Les Misérables (2012 film)

Les Misérables

The poster shows a young girl, played by Isabelle Allen, in the background of a dark night. Text above reveals the cast listing and text below reveals the film's title.

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tom Hooper
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on
Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg
Cinematography Danny Cohen
Edited by
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • 5 December 2012 (2012-12-05) (London premiere)[2]
  • 25 December 2012 (2012-12-25) (United States)
  • 11 January 2013 (2013-01-11) (United Kingdom)
Running time
158 minutes[3]
Language English
Budget $61 million[7][8]
Box office $441.8 million[8]

Les Misérables is a 2012 British-American musical drama film directed by Tom Hooper and scripted by William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schönberg, and Herbert Kretzmer, based on the musical of the same name by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg which is in turn based on the 1862 French novel by Victor Hugo. The film is a British and American venture produced by Relativity Media, Working Title Films and Cameron Mackintosh Ltd. and distributed by Universal Pictures. The film stars an ensemble cast led by Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, and Amanda Seyfried.

Set in France during the early 19th century, the film tells the story of Jean Valjean, an ex-convict who, inspired by a kindly bishop, decides to turn his life around. He eventually becomes mayor of a local town and owner of its factory. He is always alert to the risk of being captured again by police inspector Javert, who is ruthless in hunting down law-breakers, believing they cannot change for the better. One of Valjean's factory workers, Fantine, blames him for her being cast into a life of prostitution. When she dies, he feels responsible and agrees to take care of her illegitimate daughter Cosette — though he must first escape Javert. Later, when Cosette is grown, they are swept up in the political turmoil in Paris, which culminates in the Paris Uprising of 1832.

Attempts to adapt a Les Misérables film from the stage musical had taken place since the late 1980s. In June 2011, from a screenplay by Nicholson, production of the film officially began with Hooper and Mackintosh serving as director and producer, and the main characters were cast later that year. Principal photography commenced in March 2012,[9] and took place in various English locations, including Greenwich, London, Chatham, Winchester, Bath, and Portsmouth; as well as in Gourdon, France.

Les Misérables premiered in London 5 December 2012, and was released 25 December 2012 in the United States and 11 January 2013 in the United Kingdom.[2][8][10] The film received generally favourable[11] reviews, with many critics praising the cast, and Jackman, Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Barks being the most often singled out for praise. The film won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for Jackman and the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture for Hathaway.

It also won four British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA), including the Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Hathaway). It received eight Academy Award nominations including Best Picture (the first musical nominated since 2002's winner Chicago) and Best Actor for Jackman, and won three, for Best Sound Mixing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Supporting Actress for Hathaway.[12]


In 1815, French prisoner Jean Valjean is released on parole from Toulon prison after serving nineteen years for stealing a loaf of bread and trying to escape multiple times. On the outside, Valjean’s paroled status prevents him from getting work. He is offered shelter by the kindly Bishop of Digne, but Valjean steals his silverware. Captured by police and taken to the Bishop, Valjean is shocked when the Bishop says he gave him the silver, then giving him more, telling him to use it to do something worthwhile with his life. Valjean breaks his parole to start a new life.

Eight years later, Valjean is factory owner and mayor of Montreuil, Pas-de-Calais. He is shocked when a Toulon prison guard Javert arrives as his new chief of police. Javert suspects Valjean’s identity when he rescues an injured worker trapped under a heavy cart. One of Valjean’s workers, Fantine, is dismissed by the factory foreman upon learning she is sending her earnings to her illegitimate daughter Cosette, who lives with the greedy innkeepers, the Thénardiers. To support her daughter, Fantine becomes a prostitute but is arrested by Javert when she attacks an abusive customer. Valjean, learning who she is, has her hospitalized.

Valjean learns a man has been wrongly identified as him, and reveals his true identity to a court before returning to the dying Fantine, promising to care for Cosette. Javert arrives but Valjean escapes, finding Cosette and pays Fantine’s debts to the Thénardiers, though they refuse to believe he payed enough. Valjean and Cosette flee Javert, hiding in a convent, aided by the worker Valjean rescued before. Nine years later, Valjean has become a philanthropist and helps the poor in Paris. General Lamarque, the only government official sympathetic to the poor, dies, and a group of revolutionists called the Friends of the ABC plot to rebel against the monarchy. Marius Pontmercy, a member of the Friends, encounters Cosette and they fall in love, asking Éponine, the Thénardiers’ daughter to help find her.

After Marius and Cosette meet and confess their love, Éponine ( who is in love with Marius) prevents her father from robbing Valjean’s house. Valjean, believing Javert is near, makes plans to flee to England with Cosette. Cosette writes a letter for Marius, but Éponine hides it, intending on dying with Marius during the rebellion. During Lamarque’s funeral procession, the revolt begins and barricades are built across Paris. Javert pretends to be an ally to spy on the rebels but the street urchin Gavroche (the Thénadiers′ abandoned son) exposes him as a policeman, and they subdue him. During the first skirmish against the soldiers, Éponine takes a bullet for Marius and dies in his arms, giving him Cosette’s letter and confesses to him beforehand. Gavroche takes Marius’ reply to Valjean, who joins the revolution to guard Marius.

Valjean offers to execute Javert but actually releases him, faking his death. By dawn, the soldiers are close to ending the revolution, storming the students’ barricade and killing everyone but Valjean and Marius, who escape into the sewers. Thénardier comes across Valjean and the unconscious Marius, stealing the latter’s ring, before pointing a way out. Valjean finds Javert waiting for him, ignoring his nemesis’ threats. Javert, morally confused by the mercy of Valjean, commits suicide by throwing himself in the Seine. Marius recovers but is traumatized by the death of his friends.

Marius and Cosette plan to marry but Valjean, concerned his presence would threaten their happiness, makes plans to leave and reveals his identity to Marius, who promises to remain silent. Cosette and Marius marry but the Thénardier's crash the wedding to try and blackmail Marius, Thénardier saying he witnessed Valjean carrying a murdered corpse and showing the stolen ring. Marius assaults Thénardier, who reveals Valjean is at the convent. The dying Valjean reunites with Cosette and Marius, giving them letters of confession, before peacefully dying, guided away by Fantine and the Bishop’s spirits.


Actor Role
Jackman, HughHugh Jackman     Valjean, JeanJean Valjean
Crowe, RussellRussell Crowe Javert, Javert
Hathaway, AnneAnne Hathaway Fantine, Fantine
Seyfried, AmandaAmanda Seyfried Cosette, Cosette
Redmayne, EddieEddie Redmayne Pontmercy, MariusMarius Pontmercy
Tveit, AaronAaron Tveit Enjolras, Enjolras
Barks, SamanthaSamantha Barks Éponine, Éponine
Isabelle Allen, Isabelle Allen Young Cosette
Daniel Huttlestone, Daniel Huttlestone Gavroche, Gavroche
Wilkinson, ColmColm Wilkinson Bishop Myriel, Bishop Myriel
Bonham Carter, HelenaHelena Bonham Carter Madame Thénardier, Madame Thénardier
Baron Cohen, SachaSacha Baron Cohen Thénardier, Thénardier
Carvel, BertieBertie Carvel Bamatabois
Blagden, GeorgeGeorge Blagden Grantaire, Grantaire
Donnelly, KillianKillian Donnelly Combeferre, Combeferre
Fee, FraFra Fee Courfeyrac, Courfeyrac
Brammer, AlistairAlistair Brammer Prouvaire, JeanJean Prouvaire
Vick, GabrielGabriel Vick Feuilly, Feuilly
Skinner, HughHugh Skinner Joly, Joly
Lewis, IwanIwan Lewis Bahorel, Bahorel
Neal, StuartStuart Neal Laigle, Laigle
Fraser, HadleyHadley Fraser National Guard Leader, National Guard Leader
Chasen, HeatherHeather Chasen Madame Magloire, Madame Magloire
Glen, GeorgieGeorgie Glen Mademoiselle Baptistine, Mademoiselle Baptistine

Hugh Jackman stars as Jean Valjean, a Frenchman released from Toulon prison after 19 years of imprisonment for stealing bread and failed attempts at escaping from the prison.[13] Around June 2011, Jackman met with producer Cameron Mackintosh to audition in New York.[14] To prepare for the role, Jackman lost 15 pounds (6.8 kg) and later regained 30 pounds (14 kg) to mirror his character's success.[14] He avoided drinking coffee, warmed up at least 15 minutes every day, kept Ricola lozenges, drank as much as seven litres of water per day, sat in steam three times a day, took cold baths and used a wet washcloth over his face while flying, citing the musical's original co-director Trevor Nunn for his training.[15] He worked extensively with vocal coach Joan Lader, and managed to extend his vocal range, which he originally categorised a high baritone, up to tenor.[16]

Russell Crowe stars as Javert, a police inspector dedicating his life to imprisoning Valjean once again.[13] Before being cast as Javert, Crowe was initially dissatisfied with the character. On his way to Europe for a friend's wedding, Crowe came to London and met with producer Cameron Mackintosh. On meeting with Tom Hooper, he told the director about his concerns about playing Javert, and after meeting with him, Crowe was "determined to be involved in the project and play Javert. I think it had something to do with Tom's passion for what he was about to undertake, and he clearly understood the problems and he clearly understood the challenge."[17] On visiting Victor Hugo's home in Paris, Crowe said, "[The house's curator] told me about [19th century detective Eugene Francois] Vidocq, a man who had been both a prisoner and a policeman, the man credited with inventing undercover police work when he established the Brigade de Surete."[14]

Anne Hathaway plays Fantine, and Amanda Seyfried plays Cosette.[18][19][20] Fantine is a struggling factory worker and mother of an illegitimate child, Cosette, who is kept by the Thénardiers until Valjean buys her from them. When Hathaway was cast, she stated, "There was resistance because I was between their ideal ages for the parts—maybe not mature enough for Fantine but past the point where I could believably play Cosette."[14] On developing Cosette, Seyfried said, "In the little time that I had to explain Cosette and give the audience a reason [to see her] a symbol of love and strength and light in this tragedy, I needed to be able to convey things you may not have connected with in the show."[21] A vocal coach was enlisted to help her with the songs.[22] Isabelle Allen plays young Cosette, a child.[23] On working with her fellow actors, Allen said, "They gave us lots of tips and mostly [made] sure we were all OK. They were really nice."[24]

Eddie Redmayne plays Marius Pontmercy, a student revolutionary who is friends with the Thenardiers' daughter, Éponine, but falls in love with Cosette.[25][26][27] He found director Hooper's vision "incredibly helpful". On collaborating with Hooper, Redmayne said, "He was incredibly collaborative. Certainly during the rehearsal process, we sat with Tom and the Victor Hugo book adding things."[28] It was Redmayne who suggested to Hooper that his character's song, "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables", should begin a cappella in order to better express Marius' guilt and pain.

Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen play the Thénardiers, a pair of swindling innkeepers.[29][30][31] Hooper previously collaborated with Bonham Carter in The King's Speech, in which she portrayed Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.[32] Baron Cohen and Bonham Carter previously co-starred in the film adaptation of the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. When Baron Cohen accepted the role of Thénardier, he had to abandon Django Unchained.[33]

Samantha Barks played Éponine, the Thénardiers' daughter.[34] Having previously played the role at the 25th Anniversary concert and in the West End production, Barks said "there was similarities in playing the role—they're the same character—but Eponine in the novel and Eponine in the musical are two kind of different girls, so to me it was the thrill of merging those two together, to get something that still had that heart and soul that we all connect to in the musical, but also the awkward, self-loathing teenager that we see in the novel, trying to merge those two together." She found Jackman "fascinating to learn from, and I feel like that's the way it should be done".[35]

Aaron Tveit portrayed Enjolras, the leader of Les Amis de l'ABC. Hoping to play Marius, Tveit submitted an audition tape in which he sang "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" and "In My Life". He had never performed any role in the musical. He also said of Enjolras that "once I got more and more familiar with the material and when I read the novel, I was like, 'Wow this is a really, really great role,' and I felt very much better suited for it." Tveit said the shooting of the film was "almost as grueling as a marathon".[36]

Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle, two of the original cast members involved in the Broadway and West End productions of the English version (as Jean Valjean and Éponine, respectively), make appearances. Wilkinson plays the Bishop of Digne, while Ruffelle plays a prostitute.[37] West End star Hadley Fraser, who previously played Grantaire in the 25th Anniversary Concert and Javert at West End, also makes a cameo as the Army General. Another West End star, Gina Beck, makes a cameo appearance one of the "Turning Women". Michael Jibson plays the foreman of the factory in which Fantine works and is fired from.[31]

Several actors in the West End production of the musical appear members of the student society, including George Blagden as Grantaire;[38] Killian Donnelly as Combeferre; Fra Fee as Courfeyrac; Alistair Brammer as Jean Prouvaire; Hugh Skinner as Joly;[39] Gabriel Vick as Feuilly;[40] Iwan Lewis as Bahorel; and Stuart Neal as Bossuet. Blagden was cast in January 2012.[41] Other stage actors including Hannah Waddingham, Daniel Evans and Kerry Ellis have small parts in the film along with actors who previously starred in various productions of Les Misérables.[31][42]

Musical numbers

A highlights soundtrack album was released via Universal Republic 21 December 2012.[43] Republic Records confirmed 25 January 2013, via Twitter that a 2-disc deluxe soundtrack was in production alongside the DVD and Blu-ray; it was released 19 March 2013.[44]

The film contains every song from the original stage musical with the exception of "I Saw Him Once" and "Dog Eats Dog", although many songs have been partially or extensively cut. "The Attack on Rue Plumet" and "Little People" were especially shortened. In addition, the Bishop sings with Fantine during "Valjean's Death" instead of Eponine, as was in the stage musical. "Stars" was also moved to before "Look Down", which echoes the original 1985 London production. The lyrics of some songs were also changed to suit the changes in setting or narrative to the stage musical. In addition to the cuts, a new song, "Suddenly" was added, new music was composed for the battle scenes, and the order of several songs changed from the stage musical. Several major pieces, primarily as "Who Am I?", "Stars", and the two "Soliloquy" pieces are performed in a different key than most recordings.

  1. "Look Down" – Convicts, Javert, Valjean†§
  2. "On Parole" – Valjean, Bishop of Digne
  3. "The Bishop" – Bishop of Digne†§
  4. "Valjean's Soliloquy" – Valjean†§
  5. "At the End of the Day" – Poor, Foreman, Workers, Factory Women, Fantine, Valjean†§
  6. "The Runaway Cart" – Valjean, Javert
  7. "The Docks (Lovely Ladies)" – Sailors, Old Woman, Fantine, Crone, Whores, Pimp, Toothman§
  8. "I Dreamed a Dream" – Fantine†§
  9. "Fantine's Arrest" – Bamatabois, Fantine, Javert, Valjean§
  10. "Who Am I?" – Valjean§
  11. "Fantine's Death" – Fantine, Valjean§
  12. "The Confrontation" – Javert, Valjean†§
  13. "Castle on a Cloud" – Young Cosette, Mme. Thénardier†§
  14. "Master of the House" – Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier, Inn Patrons†§
  15. "The Well Scene" – Valjean, Young Cosette§
  16. "The Bargain" – Valjean, Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier§
  17. "The Thénardier Waltz of Treachery" – Thénardier, Valjean, Mme. Thénardier, Young Cosette§
  18. "Suddenly" – Valjean†§
  19. "The Convent" – Valjean§
  20. "Stars" – Javert§
  21. "Paris/Look Down" – Gavroche, Beggars, Enjolras, Marius, Students§
  22. "The Robbery" – Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier, Éponine, Valjean§
  23. "Javert's Intervention" – Javert, Thénardier§
  24. "Éponine's Errand" - Éponine, Marius
  25. "ABC Café/Red and Black" – Students, Enjolras, Marius, Grantaire, Gavroche†§
  26. "In My Life" – Cosette, Valjean, Marius, Éponine§
  27. "A Heart Full of Love" – Marius, Cosette, Éponine†§
  28. "The Attack on Rue Plumet" – Thénardier, Thieves, Éponine, Valjean
  29. "On My Own" – Éponine†§
  30. "One Day More" – Valjean, Marius, Cosette, Éponine, Enjolras, Javert, Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier, Cast of Les Misérables†§
  31. "Do You Hear the People Sing?" – Enjolras, Marius, Students, Beggars§
  32. "Building the Barricade (Upon These Stones)" – Enjolras, Javert, Gavroche, Students§
  33. "Javert's Arrival" – Javert, Enjolras§
  34. "Little People" – Gavroche, Students, Enjolras, Javert§
  35. "A Little Fall of Rain" – Éponine, Marius§
  36. "Night of Anguish" – Enjolras, Marius, Valjean, Javert, Students
  37. "Drink With Me" – Grantaire, Marius, Gavroche, Students†§
  38. "Bring Him Home" – Valjean†§
  39. "Dawn of Anguish" – Enjolras, Marius, Gavroche, Students§
  40. "The Second Attack (Death of Gavroche)" – Gavroche, Enjolras, Students, Army Officer§
  41. "The Sewers" – Valjean, Javert§
  42. "Javert's Suicide" – Javert†§
  43. "Turning" – Parisian women§
  44. "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables" – Marius†§
  45. "A Heart Full of Love [Reprise]" – Marius, Cosette, Valjean, Gillenormand§
  46. "Valjean's Confession" – Valjean, Marius§
  47. "Suddenly [Reprise]" – Marius, Cosette§
  48. "Wedding Chorale" – Chorus, Marius, Thérnardier, Mme. Thérnardier§
  49. "Beggars at the Feast" – Thénardier, Mme. Thénardier§
  50. "Valjean's Death" – Valjean, Fantine, Cosette, Marius, Bishop of Digne†§
  51. "Do You Hear the People Sing? [Reprise] / Epilogue" – The Cast of Les Misérables†§



In 1988, Alan Parker was considered to direct a film adaptation of the Les Misérables musical. However, in 1991, Bruce Beresford signed on to be the film's director.[45]

Producer Cameron Mackintosh had an integral role in facilitating the production of the film.

In 1992, producer Cameron Mackintosh announced that the film would be co-produced by TriStar Pictures.[46] However, the film was abandoned. In 2005, Mackintosh later confirmed that interest in turning the musical into a film adaptation had resumed during the early months of that year. Mackintosh said that he wanted the film to be directed by "someone who has a vision for the show that will put the show's original team, including [Mackintosh], back to work." He also said that he wanted the film audiences to make it "fresh as the actual show".[47]

In 2009, producer Eric Fellner began negotiations with Mackintosh to acquire the film's rights and concluded it near the end of 2011. Fellner, Tim Bevan, and Debra Hayward engaged William Nicholson to write a screenplay for the film.[14] Nicholson wrote the draft within six weeks time.[14]

The DVD/Blu-ray release of Les Misérables: 25th Anniversary Concert confirmed an announcement of the musical's film adaptation.[48]


In March 2011, director Tom Hooper began negotiations to direct Les Misérables from the screenplay by William Nicholson.[49] Production on the film officially began in June that year, with Cameron Mackintosh and Working Title Films co-producing. Having already approached Hooper prior to production with the desire of playing Jean Valjean, Hugh Jackman began negotiations to star in the film alongside Paul Bettany as Javert.[50][51] Other stars who became attached to the project included Hathaway and Helena Bonham Carter.[52]

In September 2011, Jackman was officially cast as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe was cast as Javert.[53] The following month, Mackintosh confirmed that Fantine would be played by Hathaway. Before Hathaway was cast, Amy Adams, Jessica Biel, Tammy Blanchard, Kristin Kreuk, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet and Rebecca Hall had reportedly been considered for the part.[54] For the role, Hathaway allowed her hair to be cut short on camera for a scene in which her character sells her hair, stating that the lengths she goes to for her roles "don't feel like sacrifices. Getting to transform is one of the best parts of [acting]."[55] The role also required her to lose 25 pounds (11 kg).[14]

In addition to Hathaway’s weight loss, Hugh Jackman also lost an extreme amount of weight for the opening scene as Jean Valjean when he is imprisoned in a labor camp. To achieve an emaciated look, Jackman committed to a minimalistic diet and intense work outs. In an interview with Epix, Jackman revealed that he went on 45 minute morning runs on an empty stomach which Hathaway later used as a weight loss tactic with Jackman's help, and he went on a 36-hour liquid fast. This allowed him to rapidly lose ten pounds and caused his eyes and cheeks to sink severely.[56] With these efforts, Jackman was able to successfully look unrecognizable as Jean Valjean in the opening scene.

In November 2011, Eddie Redmayne joined the cast as Marius Pontmercy.[25] It was reported that the shortlist of actresses for the role of Éponine included Scarlett Johansson (who also auditioned for the role of Fantine), Lea Michele, Tamsin Egerton, Taylor Swift, and Evan Rachel Wood.[57][58]

In January 2012, the press reported that the role of Éponine had officially been offered to Taylor Swift, but Swift later stated that those reports were not entirely accurate.[59][60][61][62] At the end of the month, Mackintosh made a special appearance during the curtain call of the Oliver! UK tour at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, announcing that the tour's Nancy, Samantha Barks, who had played Éponine in the West End production and in the 25th Anniversary concert, would reprise the role in the film.[34] Barks had been auditioning for 15 weeks by that point.[63]

Originally, an unknown was sought for the role of Cosette, with an open casting call in New York City in December 2011.[64] In January 2012, reports surfaced that Amanda Seyfried had been offered the role instead.[65] Eddie Redmayne confirmed both Seyfried's casting and that of Bonham Carter as Madame Thénardier in an interview on 12 January.[18] Hooper confirmed that he would stick to the musical's essentially sung-through form and would thus introduce very little additional dialogue.[27] Hooper confirmed that the film would not be shot in 3D, expressing his opinion that it would not enhance the emotional narrative of the film and would distract audiences from the storytelling.[66]

Following this announcement, reports surfaced in the press that Sacha Baron Cohen had begun talks to join the cast as Thénardier and that Aaron Tveit had been cast as Enjolras.[67][68] Later that month, the press officially confirmed Tveit's casting as Enjolras.[19][20] Colm Wilkinson and Frances Ruffelle (the original Valjean and Éponine, respectively, in the West End and Broadway productions) appeared in the film. Wilkinson played the Bishop of Digne, and Ruffelle had a cameo as a prostitute.[37] George Blagden was cast as Grantaire.[38] In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Front Row, Tom Hooper revealed that Claude-Michel Schönberg will be composing one new song and additional music. The director also expanded on the performers singing live on set, which he felt would eliminate the need to recapture "locked" performances and allow more creative freedom. More details of this were confirmed by Eddie Redmayne in an interview. He stated that the cast would sing to piano tracks (via earpiece) and that the orchestra would be added in post-production.[69]

In February 2012, casting auditions involving extras for the film took place at the University of Portsmouth and Chatham Maritime in Chatham.[70] Several days later, Mackintosh officially confirmed that Bonham Carter would play Madame Thénardier.[30] He also announced that the title of the newly created song for the film is "Suddenly" and that it "beautifully explains what happens when Valjean takes Cosette from the inn and looks after her."[71] At the end of the month, The Sun reported that the long-rumoured Baron Cohen had been cast in the role of Monsieur Thénardier.[72]

The cast began rehearsals in January 2012, with principal photography due to begin in March.[73] The press officially confirmed Baron Cohen's casting during the latter month.[31] No table read took place before filming.[22]


Tom Hooper directing the second unit of Les Misérables on location in Winchester in April 2012.
The film's set at Greenwich Naval College.

With a production budget of $61 million,[7] principal photography of the film began 8 March 2012 in Gourdon. Filming locations in England included Boughton House, Winchester College, Winchester Cathedral Close, Her Majesty's Naval Base Portsmouth, Chatham Dockyard,[74] St Mary the Virgin Church, Ewelme, South Oxfordshire[75] and Pinewood Studios.[9][76][77][78] In April 2012, crews built a replica of the Elephant of the Bastille in Greenwich.[79][80] In the novel, Gavroche lives in the decaying monument.

On-location filming also took place at Gourdon, Alpes-Maritimes in France. Footage of Hathaway singing "I Dreamed a Dream", a song from the musical, was shown at CinemaCon 26 April 2012. Russell Crowe confirmed 5 June 2012, on Twitter that he had finished filming. He was later followed by Samantha Barks, confirming that all of her scenes had too been completed. Jackman stated that all filming had been completed 23 June 2012.[81] Some late filming occurred in Bath, Somerset, in October 2012 where stunt shots for Javert's suicide scene had to be reshot due to an error found with this footage during post-production. Bath was not the original filming location for this scene, but the late footage was captured at Pulteney Weir.[82]


The film's vocals were recorded live on set using live piano accompaniments played through earpieces as a guide, with the orchestral accompaniment recorded in post-production, rather than the traditional method where the film's musical soundtracks are usually pre-recorded and played back on set to which actors lip-sync. Production sound mixer Simon Hayes used 50 DPA 4071 lavalier microphones to record the vocals.[83] Hooper explained his choice:

I just felt ultimately, it was a more natural way of doing it. You know, when actors do dialogue, they have freedom in time, they have freedom in pacing. They can stop for a moment, they can speed up. I simply wanted to give the actors the normal freedoms that they would have. If they need a bit for an emotion or a feeling to form in the eyes before they sing, I can take that time. If they cry, they can cry through a song. When you're doing it to playback, to the millisecond you have to copy what you do. You have no freedom in the moment – and acting is the illusion of being free in the moment.[84]

Although this unique live recording method has been stated as "a world's first" by the creative team, several film musicals have used this method before, including early talkies, as lip-syncing wasn't perfected, the 1975 20th Century Fox film At Long Last Love, the adaptation of The Magic Flute that same year, and more recently in the 1995 adaptation of The Fantasticks, in the 2001 film version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and in the 2007 film Across the Universe with songs by The Beatles.

Producers announced 27 August 2012, that recording sessions for Les Misérables would begin in London 10 October and featured a 70-piece orchestra. They was also announced that composer Claude-Michel Schönberg was composing additional music to underscore the film.[85] Universal Studios executives were granted a viewing of the rough cut of the film 9 September 2012, without the orchestra tracks. They greeted the cut with "extreme excitement".



The film's first teaser trailer debuted online 30 May 2012, and later in theatres with Snow White and the Huntsman, The Bourne Legacy and Argo.[86]

Producers released an extended first look on the film's official Facebook page 20 September 2012. This short introduces and explains Hooper's method of recording vocals live on set, comparing it to the traditional method of pre-recording the vocals in a studio months in advance. Hugh Jackman stated that filming in this way allows him more creative freedom with the material and that he "only has to worry about acting it." Both Hooper and the actors believe that this choice of production method will make the film feel much more emotional, raw, and real. The actors praised Hooper for his method and provide brief interviews throughout the video. Hooper mentions, "I thought it was an amazing opportunity to do something genuinely groundbreaking."[87]

Clips of Jackman, Hathaway, Seyfried, Redmayne and Barks singing were received very positively, especially the teaser trailer's presentation of "I Dreamed a Dream" by Hathaway. Producers released a new poster, featuring young Cosette (in what is essentially a real-life version of the musical's emblem), played by Isabelle Allen, 24 September 2012, on the film's official Facebook page.[88] They released posters featuring Jean Valjean, Javert, Fantine, and Cosette 12 October,[89] with additional posters of Thénardiers and Marius released 1 November 2012.


Les Misérables was originally to be released 7 December 2012 before the studio moved it to 14 December in the United States; however, 18 September 2012, they delayed the film's release date to 25 December, so as not to conflict with the opening of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which opened 14 December. Because of this, it opened alongside Django Unchained.[10] Release date for the United Kingdom was 11 January 2013.[90]

Les Misérables was screened for the first time at the Lincoln Center in New York City, 23 November 2012, and received a standing ovation from the crowd.[91][92] This was followed by a screening the next day in Los Angeles, which also received positive reviews.[93]

Les Misérables premiered 5 December 2012, at the Empire, Leicester Square in London.[2] Red carpet footage was screened live online in an event hosted by Michael Ball, the original Marius of the West End. The film was released in select IMAX theatres in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, and Montreal the same day as its domestic theatrical release, 25 December 2012.[94] Les Misérables was released internationally by IMAX theatres on 10 January 2013.[94]

Home media

The film was confirmed for home release 13 May 2013 on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD in the United Kingdom; it was released in the United States 22 March 2013. The DVD contains three featurettes: The Stars of Les Misérables, Creating the Perfect Paris, and The Original Masterwork: Victor Hugo's Les Misérables, along with an audio commentary from director Tom Hooper. The Blu-ray has all DVD features including four additional featurettes: Les Misérables Singing Live, Battle at the Barricade, The West End Connection, and Les Misérables On Location.[95]


Box office

Les Misérables earned $148,809,770 in North America and $293,000,000 in other territories for a worldwide total of $441,809,770.[8] In North America, Les Misérables opened 25 December 2012 in 2,808 theatres, placing first at the box office with $18.1 million.[96] This amount broke the record for the highest opening day gross for a musical film, previously held by High School Musical 3: Senior Year, and was also the second highest opening day gross for a film released on Christmas Day.[97] It earned $27.3 million in its opening weekend, placing third behind Django Unchained and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.[98]

The film was released in the United Kingdom 11 January 2013 and earned £8.1 ($13.1) million in its opening weekend, making it the largest opening weekend for a musical film, as well as for Working Title.[99]

Critical response

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 69% approval rating with an average rating of 6.9/10, based on an aggregation of 229 reviews. The site's consensus reads: "Impeccably mounted but occasionally bombastic, Les Misérables largely succeeds thanks to bravura performances from its distinguished cast."[100] On Metacritic, the film achieved an average score of 63 out of 100 based on 41 reviews, signifying "generally favorable reviews".[101] The film was generally praised for its acting and ensemble cast, with Jackman, Hathaway and Barks being singled out for praise. The live singing, which was heavily promoted in marketing for the film, received a more divided response.

Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph gave the film five stars: "Les Misérables is a blockbuster, and the special effects are emotional: explosions of grief; fireballs of romance; million-buck conflagrations of heartbreak. Accordingly, you should see it in its opening week, on a gigantic screen, with a fanatical crowd."[102]

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw concurred: "Even as a non-believer in this kind of "sung-through" musical, I was battered into submission by this mesmeric and sometimes compelling film ...".[103] Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times gave a positive review, saying that the film "is a clutch player that delivers an emotional wallop when it counts. You can walk into the theater as an agnostic, but you may just leave singing with the choir."[104] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone said, "Besides being a feast for the eyes and ears, Les Misérables overflows with humor, heartbreak, rousing action and ravishing romance. Damn the imperfections, it's perfectly marvelous."[105]

Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter said, "As the enduring success of this property has shown, there are large, emotionally susceptible segments of the population ready to swallow this sort of thing, but that doesn't mean it's good."[106]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote: "[Director Tom] Hooper can be very good with actors. But his inability to leave any lily ungilded—to direct a scene without tilting or hurtling or throwing the camera around—is bludgeoning and deadly. By the grand finale, when tout le monde is waving the French tricolor in victory, you may instead be raising the white flag in exhausted defeat."[107]

Justin Chang of Variety wrote that the film "will more than satisfy the show's legions of fans." Chang praised the performances of Jackman, Hathaway, Barks, Tveit and Seyfried (i.e., every leading cast member except Crowe and Redmayne) but said that the film's editing "seems reluctant to slow down and let the viewer simply take in the performances."[108]

Callum Marsh of Slant Magazine gave the film 1 star, and wrote: "Flaws—and there are a great many that would have never made the cut were this a perfectible studio recording—are conveniently swept under the rug of candid expression ... the worst quality of Les Misérables's live singing is simply that it puts too much pressure on a handful of performers who frankly cannot sing.... Fisheye lenses and poorly framed close-ups abound in Les Misérables, nearly every frame a revelation of one man's bad taste ... One would be hard-pressed to describe this, despite the wealth of beauty on display, as anything but an ugly film, shot and cut ineptly. Everything in the film, songs included, is cranked to 11, the melodrama of it all soaring. So it's odd that this kind of showboating maximalism should be ultimately reduced to a few fisheye'd faces, mugging for their close-up, as the people sing off-key and broken."[109] The Chicago Tribune critic Michael Philips gave the film only one and a half stars, writing: "The camera bobs and weaves like a drunk, frantically. So you have hammering close-ups, combined with woozy insecurity each time more than two people are in the frame. ...too little in this frenzied mess of a film registers because Hooper is trying to make everything register at the same nutty pitch."[110]

Some specific performances were reviewed very positively. Anne Hathaway's performance of ballad "I Dreamed a Dream" was met with praise, with many comparing its showstopper-like quality to Jennifer Hudson's performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from Dreamgirls.[111] Christopher Orr of The Atlantic wrote that "Hathaway gives it everything she has, beginning in quiet sorrow before building to a woebegone climax: she gasps, she weeps, she coughs. If you are blown away by the scene—as many will be; it will almost certainly earn Hathaway her first Oscar—this may be the film for you."[112] Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post writes that "The centerpiece of a movie composed entirely of centerpieces belongs to Anne Hathaway, who as the tragic heroine Fantine sings another of the memorable numbers".[113] Joy Tipping of The Dallas Morning News described Hathaway's performance as "angelic".[114]

Claudia Puig of USA Today describes her as "superb as the tragic Fantine".[115] Travers felt that "A dynamite Hathaway shatters every heart when she sings how 'life has killed the dream I dreamed.' Her volcanic performance has Oscar written all over it."[105] Lou Lumenick, critic for the New York Post, wrote that the film is "worth seeing for Hathaway alone".[116] She was widely considered to be the frontrunner for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress,[117] ultimately winning it.

Eddie Redmayne also received considerable praise for his performance with Bloomberg News saying that "Eddie Redmayne—most recently seen as the eager young production assistant in My Week with Marilyn—delivers by far the most moving and memorable performance in the film as the young firebrand Marius, who, along with his fellow students, is caught up in France's political upheavals in the 19th century."[118]

Samantha Barks earned praise for her portrayal of Éponine, with Digital Journal saying: "Samantha Barks plays Éponine with such grace, sweetness, and sadness that it is hard to imagine anyone else in the role",[119] while Claudia Puig of USA Today calls her "heartbreakingly soulful",[115] Richard Roeper of The Chicago Sun-Times describes her performance as "star-making",[120] and Roger Friedman of Showbiz411.com says she "just about steals the film".[121]

Crowe's performance was less well received and even Crowe agreed that the film suffered from poor vocal performances. Emma Gosnell, writing for The Daily Telegraph, stated that she walked out of the showing due to the poor singing, specifically citing Crowe and Jackman as the cause. Playback singer Marni Nixon said "[Crowe] was nothing. It wasn’t that he was choosing to sing like that, he just couldn't do anything else" and that Jackman acted well but "could have done with a nobler voice". She also criticised Bonham Carter as being incomprehensible, but praised the rest of the female cast.[122] American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert tweeted several disparaging messages, including "why not cast actors who could actually sound good?" and "the singing was so distracting at times it pulled me out", to which Crowe replied via Twitter "I don't disagree with Adam,sure it could have been sweetened,Hooper wanted it raw and real,that's how it is".[123] Nixon rebutted this: "We're talking about a musical. Is that real? People don't go around singing 'La la la la' to each other all day!"[122]

In 2013, the film was nominated for eight Academy Awards, including the Best Picture, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Hugh Jackman,[124] and went on to win in three categories: Best Supporting Actress for Anne Hathaway, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Sound Mixing.


Award Date of ceremony Category Nominee Result Ref
Academy Awards 24 February 2013 Best Picture Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh Nominated [124]
Best Actor Hugh Jackman Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway Won
Best Original Song "Suddenly" (music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil) Nominated
Best Costume Design Paco Delgado Nominated
Best Makeup and Hairstyling Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell Won
Best Sound Mixing Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, and Simon Hayes Won
Best Production Design Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson Nominated
American Film Institute 11 January 2013 Movies of the Year Won [125]
Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Award 28 January 2013 Best International Film Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh Nominated [126]
Best International Actor Hugh Jackman Nominated
British Academy Film Award 10 February 2013 Best Film Nominated [127]
Best British Film Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role Hugh Jackman Nominated
Best Actress in a Supporting Role Anne Hathaway Won
Best Cinematography Danny Cohen Nominated
Best Costume Design Paco Delgado Nominated
Best Makeup and Hair Lisa Westcott Won
Best Sound Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Jonathan Allen, Lee Walpole, and John Warhurst Won
Best Production Design Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 10 January 2013 Best Film Nominated [128]
Best Acting Ensemble The Cast of Les Misérables Nominated
Best Actor Hugh Jackman Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway Won
Best Director Tom Hooper Nominated
Best Song "Suddenly" Nominated
Best Cinematography Danny Cohen Nominated
Best Art Direction Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson Nominated
Best Editing Chris Dickens and Melanie Oliver Nominated
Best Costume Design Paco Delgado Nominated
Best Makeup Lisa Westcott Won
Chicago Film Critics Association 17 December 2012 Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway Nominated [129]
Best Art Direction Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson Nominated
Most Promising Performer Samantha Barks Nominated
Directors Guild of America Award 2 February 2013 Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Tom Hooper Nominated
Dorian Awards 17 January 2013 Film of the Year Nominated [130][131]
Film Performance of the Year - Actor Hugh Jackman Nominated
Film Performance of the Year - Actress Anne Hathaway Won
Visually Striking Film of the Year Nominated
Golden Globe Award 13 January 2013 Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Won [132]
Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy Hugh Jackman Won
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Anne Hathaway Won
Best Original Song "Suddenly" Nominated
Grammy Awards 26 January 2014 Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media Cameron Mackintosh, Lee McCutcheon and Stephan Metcalfe Nominated [133]
Hollywood Film Festival 23 October 2012 Best Trailer Erin Wyatt Won [134]
Producer of the Year Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh Won
Spotlight Award Samantha Barks Won
Houston Film Critics Society 5 January 2013 Best Picture Nominated
Best Director Tom Hooper Nominated
Best Actor Hugh Jackman Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway Won
Best Cinematography Danny Cohen Nominated
Best Original Song "Suddenly" Won
5th Annual Lancashire Film Critics Awards 30 March 2013 Best Film Won [135]
Best Director Tom Hooper Won
London Film Critics Circle 20 January 2013 British Film of the Year Nominated
Actor of the Year Hugh Jackman Nominated
Supporting Actress of the Year Anne Hathaway Won
Young British Performer of the Year Samantha Barks Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association 9 December 2012 Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway
(also for The Dark Knight Rises)
MTV Movie Awards 14 April 2013 Best Female Performance Anne Hathaway Nominated [136]
Best Breakthrough Performance Eddie Redmayne Nominated
Best Musical Moment Anne Hathaway Nominated
New York Film Critics Circle Award 3 December 2012 Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway
(also for The Dark Knight Rises)
New York Film Critics Online 3 December 2012 Movies of the Year Won
Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway Won
Producers Guild of America Award 26 January 2013 Best Theatrical Motion Picture Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, and Cameron Mackintosh Nominated [137]
Satellite Award 16 December 2012 Best Film Nominated [138]
Best Cast – Motion Picture The Cast of Les Misérables Won
Best Actor – Motion Picture Hugh Jackman Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Eddie Redmayne Nominated
Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Anne Hathaway Won
Samantha Barks Nominated
Best Art Direction and Production Design Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson Nominated
Best Costume Design Paco Delgado Nominated
Best Editing Chris Dickens and Melanie Oliver Nominated
Best Original Song "Suddenly" Won
Best Sound John Warhurst, Lee Walpole, and Simon Hayes Won
Saturn Awards 26 June 2013 Best Action / Adventure Nominated [139]
Best Actor Hugh Jackman Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway Nominated
Best Performance by a Younger Actor Daniel Huttlestone Nominated
Best Costume Paco Delgado Won
Best Production Design Eve Stewart Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Award 27 January 2013 Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture The Cast of Les Misérables Nominated [140]
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role Hugh Jackman Nominated
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Anne Hathaway Won
Outstanding Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association 10 December 2012 Best Film Nominated [141]
Best Acting Ensemble The Cast of Les Misérables Won
Best Actor Hugh Jackman Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Samantha Barks Nominated
Anne Hathaway Won
Best Director Tom Hooper Nominated
Best Art Direction Eve Stewart and Anna Lynch-Robinson Nominated
Best Cinematography Danny Cohen Nominated
Young Artist Award 5 May 2013 Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor Daniel Huttlestone Nominated [142]
Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actress Ten and Under Isabelle Allen Won


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