La Reine Margot (1994 film)

La Reine Margot is a 1994 historical romantic drama film directed by Patrice Chéreau, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Danièle Thompson,[1] based on the 1845 historical novel of the same name by Alexandre Dumas. The film stars Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vincent Perez and Virna Lisi. An abridged version of the film was released as Queen Margot in North America, and in the United Kingdom under its original French title.

La Reine Margot
La Reine Margot 1994 film poster.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPatrice Chéreau
Screenplay by
Adaptation byDanièle Thompson
Patrice Chéreau
Dialogue byDanièle Thompson
Based onLa Reine Margot
by Alexandre Dumas
Produced byClaude Berri
CinematographyPhilippe Rousselot
Edited by
  • François Gédigier
  • Hélène Viard
Music byGoran Bregović
  • Renn Productions
  • France 2 Cinéma
  • D.A. Films
  • N.E.F. Filmproduktion
  • Degeto
  • ARD
  • WMG
  • RCS Films & TV
Distributed byAMLF
Release dates
  • 13 May 1994 (1994-05-13) (France)
  • 26 August 1994 (1994-08-26) (Italy)
  • 29 September 1994 (1994-09-29) (Germany)
Running time
162 minutes
  • France
  • Italy
  • Germany
  • French
  • Italian
Box office$20 million

It won the Jury Prize and Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as five César Awards. A restored version was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section of the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.[2]


During the late 16th century, Catholics and Protestant Huguenots are fighting over political control of France, which is ruled by the neurotic, hypochondriac King Charles IX, and his mother, Catherine de' Medici, a scheming power player. Catherine decides to make an overture of goodwill by offering up her daughter Margot in marriage to Henri de Bourbon, a prominent Huguenot and King of Navarre, although she also schemes to bring about the notorious St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre of 1572, when thousands of Protestants are slaughtered. The marriage goes forward but Margot, who does not love Henri, begins a passionate affair with the soldier La Môle, also a Protestant from a well-to-do family. Murders by poisoning follow, as court intrigues multiply and Queen Catherine's villainous plotting to place her son the Duke of Anjou on the throne threatens the lives of La Môle, Margot and Henri of Navarre. A book with pages painted with arsenic is intended for Henri but instead causes the slow, agonizing death of King Charles. Henri escapes to Navarre and sends La Môle to fetch Margot, but Guise apprehends him. La Môle is beheaded in the Bastille before Margot can save him, and King Charles finally dies. Margot escapes carrying La Môle's embalmed head as Anjou is proclaimed King of France as Henry III.



The film was an international co-production between by several companies based in France, Germany, and Italy, with the additional participation of StudioCanal and the American company Miramax and the support of Eurimages. Among the locations were the Mafra Palace in Portugal, the Saint-Quentin Basilica, Saint-Quentin, Aisne, and the Château de Maulnes, Cruzy-le-Châtel in France.[3] The organ piece played during the wedding of Margaret of Valois and Henri de Bourbon was recorded by Pierre Pincemaille on the organ of the Basilica of Saint-Denis.[4]


La reine Margot - Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
ProducerGoran Bregović

The La Reine Margot soundtrack was composed by Sarajevo-born composer Goran Bregović. Like most of Bregović's work, the soundtrack's melodies are heavily influenced by the Balkan folk music tradition. Additionally, Bregović refurbished some of his previous work while as the frontman of Yugoslav rock band Bijelo dugme.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Elo Hi (Canto Nero)" (feat. Ofra Haza) - based on Kada odem, kad me ne bude (chorus) by Bijelo Dugme
  2. "Rondinella" (feat. Zdravko Čolić)
  3. "La Nuit De La Saint Barthélémy" (feat. Zdravko Čolić)
  4. "Le Matin" (feat. Vasilisa)
  5. "Lullaby"
  6. "Ruda Neruda" (feat. Zdravko Čolić)
  7. "U te sam se zaljubija"
  8. "La Chasse"
  9. "Margot"
  10. "Rencontre"
  11. "Marguerite De Valois Et Henri De Navarre"
  12. "Le Mariage"
  13. "La Nuit" (feat. Dusan Prelevic) - based on Ružica by Bijelo Dugme
  14. "Elo Hi" (feat. Ofra Haza)


The film opened on 13 May 1994 at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival and also opened nationally in France the same day.[5] The version shown at Cannes and for the French theatrical run had a runtime of 162 minutes.[6][7]

For the film’s North American release, the film's American distributor Miramax chose to market the film as a traditional costume drama, with an emphasis on the romance between Margot and La Môle.[8][9] Fifteen minutes were cut from Chéreau’s version and a deleted scene of Margot and La Môle wrapped in a red cloak was reinserted.[9] This version was shown in cinemas outside France and later on video. Miramax also changed the image on the poster; the American one features the red cloak scene of the pair of lovers, in contrast to the French poster which shows a shocked Margot in a white dress bespattered with blood.[9] The film grossed over $1.29 million in the U.S. in 1994.[10]

The original full-length version was available for a limited period in the United Kingdom on VHS in a collectors' edition box set in 1995, but all further releases, including the DVD, have used the shorter 145-minute cut. The Region 2 European DVD cover also uses the original poster.


The film grossed 12.7 million French Francs ($2.2 million) in its first five days in France.[5] The following week it was the number one film in France after expanding from 248 to 428 screens.[11] The film had a total of 2,002,915 admissions in France,[12] for a gross of $12.26 million.[13] In Italy, the film grossed over $2 million.[13] In the United States and Canada, the film grossed $2,017,346 in a limited theatrical release. It had admissions of 260,000 in Germany with a gross of $1.33 million[13] and 530,800 admissions in Argentina.[14] It was the highest-grossing non-English language film in the UK during 1995 with a gross of £635,711 ($980,000).[15][13] In Australia it grossed $890,000.[13] Worldwide, it has grossed over $20 million.

Year-end listsEdit

  • Top 10 (listed alphabetically, not ranked) – Mike Clark, USA Today[16]


List of Accolades
Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
67th Academy Awards[17] Best Costume Design Moidele Bickel Nominated
52nd Golden Globe Awards[18] Best Foreign Language Film France Nominated
50th Silver Ribbon Awards[19] Best Supporting Actress Virna Lisi Won
49th British Academy Film Awards[20] Best Film Not in the English Language Patrice Cheréau & Pierre Grunstein Nominated
47th Cannes Film Festival[21] Palme d'Or Patrice Cheréau Nominated
Jury Prize Won
Best Actress Virna Lisi Won
40th David di Donatello Awards[22] Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Best Costumes Moidele Bickel Nominated
20th César Awards[23] Best Film Patrice Chéreau Nominated
Best Director Nominated
Best Actress Isabelle Adjani Won
Best Supporting Actor Jean-Hugues Anglade Won
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Dominique Blanc Nominated
Virna Lisi Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Patrice Chéreau & Danièle Thompson Nominated
Best Cinematography Philippe Rousselot Won
Best Costume Design Moidele Bickel Won
Best Editing François Gédigier & Hélène Viard Nominated
Best Music Written for a Film Goran Bregovic Nominated
Best Production Design Richard Peduzzi & Olivier Radot Nominated


For the film's 20th anniversary, Pathé restored Patrice Chéreau’s original 162-minute cut to 4k definition, and this version was given a limited theatrical release by the Cohen Media Group in 2014.[9][24][25] This version received more critical praise than the 1994 Miramax cut, which critics said was confusing and did not give enough time for American audiences to digest various characters and plot lines.[8][26]

Peter Sobzcynski, writing for, said the film is a "go-for-broke, blood-and-thunder saga that is as powerful and provocative today as it was when it was first released—even more so now that it has been returned to its full length", and the fact that it is one of the most expensive French films ever made shows onscreen.[6] Scott Tobias of The Dissolve praised Isabelle Adjani for portraying Margot "as a figure of prismatic emotional and moral complexity, at times aggressive and seemingly reckless in pursuing her romantic and sexual interests, and at others cunning and shrewd in playing the middle of two sides locked in conflict."[9] He noted her "uninhibited performance figures into Chéreau’s approach to history, which couldn’t be further from the decorous reserve and pageantry of other such costume epics."[9] Sobzcynski also commended the film for putting its female characters at the forefront of the plot.[6] J. Hoberman of The New York Times wrote Virna Lisi "gives a harrowing performance as the poisonous Queen Mother."[27] Robert Abele of the Los Angeles Times wrote, "Chéreau’s and screenwriter Danièle Thompson’s lively adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ novel remains a model of heaving, combustible history, in which period lavishness and performance energy aren’t mutually exclusive. Splendidly acted and tautly executed."[28]

The restoration was released on Blu-ray on August 26, 2014, with a new commentary track by the New York Film Festival's director emeritus Richard Peña.[9][24]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Queen Margot (La Reine Margot)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  2. ^ "Cannes Classics 2013 line-up unveiled". Screen Daily. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  3. ^ "10 filming locations to be seen less than 100 kilometres from Bordeaux". Fantrippers. 7 June 2020. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  4. ^ "Une nouvelle création de Bregovic au Festival, inspirée par la souffrance au féminin | LeJSD". (in French). 3 June 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  5. ^ a b Groves, Don (23 May 1994). "'Weddings,' 'Gun' ignite o'seas B.O.". Variety. p. 14.
  6. ^ a b c Sobczynski, Peter (20 May 2014). "An Appreciation of "La Reine Margot" on its 20th Anniversary | Features". Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  7. ^ Nicholson, David (13 May 1994). "La Reine Margot' screened at Cannes". UPI. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  8. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (16 December 1994). "Queen Margot". Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Tobias, Scott (25 August 2014). "Queen Margot". The Dissolve. Archived from the original on 28 August 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  10. ^ Brooks, Brian (9 May 2014). "Specialty B.O. Preview: 'Chef', 'Palo Alto', 'God's Pocket', 'The Double', 'Queen Margot'". Deadline. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  11. ^ "International box office". Variety. 30 May 1994. p. 10. $2,742,089; $1=5.8FF
  12. ^ JP. "La Reine Margot (Queen Margot) (1994)- JPBox-Office". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  13. ^ a b c d e "Grosses of selected non-English language films by territory". Screen International. 16 February 1996. p. 16.
  14. ^ "Box office / business for La Reine Margot (1994)",
  15. ^ "Top 10 foreign-language films in the UK 1995". Screen International. 26 January 1996. p. 33.
  16. ^ Clark, Mike (28 December 1994). "Scoring with true life, 'True Lies' and 'Fiction.'". USA Today (Final ed.). p. 5D.
  17. ^ "The 67th Academy Awards". Academy Awards. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  18. ^ "Winners & Nominees 1995". Golden Globes. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  19. ^ "1995 | Nastri d'Argento" (in Italian). 5 June 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  20. ^ "Film in 1996 | BAFTA Awards". Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  21. ^ "CANNES CLASSICS - A new Reine Margot - Festival de Cannes". 19 May 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  22. ^ "David di Donatello Awards 1995". MUBI. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  23. ^ "Cesar Award Winners". AP News. 25 February 1995. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  24. ^ a b "Queen Margot 20th Anniversary Blu-ray". 17 April 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2022.
  25. ^ Keslassy, Elsa (10 May 2022). "French Giant Pathe Aims to Go Big in Theaters and With Streamers". Variety. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  26. ^ Maslin, Janet (9 December 1994). "FILM REVIEW; Shaking Up France's Royal Family Tree". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  27. ^ Hoberman, J. (18 September 2014). "Reign of Blood and Costume Design". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  28. ^ Abele, Robert (14 May 2014). "Review: 'Queen Margot' cuts bloody swath through France's religious wars". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 August 2022.

External linksEdit