Danton (1983) - full transcript

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.

English adaptation :

Subtitled by TITRA-FILM Paris

Your papers!

It's only wood.

All right.

It's nothing.

Firewood from Paris.

Let's see anyway.

Stop messing up my things!

What's in there?

Unload those books.

Search everything.

Spare no one.

Follow him! Hurry!

A good revolutionary is tough.

"Article One.

"All men are born free and equal.

"Social differences...

"...must be based...

"...on the public good.

- "The principle...
- "The goal...

"The goal of political parties...

"...is the good of the nation.

- "Freedom...
- "...is being able to do

- "whatever does not harm...
- "...others.

"Therefore... the..."


No bread again!

They say it's the war.

Doesn't explain everything!

It's a plot.

By whom?

The enemies of the government:

starvation leads to revolt.

Or it's the government.


Power corrupts.

An old story...

Be careful!

Robespierre too?

They're starting early this morning.

Who's that?

A runaway they caught.

He's so handsome!

Now they walk them to their deaths?

Walking back'll be harder, Count!

You'll have to carry your head!

Break down the door!

Give me your card!

Who, me?


What have I done?

Look! It's him!

It's Danton!

Long live Danton!

"Despotism is killing
innocent people,

"so that the guilty don't escape.

"The Committee thought

"the Republic needed
a period of despotism.

"They agreed with Machiavelli:

"the greater good excuses minor evils.

"They felt liberty is like

"growing up: you have to suffer.

"They are wrong:
to be free, men only need

"to want to be free.

"It's their Bastille Day right.

"The last defense against despotism

"is a free press.

"if Moscow had one, it would be free.

- "If you destroy it in France..."
- Be quiet!

Has it been distributed?

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

Get going!

Citizen barbers!

Safety and fraternity!

Fine day!

Spring at last.

You don't look well.

True, you've been ill 5 weeks.

We'll fix it. Comb!


I'll trim it tomorrow.

What are you doing?

What's going on? Let me dress.

Have you gone crazy?

Heron, you have no right!

What are they

doing to you?

It's Camille Desmoulins! Arrest him!

Sure, arrest me.

He's innocent.

We have no orders
to arrest you, Desmoulins.

I don't want to look.

Come back tomorrow.

You're up!

You're better!

What luck!

Danton is back.

He's plotting a coup.

Read it?

Not yet.

Desmoulins urges the people
to fight the Committees.

There's talk of a take-over.

By whom?

Nobody says.

But I think it's...


Has he gone mad?

We'd spare the Republic a lot,

if Danton went to the guillotine.

Right away!

No! He's idolized!

And he's not really dangerous.

Damn it!

If it isn't him, it's Desmoulins.

Real bread, citizen?

Yes. But there's no sugar.

Never mind.

There's no sugar.

I haven't slept.

I' m very tired.

Danton's behind
Desmoulins' attacks on us.

He has Camille in his pocket.

What's our real aim?

The Revolution's triumph.

Right! But not any price.

Why all this carnage?

- There are easier ways.
- Which?

Those two will be beheaded anyway.

Is it really so cold?

Give me my coat.

Is your fever up?

It'll pass.

Don't ogle citizen Robespierre!

Clear the hall!

That's enough!

Citizens! Attacks...

...against the government
are increasing.

Desmoulins' paper calls

for war on the Committees.
Danton is behind it...

Sorry I'm late.

Just like school.

I charge Danton and his friends
with subversion.

You'd deprive
the Revolution of its

best servants?

You can't be serious.

Go ahead!

You surprise me.

Danton loyal?

You're mad!

I remember, if you don't.

You forget everything done
by the man...

...you're now so eager to kill.

It was he who set up...

...our revolutionary cell...

...in 1790 and 1791.
Remember that!

And the Champ de Mars massacre?

He led the people like sheep.

Then he ran away.

Let's stop all this.

We recall Mirabeau's
letter denouncing...

...Danton's plotting.

Why trust a traitor's word?

Lawyer's tricks!

You can't base such
a serious charge

on rumors alone.

I insist we call citizen Amar

of the Security Committee.

In no case can I

allow Danton to go on trial.

Afraid, Robespierre?

I know it's easier to kill him,
but I say his good faith...

...is beyond question.

Killing this defenseless man
is senseless.


His only weapon was that paper.


I had the paper closed down.

Desmoulins will replace
it with another.

Then we'll...

Get rid of him.

No, we'll win him over.

He's a great propagandist.

Citizen Amar...

You do have evidence
against Danton!

Go on!

Read it!



I want what I'm about
to say kept quiet.

Citizens... Like you,
I doubt Danton's good faith.

That's better!

And yet,

I am absolutely against...

...his execution.

Justice is divine,
and so inaccessible.

The Revolutionary Tribunal
can't be Justice.

It can only punish
the nation's enemies,

not clamp down on criminals.

These men are guilty of crimes.

The ax will fall on Fabre
and his friends.

Danton's the guiltiest,
but we won't touch him.

The bourgeoisie would join
the counter-revolution.

The Convention would rise...

...against us.

We'd shake the people's faith
in the Revolution.

In that case,

we'd have to rule by terror.

You know what that is?

Terror is merely despair.

I'm afraid, Billaud.

So afraid of the terror that...

...I'm ready for any compromise
to avoid it,

any humiliation, any lie.

The traitor Danton
must be granted a favor...

...he doesn't deserve: amnesty.

For the country's good,
we must be abject.

We can't afford to be just.

About time you came!

You're back!

Yes, I was bored.

I've come for my orders.

What orders?

Here's what I say:
first free the prisoners.

I'll summon our fighting men,

we'll raid the Convention,
kill the leaders.

I wish you luck!

But Robespierre's on the move.

In an hour the Committee
will grab us.

You're vulnerable.

Why? What have I done?

Suppose they talk
of the Supreme Judge,

and mention your name.
They'll say...

...you want to be dictator.

One rumor, and you've had it.

Who'd dare condemn me?

The Committee, of course!

Robespierre's cured.

That absurd Committee?

You're so sure of yourself!

Use your head!

I have all Paris behind me.

It's now or never!
Believe me!

I'm surprised
you're still free.

I get it: you're my friend.

They can't arrest you.

I have a thing Robespierre lacks:
my newspaper.

It gives me more influence
than that faker.

That reassure you?


The paper's been closed.

Am I reassured!
We're screwed!

At least say hello.

How are you, Lucille?

Maybe we've gone too far.

If you're scared, run to Robespierre,
tell him I made you write.

Stop it! I did my duty.

I showed people the terror
must end.

Now you must move,
or what I did was pointless.

We must act at once!


The printer...

I know.

Want to live?

Sure. Why shouldn't I?
Don't you?

We must strike!

It's politics, not butcherry.
Use your heads.

Robespierre's trying
to salvage his prestige.

He jails the printer and
grabs the paper. He hopes...

...we'll show our hand.
So we do nothing.

We must stay calm.
Understand? Calm.

Philippeaux wants you.

Who's he? Liberal? Moderate?

A spotless record. He's ideal.

Danton's wrong. How can
I persuade him to act?

You're for a fight too?

Not yet.

I'm wondering too.

I'd like to know what you want.

Me too.

You'd end the terror?

You'd topple the regime?

I'd join you if I trusted
your motives.

Don't you believe me?


You invented
the Revolutionary Tribunal.

You voted to kill the king.

So did you.

This leads nowhere.

Did I ask for your help?

He wants to back you.
The center's with him.

If you don't abuse your power.

I don't want power.

So you say now.

I don't want power.
I'm 35 and look 60.

I'm tired... I'd like to quit.

First I must end the terror:

I'm partly to blame for it.

That's fine,
but we know each other.

It's true,
politics has made you rich.

Easy does it.

It's you who asked
to talk to me.

Not now.

Make it short.
What do you want?

Disarm the Public Safety

without a fight.
Only you can do it.

Frankly, you disgust me,

but I'll back you.

I'm flattered.
How will you do it?

With armed men, if need be.


Like everyone.

Your really want to act?

Strike, I told you.

No one can control
an insurrection.

Robespierre has one weakness.

His secret police.
It's hated.

Bourdon, in the Convention today,

attack a top secret agent.


Yes. Talk about informers, searches.

The nation will support you.

It will say we're it's
last hope for freedom.

Is that enough?

They'll calm down and
so will Robespierre. Go on.

Georges is right.

Always heed your wife.
It's the start of a new era.

Get going.

Then it's back to our modest,
quiet lives.

Yours will be quiet
and ours modest.

If you see poverty as
a revolutionary virtue,

go and join Robespierre.

And you change printers.

What is more destructive,

more anti-Republican,

than this invisible police...

...and its informers,

that infiltrate everywhere,
spreading lies...

...and threats...

endanger individual liberty,

force fathers to mistrust
their soons,

and think they're all-powerful...

This police, headed...

...by an ex-criminal
named Heron...

...who, under the cloak...

...of public service.

settles private scores,

and openly favors the rogues
he recruits, I demand...

Where's he rushing to?

The Committee. As soon as Heron
was mentioned...

...I demand Heron's arrest.

The Convention voted
to arrest Heron.

Our best man? Lose him
and we lose control of Paris.

There's your defenseless Danton!

I want to see him today.

That traitor?

Arrange the meeting.

This session is ended.

You'd lower yourself
to ask Danton to receive you?

It's for the country's good.

I'd stoop to anything for it.

The Public Safety Committee's
washed up.

Long live Danton!

I've come from the Committee.

Some accuse you of treason.

Just me?

The others too. All of them.

Robespierre agrees?

Don't know yet.
I'm going.


I'd rather not be seen
with you.

..jailed for demanding liberty.

Change all that.

Only blue flowers.
He only likes blue.

Turbot a la flunkey,
it's called now.

What a creature!

First the stuffed cucumber?
Then vol-au-vent...

With Convention sauce,

once known as caper sauce.

Refugee quails with onions.

That's it!

And fruit a la Royal Runaway.


Perfectly, thanks.

You should have given him
a bad time, not all this.

A gesture. It's now or never.

Leave me alone.
You go home.

I want to see him humiliated.

Go home!
You too, Bourdon.

Certainly not!

I must know how to vote
in the Convention.

I said go home.

Everybody out!

Now that's blue. Fine!

Get rid of all these people.

Quick! I need to be alone.

Right away!

You dared say that?

Clear out, all of you!

Are you mad?


Good evening.
I kept you waiting. Sorry.

No matter.
We're so rarely alone together.

you and I.

Are you all right?

Fine, thanks.

Look... Want some?

How about this?

A quail?

It's not poisoned.


Sit down.

Really not hungry?

No, thanks.

What do you want?

To be frank with you.

Haven't you always been?

Why did you attack Heron?

Why did you arrest Dessenne?
And ban the paper?

I must protect the government.

They say you're plotting.

It's not true, you know.

I'm pure as snow.

Your many enemies want your death.

You, too?

Stop attacking me,
and I swear you'll be safe.

I'm not safe now?

I thought you didn't drink.

To our understanding.

What do you want?

You're frank.

State publicly that you're joining us.

I can't.

I don't approve of the government.
It's my right.

But not to proclaim it.
Specially you!

I can't stoop to the government.

You think you're above it?

Unique people are above the masses.

Like you, I despise the Committees.
But I say so.

No one must divide us, you and I.

No Committee, government, no one.

Divided, we'll both fall.

No one can go along
with your reign of terror.

The people, our strength,
will destroy the Revolution.

Who's to blame?

Not I, and certainly not you.

If we're not to blame,
then it's fate.

I never believed in fate.

Neither did I.

We really believe
in the same ideals.

No longer.

We fought a revolution...

...in the name of fairness
and equality.

Now you chop off any head
that stands out. Was that our goal?

I'm the people's only defense.

Against whom?

Men who grow rich from
the Revolution. Right?

You want men to act like
the heroes of novels.

We're made of flesh and blood!

You want to raise us
to heights where

we can't breathe

You isolate the Revolution,
you freeze it.

Even die-hards back away.

What should I do?

Come back to earth. Right away.

Stop the revolutionary impetus
and you kill the revolution.

People want to eat
and sleep in peace.

Without bread, there's no law,
freedom, justice.

To hell with the Committees!

I admire you.

I'd love to follow you,
but not just anywhere...

I want to provide normal
living conditions...

...for 80% of the people. That's all.

Come off it...
Don't make speeches here!


That's not all you want!

Men shouldn't stay
in power too long.

You aspire to power?

I don't have to. I've got it.

The only real power:
from the man in the street.

I understand him, he understands me.
Never forget that.

I won't. But don't you forget...

...that to make him happy,
I'll stop at nothing.

You want to make him happy!

You know nothing of the people!

How could you know? Look at you!

You don't drink, you're powdered.

Swords make you faint, and they say
you've never had a woman!

Who do you speak for?

Make men happy! You're not a man!

I'll show you the people!
Let's take a walk through the streets.

I'm sorry.

I've always been brutal and clumsy.

I said to myself last night:
for he and I to feud...

To be enemies...
makes no sense at all.

We must stop it at once.

Then do what I ask.


Do what I ask. Join us.

I went to the country
to think things over.

Frankly, I'd rather be...

...executed, than be an executioner.

You're drunk!

If you insist...

You see this head?

See it? Feel it?

You'll have to cut it off!

I'm sorry. This was a mistake.


My witnesses heard everything.

That's why I said nothing.

Where did he go?

Now I've got him!

I've got him!

So I had it all wrong?

Now you see:
the Committees must end.

You were wrong about Robespierre.

We must hurry to the meeting.

No point. Your plan is childish.

It's now or never!

No more blood! That's my goal!

That's my goal.

You're telling me?

yes, you.

Your friends' blood will flow!

Good to see you!

How's your mom?

Worse than ever.

This is Sophie... from Nantes.

Go to your meeting.

I can't come tonight.
It was just to get rid of him.

You coming?

What happened?

Say something.

Tell me!

It's war. Danton forced the issue.

Robespierre is due for a lesson.

Tell me what happened,
everything they said...

I couldn't hear well.

It scares me... For 3 months...

I've had a foreboding...

Is your husband in?

I'm glad you came.


You've changed a lot.

You're like a stranger now...

I've aged, if that's what you mean.

That's not it, but...

Is he really in danger?

Yes, he is.

You're my only hope. Tell me...

Why did you reject him?

The opposite happened. Truly.

Really? Then I misunderstood...

How could you?
Camille was your friend.

That's why I came.

I said I was in to no one.

We must talk. It's serious...

Why bother!

You're in grave danger.
I came to warn you.

You don't realize,
your life's at stake.

Your friend Danton is using you.

He's exploiting your talent.

He's only out for himself.
That's not friendship!

It's a dubious alliance.


You don't scare me. A freedom
fighter isn't afraid to die.

Maybe he has to.

By advocating charity and tolerance,

you hoped to save
oiyr country. Right?

But you're aiding subversion.

Which is Danton's goal.

You must understand.

So what should I do?

Make a speech tomorrow:

Take back all your attacks.

Then, in the next issue of your paper,

retract what you said
in previous issues.

You're a real slut!

Danton threw you out,
so you crawl to me!

You're terrified!


Burning a newspaper...

is no answer.

It's your last chance.

Listen to me or you're through.

You must believe me.

I swear it's true.

Get out!

What happened, you must tell me!

Why did the two of them meet?

If Danton and Robespierre disagreed

for so long, it's too late now.

He's not here yet? Good.

No, but you're 10 minutes late.

What joy, you remind me
of my youth.

Forgive my lateness.

Spoken like a king to his ministers!

Then how should I speak?

In one hour, at 3.30.

the police must arrest Danton.


It's madness!

Out of the question!

His accomplices too!

Without preparing the people?

It's political suicide!

We'll be defeated!

The Committee must
prepare public opinion.

Let me have my say.

Danton has the bankers' support.
You told us that.

It will be the Committee's death
and Danton's triumph.

You're right. Danton has
support everywhere.

It won't work.

I wish to speak.

Not about that!

We must strike swiftly.

Give him 3 days and he'll get
gold from the bankers.

He'll raise an army and spread
leaflets all over Paris.

He'll address the Convention.

You all know he's a great orator.

We must do it tonight...
or never.

You're right.

If it panics the Convention,
I'll step in.

We need an indictment.

Who'll write it?

It's already done.

Read it!

First I want to read it again.

We need the approval of the
Public Safety Committee.

Out of the question!

Call them in.

Are they still here?

The session's just ending...

Ask them to come in.

What changed your mind?

Who besides Danton?

Here's my list:
Lacroix, Philippeaux...

Entirely innocent!

Their intentions may be!
We're judging facts!


Innocents puppets. Let's avoid
a bloodbath, please!

The first humane
words of the night.

All right. Let's spare them.

Desmoulins is my friend.

I'll abide by your decision.

But maybe we should
give him an extra day

to think it over.


Very well. Those 3 will
be jailed with Danton.

We just ordered
Westermann's arrest.

He was recruiting fighting men.

Good. The Public Safety Committee
just decided...

...to arrest Danton and
3 of his accomplices.

You want to arrest him. When?


You're mad!

We're in a hurry.
We need your approval.

If we refuse?

You're the secret police.

You can arrest deputies.

It's our privilege.
Not yours!

You can delegate it to us.

That's illegal.

Not if you agree to it.

Calm down, Vadier.

Sure you know what you're doing?

It's a heavy responsibility
to bear.

The responsibility is all ours!


We, of the Public Safety Committee,

and of the Security Committee,

have agreed that Danton...

Who else?




All of them members
of the Convention,

are under arrest,

and are to be imprisoned in...

Luxembourg jail.

Sign it.

Your signatures please.

Lindet, you didn't sign.

I was elected to aid

not to kill them.

The session is ended.

I said you were great
and I'd die for you.

I take it all back!
All of it!

I was blind as a bat.
Now my eyes have been opened.

What are you talking about?

What are you trying to tell me?

Robespierre came to see you?

How do you know?

Don't talk about him.
You have no right.

I hope you needed his advice.

I refused.

You find out we're doomed and
reject your salvation.

Why doomed?

If Robespierre came to see you,
the decree's been signed.

What decree?

Our arrest!

You're the only man alive
that monster still holds dear.

He tried to save you.
It's over.

What are they afraid of?

They didn't mind your insults.

But they can't stand
your public disapproval.

What did you do?

I refused to shake hands:
my death warrant.

You don't mean that.

Why did you refuse?

His hand's too bloody.

Fight back!
The people are behind you.

Can we complete the list?


Royer Collard...


Cross him off.


Can we depend on him?

Cross him off.


Not him. Is that all?

No one else you're sure of?

That's enough.

No, we only have 7 jurors.


We need 12, by law.

Haven't you got 12?

Only 7.

If you don't have 12,
then 7 will do.

Add some hoodlums
to the indicted.

Like: Chabot, Fabre, Basire...


Anti-patriotic activities.

Know them?

Fabre, Chabot, Basire,
Delaunay, Guzman,

the Frey brothers,

Round them up at once.


Get up.

He's sick.
Don't take him away.

That all?

The Public Safety Committee
just met.

Lindet sent me to warn you.

Run for it!

Come on!

What do you want?

There's money in the cache.

Take it.

But watch out: our dear
Republic may grab it.


Citizen Danton,
you're under arrest!

Here's the warrant.

"By order of the
Security Council,

"you are to arrest...
and remove to..."

I know... I know!

"...citizen Danton..."

Is it still raining?

I wont need a coat.

Let's go!


Danton has been arrested!

Danton was arrested last night.

The terror strikes again!

We must act!

We could be arrested any minute.

Make way!

Bourdon, go to the podium.

I can't... I don't know...

It's now or never!

Scared? Look, he's shaking!

You go!

I'm a lousy speaker.

Legendre, you go!

All right,
I'll put down my name.

I wish to speak.

Citizens, the session is open!

Speak up!

We just learned...

...with amazement, that 4 deputies,

of the Convention,
were arrested last night.

Including Danton.

Long live Danton!

I demand...

...that they be heard in this House.

So you may decide...

...if personal enmity...

or jealousy aren't behind...

...this monstruous decision!

Put down Citizen
Robespierre's name.

Get down!
Clear the podium!

It's not his turn.

Whose turn is it?


You have no right!

Get down!

Down with the dictator!

Back me up!

It's been ages since
our debates...

...were fired with such passion!

True, the question's important.

In short, it means:

are some people
above the Republic?

Legendre demands

that the accused come
to the podium.

We all do! Let's hear Danton!

You are willing to grant this man

what you've refused to others.
On what grounds?

Does Legendre mean that Danton

should be above the law?

He deserves some consideration.

So say we all. Let's hear Danton!

The Republic

was built by all the people.

Which of us dares to say:

the king's arrest was my doing alone.

No merit gives the right
to claim privilege.

This is sure: to us,
no one is privileged.

hearing a defendant is no favor.
It's only justice.


Don't you trust
the Revolutionary Tribunal?

The Tribunal is irreproachable.
We all trust it.

We'll see

if the Convention's firme enough
to bring Danton to justice,

or if it contests St. Just's report.

We must challenge the indictment.

No, you're right.

Never fear: France is with you!

So Danton's partisans...

...think he deserves
special treatment?

If so, abolish
the Public Safety Committee...

...and try us.

We're for the Committees!

Long live the Committees!

Every day,
the world is watching us.

We must show no weakness,
no moral cowardice.

What would become of France...

...if we lost the trust of the French?

I want men beside me...

...who are upright and fair.

Innocence, that prime virtue,

should not and cannot
fear public scrutiny.

Right! Bravo, Robespierre!

I propose that Legendre's
motion be rejected.

Then St. Just will read the indictment.

Who's for Robespierre's motion?

Who's opposed?

Me, I'm opposed.

Have you gone mad?
If Danton falls, we all do.

Idiots! You'll be massacred!

Such statements make you
guilty in my eyes.

What's that?

The Convention has confirmed
its faith in the Committees.

Only the guilty tremble.

This will destroy you, Robespierre.

Now we have the standard argument:

and even if,

by the most obscure laws
of Providence,

a criminal's fall must bring me down
with him, what of it?

To revolutionaries,

danger can't outweigh duty.

I never said I put
Danton above the law.

I never suspected you.

I wish to speak! Silence!

For a long time,
I was fooled by Danton.

Today, at last,

I see my mistake.

We should prove our trust
in the Committees.

We should approve the indictment

without hearing St. Just's report.

Stop sniveling or I'll ask
for another cell.

Don't leave me alone. I'd go mad.

Shame on you!

I've gone to pieces.

You'll die in 5 days.

Admit it and give up hope.

When death is sure,
you stop suffering.

We can win the case.

No. It's a political trial.

It has nothing to do with justice.

I don't want to die.
I've a right to live.

Man has the rights he can defend.

There's Georges!

I was afraid you weren't here.

Hey, there! Wine for
the people's delegates. Quick!

You're crying.

You haven't understood.


We had to let ourselves be jailed.


To open the people's eyes
about the Committees.

There's no other way.
That's why I let it happen.

Where are the glasses?

Not even glasses!

Not bad...

The convention approved the charges.

The cowards!

We're to go to the main jail.

We've had it.

Why? We still have our heads.

Our fists, teeth, claws to fight with.

But Georges!

A political trial a duel.

We'll accuse the government.
And let the people judge.

If we can make people doubt...

We'll be executed anyway.

No! You forget I'm an orator.

The public follows me when I talk.

It's often fickle.

Without defense witnesses,
we won't talk.

With them, we can win.


You've a visitor.

Who? My wife?

What's up?

Follow me.

It's Robespierre.

He'll save you.

Well, go on!

No one's stopping you.

Go on!

We'll die, but you needn't
die with us.

What'll I do?

Go on! He's come for you.

Go, I tell you!

Tell the gentleman
I won't see him.

I can't tell him that.

Then say that...

he isn't home.

People of France!
Why are these swine here?

Trying me with thieves!

We, the spearhead of the Revolution,
tried as criminals!

What's the idea?

You haven't the floor yet.

They won't shut...

Keep him out.
He mustn't take notes.

Quiet, please!

Why can't I take notes?
Is the Committee crazy?

I'm a reporter from Rheims.

Down with the Committees!

You are accused of joining

to bribe elected delegates,

and foster a revolt of the nobility...

...with gold stolen from
the East India Company...

...by your crooked financial schemes.

Desmoulins, Philippeaux, Danton...

...are just as guilty...

...as those whose crimes
I have just described.

You call this tissue
of calumnies an indictment!

Give it to them, Georges!

Shall I dirty my mouth replying?

We're with you!

The accused won't reply? No matter.

Let us talk!

Nothing to add to the defense?

Add? We haven't

spoken yet.


Has the jury heard enough?

You're in a hurry, Fouquier.
Did I say I'd finished?

Don't address the public!

It's against the law.

I founded the tribunal,
so I ought to know the rules.

All right. You may speak.

For the last time!

Yes! The last time. France...

Don't address the public.

For 5 years, I've been your chief,

my name is on every page
of your history. Right?

Long live Danton!

You're accused of selling out...

A man like me is beyond price.

I'll adjourn...

Don't expect me to be cool.
I'll take all day if need be.

And I'll be heard.

The law bars addressing the public.
Back to your seat!

This trial is starting, not ending.

The braver the man, the harder
they try to destroy him.

Go on, Danton!


To ruin a man,
throw the book at him.

An old trick, but it's been refined.

You ignore the law to serve it.

It's makes those in power think

that they have nothing to fear.

The just have always
hampered politics,

especially today.

Why must I be killed?
Only I can tell you.

It's because I'm sincere.
Because I tell the truth.

I scare them. That's why they want
to murder a good man.

Guards! That reporter!

From Rheims.

No notes!

Down with the Tribunal!

I'm an inventor
of the people's justice.

Do you think you can pervert
it without my noticing?

This is another of your tricks.

Mixing us with hoodlums so
the people think we're thieves.

Congratulations! A great idea.
Pity I noticed it.

What a parody of justice!

And where are our witnesses?

People of France,
you're the Tribunal!

Bring in our accusers...
the Committees.

No. You haven't the right.

Let it all be public, and you decide!


Panis, run to the Convention.

We want the Committees.

Say we're being muzzled. Run!

Count on me!

Oust the Committees.

Justice? It's a massacre.

Why are you here?

You let him go on and on.
Shut him up!

You think it's easy!

We want more energy from you.


Come into the court and you'll see.

Never mind. We know
what's happening.

We know what you're saying.

And not saying.

Spying on me? Bravo!

You're not firm enough.

What are you talking about?

You don't understand.

We'll let them have
their witnesses:

we can't refuse.

No witnesses!

Then I guarantee nothing.
You do do as you wish.

We really can't bar
their witnesses?

No. Not right away.

But you're running this trial.

I'm running it? Fine.

Now go away.

Get the hell out!

Let me run it.

Is it the Danton affair?

Why do you ask?

I've never seen you like this.

Leave me alone.

Not until you've told me all.

The Danton affair is a dilemma:

if we lose the trial,

the Revolution is sunk.

If we win, it's the same.

I shouldn't say it.

They're out to hurt you?

No... not openly.

Don't leave without eating.

It makes no sense.

Just sheaves?

There'll be lots of fruits and carts

of olives from Avignon.

For peace and joy...


To celebrate the Supreme Being.

Try this...

Simple and rustic...

No, it's like a martyr's frond.

We're in trouble!

The trial's going badly!

Danton's exciting the gallery.

He's so sure of himself,
he's attacking us.

We want Danton's death.

You justify the verdict!

Silence him, any way you can.

The public will lynch us!

What's more...

The accused want witnesses.

Yesterday, we sent a letter...

I know.

Where is it?

Did you send it... or not?

The Convention will answer it

after I tell them what I think of it.

We can't wait.

They'll say no, anyway.

Barere... you approve?

You can't do that.

If we back off, we're all sunk.

I'm a judge.

I'm not your

private executioner.

You're an executioner!

Not my private one. The people's!

You serve justice!

We send you the Republic's enemies.

Don't judge them!

Destroy them!

It's against the law.

When the Republic's at stake,

we can do anything.

Say another word,

and you'll be arrested.

We'll talk later...



When will you finish "The Oath"?

Fabre wasn't there.

Yes, he was.

He was on the list.

He wasn't there.

He's a traitor. Remove him.

Are you a close friend of Danton?

Identify me! Obey the law!

A mere formality!

Like this whole trial!


you've already testified! Be quiet.

I've only begun.

This trial won't be over

until I've finished.

People of France!

I appeal to you!

Only you may judge me.

Where are our witnesses?

I want them! Here!

The two Committees must be tried

by public opinion.

And after we've both spoken,

you, the people,

will decide who's guilty:

Me, or the omnipotent Committee!

Stop addressing the audience!

I'm accused of conspiracy.

I admit to it.

I have conspired.

In my heart, with myself,
I conspired.

I conspired for peace,

amnesty, respect for the Law,

for public order.

I conspired for happiness
and justice.

These errors,

because apparently
that's what they are,

I admit to them, proudly.

But I admit only to them...

Another error:
being popular and strong.

When only anonymity

one a long life
and slyness guarantee.

To survive, don't be loved.

That's one of our new laws!

All the more powerful

for being unwritten.

The people love
woe to strong men.

Long live mediocre,


bitter men,
huddled in their offices.

The Revolution is like Saturn,

devouring its children.

Why must we,

what fate propels us,

to condemn and not forgive?

Why all this bloodshed,

when will it stop,

if it ever does?

I tried to dampen

the Revolution's fire.

And I still do
I think I was right.

In your cold eyes,

I read my death.

You decided that before
entering this room.

I wonder: was I wrong?

Other men disagree with me.

Their idealism knows no bounds.

Everywhere, they see only


villains and traitors!

Revolutionary principles

have made them forget
the Revolution!

They've set up a dictatorship,
worse than the old one.

Fearing the return of tyrants,
they've become tyrants!

Fouquier, you said the people
wanted blood.

Liar! Lies!

Not the people, you want blood!

The people want only
to live in peace.

Don't saddle them with
your thirst for blood!

Danton, you betrayed yourself!

Only a conspirator,

an enemy of the government,

could thus insult

the People's Tribunal.

The people have only
one dangerous enemy:

the governement!

Stop the trial! Free Danton!

Call the guards.

I've been wounded 7 times.
In the chest!

Shoot me in the back!

Don't abandon your defenders!

Let me through!

Free Danton!

Freedom gets silenced here,

and you do nothing!

Come here!

They arrested you, too!

So there is some justice!

The creator of the Tribunal is to die!

I'll die, but so will you!

Right! Spit at him!

How can you pack living
people in like this!

Where is he?


Did he confess?

I lied... I never said this.

I did it to avoid a catastrophe.

What catastrophe?

Sign the statement.

Sign it!

It wasn't a plot.

Then what was it?

Just this...

Lucie Desmoulins wanted

to gather Danton's friends.

Such a list amounts to a plot.

It wasn't a plot.

Sign your deposition...

If you don't want do die...

We've discovered a plot.

All Paris is in it.

What plot?

Desmoulins' wife
and Danton's friends.

Lots of support...

Tomorrow they planned

to surround the court.

We're cooked.

Well, Robespierre?

This trial was your mad idea.

What now, Maximilien Robespierre?

What do you want?

- What do you want?
- You ask that?

We've won against Danton.

What do you mean?

Open your eyes.

You've all saved your heads.

You've escaped.

- Escaped? How?
- Listen:

any plot

is the Convention's worry.

If it's threatened,
it'll have to obey the Committee.

We must move fast

- to get this decree.
- What decree?

Danton must be barred from
speaking at the trial.

Tell the Convention of the plot.

I can't. I'm exhausted.

I'll go, and I'll get the decree.

Danton wants to call witnesses.

- It's out of the question.
- Right!

You know we're innocent.

But you don't care.

You're following your orders.

Fouquier knows which orders.

What are they? Confess!

So I too am to have

the kiss of steel.

But mark my words:

you can behead us,

but he who gave the order,

will soon be rotting beside me.

He knows that if he kills me
he'll die of it.

You want to murder me
without a trace.

You won't let reporters take notes.

The clerks are sitting idly:

they've also been told

to write nothing.

It must all disappear.

Am I to vanish too?

No! I won't!

I'll keep on talking

because I'm immortal!

For I am the people,

the people are with me!

You murderers...

...will be judged by the people.

I'm talking,

and I'll go on talking.

Maybe the air will hold

the echo of my voice.

Delegates of the Nation!

here is the Convention's latest decree.

It has voted the following decree:

the Tribunal will conduct
the trial without interruption.

Any defendant opposing it

will leave the courtroom at once.

We have unearthed a plot

to free the accused
and end the Republic.

The Desmoulins woman
is in the streets

buying up the people.

And beware:

agents of subversion
are in this room.

It's a lie!

They want to kill Lucille.

If you interrupt, I'll throw you out.

I ask you:
have we opposed the court?

Or insulted it?

From time to time.

Bravo, Georges!

Thank God it's over.

Glorious Tribunal, nest of thieves,

blackmailers and pimps,

I have one thing to tell you:

you're not fit to spit at!

In obedience to the decree,

I order Danton

to leave the court.

Take him away!


You won't silence us!

Lacroix, out!

I'll order myself out.

Me too. We could have
started this way.

Now go screw yourselves;

Having convicted them of plotting,

with Fabre and the others,

are they guilty of selling their votes

in a plot to slander

the nation's representatives

and destroy the government?

We will now read the sentence.

Lacroix, Danton, Herault,
Phillippeaux, Westermann,

Desmoulins and the rest
are condemned to death.

Their goods are confiscated.

Execution is to take place
within 24 hours,

and notice posted
throughout the country.

Without me it'll collapse.

There'll be nothing but terror.

The Revolution is shamed!

Hiding your fear?

No! I'm hiding nothing.

I'm scared too.

I thought I could look death
in the eye, but I can't.

It will all collapse in 3 months.

3 months, no more.

No, wait.

I don't feel weel.

Just when you're entering history?

Let him be.

Careful, I'll cut you.

I remember what
old Doc Guillotin said:

you feel nothing
when the blade drops.

Just a pleasantly cool sensation.

I'm a fraud. For years I yelled

"long live virtue". Then I got caught.

We do what we can.

I was had by the civilians.

Hurry up!

I had a short but happy life.

I've no regrets.

- All set?
- Yes.

You'll follow me soon.
You'll be forgotten.

Your house shall be razed.

Show the people my head.
It's worth it.

It's over, Maxime.
The people let it happen.

You must become dictator now.

No! I feel...

...that everything I've lived for...

...has collapsed forever.

I don't understand.

The Revolution...

...is off course.

How can you say that?

I don't know what I'm saying.

You admit a dictatorship is needed.

Then the nation can't govern itself,

and democracy is an illusion.

I'm crazy!

No, desperate.

So blow your brains out.

Good idea...

It would end my troubles.

I just want to sleep.

Go out quietly.

My brother has learned
something for you.

"Article One: All men are born...

"...free and equal

"...in law.

"Social differences must be
based on the public good.

"Article Two:

"the goal of political parties...

"...is to safeguard...

"...man's inalienable rights.

"Article Three:

"sovereignty resides in the people.

"No group or individual may rule...

"...without their express consent.

"Article Four:

"freedom is the right to do
anything not harmful to others.

"Man's natural rights
are limited only...

"...by what assures to others
in society...

"...the exercise of those rights.

"Only the law can set such limits."