This is one of the best versions of Les Mis. out there. This was the version that got me interested in the story, and convinced me to read the book (which is no easy feat, let me tell you!)
It moves quicker than most versions, and is well acted.
It is, of course, WAY different than the musical, so please don't judge it based off of that alone.
Watch it once, so you can know the story, watch it twice and read the book.
DVD is missing 30 minutes
C. S. Junker | Burien, WA USA | 06/26/2004
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This 1978 British television production is one of the better English-language adapatations of Les Miserables. Unfortunately, the DVD release is missing 30 minutes of footage. Originally shown in two parts at a length of 150 minutes, the DVD edit has been chopped down to 120. (The VHS tape edition plays complete.)
Had I known this disc was an incomplete version I would not have purchased it. If you want to see the complete film --- and it's well worth it --- you'll need to buy the VHS tape."
Still moving after all these years....
ZRRIFLE | Washington, D.C. | 04/19/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this when it was originally telecast in the late 70s on TV as an Hallmark special presentation, and I never forgot it. What a relief to find it's available on video. However, I'm disappointed that it's been cut down to 2 hours - the original telecast on TV divided it into 2 showings (2 consecutive evenings), about 3 hours apiece, if I remember right. Not including commercials, I would estimate the original (uncut) version was about 4-5 hours. So, in this VHS version, the story moves VERY fast to squeeze it into 2 hours. Still great to watch, but again, it's very trimmed down and every scene moves very quickly. It would be great in the future if it would become available in the original uncut version on DVD or a 2 or 3-set VHS version."
Best Version of Them All
John Paul Jaubert | Houston, TX | 12/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I only give five stars to works of art that stay with you and change who you are. Quite simply, this is the best english-film-version of the story ever made. I think it's the best film-version period. If you've never seen it, see this first then watch the rest. If you don't know the story at all and can't bring yourself to read the book, see this. As has already been noted by other reviewers, you should get the full-length version. Also, it's rather strange that this was made for television. We tend to credit such works as being of lesser value. But that would be quite mistaken in this case."
The First Captivating Film Experience of My Life.
John Paul Jaubert | 02/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As a project in the latter days of my eighth-grade school year, our literature teacher asked that our class watch and review this film. We sat in a small room as the old tape began to roll. I noticed immediately that the film had to have been a TV-movie. I was skeptical as to how good it would be, even angry. I didn't want to waste my last days prior to high school watching a bunch of cheesy actors try to pull off lines that sounded like they were written by a toddler. Boy, was I wrong.
15 minutes into the movie, I was glued to the screen. I had never heard such a wonderful story before:
Jean Valjean, a starving young man with little means for cash, steals a loaf of bread and is sent to prison for five years. The sentence grows everytime Valjean tries to escape. After 19 years, Valjean makes a successful attempt at freedom but learns that the true punishment comes after he reenters society. However, when a kindly old man of the cloth gives Valjean a bed for the night, it sets the stage for an adventure that will span two life times.
See what I mean? If, like me, you have never read the book and know very little about the conclusion of the story, you're definetely gonna wanna pick up a copy of this, right? Rest assured, there's plenty of action. The special effects in the war scene at the end of the movie (yes, I said "war scene") aren't CGI, but they do the trick. The music is beautiful. The actors, especially Richard Jordan of "DUNE" and "GETTYSBURG" fame, do an excellent job.
I have seen many adaptations of this story since that first magical viewing. None of them pull it off quite as well. I went back and watched this movie again, not too long ago. Magic, just magic! Long live Valjean!"
John Paul Jaubert | 06/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many of the complaints with this DVD release involved the film being shortened half an hour by LION'S GATE ENTERTAINMENT. Look folks, there's nothing wrong with a shorter version. Especially not this shorter version. The moments taken from the film are only the most redundant, and the story's power is not lost in the cuts. Secondly, a complaint has been made against the quality of the AUDIO-VIDEO presentation. I have seen this same film on video twice and I can tell you THIS FILM HAS NEVER LOOKED BETTER. Unlike a video cassette, DVDs do not have tape in them and therefore the picture and sound quality will always remain the same as long as the disc doesn't get scratched up. Why complain? Lastly, to those who have never seen this film and are not familiar with the novel, try another version first. Perhaps the 1998 version with Uma Thurman. The reason is that both versions tell virtually the same story, but one (1998) concentrates on being cinematic, while the other (1978) concentrates on just getting the story told. Period. No fancy special effects, no fast editing. Just plain, unadulterated LES MIS. That's the way I like it. If you are a fan of the book or the musical, or know enough of the story to sit through two hours, go for it. You'll never forget it. Trust me. I love LES MIS because of this film. The acting, the music. All incredible. Be patient, and you'll find something to love in this film. I guarantee it. Get impatient and you'll hate the whole thing. That about says it.
STORY: An escaped convict finds salvation with the help of a aged bishop, but trouble comes when a piece of his past attempts to remind him of his sins.