GenreDrama, History, Thriller Duration LanguageFrench, English
DirectorRobert Enrico, Richard T. Heffron Release date1989 WriterDavid Ambrose, Daniel Boulanger, Robert Enrico, Richard T. Heffron, Fred A. Wyler DirectorsRobert Enrico, Richard T. Heffron ScreenplayRobert Enrico, Richard T. Heffron, Daniel Boulanger, David Ambrose, John Eskow CastKlaus Maria Brandauer (Danton), François Cluzet (Camille Desmoulins), Marie Bunel (Lucile Desmoulins), Jane Seymour (Marie-Antoinette), Jean-François Balmer (Louis XVI), Andrzej Seweryn (Robespierre) Similar moviesLes Misérables, Les Misérables, Gone Girl, Les Misérables, Les Misérables, Les Misérables
The history of the conflict proceeds from the first uprisings to the downfall of the king (Jean-Francois Balmer).
La Revolution francaise is a two-part film, co-produced by France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada. The first part, titled La Revolution francaise: les Annees lumiere (The Years of Light) was directed by Robert Enrico. The second part, La Revolution francaise: les Annees terribles (The Years of Terror), was directed by Richard T. Heffron. The full movie runs at 360 minutes, but the edited-for-television version is slightly longer.
The film was produced in 1989 for the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution. It purports to tell a faithful and neutral story of the Revolution, from the calling of the Estates-General to the death of Maximilien de Robespierre. The film was high-budgeted and boasted an international cast. It was shot in French and English.
A history of the French Revolution from the decision of the king to convene the Etats-Generaux in 1789 in order to deal with France's debt problem. The first part of the movie tells the story from 1789 until August 10, 1792 (when the King Louis XVI lost all his authority and was put in prison). The second part carries the story through the end of the terror in 1794, including the deaths by guillotine of Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette, Danton, and Desmoulins.
The film was generally considered rather historically accurate. Among the few departures from the historical facts, the executioner Charles-Henri Sanson was shown executing both Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. The elder Sanson actually executed only Louis XVI; it was his son that executed Marie-Antoinette.
Some critics pointed, however, that the film suffered from its neutrality, which resulted in a lack of point of view and in some incoherences. The first part, which dealt with a rather complex historical subject, was also criticized for its disjointed pacing. The second part was considered more gripping and dramatic. Jean-Francois Balmer received great praise for his portrayal of a rather sympathetic Louis XVI, and Andrzej Seweryn was considered very convincing as Robespierre.
The film was not a box office success in France, as the celebrations for the Revolutions bicentennial were not attracting much audience.