Les Misérables (1998 film)

1998 film directed by Bille August

Les Misérables is a 1998 film about a former criminal, who has atoned for his past and now finds himself in the midst of the French Revolution, avoiding a law-obsessed policeman hell-bent on capturing him.

Directed by Bille August. Written by Rafael Yglesias, based on the Victor Hugo novel of the same name.
The legend comes to life.

Jean Valjean

  • Nineteen years, now the real punishment begins.
  • [to Fantine, as he is being taken away] This is right, my dear. I stole something, I did. I stole happiness with you. I don't mind paying.


  • Reform is a discredited fantasy. Modern science tells us that people are by nature, law breakers or law abiders. A wolf could wear sheep's clothing but he's still a wolf.
  • [about Valjean] He lies so well, doesn't he? He's had a lot of practice. A lifetime of lies.
  • It's a pity the law doesn't allow me to be merciful.


  • I didn't breathe when you spoke. I was afraid I'd miss a word.


Mme. Gilot: [sharing their meal] What crime did you commit?
Jean Valjean: Maybe I killed someone... How do you know I'm not going to murder you?
Bishop: How do you know I'm not going to murder you?
Jean Valjean: What is that - a joke?
Bishop: I guess we'll have to trust each other.

Bishop: Now don't forget, don't ever forget, you've promised to become a new man.
Jean Valjean: Promise? Wha, Why are you doing this?
Bishop: Jean Valjean my brother you no longer belong to evil. With this silver, I have bought your soul. I've ransomed you from fear and hatred, and now I give you back to God.

Jean Valjean: You look better everyday.
Fantine: Liar.

Jean Valjean: When you're better, I'll find work for you.
Fantine: But you don't understand, I'm a whore... and Cosette has no father.
Jean Valjean: She has the Lord. He is her father. And you're his creation. In his eyes, you have never been anything but an innocent and... beautiful woman.

Jean Valjean: You might be making a mistake.
Javert: Mistake? What kind of mistake is that?
Jean Valjean: Sometimes, people move into town to start a new slate, you might be doing more harm than good by prying into their private lives.

Javert: Monsieur, a serious... a grave violation of the public trust has been committed. An inferior has shown a complete lack of respect for the law. He must be exposed and punished.
Jean Valjean: Who is the offender?
Javert: I am. I slandered you Monsieur le maire, I'm here to ask that you demand my dismissal.

Judge: Monsieur le maire, I know you to be a kind man, but this...
Jean Valjean: A kind? A kind man? When I was in prison I was as ignorant and mean and devious as these men here, but not kind. And I wish I could keep my mouth shut and let this poor wretch suffer for me, but... continue with your investigation, monsieur, you will find further proof that I am Valjean.

Jean Valjean: Brevet, Lombard, Bertin. Look at me. You recognize me? I recognize you, Brevet. You were an informer in Toulon, I see you're still a snitch.
Brevet: Valjean?
Jean Valjean: Hello, Brevet. [turns to Lombard] And you, Lombard, don't look at my fancy clothes, don't look at my scraped chin. Look at my eyes. You called yourself Godless, right? You've got a scar on your left shoulder. I gave it to you the night you tried to kill me, remember? When I pinned you over the stove.
Lombard: It is you...
Jean Valjean: Show the court your scar.
[Lombard bares his shoulder revealing the scar]
Jean Valjean: Bertin, the hollow of your left arm, there's a date tatooed, 1789, the year of the revolution. Show them!
[Bertin rolls up his sleave to reveal the tattoo]
Jean Valjean: I know these men, Monsieur le President, and they know me. I am the man you want. I am Jean Valjean.

Captain Beauvais: [pointing a pistol at Valjean with a trembling hand] Are you a convict? Is that true?
Jean Valjean: Yes.
Captain Beauvais: Where's the inspector, in there?
Jean Valjean: Inside.
Captain Beauvais: Did you kill him?
[Valjean shakes his head]
Captain Beauvais: [lowers his pistol] That's a pity. [hands over his pistol to Valjean] You'd better hit me hard enough... to make a lump.

Marius: If we can't win today, then none of us have a future.
Jean Valjean: You have love. That's the only future God gives us.

Cosette: Please tell me what this is all about, papa. Please, please tell me what this is. Please, what is it?
Jean Valjean: [stammering] I... I am a convict. When I was young... just your age I was very poor, I was starving. One day, I stood in front of the window. A window full of bread, there was just glass between me... and not being hungry anymore, it was so easy. So I broke it... and took what I wanted. Then they caught me... and put me in chains for almost 19 years. They did things to me... I can't tell you about it, and I did things, there in jail. Terrible things. I became an animal. They took my dignity, they took everything from me.


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