The Hunchback of Notre Dame
French theatrical release poster
Directed byJean Delannoy
Written by
Based onThe Hunchback of Notre Dame
by Victor Hugo
Produced by
CinematographyMichel Kelber
Edited byHenri Taverna
Music by
Distributed byAllied Artists Pictures Corporation
Release date
  • December 19, 1956 (1956-12-19)
Running time
115 minutes
Budget$2 million[2]
Box office$2.25 million (US and Canadian rentals)[3]

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (in French Notre-Dame de Paris) is a 1956 French-Italian CinemaScope film version of Victor Hugo's 1831 novel, directed by Jean Delannoy and produced by Raymond Hakim and Robert Hakim. It stars American actor Anthony Quinn and Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida. The film is the first version of the novel to be made in color.

In the tradition of many sword and sandal spectacles, Quinn and Lollobrigida are the only two actors in the film who actually speak in English; the rest of the cast is made up of French actors who have had their voices dubbed into English. In the French version both Quinn and Lollobrigida speak French.

Anthony Quinn's portrayal of the hunchback Quasimodo is less disfigured than most other portrayals. Instead of having a huge hump and a hideously deformed face, he only has a small curve in his spine and a slightly deformed face.

The film is one of the few adaptations to use Victor Hugo's original ending; although Esmeralda is killed by a stray arrow rather than hanged. Esmeralda's last words were: "Life is wonderful" ("C'est beau, la vie"). A voiceover narration tells us at the end that several years afterward, an excavation group finds the skeletons of Quasimodo and Esmeralda intertwined in an embrace.


Quasimodo (Anthony Quinn), the hunchback of Notre Dame Cathedral, falls in love with the gypsy Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida). When Esmeralda is condemned as a witch by Claude Frollo (Alain Cuny), the priest who longs for her, Quasimodo takes her into the Cathedral to save her. But in a misguided rescue attempt, the people come to free her and Quasimodo defends the Cathedral, but they burst through the front door just as soldiers arrive and shoot arrows. One of the arrows hits Esmeralda as the crowd graves her, and Quasimodo sees her die. When Frollo comes up, Quasimodo defensively throws him off the tower of the Cathedral, and then goes to find Esmeralda's body at an old dungeon site the dead are taken, where she is left, and Quasimodo mourns her.



The film was the biggest grosser in Paris in the 1956-1957 season with a gross of $603,000[4] on admissions of 1,064,061.[5] It had the third most admissions in France for films released in 1956 with 5,687,222 admissions.[6]

The film earned rentals of $2.25 million in the United States and Canada.[3]

Comic book adaptation


  1. ^ a b Notre-Dame de Paris Musique de Georges Auric. Sortie le 19 décembre 1956 // cinema-francais
  2. ^ "It's a Crisis". Variety. 20 June 1956. p. 6.
  3. ^ a b "Top Grosses of 1957", Variety, 8 January 1958: 30
  4. ^ "Yank Pix High on Paris List of Hit Films". Variety. June 19, 1957. p. 15. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  5. ^ "Notre-Dame de Paris". JP's Box Office. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  6. ^ "Les Entrees En France Anee 1956". JP's Box Office. Retrieved April 19, 2019.
  7. ^ "Dell Four Color #854". Grand Comics Database.
  8. ^ Dell Four Color #854 at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)