This outrageous time-travel comedy follows the misadventures of a wacky medieval knight (Jean Reno -- MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, THE PROFESSIONAL) and his faithful servant when they suddenly find themselves zapped into the presen... more »t day! Mayhem rules as these 12th-century visitors try adapting to the wildly confusing modern world! To avoid being stuck here for good, however, they soon begin an all-out cosmic assault on their former castle -- now a luxury hotel -- in their quest to return to the past. But you can be sure THE VISITORS won't leave without first delivering nonstop laughs and outstanding comedy entertainment!« less
Smart comedy, slapstick with a French knack (knight?)
Nuits Blanches in Seattle | Seattle, WA USA | 03/11/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A very funny French comedy, this movie, and its sequel, was a huge hit in France. A medieval knight (Jean Reno, of "The Professional" and "Godzilla" fame) and his servant (Christian Clavier, a famous French comic actor, unknown abroad) got magically transported forward in time to the XXth century, where he meets his descendants - and tries to adjust to our modern world, from the mysteries of running water and flushing toilets, to those of modern women and the free pursuit of life and happiness for all. The pace never slacks, the movie offers a series of sight gags, as well as a number of more tongue-in-cheek and even (gasp) intellectual jokes and double-entendres -along w/ some "profound" reflexions slickly intertwined w/in the storyline. The movie can be approached at several levels, from the basic visceral to the high-fallutin', and has appeal to different audiences - and viewers' moods. The language is precious (difference between old French and modern French) but there's enough situational and sight humour in there that even non-French speakers should find the movie enjoyable.The U.S. remake, albeit with the same main actors, was not quite on a par, as seems to be too often the case. I felt it favored the slapstick, and neglected the more subtle undertones that the original managed to carry as well.If I have to pick a nit, it would be that that the DVD doesn't offer more Special features - but the movie is well-worth the purchase (or rental :-) anyway. Pick a bottle of wine and some good cheese, and make an evening of it!"
J'adore ce film!
K. Blonde | Fort Worth, Texas | 11/17/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is supposedly the highest grossing French movie of all time. I believe it. This movie is well-acted and supurbly scripted.
Jean Reno stars as the civilized brute, Godefroy le Hardi, living in the 1100s with his vassal, Jacquouille la Fripouille, played by Christian Clavier. Godefroy wishes to return to the past to correct a grave error, but the very old, possible senile, wizard omits the "oeufs de caille" from the recipe and Godefroy and Jacquouille find themselves in the future.
Godefroy finds his "petite-petite-petite-petite fille" Béatrice de Montmirail, played superbly by Valerie Lemercier, who has modern French aristocratic tics down pat. He is disgusted to find that his Chateau is now a hotel in the hands of a nouveau-riche commoner, Jacquard also played by Clavier. Without telling the whole story, Godefroy is, of course, trying to get back to the past to be with his beloved Dame Frenegonde, also played by Lemercier.
The acting in this movie is fantastic, the main characters, Reno, Clavier, Lemercier and Marie-Anne Chazal are all very funny. The supporting cast is just as good, with the beautiful Isabelle Nanty playing a gossipy, litiginous executive assistant and Christian Bujeau as Béatrice de Montmirail's high-strung, dentist husband.
There is a lot of word play between the medieval French spoken by Godefroy and Jacquouille and modern French. The English sub-titles leave quite a bit to be desired, as they don't do a very good job conveying this. If you don't speak French you may find that this movie relies heavily on sight gags because the complex language jokes are lost in translation. However, I have watched this with non-French speaking friends before and they have still enjoyed the movie very much. If you speak French you will enjoy this movie tremendously. I am a fluent speaker and it has taken me several watchings to get all the subtleties of language in this movie. I laugh out loud each time I watch it. It remains to this day, 10 years after I first saw it in the theater and countless movies later, one of my all-time favorites!
I give this edition of the movie a 4 out of 5 for a few reasons, none related to the movie itself, but still minor annoyances that detract from the film. For example, you cannot turn off the subtitles as far as I can tell. Additionally, the English subtitles aren't entirely faithful to what is said on screen. This doesn't detract from the film but it is still obnoxious, there are no bonus materials at all with this DVD.
Despite these minor things I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good, accessible French comedy, especially if you are a fan of Reno or Clavier."
Merci mes bons Amis !
Daubas | Paris, France | 03/23/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"you American people writting reviews on Amazon just rock my world !!!
I was very glad and shall I admit, surprised to see so many great reviews of this film that is a total French modern classic. I never thought that this kind of very French and sometimes perhaps not so subtle humour would cross over well to the States. Apparently it does, it's true that after American Pie and such, who could cast the first stone to blame the not so subtle jokes... ;o)
anyway, don't feel offended. So this film is a classic in France, I saw it for the first time when I was 7 or 8 and it was just one of my favourites, the dialogues were all over the playground and lines : "c'est OKKKKKKK!" and "mais qu'est ce que c'est que ce bins ?!" as well as the now famous light joke "jour. nuit." and the crazy "mais Monsieur Ouille, pas avec votre poncho !!!" are still ringing a bell for any French person who hasn't lived as an hermit for the last 15 years.
This film comes from a long and prolific tradition of French comedies starting in the late 70's with the Bande du Splendid, a group of actors and comics working together and eventually making it extremely big in France. Their all time classic, possibly the single most famous French film ever (at least in France) "Santa Close is a bastard" (I don't know the official american title for "le père Noël est une ordure"). This film was a play before (if you ask me better than the film) and is completely zany and very rude, crude, politically incorrect and simply hillarious. If your francophilia or curiousity asks for something to watch with friends, try to find the film. It's just CULT in France, every Christmas you see it on TV (better than the Wizard of Oz ;o)
To go with Les Visiteurs and Le père Noël, I also recommand Les Bronzés (the suntanned ??) especially the sequel Les Bronzés font du ski (even better than the original). With the same actors (Clavier, Lhermitte, Chazel, Jugniot...)that traces the 'adventures' of a group of middle class friends, first on some touristic island ressort and then skying in the Alpes. These films are extremely funny and are classics as well.
If you appreciate Thierry Lhermitte (who was reaaaally cute in his time) you may want to check out the more recent Le Placard (the closet) and Dinner Game, in which he excels as usual. These comedies are in the same tradition even though slightly more elaborate.
As many have underlined, language is very important in French films, even if slapstick is also a great favorite, therefore everything might not come through subtitles, but these films are so funny that the subtitles cannot completely kill that.
The very best French comedy of the last years was Asterix and Obelix Mission Cleopatra,it is extremely referential in its humour so I don't really know how much is understandable by a foreign audience who knows nothing about Canal + and its particular humour, however it is really untertaining and very glossy/fancy (very expansive for a French film) so check it out if you feel down, the allusions to American culture are plenty and friendly. (yes, guess what: the French are not American haters, they just have a critical mind and hate Freedom fries ;op )
I put 4 * and not 5 because as a cinephile I consider that Les Visiteurs is not quality quality; but that's just because I am elitist. In terms of cheer entertainment and laughs it is worth 5*."
Mark Frautschi | Rockville, MD | 11/27/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Les Visiteurs" (1993).I saw this film in letterbox format on Showtime Cable in June 1999. (The title sequences on the NTSC/VHS version are letterbox, but the bulk of the film is panned and scanned.) I must have tuned in 10 or 15 minutes after the opening. It is the funniest film I have ever seen. I had to consider whether this could actually be true, because I laughed so hard that I could not always read the subtitles due to my tears!What I like about this film is its playful absurdity. (I never liked the "screwball comedy" genre until this film.) The writers and actors seem to have an excellent sense of history, modern as well as medieval and of human nature. The premise is unbelievable, but is presented early in the film. The humanity, in particular the willingness of the characters to learn, to try new things and new language, is very naturally presented. This is what makes the film work. I am reminded of Peter Sellers in his 1979 film "Being There". An unbelievable premise made believable and entertaining by the naturalness of the characters in an unnatural context.This film has profanity and violence which may be inappropriate for younger audiences. It contains medieval French which may produce interesting side effects for students of French who use this film as a motivational study aid!I understand that a French language only version is available for U.S. (NTSC) players and that the 1996 sequel "Les Visiteurs 2" is also available, without subtitles.I also understand that the original cast will remake the film in 2000 entirely in English. Somehow, despite my absent French, I cannot imagine how this film could be improved upon. We will see."
Why the difference in translations between VHS and DVD versi
Therobbie1 | Mc Donald, OH | 04/22/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I can't compete with some of the reviews written here since so many of them are worded so much better than anything I might have tried to compile.--- The one thing I will say that bothered me was not the film itself but the difference in the subtitling between the original VHS issue, in French, and the subsequent American released DVD.---I guess having owned the VHS and seen it COUNTLESS times (it's that funny-but wore out now) when the DVD was issued I just about jumped out of my pants! Then came the 1st viewing. Not even 10 mins. into the film I noticed little nuance's with the DVD translation that were different from the VHS.--- This was a little disappointing but only because of my familiarity with the tape. For example: On VHS, in the one scene, right after the Jean Reno was given the witches potion, he says something to the effect of, "Holy Scrotums! The Castle swelleth like a [...]!"--On the DVD (which I'm sorry, I can't remember as well) he said something far more tamer, which is where it lost, to only a minor degree, some of it humorous pazazz and charm! I sure wish they had-had the same translators when they did the DVD cause the VHS translation was much funnier. Other than this minor little quibble, "The Visitors" is one of the funniest and most touching films I've ever seen. Jean Reno is the best!! (and an honary nod to Christian C. as the side kick!) "