Les Misérables (1982 film)

Les Misérables is a 1982 French drama film directed by Robert Hossein. It is one of the numerous screen adaptations of the 1862 novel of the same name by Victor Hugo. It was entered into the 13th Moscow International Film Festival where it won a Special Prize.[1]

Les Misérables
Les Misérables FilmPoster.jpeg
Film poster
Directed byRobert Hossein
Written byAlain Decaux
Robert Hossein
Victor Hugo
Based onLes Misérables
1862 novel
by Victor Hugo
Produced byDominique Harisparu
Sophie von Uslar
StarringLino Ventura
CinematographyEdmond Richard
Edited byMartine Barraqué
Sophie Bhaud
Music byAndré Hossein
Michel Magne
Distributed byGEF-CCFC
Release date
  • 20 October 1982 (1982-10-20)
Running time
200 minutes

Plot summaryEdit


Differences from the novelEdit

  • The film starts with Valjean's release from prison, which is followed by the opening credits and then jumps to the presentation of the bishop, which is at beginning of the novel.
  • Javert is shown (though not named) in the opening scene; the book introduces him in Montreuil.
  • Fantine is introduced in Montreuil; her former life in Paris is left out.
  • Fantine dies of her illness before Javert arrives to arrest Valjean. In the book, it is the shock of realizing that Cosette did not arrive, and Javert telling her Valjean's real identity, that kills her.
  • Valjean is not sent back to the galleys; he manages to escape Javert after Fantine's death.
  • Valjean's escape from the convent in a coffin is cut out.
  • Valjean dies alone, making his death even more tragic.
  • The last scene is a flashback to Valjean's release from prison, with a minor change in dialogue. The first time, Javert says, "You are free," and the second time, the line is, "Now, you are free."

Minor sub-plotsEdit

  • Valjean's arrival in Digne is lengthily depicted; we even see him going into the town hall to have his passport signed.
  • Petit-Gervais is included.
  • We see Valjean lifting the cart off Fauchelevent, and we also learn that he sent him to the convent in Paris afterwards.
  • One of the few adaptions that does not change the names of the three convicts who recognize Valjean (Brevet, Chenildieu and Cochepaille), and in which Valjean proves his identity in the same way as he does in the book.
  • Valjean leaves the convent for the same reason as he does in the book.
  • The attack in the House Gorbeau is included, and takes place in nearly exactly the same way as it does in the book.
  • The romance between Marius and Cosette takes place in nearly the same way as in the book.
  • Javert's letter to the Prefect is read aloud by Javert as we see him taking the coach towards the bridge.
  • Valjean confesses his true identity to Marius after the wedding and dies of grief at the end.
  • Most dialogue is taken word for word from the book.
  • While some scenes are anachronistic (e.g. the prison), the overall impression is a very dark and sinister one, fitting the book very well.


  • Robert Hossein also directed the original 1980 Paris production of the musical: this film and the musical are the only adaptations where Fantine dies before Javert's arrival; the falling of the barricade is depicted in very slow motion as it is in the musical and Gavroche's song "C'est la faute à..." is sung to the same melody in this film as it is in the musical.
  • The actor who plays Chenildieu in this adaption plays Cochepaille in the 2000 miniseries.


César Awards (1983)Edit

Moscow Film Festival (1983)Edit

  • Special prize, for the contribution to the cinema (Robert Hossein)

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "13th Moscow International Film Festival (1983)". MIFF. Archived from the original on November 7, 2013. Retrieved 2013-01-31.

External linksEdit