The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Reviews

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August 15, 2017
Though all of the acting was great and the props were fantastic, the script given to the actors was dated and felt less memorable than it otherwise could have been.
Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
July 28, 2017
There is a darkness to Victor Hugo's novel, and while there were quite a few changes in this film version, it captures a good part of it, and is very well made. Set in the late 15th century, cruelty, torture, misogyny, ignorance, and superstition are the order of the day, and director William Dieterle does a great job of presenting it in an unflinching yet balanced way. The film is entertaining and has elements of romance and humor. It also many beautiful shots, such as those at the 'festival of fools', and those highlighting an impressive studio version of Notre Dame and its gargoyles. Laughton is brilliant as Quasimodo, and the rest of the cast is strong as well, including Maureen O'Hara as Esmerelda, the gypsy woman who will end up having four men fall for her. I have to say, though, Harry Davenport is not regal enough in his role as King Louis XI. I won't spoil anything, but as the film sets a perfect mood and is spot on in so many scenes, I think it would have been even better had it been more faithful to the novel.
April 27, 2016
Probably the best film adaptation of this novel with Charles Laughton turning in an incredible performance under a ton of makeup and Cedric Hardwicke turning in a wonderfully detestable villain performance. It's a consistently great ensemble ... even if Maureen O'Hara is not really plausible as a gypsy.
April 16, 2016
This is a must-see film; a complete masterpiece. Laughton is magnificent and all the supporting cast are excellent. my joint top 1 movies of all time....I defy anybody to watch it and not be moved. Truly one of the all time greats. Laughton will break your heart.
October 23, 2015
still the best version of this
May 18, 2015
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an amazing film. It is about a gypsy girl who is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her in 15th century France. Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara give amazing performances. The screenplay is well written. William Dieterle did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the drama and romance. The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a must see.
April 16, 2015
Solid adaptation, Laughton is perfect, but the movie is still very dated to me. I still prefer the Disney version, singing gargoyles and all, if only because it has the best adaptation of Frollo I've seen.
August 5, 2014
This version of the Victor Hugo story, among the most famous three, is the most classical. It doesn't possess the horror film style of the Chaney version, and it doesn't possess as intensely bombastic and theatrical elements as the Disney incarnation. But, it still possess the over the top acting and music. So it may not appeal to some. But also of the three, it contains the most true telling of the original novel. And, more importantly, this is how Quasimodo should be portrayed. Neither a graphic monster nor a whitewashed Hollywood protagonist. Instead, he is presented as a disfigured retard. This makes him the most understandable, and gives this portrayal the most depth, though I love Chaney's version. Really, that's what this movie comes down to. Though overtly 30s Hollywood, it also has the most to think about of the big three hunchbacks. Check it out.
July 1, 2014
Charles Laughton gives a great performance as Quasimodo in a heavily flawed adaptation of this story.
June 17, 2014
A true iconic classic. This film shows the depth of Quasimodo, Frollo's lust after La Esmeralda, and still follows the novel closely in plot.
Super Reviewer
October 19, 2013
Victor Hugo's classic tale of a fated love between a hunchback and a gypsy girl.
Hugo's eye for characterization, complex interconnected plots, revolutionary fervor, the healing power of religion, social outcasts, and love is on full display in this film adaptation of his novel Notre Dame de Paris. The script gives the basics, the skeleton, that the novel fills out, but considering Hugo's loquaciousness, the screenplay is nonetheless an achievement. Charles Laughton is at his most affecting. The burly character actor becomes Quasimodo with the same alacrity that he became Henry VIII. Comparable to Phillip Seymour Hoffman of our time (though a talent truly to say beyond compare), Laughton was his era's artist.
Overall, this is a thrilling and emotional adaptation of an excellent novel.
½ September 1, 2013
Great story well told. Much better than expected. Charles Laughton was brilliant and his make-up was surprisingly good. This was my first exposure to the classic story. It left me scratching my head as to how Disney could have made an animated version aimed at kids.
June 22, 2013
Great performance by Laughton. Amazing that they could pull off that make-up artistry in 1939! Slow in some parts, but the themes regarding progressive thinking (gypsies) versus religious gobbledigook was interesting. Haven't read the novel, but read that is strays greatly from the source material.
May 15, 2013
With the exception of a few changes, is probably the best adaptation of Victor Hugo's Hunchback of Notre Dame I've seen by far.
April 18, 2013
this is a true classic i love this film Charles Laughton is the best Quasimodo you will love this movie
April 12, 2013
Laughton's haunting performance contributes to the already well assembled film.
April 3, 2013
The best adaptation of the classic novel.
½ February 23, 2013
The Hunchback of Notre Dame directed by William Dieterle. Starring Charles Laughton, Maureen O'Hara. Adapted from the novel 'Notre Dame de Paris' by Victor Hugo. The novel is adapted several times firstly in 1923 silent film (starring Lon Chaney), and in 1957 (starring Anthony Quinn), and 1982 TV version with Anthony Hopkins.

Film is set in 15th century France, a gypsy girl Esmerlada (Maureen O'Hara) is accused of being a witch and practicing sorcery-she is framed for murder by CJ (Chief-Justice). Her fate lies in the hands of deformed ugly looking Notre Dame Cathedral bellringer Quasimodo (Charles Laughton).

As soon as I laid my eyes on first-appearance of Laughton, I was mesmerized with aghast makeup, done on him. His lanky postures and body-shivering performance. Very touchy film, balances the equal shift of subplots on both sides 'love'/'humane feelings'/'fair justice'. Although, I haven't seen the other versions (and I do plan to see), I believe Charles has cemented the big nail into earth with big blow (his performance).
½ December 31, 2012
The first half of the film is a little ordinary, but in the second the story comes to life, as does Charles Laughton in the role of the misunderstood bell ringer.
December 7, 2012
Will have to watch this one. Not necassarily good or bad. Will see. Want to watch!
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