The Princess of Montpensier

Synopsis: Bertrand Tavernier is in top form with this gripping, superbly mounted drama set against the savage Catholic/Protestant wars that ripped France apart in the 16th century. Based on a novella by the celebrated Madame de Lafayette, the action centers on the love of Marie de Mezières for her dashing cousin Henri de Guise, thwarted when her father's political ambitions force her into marriage with the well-connected Philippe de Montpensier, who she has never met. When Philippe is called away to fight, she is left in the care of Count Chabannes, an aging nobleman with a disdain for warfare, and soon becomes exposed to the sexual and political intrigues of court.
Genre: Action, Drama, History
Director(s): Bertrand Tavernier
Production: IFC
  2 wins & 9 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
139 min

The peace between

Catholics and Huguenots

had lasted nearly a year

when in autumn 1567

the war resumed as suddenly

as an ill smothered brushfire.

In the name of Christ, fire!

Kill, Nicolas!


We part ways here, Nicolas.

We do?

I'm done fighting.

I'm going home, to Maucombe.

You're deserting?

But you'll be...

No more barbarity for me.


Hear that?

Bells sounding a truce,

perhaps even peace.

The soldiers have been here 2 days.

Peace, perhaps.

But not for you, sir.

You're banished from both sides.

By the King for choosing the Reform.

By the Reform for deserting.

You may go, Nicolas.

I can't pay you.

May God keep you.

Keep your horse. The mule, too.

And you, sir?

You'll be hanged.

We know that.

You first, brother.

He's cursed.

He crossed himself backwards

three times.

So we're hanging him.

Aren't you...

Monsieur de Chabannes?



I feared you dead.

Lucky for you I'm not.

I've missed you so, master.

Meet Count de Chabannes.

For 5 years I was his pupil.

He taught me all I know.

But he seems to have forgotten

his own lessons.

Never let fatigue lower your guard.

Sleep sheltered, off the trail.

What miracle led to this meeting?

No miracle, sheer necessity.

I was headed to my last hope:

Your father, the Duke.

I'm ruined.

I found you, I'll keep you.

Not only ruined, but banished.

I deserted.

You must have had good reason.

You'll explain as we ride.

My father wants to marry me off.

I'll know to whom

when we reach Mzires.

Join my escort.

What about them, my lord?

Don't waste the rope.

Lighter than last year,

but lingering on the tongue.

Taste it.

In fact, I'm not here

for your wine, Marquis.

My son returned from

the last campaign alive and well.

He's revoked his promise

to Mademoiselle de Longuemain,

whose frivolity is plain to all.

Hence he is free.


Your daughter Marie

is a marvel of honesty

and grace.

My daughter?

Long promised to Mayenne, you know.

A spoken promise. That I know, too.

Taking back one's my word

to Guise means disaster.

What disaster?

I bring you blood as good

as the Guises'.

Those foreigners!

of Rome and the Hapsburgs.

- True. But Duke, my word...

- What word? Between us, fine!

Bourbons, Valois, Broglie...

Promises I can respect.

But the Guises

always going for the highest bidder.

So what is their word worth?

Yes, but...

Do you realise at least

that the Cardinal is cheating you?

Think about it.


Why does he offer you Mayenne?

Why not his brother Henri,

who enjoys your daughter's favour?

To fix him up, my dear man.

He's fobbing him off on you.

You leave them together too much.

Henri asked me to.

And you obey?

He's our elder. You obey him, too.

I'm a girl.

Be a man!

Resist him, or he'll marry Marie.

Then everyone would be happy.

Look. It's my brother she loves.

It's madness.

Not madness.

We gave ourselves to one another.

Not gave, promised.

- You promised my brother nothing?

- Him? No.

I promised nothing.

I gave him something.

A slap.

You care nothing for him?

Only because he cares for you,


You two will never be far apart.

Nor you from me.


The old women are watching.


you must meet

your brother's challenge.

It's already lost.

I'm beaten beforehand.

You know Henri's strength.

I only stand a chance at dice.

Come along, coward.

Time for your lesson.

And you know the Guises

have lost influence,

but they're still ogres, gluttons,

greedy for money, power and honours.

Were Marie not the realm's

richest heiress,

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"The Princess of Montpensier" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 18 Feb. 2020. <>.

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