They Dreamed a Dream

Les Misrables is a whole new kind of movie musical

James Fisher/Universal Pictures

Behind the scenes of Les MisÚrables, the new movie.

In June 1832, a group of students, immigrants and insurrectionists took to the streets of Paris, demanding change. The fervor of the French Revolution had withered amid vast economic inequality, food shortages and a cholera outbreak. The rebels occupied half the city using makeshift barricades: trembling stacks of stolen saplings and planks. While the insurgency ended overnight, it lasted long enough for novelist Victor Hugo to be caught in its crosshairs, pinned to a wall as bullets flew.

The events would inspire Hugo's masterpiece, Les Misrables--which, 118 years later, inspired Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schnberg's musical. Since its Paris premiere in...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!