Les Miserables starts off on a chain gang in France.

However, it can also be regarded as a sad reflection on 20th century European history.

The music by Francis Lai (among others) brilliantly captures and enhances the film's themes and emotions.

Les Miserables 1998
The most recent English-speaking version, Bille August's film is spectacular and lovingly produced, but the director has taken various "shortcuts" (even liberties?) with both the characters and events.

Apparently filmed entirely on location, there is a coldness, even at times an unpleasantness, pervading the film.

The tormented but determined Valjean is well played by Liam Neeson, indeed the acting is of a high standard throughout - my main quibble is with the "shortcuts" (made, perhaps, due to considerations of time and commerce?).

I find it hard to accept that Valjean would strike the Bishop - in the book he considered violence but shrank from it.

There should be no hint of romance between Valjean and Fantine - both are lacking in self-esteem, and Fantine is far too ill!

Javert would not beat Fantine - this is quite unnecessary as he is the law, and he would not allow such personal weakness to affect his duties.

Les Miserables tickets, Queens Theatre, London Theatre

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and Jonathon Larson’s “Will I?” from the musical Rent.

Les Miserables Movie Review - Common Sense Media

Of course, if you're making fun of it, at two hours, there's plenty of material....

Les Miserables 1952

Unfortunately this is another film version that fails to capture the spirit of the novel while rearranging and omitting significant chunks of plot.

11 Life Lessons From Les Miserables - The Odyssey Online

Jean Valjean, in the novel Les Miserables(1961), changes from someone with confused morals to a man with more morals than most whom with respect learns to love and share.

Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables takes place during the tumultuous time of the French Revolution.

Art and Emotion | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Living in a fast paced world, many people today consider reading a time-consuming, senseless activity, and those who still read most likely choose a shorter novel rather than the 1500 page story of Les Miserables....

Les Misérables (1998) - IMDb

I was also struck by the way in which Hossein depicted Fantine's degradation through a series of stills showing her decline and deterioration in health while we hear readings of Thenardier's letters to her about Cosette.

Javert is seen as cold, principled, and determined, but to the great credit of the production, he is not depicted as some evil monster.

Les Miserables 1995

Claude Lelouch's 1995 film is more an adaptation of Hugo's tale, rather than a filmed version of it.

Discuss the period of time wherein "Les Miserable" is set

It is to the director's great credit that Thenardier's part has not been as significantly reduced as it so often is in film versions, and Bourvil certainly gets under the skin of the character.

There is much to savour and enjoy, but I find it a little staid and too self-aware for my taste.

Les Miserables 1978

Although much admired by some, I'm afraid I find this a rather workman-like production.

Produced as a television film by Sir Lew Grade in 1978, it shares the weaknesses of many of his other excursions into the cinema in the late seventies and early eighties - a lack of sparkle and decent script.

Les Miserables Tickets - London Box Office

Fay Weldon may as well have been describing Les Miserables when she said "The writer, I do believe, who get the best and most lasting response from readers are the writers who offer happy endings through moral development .......

Awakening Through Your Difficult Emotions with Ram …

I felt the direction was uninspired and left the viewer curiously uninvolved.

For all that, it is an honest and genuine attempt at putting the story on the screen, and deserves credit as such.

Les Miserables 1982 (French Television/cinema release)

It was with some trepidation that I approached this version - it is not very well known, and television production values were not always what they might have been in the seventies and eighties.

However, I am delighted to say I was very pleasantly surprised by this production directed and written by Robert Hossein.