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Showing 1-10 of 485 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 845 reviews
on December 16, 2012
If Victor Hugo were alive today he would be a multi-millionaire considering how many times his most famous novel has been filmed by Hollywood over the years. It took him 17 years to write the novel and it's still in print so he would also have a steady income. Overall I think he would have liked all the film versions of "Les Miserables" going all the way back to the earliest known silent version released by the Fox Film Co in 1919. There have been many film versions since, both English and French productions. I've always liked this 1998 version starring Liam Neeson(Jean Valjean) and Geoffrey Rush(Inspector Javert) ever since I saw it during it's original release in the theatre. I was hoping that it would someday be released on blu ray and got my wish earliar this week. I can only assume it's because of the new musical version that's hitting the theatres with Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in the leads. I have both the 1935 and 1952 B&W versions that 20th Century-Fox released a number of years ago and have seen the current Broadway musical twice so I'm very familar with the story. I won't go over it but it's the ultimate story of redemption, faith and love which is something that everyone needs in these troubled times. Those themes are certainly brought out in this beautifully restored blu ray film directed by Bille August. Jorgen Persson's cinematography looks stunning on blu ray(aspect ratio: 2.40.1) and the Paris and Czech Republic locations have never looked better. The audio is superb too. The folks at Sony deserve a lot of credit for making this blu ray pop off the screen. The principle actors(Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman and Claire Danes) give some of the best performances of their careers. The scenes between Neeson and Thurman's characters are both touching and heartwrenching. I've always thought that this was Uma Thurman's best performance and seeing it again after all these years only confirms that. Neeson's scenes with the young Clare Danes are equally touching and he more than holds his own whenever he and Rush on screen together. Geoffrey Rush's unsympathetic portrait of Javert will send chills down your spine. This version is 134 mins long and contains the following subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese and Swedish. Audio is: English, French(PAR), Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Portuguese Dolby Surround. There are no special features except the original trailer. This Sony blu ray release gets my highest recommendation.
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on March 17, 2015
This is not the musical. This is an abridgment of the original story. Liam Neeson is very good in the role of the convict Jean Valjean who becomes successful in life after being pardoned by the Bishop of Digne. Neeson manages to retain a bit of the convict when he is mayor, which makes his portrayal all the more believable. His pardon of Javert is powerful. Like the musical, the screenplay cuts a lot but retains the strongest elements of the story. This gets 4 stars rather than 5 because the screenplay ends at Javert's suicide, omitting the last third of the story. Still, even with that major complaint, I've watched this several times and enjoy it very much. It is a good primer. There are older movie productions that are well done and probably deserve higher marks. This can be watched in a single sitting by a modern audience and it still delivers the power of Hugo's story of redemption.

I encourage you to watch this, see the musical, and read the full Victor Hugo novel. I DO NOT recommend the 2012 movie version of the musical. Do not watch that unless the volume is turned off. I was so eager to see that movie and so disappointed that the producers brought in big name actors rather than competent musicians for the biggest roles.
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on June 3, 2015
The very very best version of Les Miserables. This 1998 film made me a fan of Liam Neeson, which I believe established him as the heroic father.
A friend watching with me just could not help but quote the "I have skills" line from "Taken" when Valjean is at the barricades. Uma Thurman as sad Fantine was remarkable. (I kept waiting for her to pull out a Japanese sword.) Refreshing to see great actors in a film at the beginning of their career.
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on March 29, 2017
It would be wrong to compare this version with Frederick March in 1931. Liam Neeson handles the Jean Jalvean role with ease. Geffry Rush is always excellent, Be aware that this is not the musical version. If you are familiar with this Victor Hugo story, this is a great film to watch before viewing the musical!
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on July 22, 2017
This particular version of story is my favorite. There are many different ones available, including black and white for classic lovers; but the acting with Liam Neeson is extraordinary. This version has a few scenes that may not appropriate for younger audience due to adult themes of the times. Amazing cinematography and was actually filmed in the Czech Republic. Beautiful. Great topics for discussions on lessons regarding the lack of social justice during the era represented and how it compares to current problems faced in nations now, make for great learning curriculum. Most important is the idea of how forgiveness and mercy are attributes we can all benefit from.
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on October 23, 2013
Classy movie. A must have. Uma Thurman, Geoffery Rush, and Liam Neeson are exceptional in how they produce the psychological drama that Hugo's work requires. Though an older film, I see this film as better produced and more thought provoking than the new musical with Jackman, Hathaway, and Crowe. As a French teacher, I try to get the students to think about culture and answer the question of WHY. This film has a psychological aspect that the musical doesn't capture quite correctly. Though the film takes some liberties with Hugo's original writing (don't all Hollywood films produced from novels anyways??!!), it is a wonderful story with GREAT life lessons to discuss and challenge others with. It is one of my favorites to watch over and over again while challenging myself to think about the themes of redemption and reconciliation in life. Due to the phenomenal lessons about life in the film, I also ask my students and my own children to take steps that are honorable to become the model citizen and exceptional person that is honoring to others in society.
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Liam Neeson's portrayal of Jean Valjean carried this film. Geoffrey Rush as Inspector Javert was the perfect foil for Neeson. Rush always finds the heart of whatever character he is playing and becomes the character. I wasn't impressed with either Claire Danes as Cosette or Uma Thurmon as Fantine. Both worked at acting as the characters but didn't reach outside of their personalities. I saw only Claire and Uma. The actor who played Marius did a creditable job. For me he was Marius because I'd never seen him before or since. Overall the film was well done. If someone had not read the Victor Hugo book (a major undertaking) they would leave the film with a good sense of the storyline. I bought both this Les Mis and the musical because I love to compare movie styles and interpretation. I was 10 years old when I first read a version of Les Miserables. It was published in the Classic Comic Book collection which first introduced me to the great writers. This was a good purchase.
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on March 22, 2011
I am a consummate fan of the novel "Les Miserables" having read it in both its abridged version several times and the unabridged version at least once. This is a story which can be appreciated for not only being a thrilling and deeply emotional one but a philosophical and spiritual one as well.

Having read the novel, and having seen several screen and television versions, as well as the staged musical version six times in nearly twenty years, I consider myself qualified to critique this particular version. I enjoyed this film with certain reservations those being the performances of Claire Daines as Cosette and Hans Matheson as Marius. They both appeared to lack the depth of understanding and the emotional investiment to portray a pair of lovers who were literally beyond their years in maturity.

On the other hand, Liam Neeson as Valjean and Geoffrey Rush as Javert were superb in portraying both the long suffering hero and the archtypical villian. The key to both these characters is the individual decisions which they both make as they approached the turning points in both their own lives. With Valjean having been shown kindness and compassion from a kindly old bishop, becomes a kind and virtuous soul himself while Javert being born of a criminal and a prostiute in prison is trying to redeem his circumstance at virtually every turn for something that truly wasn't his fault....his birth!

Uma Thurman was equal to the task of playing the abandoned but hopeful Fantine whose short, tragic life is made whole upon her death by Valjean's promise to her that he would spend his remaining days caring for her beloved child Cosette.

All in all, and I must agree with a previous reviewer, that the ending is rather anti-climactic and should have concluded with a more subtly nuanced one both satisfying and worth remembering. I recommend it highly!
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on May 6, 2017
Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush provide superb performances of their characters, Jean Valjean and Javert. Neeson's portrayal of Valjean as a man redeemed is unmatched, as is Rush's portrayal of Javert as a man who causes and abets human suffering because of his uncompromising belief in the moral certitude of the law - such as it was. Other powerfully acted scenes that outshine the other versions of the story include those with Bishop Myriel, played by Peter Vaughn, and the Valjean's rescue of Cosette from her life of servitude. It's a strong film throughout, and while it doesn't altogether follow the book, it's true to Hugo's story of the power of redemption and human kindness.
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on March 2, 2016
I purchased these DVDs as replacement for my much older VCR tapes. While I enjoyed the Le Miserables DVD I was disappointed in the River Dance DVD. My original VCR tape was of Michael Flatley's performance - he appeared no where in the DVD. Additionally the DVD was a compilation of several performances as the central dancer continued to chance throughout the DVD. The dancing and music a still nice but this in not something worth buying if you expect to see a performance by the original cast of River Dance. - disappointed in the Riverdance DVD.
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