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Differences from the novelEdit

The plot mainly follows the novel of the same name, but there were many liberties taken: (Note that this list includes mainly major differences, in small detail, there are many more)

  • The novel begins with Valjean's backstory.
  • The elder Valjean children are sent out to beg.
  • Valjean escapes when saving another convict who had fallen while repairing some battlements; in the book, he saves a sailor and fakes his death much later in the story; after he had already been released and convicted for a second time.
  • Valjean calls himself M. Madeline rather than Madeleine.
  • Valjean's new procedure for making black glass beads is actually one from Toulon.
  • After Valjean rescues Fantine from prison, he tells her to come and see him if she ever needs him. She does a few days later. In the book, he takes her to the hospital immediately.
  • Fantine's backstory is not shown, only told.
  • After his arrest, Valjean escapes from the carriage with which he is transported to the prison.
  • The Thénardiers don't appear again after Valjean fetched Cosette from them.
  • Cosette and Marius meet during a public speech from Marius' rebel society.
  • Valjean tries to talk Marius into abandoning the rebels.
  • Javert finds Valjean in the sewers and confronts him about what happened at the barricades; in the book, he finds Valjean near the Seine and does not ask him about his motives for letting him (Javert) go.
  • The film ends with the wedding of Cosette and Marius; none of the following events are shown.
Differences between the film and real-life France
  • Valjean is branded with his prison number on the arm (something never done in France).
  • Valjean has nearly floor-length hair and beard after his escape, although French convicts were kept close-cropped.
  • Valjean becomes the mayor of "Monteis-sur-Monteis" (a town nonexistent in France), rather than Montreuil-sur-Mer.
Omitted/altered characters
  • Javert is a high-ranking guard and keeps his eye on Valjean all the time, whereas he is but a low-ranking guard in the book and only introduced much later in the story.
  • Petit-Gervais is left out.
  • Éponine is cut entirely.
  • Sister Simplice is Valjean's housekeeper rather than Fantine's nurse.

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