The French Revolution is a significant moment in history, which is one of the reasons it is the subject of so many forms of entertainment. Among them are literature, video games, new online slots, and in particular, movies, a topic we will discuss and focus on in our list below.
The French Revolution (1989)
Most films fail to capture the scope of the French Revolution because so much happened. The film, also known as La Révolution Française, is directed by Robert Enrico and Richard T. Heffron and tells a very unbiased story about the Revolution. The film consists of two parts: Years of Hope and Years of Rage, and runs for almost 6 hours. Among the topics covered are the Estates-General and Maximilien de Robespierre's death, played by Andrzej Seweryn.
The Visitors: Bastille Day (2016)
Guillotine executions of wealthy nobles. Crowds of angry people with tri-coloured banners fighting for justice. The Storming of the Bastille. These things tend to come to mind when thinking about the French Revolution. Well, this movie directed by Jean-Marie Poiré, formerly known as Les Visiteurs: La Révolution, finds humour in such a turbulent period in history. Even though this might cause some heads to roll, it's still a funny film featuring Christian Clavier and Jean Reno.
When it debuted in the silent era, this film stood out as a game-changer for the fluidity of its camera motion at a time when camera shots tended to remain still. While the film covers most of Napoleon's life, it mainly revolves around the beginning of Napoleon's time in French army. As a result of budgetary constraints, Abel Gance could only make one of the six films he had planned to make about Napoleon. Despite its age, it is still a masterpiece of early cinema and is better than most modern revolution films.
One Nation, One King (2018)
The French film, directed by Pierre Schoeller, depicts three critical events during the Revolution. These include the Women's March on Versailles, the Storming of the Bastille, and the execution of Louis XVI. Furthermore, it shows the evolution of government bodies, including the Estates-General, the National Constituent Assembly, and the National Assembly, as well as different Revolutionary leaders, including Danton, Marat, and Robespierre. Despite its somewhat confusing plot, this film achieves cinematic grandeur and fidelity to history in a way few similar movies manage.
A Tale of Two Cities (1935)
Many novels by Charles Dickens have been made into films, as he was one of Victorian literature's most renowned and successful authors. This film, directed by Jack Conway, portrays some of the fundamental injustices and evils at the heart of the French Revolution in a powerful yet sobering way. An incredibly tragic romance is about how even innocent people can get caught up amid events far beyond their control during a terrifying period of history.
Danton is a film based on The Danton Case, a play written by Stanislaus Przybyszewska in 1929. The film revolves around Georges Danton, one of the key figures in the French Revolution who the Reign of Terror ultimately destroyed. It is a haunting film with a masterful performance from Gérard Depardieu as the title character. The film is a potent reminder that even noble political movements can be damaged and destroyed by the weaknesses of the ego of humans.
Les Misérables (2012)
Les Misérables won the hearts of both audiences and critics. Hugh Jackman plays Jean Valjean, a prisoner released by police officer Javert, played by Russell Crowe. He cannot find work, so he turns to thievery. A near-death experience prompts him to change his ways and adopt a girl. One problem, though: she falls in love with a revolutionary named Marius, which complicates things. Musicals like this are iconic for a reason.
Farewell, My Queen (2012)
Since Marie-Antoinette died in 1793, she has been one of the most written-about historical figures. Directed by Benoît Jacquot, the film made its debut in 2012. It tells the story of Marie Antoinette's relationship with one of her readers through a fictionalised account of the early days of the French Revolution. Masterfully crafted, this historical drama stays with the viewer long after you turn off the television.
The Lady and the Duke (2001)
Many films about the Revolution show violence in the background, but this one chose to go further and reveal the violence that the Terror perpetrated against its foes front and centre. Many in France were, therefore, sharply critical of it. However, the film directed by Éric Rohmer is well-crafted, and the narrative explodes with suspense as the lead character, an Englishwoman caught up in the Revolution, attempts to survive.
Filmmakers have used the costume drama genre to explore oppression and social decay, while others have adapted famous novels set during this turbulent period. It is, therefore, not surprising that there are many period dramas set during the French Revolution.