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Les Fugitifs
Directed by Francis Veber
Written by Francis Veber
Starring Gérard Depardieu
Pierre Richard
Music by Vladimir Cosma
Cinematography Luciano Tovoli
Distributed by Gaumont
Release date
  • 17 December 1986 (1986-12-17) (France)
Running time
86 min.
Country France
Language French

Les Fugitifs is a French 1986 comedy film, directed by Francis Veber. It was remade in 1989 as Three Fugitives, also directed by Veber.


After serving a five year sentence, bank robber Jean Lucas (Depardieu), is released from prison. He intends to end his criminal lifestyle, but on his release day, when he goes to the bank to open an account, he is taken hostage by François Pignon (Richard), who robs the bank and accidentally shoots Jean in the leg. However, Police commissioner Duroc (Maurice Barrier) doesn't believe Jean is a hostage, given his history of 14 bank robberies. Jean forces François to go to the police and confess to being the robber so that Jean's name would be cleared, but once they arrive at the police station, the police mistake Jean as the robber, forcing him to escape. François follows, and ends up taking him to Dr. Martin (Jean Carmet), a senile veterinarian friend of his late father, to treat his bullet wound.

François was a former chief of sales at a textile factory, which went out of business three years ago, leaving him unemployed, and his daughter Jeanne (Anaïs Bret) has been catatonic since the death of François' wife around the same time François lost his job. Not wanting to leave his daughter, he asks for Jean's help to get him a new identity so that he can escape the country. Reluctantly, Jean contacts his old friend Labib (Jean Benguigui), asking him to hook François up with a fake ID. However, upon the meeting, Labib informs François that his price for a new passport has now changed from 2,500 Francs to 500,000. However, François only made away with 84,000 Francs from the robbery. Upon learning of the truth, Labib calls Jean, threatening to take François to the police if Jean doesn't get him 500,000 Francs in 24 hours.

Jean steals a van and crashes into Labib's bar, rescuing François. François then writes a written confession for Jean to present to the police. Jean suggests to François that he turn himself in, for he could get away with just one year in prison. However, just as he prepares to leave, Jeanne, who has come to care for Jean, asks him to stay, breaking out of her catatonic state. When Jean refuses, Jeanne runs off. François and Jean chase her and they see her run into a park, where a stranger offers her a candy and then takes her to the police after Jeanne tells him about her mother being dead and her father being in jail. Witnessing the police take away his daughter, François decides to kidnap her and leave the country. Jean suggests that he turn himself in and face the one year jail time, promising that he'll visit Jeanne in the meantime.

Jean meets up with Duroc and presents him the written confession, and is vindicated. He takes a job as a locksmith, and goes to visit Jeanne in the orphanage, where she has relapsed into a catatonic state, now even refusing to eat and speak to him. She is being guarded by the police. Later that night, François attempts to break the lock to get Jeanne out of the orphanage. Jean shows up and picks the lock successfully. However, at first, Jean takes the wrong girl from the bed, and when she screams, the police officer is alerted. However she trips on toys and drops her revolver, which François picks up and forces her to direct him to Jeanne. Jean and François escape from the orphanage with Jeanne, who is suffering from lack of food. However, Jean gets a new client in the middle of the night - an intoxicated doctor, who, after a night of partying, has lost his keys. After the doctor examines Jeanne, he discovers her very low blood pressure, gives her a pill of tonicardiaque, and advises the men to feed her normally.

Jean and François break into a house where Jean changed the locks and the owners are on vacation. However, later that night, when he goes to make preparations for leaving the country, Jean runs into Duroc, who informs him that the police have set up barricades across the country. Jean realises that he will not be able to get François and Jeanne across the border. Jean hatches a plan after find the family's passports in the house. They dress up and pretend to be the vacationing family - Jean being the father, François the mother, and Jeanne, after Jean giving her a hair cut, as their son, Jean-Claude. They leave for a cross-country road trip in a stolen Renault 25. To get past a police roadblock, Jean lies to the policeman that his "wife" is pregnant and about to go in labor. The policeman in charge assigns two motorcycle police to escort them to the hospital, but don't leave until the orderlies arrive to ferry François inside. However, as soon as they are gone, François jumps up from the stretcher and runs for the car, with Jean covering it up as a "nervous pregnancy".

Eventually, Jean, François and Jeanne arrive at the Franco-Italian border, where Jean points out that Italy is just on the other side of the hill, and promises to visit them one day, intending to stay in France and continue his own life there. When François and Jeanne leave, Jean watches them disappearing from a distance. However, after seeing François nearly trip on the dress he's wearing as a disguise, Jean decides to join them.


  • Pierre Richard as François Pignon
  • Gérard Depardieu as Jean Lucas
  • Anaïs Bret as Jeanne Pignon
  • Jean Carmet as Dr. Martin, retired veterinarian
  • Maurice Barrier as commissaire Duroc
  • Jean Benguigui as Labib
  • Roland Blanche as Labib's henchman
  • Philippe Lelièvre as Duroc's assistant
  • Yveline Ailhaud as policewoman
  • Didier Pain as policeman with dog
  • Arno Klarsfeld as journalist interviewing Lucas
  • Michel Blanc as Dr. Gilbert (uncredited)
  • Eric Averlant as barman (Café du Rond-Point)
  • Stéphane Boucher as policeman in the van
  • Patrick Massieu as policeman in the office
  • Christian Sinniger as policeman in the office


The movie takes place in Bordeaux in the French department of Gironde, as evidenced by the license plates on the cars in the movie ending with "33", which, between 1950-2009, was assigned to Gironde.

External links

This page was last edited on 14 July 2018, at 13:49
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