Colonel Chabert (1994 film)

Le Colonel Chabert (English title: Colonel Chabert) is a 1994 French historical drama film directed by Yves Angelo and starring Gérard Depardieu, Fanny Ardant and Fabrice Luchini. It is based on the novel Le Colonel Chabert by Honoré de Balzac. Another film adaptation of the novel starring Raimu had been released 50 years earlier, during the German occupation of France.

Colonel Chabert
Film poster
Directed byYves Angelo
Produced byJean-Louis Livi
Screenplay byYves Angelo
Jean Cosmos
Véronique Lagrange
Based onLe Colonel Chabert
by Honoré de Balzac
CinematographyBernard Lutic
Edited byThierry Derocles
Distributed byAMLF
Release date
  • 21 September 1994 (1994-09-21)
Running time
110 minutes
Budget$13.4 million
Box office$13.2 million[1]


In Paris, in February 1817, three years after the fall of the Empire, the lawyer Derville receives a visit from a shabbily dressed man. He claims to be Colonel Chabert, believed dead at the Battle of Eylau in 1807. He had contributed to the victory by leading a famous cavalry charge against the Russians.

The man tells how, waking in a mass grave surrounded by corpses, he survived his wounds.

He has returned ten years later and wishes to claim his title, to assert his rights and to live again with his wife, who has greatly increased the fortune she inherited from him. She, during his absence, has married Count Ferraud and had children.

She refuses to recognise her first husband. Derville agrees to help the colonel by proposing a settlement in which she will make a lage settlement on Chabert if he agrees to divorce her and give up his claims. She refuses the proposed terms and tries to manipulate her ex-husband, asking him to declare his claim is fraudulent. Chabert, disgusted by her deceitfulness and the idea of him renouncing his name, abandons his claim.

Colonel Chabert finishes his life penniless and in an asylum, reminiscing on his last battle.



Awards and nominations

  • Cairo Film Festival (Egypt)
  • César Awards (France)
    • Nominated: Best Actor Leading Role (Gérard Depardieu)
    • Nominated: Best Actor Supporting Role (Fabrice Luchini)
    • Nominated: Best Cinematography (Bernard Lutic)
    • Nominated: Best Costume Design (Franca Squarciapino)
    • Nominated: Best First Work (Yves Angelo)
    • Nominated: Best Production Design (Bernard Vézat)


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