La Révolution française (film)

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La Révolution française
File:La Révolution française (film).jpg
Directed by Robert Enrico, Richard T. Heffron
Screenplay by David Ambrose, Daniel Boulanger
Music by Georges Delerue
Release dates
Running time
360 min
Country France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom and Canada
Language French, English, German

La Révolution française is a two-part film, co-produced by France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Canada. The first part, titled La Révolution française: les Années lumière (Years of Hope) was directed by Robert Enrico. The second part, La Révolution française: les Années terribles (Years of Rage), 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, German and English.



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-François 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 Revolution's bicentennial were not attracting much audience.

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