A Tale of Two Cities (1935)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Jack Conway's 1935 adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities is often regarded as the finest film of the classic novel. Set during the French Revolution, the story revolves around two men -- English lawyer Sydney Carton (Ronald Colman) and French aristocrat Charles Darnay (Donald Woods) -- who share similar looks and a love for the same girl, Lucie Manette (Elizabeth Allan). In London Lucie marries Darnay, whose uncle, Marquis St. Evremonde (Basil Rathbone), is one of the most despised men in France. After St. Evremonde shows no concern for a young boy trampled by the Marquis' horse, the boy's father kills him, sparking a revolution. Darnay is persuaded to return to Paris, where he is arrested and sentenced to death. Still in love with Lucie, yet realizing his love will remain unrequited, Carton agrees to take Darnay's place on death row. Built entirely on a soundstage, the production orchestrated by producer David A. Selznick vividly captures France -- particularly Paris and the Bastille -- with its detailed photography and was an enormous success, earning Academy award nominations for Best Picture and Best Editing. The film also marks the film debut of stage star Blanche Yurka as Madame DeFarge. During the '80s, A Tale Of Two Cities was shown in a computer-colorized edition.
Classics , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Warner Home Video

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Basil Rathbone
as Marquis St. Evremonde
Lucille La Verne
as La Vengeance
Tully Marshall
as Woodcutter
Billy Bevan
as Jerry Cruncher
Billy House
as Border Guard
Isabel Jewell
as Seamstress
Reginald Owen
as Stryver
Henry B. Walthall
as Dr. Manette
Ronald Colman
as Sydney Carton
Edna May Oliver
as Miss Pross
Donald Woods
as Charles Darnay
Elizabeth Allan
as Lucie Manette
Nigel De Brulier
as Aristocrat
Robert Warwick
as Tribunal Judge
H.B. Warner
as Gabelle
Mitchell Lewis
as Ernest DeFarge
Fritz Leiber
as Gaspard
Boyd Irwin
as Aristocrat
Sam Flint
as Aristocrat
Walter Kingsford
as Victor, the Jailer
Ralf Harolde
as Prosecutor
Dale Fuller
as Old Hag
John Davidson
as Morveau
E.E. Clive
as Judge in Old Bailey
C. Montague Shaw
as Chief Registrar
Blanche Yurka
as Mme. DeFarge
Edward Peil Sr.
as Cartwright
Richard Alexander
as Executioner
Eily Malyon
as Mrs. Cruncher
Lawrence Grant
as Prosecuting Attorney in Old Bailey
Rolfe Sedan
as Condemned Dandy
Edward Hearn
as Leader
Tom Ricketts
as Tellson
Jimmy Aubrey
as Innkeeper
Cyril McLaglen
as Headsman
Claude Gillingwater
as Jarvis Lorry
Frank Mayo
as Jailer
Winter Hall
as Aristocrat
Donald Haines
as Jerry Cruncher Jr.
Barlowe Borland
as Jacques, No. 116
Tempe Piggott
as Old Hag
Fay Chaldecott
as Lucie, the Daughter
Solange Dantas dos Santos
as English Priest
Chappell Dossett
as English Priest
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Critic Reviews for A Tale of Two Cities

All Critics (10)

Several of the big crowd scenes, especially the storming of the Bastille, are big-budget showstoppers with thousands of extras filling the frame in a way CGI still can't match.

Full Review… | August 7, 2011
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Selznick's last production before leaving MGM to form his own company, this lavish film is an eloquent version of Dickens classic, benefiting from Ronald Colman's suave performance and the studio's reliable stock company.

Full Review… | March 19, 2009

Best telling so far of classic novel w/fine Colman turn.

June 21, 2008

Selznick managed to create the cinematic equivalent of "the best of times" without a downside.

June 15, 2007

It's everything I expect from a Dickens adaptation: a grand, sweeping storyline; impeccable period costumes and sets; and colorful villains and selfless heroes.

Full Review… | August 20, 2005
Goatdog's Movies

Quote not available.

June 29, 2005
Metro Weekly (Washington, DC)

Audience Reviews for A Tale of Two Cities

Better than the book as far as Much easier to understand but def skips over a lot. Good acting funny and well thought out.

Kim Bangert
Kim Bangert

Ronald Colman and crew do Dickens' work justice and the cinematic values are superior to most pieces done in the era.It was worth the loss of Colman's mustache.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Selznick's last production before leaving MGM to form his own company, this lavish film is an eloquent version of Dickens classic, benefiting from Ronald Colman's suave performance and the studio's reliable stock company.

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

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