Brit DVD Reviews: The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982) – Acorn Media


The French aristocracy is being rounded up to face the guillotine at the hands of the revolutionaries. Their only hope rests in a last minute rescue orchestrated by the mysterious Scarlet Pimpernel. As the French struggle to decipher the true identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel and put an end to his swashbuckling capers, rumors persist that an Englishman just might be responsible for the heroic rescues.

Anthony Andrews (Brideshead Revisited) brilliantly plays the foolish dandy with a penchant for little more than the latest fashion and the catchy phrase “Sink me!”. The exaggerated mannerisms and speech of Andrews’ Sir Percy Blakeney are really quite entertaining to watch. The shallow-minded Sir Percy is the perfect disguise for hiding the true identity of the elusive Scarlet Pimpernel. The French are certain that Sir Percy could simply never be the dashing Scarlet Pimpernel. Like a superhero with two identities, Sir Percy continues his mission cleverly hiding in plain sight as a fool.

As Sir Percy Blakeney continues to rescue the French aristocrats right out from under the henchmen of the revolutionary Robespierre, Blakeney falls in love with the beautiful actress Marguerite St. Just (Jane Seymour, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman). Marguerite St. Just has also caught the attention of Robespierre’s trusted aide, Citizen Chauvelin (Ian McKellen, The Lords of the Rings, X-Men). A rivalry of epic proportion develops as Marguerite chooses Sir Percy Blakeney as her love, not the dedicated French leader, Citizen Chauvelin.

The final scene at Calais with Sir Percy, Marguerite and Citizen Chauvelin is exciting and entertaining. Anthony Andrews portrays both sides of Sir Percy Blakeney/The Scarlet Pimpernel to the end with humor, bravery and intrigue. Jane Seymour is the beautiful innocent pawn who marries Sir Percy Blakeney, only to discover she is really in love with The Scarlet Pimpernel. And Ian McKellen’s Citizen Chauvelin is fascinating, both for the character’s hardened revolutionary side as well as the softer side in love with the lovely Marguerite.

Based on the novel of the same name by Baroness Orczy, this intriguing tale first aired on television in 1982 and was eventually nominated for thee Emmy Awards, including outstanding drama special. This movie was filmed in various location around England. Acorn Media has now released this classic television program on DVD, adding subtitles for the hard of hearing.  Run time is approximately 136 minutes. Sink me!

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  1. avatarBrittaney says

    I saw this in one of my history/government classes years ago and fell in love with this movie. It’s a long time favorite. Glad to see a positive review on it.

  2. avatar says

    Thanks, Brittaney. It really is a great movie! It’s entertaining and yet I can totally see why you would watch it in history/government class. Sink me! :-)