Synopsis: Action opens in November of 1793, with Danton returning to Paris from his country retreat upon learning that the Committee for Public Safety, under Robespierre's incitement, has begun a series of massive executions, The Terror. Confident in the people's support, Danton clashes with his former ally, but calculating Robespierre soon rounds up Danton and his followers, tries them before a revolutionary tribunal and dipatches them to the guillotine.
Director(s): Andrzej Wajda
Production: Criterion Collection
  Won 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 6 wins & 6 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
136 min

A French-Polish Coproduction

What are you doing? lt's just wood

- lt's only firewood for Paris

- We'll check it anyway

l want those books checked too!

Take nothing for granted

Spare no-one!

Go away!

Leave me alone!

Spring 1 794

Year 11

of the Republic

A good revolutionary must be hardy

- Article One

-''All men are born free and equal

''Social distinctions...

''...can only be founded...

''...on common interest

- The principle ...

- The goal...

''The goal of all political associations

is the good of the nation

''Liberty is the right to do anything...

-...not harmful to...

- Your fellow men

Why is there still no bread?

They're blaming the war

The bread shortage has nothing

to do with the war. lt's a ploy...

By whom?

Those who want to discredit the

government and make the people revolt

- Or it's the government

- To what end?

Power corrupts, it's an old story

You speak for Robespierre?

They're starting early this morning

- Who's that?

- An emigre, caught on his way out

He's so handsome

You make them walk there now?

- The walk back won't be so easy

- Not with your head under your arm

Give me your card

- Why? What have l done?

- Your card

But l've done nothing wrong -

will you cut off my head?

Look! lt's him!

lt's Danton

''The despot says: let many innocents

die rather than have one culprit escape

''The Public Safety Committee sees

despotism as a necessary measure

''They agree with Machiavelli that the

greater good excuses minor evils...

''...that liberty, like a child, needs

tears and pain to reach maturity

''ln fact, the mere desire for liberty

is enough to make one free

''The people won their right to freedom

the day they claimed it: 1 4th July

''The final safeguard against despotism

is a free press

''lf Moscow had a free press it would

be a republic tomorrow

- ''lf it's destroyed in France...''

- Be quiet

- Has it been distributed?

- No, it's still at the printer's

What are you waiting for?

Citizen barbers, come in

Greetings and fraternity!

What a fine day!

Spring is here at last

You don't look too well

Well, you've been ill for five weeks

We'll soon fix that


Tomorrow l'll trim your hair

What are you doing?

Hiron, you have no right

You should arrest Camille Desmoulins

He's right, he's just a printer

Sorry, we have no orders to

arrest you, Citizen Desmoulins

No, l'd rather not look

Come back tomorrow, as usual

You're better

How fortunate

Danton is back

He's plotting a coup

- Have you read it?

- Not yet

Desmoulins urges the people to rise

against the Committees

All of Paris is talking about

a coup d'etat and a dictatorship

Who's the man?

No name's been mentioned yet,

but l think it's...


Has he gone mad?

The Republic will be spared much grief

if we send Danton to the guillotine now

Danton is an idol

He's not really dangerous

lf it isn't him... it's Desmoulins

Real bread, citizen?

- Yes, but there's no sugar

- Never mind

- There's no sugar

- Thank you, l haven't slept

l'm exhausted

Danton is behind those attacks,

Camille Desmoulins is in thrall to him

- What is our true goal, Antoine?

- The triumph of the Revolution

But not at any price; why all this

carnage? There are easier ways

Such as?

Desmoulins and Danton will be

beheaded whatever you say

ls it really so cold?

Can l have my coat, please?

ls your fever up?

lt'll pass

Don't you dare stare at him

''Committees Equal Dictatorship''

The attacks against the government

are growing too frequent

Desmoulins' newspaper calls for

war on the Committees

- l accuse Danton and his friends...

- Forgive me, l'm a little late

Just like school

l accuse Danton and his friends of

counter-revolutionary activity

Would you deprive the Revolution of

its best servants?

You can't be serious

You surprise me, Robespierre

- Danton, a servant of the Revolution?

- You're raving

No, Billaud, l remember

even if you don't

You forget all that Danton has done

in your eagerness to cut him down


lt was he who got the ball rolling...

...by setting up our revolutionary cell

in 1 790 and 1 791 - remember that!

Remember the Champ de Mars

massacre? Danton instigated it

Then fled to the country

Let's stop all this

The letter found in Mirabeau's safe

openly denounced Danton's plotting

Can we trust a traitor's word?

Lawyers' tricks

ln any case, we cannot base

such a serious charge...

...on rumours alone

l insist we call citizen Amar

Amar of the Security Committee

ln no case can l allow Danton

to go on trial

Robespierre, you're afraid

l know it's easier to execute him,

but l say that his good faith...

...is beyond question

Killing this defenceless man

is barbaric and senseless

- Defenceless

- Quite!

His only weapon was that newspaper


l had the paper closed down

Desmoulins will replace it with


- Then we shall...

- Eliminate Camille!

No, we'll win him over

Camille's our most fervent


Citizen Amar...

You have evidence against Danton

Go on!

Read it!

Are you praying?

What l'm about to say must remain


Citzens, like all of you,

l doubt Danton's good faith

At last!

And yet...

Yet l object categorically...

...to his execution

Justice is a divine virtue,

hence unattainable

The Revolutionary Tribunal cannot

embody justice

lt can only be a tool to punish

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Jean-Claude Carrière

Jean-Claude Carrière (French: [ka.ʁjɛʁ]; born 17 September 1931) is a French novelist, screenwriter, actor, and Academy Award honoree. He was an alumnus of the École normale supérieure de Saint-Cloud and was president of La Fémis, the French state film school. Carrière was a frequent collaborator with Luis Buñuel on the screenplays of Buñuel's late French films. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Danton" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 20 May 2024. <https://www.scripts.com/script/danton_6305>.

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