Les Visiteurs

Les Visiteurs

For other uses, see Visitor (disambiguation)

Les Visiteurs ("The Visitors") is a cult French film directed by Jean-Marie Poiré and released in 1993. In this comedy, a 12th-century knight and his servant travel in time to the end of the 20th century and find themselves adrift in modern society.

Les Visiteurs was the Number 1 box office film in France in 1993, with 13,782,846 ticket sales. The publicity for the film used the tagline Ils ne sont pas nés d'hier ("They weren't born yesterday").

Reno and Clavier later reprised their roles in a sequel, and an American remake of the movie entitled Just Visiting.


In the year 1123, Godefroy, Count of Appremont and Papincourt, saves the life of his beloved sovereign, King Louis VI "Le Gros" ("The Fat") from the sword of a "horribilis" Englishman.

For this action of bravery, the King makes him Count of Montmirail and gives him the woman he loves, the beautiful Frénégonde de Pouille. On his way to go to the castle to marry Frénégonde, Godefroy's drinking flask is drugged by a witch he had earlier taken prisoner. Hallucinating, he believes that the father of his future wife, the Duke of Pouille, is a ferocious bear, and kills him with a crossbow bolt. During the Duke's funeral, Godefroy's servant, the disreputable Baldrick-like Jacquouille la Fripouille, steals the Duke's jewels.

In an attempt to repair his mistake, Godefroy asks the wizard Eusebius to send him back in time to a moment before he shot the Duke. The old wizard makes an error with his magical spell, and accidentally sends Godefroy and Jacquouille to the year 1992. There, after a few problems with the Gendarmerie after Godefroy trying to destroy a car, the first thing he encounters in 1992, they meet Béatrice de Montmirail, an aristocrat who looks exactly like Frénégonde (being Godefroy's great-great-great-great-great-great-granddaughter). Jacquouille meanwhile is befriended by Ginette la Clocharde, an attractive vagrant living in an old mobile home.

Béatrice thinking Godefroy to be her long lost cousin Hubert, they all go to Béatrice's home. There, various culture-shock comedy ensues as Godefroy and Jacquouille attempt to fathom modern household appliances.

Seeing the family seal on Godefroy's hand, Beatrice assumes that he stole the jewel from the castle de Montmirail, now a hotel. They go there and meet the owner of the castle, the effete Jacques-Henri Jacquard, the unwitting descendant and close likeness of Jacquouille (they react to each other with mutual disgust). The jewel on Godefroy's hand starts to burn as they get closer to the castle, where the present-day version of the seal is. The two seals explode and destroy Jacquard's brand new Range Rover.

Godefroy books a room for the night and finds a secret passage known only to him. There he finds a letter telling him to go to a certain address, where an aged Monsieur Ferdinand, the last descendant of the wizard Eusebius, gives him the potion that will return him to 1123. Jacquouille, however, doesn't want to join him, enjoying Ginette's company and having proved more adaptable than Godefroy in discovering toothpaste (curing the halitosis that made him objectionable in 1123), modern clothing and other amenities of the future. Godefroy finally brings him to the hotel room by force.

While Godefroy is talking with Béatrice, Jacquouille swaps jackets with his descendant, closes the curtains, dims the lights, and puts Jacquard on the bed in his place. In the dark, Godefroy gives Jacquard the potion which then sends him back to the year 1123. Godefroy comes back just in time to stop himself from shooting the father of Frédégonde, the Duke of Pouille, and the deflected crossbow bolt kills the witch who causesd the whole misadventure by drugging Godefroy's flask. The bewildered Jacquard, now stranded in the the past, chases after Godefroy and Frédégonde, begging for an explanation of what is going on.



A sequel, Les Visiteurs 2, was released to a generally poor reception. Some factors contributing to the disappointment of the French audience include the fact that some of the actors had been changed and that the film contained advertisements for various brands.


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