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Les Miserables
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Les Miserables (1998)
Starring: Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush Director: Bille August Rating PG-13
(189 customer reviews)    
List Price: $19.94
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81 used & new available from $13.29
Format: DVD

Customers who searched for "les miserable" also expressed interest in:

Les Miserables (1987 Original Broadway Cast) ~ Frances Ruffelle (1990) $35.98 $32.48

Les Miserables - The Dream Cast in Concert DVD ~ Colm Wilkinson (1998) $27.95 $19.96

Les Miserables : Complete and Unabridged (Signet Classics) by Victor Hugo (1987) $7.95

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Better Together
Buy this DVD with Les Miserables - The Dream Cast in Concert DVD ~ Colm Wilkinson today!
Les Miserables Les Miserables - The Dream Cast in Concert
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Plot Summary

Product Details

Theatrical Release Information

  • US Theatrical Release Date: May 1, 1998
  • MPAA: Safe::Root0::PI::Media::Description=HASH(0x1cdc11b4) for some sexual content.
  • Production Company: Mandalay Entertainment, TriStar Pictures
  • USA Box Office: $14 Million
  • Worldwide Box Office: $19 Million
  • Filming Locations: Barrandov Studios, Prague, Czech Republic| Griffith Park Observatory, Griffith Park - 4730 Crystal Springs Drive, Los Angeles, California, USA| Kutna Hora, Czech Republic| Paris, France| Prague, Czech Republic| Tousen, Czech Republic| Vrbno, Czech Republic| Zatec, Czech Republic

Editorial Reviews
Frenchman Jean Valjean (Liam Neeson), imprisoned for stealing bread, is paroled after nearly two decades of hard labor. A gift of silver candlesticks from a kindly priest helps him begin anew. Forging a decent and profitable existence, he finds success as a businessman and as the mayor of a small town. He even takes in a pregnant young woman (Uma Thurman) and raises her daughter as his own. When a former prison guard (Geoffrey Rush) recognizes Valjean, his past catches up to him. Director Bille August culls mesmerizing performances from his cast, but loses us with an ending that panders to teen audiences. The focus shifts dramatically, and uncomfortably, from the haunted Neeson and his hawk-like pursuer, to his daughter (Claire Danes) and her romance with a handsome revolutionary. After this narrative shift, the script leaves behind the Victor Hugo classic's themes of revenge and redemption to focus improbably on teen angst--hardly what Hugo had on his mind. --Rochelle O'Gorman

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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful:

Great movie, fair adaption, May 15, 2000
Reviewer:Eponine (Baskerville Hall, England) - See all my reviews
Les Misérables - 1998 film version - formal review

This newest film version of Les Misérables presents this classic story as the grand sweeping epic that it is, yet diverges from the original story, leaving much to be desired. Fans of Victor Hugo's beloved novel, published in 1862, and of the popular musical, produced in 1985, may be disappointed in this movie's truncated version of the story. However, the film manages to keep intact the main themes of Hugo's story of love, mercy, and redemption.

As a movie in its own right, this film deserves the highest praise. As historical drama it is of the highest quality. The movie portrays Jean Valjean as a true hero, a person whom we can admire because of his courage and self-sacrificing commitment to godly principle. The acting is excellent -- Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush star as Jean Valjean and Inspector Javert, and both simply become their characters. Uma Thurman gives an exceptional performance as Fantine. The soundtrack for the film is beautiful as well.

However, this movie cannot be evaluated separately from the novel and musical (which follows the novel quite closely and has gained a wide following of devoted fans). In terms of faithfulness to the original story, the film falls short. The first half of the movie follows the novel quite well; much of the screenplay is taken almost directly from the book, and no important characters or events are removed. Unfortunately, however, the first half of the movie covers less than one third of the story. In the second half, the movie diverges widely from the original. Enthusiasts of the musical and novel will be disappointed to see that two important characters from the Paris setting, Enjolras and Eponine -- both of whom are popular favorites among fans -- are completely eliminated from the film, their roles given to other characters or deleted altogether. The second half of the film is mercilessly truncated and adapted.

The film's portrayal of Cosette as a rather spoiled young woman who is always ready to pout if she doesn't get her way is inconsistent with the sweet and oblivious Cosette of Hugo's novel. The character of Javert, the obsessed policeman who hounds Jean Valjean, is also altered -- perhaps more subtly -- to make him out as the depraved villain of the story, when in the novel and musical he is more complex and less of a villain. The other characters, however, are faithfully portrayed in the film.

Even in the second half, the movie does shine at times. The depiction of Jean Valjean continues to be brilliant (except for one scene in which he slaps Cosette and then reveals his past to her, both actions in complete inconsistency with his character according to Hugo). The last fifteen minutes of the film do portray well the important universal theme of Justice versus Mercy. However, the movie curtails the original story, robbing it of a good deal of its poignancy.

Altogether, though, the film manages to preserve the main themes and characters of the original novel. It serves as a good introduction to the story. It should inspire viewers to read the original book and listen to the musical as well!

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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful:

A 5 Star Adaption With Liam Neeson As Jean Valjean, December 29, 2004
Reviewer:G. Reid (Roseland, NJ) - See all my reviews
I have not seen the other adaptions. However, I find this adaption to be outstanding. Liam Neeson is perfectly cast as Jean Valjean. The movie is somewhat different than the book. It has to be or else the movie would be over 4 hours long. The movie is dramatically pleasing and stands on its own and it does capture the essence of Victor Hugo's writing.

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Lacking Character, April 18, 2006
Reviewer:family-style movie lover "Sue" (Washington State) - See all my reviews
This is a well-acted version of the famous book by Victor Hugo. It is, at times, more faithful to the original story than other versions that I have viewed. However, though more faithful in many scenes, it just lacks some of the heart found in previous screenplays. I'm going to give this one away, and purchase the 1978 version starring Richard Jordan and Anthony Perkins. While the '78 is not 100% true to the book, I think it better portrays the character of the original story, especially in the scenes at the bishop's house. Neither film is true to text here, but Jean Valjean's change of heart - the reason for his conversion - is much more clear in the 1978 film portrayal. Another place where, while less accurate, the '78 version is preferred is in the introductory scenes. The Liam Neeson version is definitely the more true to story, yet the '78 version with Richard Jordan gives more of a sense of why a poor starving man who steals a piece of bread could become hardened to the point of needing to undergo a conversion of heart in the first place. Finally, the scenes at the end are, once again, 100% true to neither film but the Anthony Perkin's character (in the '78 film version) gives a much more compelling, dramatic conclusion, which leaves one pondering, much more deeply (in my opinion) the difference between the letter of the law and that which is right and just.

It seems to me that one of the critical flaws of this version (Liam Neeson) is that you never really develop a bond with his portrayal of Valjean. There's a coldness (and I think it's in the screenplay rather than in neeson's acting), if you will, that never allows me to really enter into his character. While the story remains excellent and the acting is good, I just could never embrace this version of the film.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:

First half was awesome, second half lacking, April 4, 2006
Reviewer:ac - See all my reviews
I have watched and listened to the musical many times, so I was somewhat familiar with the plot before I had watched the movie. The first half is wonderful, and the cast is incredible. However, the second half is a huge letdown. Cosette is not at all what I thought she should be. She was always complaining, or whining, or crying. The romance between Cosette and Marius was kind of cheesy, and I was disappointed to find out that Eponine was completely left out of the story. It also felt as if the end was not very well thought out, leaving a disappointed viewer.

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful:

I like it , March 13, 2006
Reviewer:MW Sloane - See all my reviews
I think they did a great job. No it is not exactly like the book, but there are not many movies that are. All in all, I am happy with the purchase.

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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful:

Just Disappointing, December 9, 2005
Reviewer:Stephanie Newberry "Stargaziey" (Dayton, OH) - See all my reviews
I have been a Les Mis fan for years, so I was extremely excited to hear that a Hollywood Les Mis movie was to be made, but from the beginning I was sorely disappointed.

True, not everything from the book could be put into the movie, but it seemed that they left out some of the most important elements of the story. So, if you have never read the novel & know nothing of Les Mis, you may enjoy the movie as a period film (post-Napoleonic France, f.y.i.) But if you are a fan of the true Les Mis story, you most likely won't enjoy this adaptation with it's lack of characters, missing side plots, & loosing practically the last 1/4 of the entire story.

Personally, I found the only redeeming aspect of this movie was the fact that Geoffry Rush played Javert. He fit the role perfectly & played him with skill. But I thought Liam Neeson seemed about 20 years too young for the Valjean I imagined. Uma Thurman is fine as Fantine & Claire Danes works as Cosette.

Overall, just stick with the novel or even the musical.

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Production Stills, Cast and Crew
  • Production Stills:
  • Cast:
Liam Neeson as Jean ValjeanUma Thurman as FantineClaire Danes as CosetteDavid Birkin as Courfeyrac
Liam Neeson
as Jean Valjean
Uma Thurman
as Fantine
Claire Danes
as Cosette
David Birkin
as Courfeyrac

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Fun Facts from
  • Nominations
  • Goofs
    • In the very final scenes of the movie, Jean Valjean is seen walking along the riverbank. He walks past the same across-the-river background shrubbery twice.
    • ›  See more Goofs
  • Crazy Credits
  • Movie Connections
    • Version of: Misérables, Les | Misérables - Époque 1: Jean Valjean, Les | Misérables - Époque 2: Fantine, Les | Misérables, Les | Misérables, Les | The Bishop's Candlesticks | Aa mujo: Zempen | Aa mujo: Kohen | Jean Valjean | Misérables, Les | Misérables, Les | Kyojin-den | Miserables, Los | Boassa, El | Miserabili, I | Re mizeraburu: kami to akuma | Miserables, Les | Misérables, Les | Miseráveis, Os | Miseráveis, Os | Misérables, Les | Misérables, Les | Miserables, Les | Misérables, Les | Misérables, Les | Les Misérables in Concert | Misérables, Les
    • Alternate language version of: Kundan
    • ›  See more Movie Connections
  • Quotes
    • Carnot: I'm a man who... what's the word for it? I'm one of those people who doesn't eat every day. I'm... I'm hungry, that's the word.
    • Jean Valjean: I order you to forgive yourself.
    • ›  See more Quotes

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