The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

William Dieterle (1939)

A Certificate


Our Score
For many, Charles Laughton is the cinema's definitive Quasimodo, and his poignant performance here reveals more subtleties with every viewing. Laughton captures the tragic soul of Notre Dame's famous bell-ringer, and both his make-up and speech patterns are truly convincing. This is a splendidly full-blooded RKO enterprise, with spectacular crowd scenes (although the detail will inevitably be dwarfed on television) and superb supporting performances, notably from a sensual Maureen O'Hara as Esmeralda the gypsy and a callow Edmond O'Brien as the youthful romantic lead. Thomas Mitchell - best known as Scarlett O'Hara's father in Gone with the Wind - is marvellous, too, as the king of the beggars. Two major future directors had a big hand in this epic - Jacques Tourneur handled the crowds and Robert Wise was the film editor.


The deformed bell ringer of Notre Dame cathedral falls in love with a gypsy girl who takes pity on him as he is being publicly flogged. When she is later unjustly accused of murder and sentenced to death, he comes to her aid, providing her with sanctuary in his bell tower. Medieval drama based on Victor Hugo's novel, starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara.

Cast & Crew

Quasimodo Charles Laughton
Esmeralda Maureen O'Hara
Frollo Cedric Hardwicke
Clopin Thomas Mitchell
Gringoire Edmond O'Brien
Phoebus Alan Marshal
Claude Walter Hampden
Louis XI Harry Davenport
Director William Dieterle
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Other Information

Language: EnglishBlack and whiteAvailable on: video and DVD