The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1977 TV series)

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The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Based on The Hunchback of Notre Dame
by Victor Hugo
Written by Victor Hugo (novel)
Robert Muller
Directed by Alan Cooke
Starring Warren Clarke
Michelle Newell
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
Original release July 18, 1977 (1977-07-18)

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is a 1977 television series and an adaptation of the 1831 novel by Victor Hugo.


A play written by Pierre Gringoire is being performed at the Palace of Justice. The audience however, is not very receptive, particularly Jehan Frollo, the brother of the archdeacon. As a diversion, the people decide to elect a pope of fools. Quasimodo, the bell ringer is chosen, despite the objections of the archdeacon Claude Frollo. Robin Poussepain calls the remaining attention to La Esmeralda, who is dancing in the square.

As Gringoire follows Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Frollo attempt to kidnap the gypsy. They are stopped by Phoebus de Chateaupers, who arrests Quasimodo and enchants Esmeralda. Gringoire is captured by beggars and put on trial by their king, Clopin Trouillefou. His life is offered to be spared if someone will marry him, and Esmeralda ends up doing so, though only out of pity.

The next day, Quasimodo is on trial for his crime of kidnapping. Jehan and Robin discuss the deaf auditor, Master Florain, and mock him. They are also on trial for causing a riot with their fellow students. Jehan, encouraged by Robin, takes the opportunity to be Quasimodo's lawyer, explaining how he, as the brother of the archdeacon, is given the benefit of the doubt. Quasimodo is sentenced to a flogging. Gringoire attempts to appeal to Florian, saying that Quasimodo's deafness renders the case unproven. He is instead sentenced to two hours in the pillory.

While Quasimodo is being flogged, Frollo approaches the pillory, but leaves Quasimodo to suffer. Quasimodo begs for water, but is mocked by the people, until Esmeralda gives him some from her canteen. this causes Quasimodo to fall in love with her.

In his cell, Frollo is practicing alchemy. Jehan enters, begging for money, and explains to his brother all about the "squalid melodrama" revolving around Esmeralda. He reveals how Phoebus and Esmeralda will be together that night.

Frollo confronts Phoebus, who allows the mad priest to watch him and Esmeralda have their way with one another. Esmeralda attempts to convince Phoebus that she must remain chaste. While Phoebus is making his move, Frollo bursts out from his hiding place and stabs Phoebus. Esmeralda is convicted of the crime.

Esmeralda is on trial for the murder of Phoebus. She denies all of the accusations brought forth by the witnesses and by Charmalou the prosecutor. Under torture, she confesses and is sentenced to die. Frollo visits her while she is imprisoned. He offers her safety in exchange for her becoming submissive to him. She rejects him.

Esmeralda is being prepared for execution. Gringoire appeals to Frollo, begging that "She is innocent," but Frollo ignores these claims. Esmeralda sees Phoebus with Fleur de Lys and rejoices. Esmeralda tells Frollo that she should be free, seeing as how she is condemned for a crime never committed. Charmalou callously says that "People have come to see a hanging, not to debate the ethics of our judicial system." and brings Esmeralda to the scaffold.

Quasimodo rushes from the cathedral doors. He ascends the scaffold and throws the executioner into the crowd. He carries Esmeralda into the safety of the cathedral, shouting "Sanctuary," in the process.

Quasimodo, on Esmeralda's orders, approaches Phoebus. Phoebus kicks Quasimodo to the ground. When he returns to Esmeralda, she is enraged, continuously striking the hunchback, crying "I hate you!". Quasimodo merely thanks her and leaves.

Quasimodo, sobbing, rings the bells of Notre Dame. Frollo ascends to the tower and attempts to rape Esmeralda. Quasimodo stops him, but upon recognizing Frollo, he begs to be killed. Frollo promises that "No one shall have her!"

That night, Clopin leads the beggars from the court of miracles to Notre Dame. Not realising that they have come to rescue Esmeralda, Quasimodo throws timbers and stones, killing many vagabonds. Gringoire and Frollo bring Esmeralda out of Notre Dame. When the three of them reach the end of their destination, Gringoire leaves, pathetically apologizing for saving himself.

Frollo gives Esmeralda to the hangman after being rejected for the final time, while the cavaliers arrive at Notre Dame, killing many vagabonds, including Jehan.

Frollo walks up to the cathedral balcony. Quasimodo begs his master to save Esmeralda from execution. Frollo proclaims that Quasimodo is "Beyond salvation" and strikes him down. Esmeralda is hanged. Frollo smiles at this, resulting in Quasimodo tossing him off of the cathedral. While the bodies of the recent dead are removed, Phoebus, Fleur de Lys and the entire nobility dance, in honor of their recent marriage.


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