decided to remove it from print! (Gasp!) If you'd like to see it available again, particularly if you'd like to see it released on DVD, please send an email to the nice folks at Artisan Entertainment ( indicating as much. Or call them toll free at 1-877-848-3865. Please specify that you want the 1982 version with Andrews and Seymour. Many requests may be needed to accomplish this objective. Thanks.
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Topic From this Discussion
The difference between this dvd release and the previous?
I'm hoping, from early reviews of the previous DVD that the newer version is from a much better master. The irritating thing is Amazon has lumped reviews of VHS versions and the early DVD AND the latest all together, so unless you are especially observant, you have no idea what film is being... Read More
Jul 15, 2014 by B. Kaufman |  See all 2 posts
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