Based on the Victor Hugo novel, the frequent re-telling of this story is a tribute to the classic status that the novel has attained, and the fresh new perspective brought to the film by director, Claude Lelouch, is a tribute to the filmmakers vision. For this time, the story is set during the days of WWII.

Jean-Paul Belmondo plays three roles, one as Valjean, from the original story, one as Henri Fortin, a chauffeur at the turn of the 20th Century, who is wrongly accused of murder, and Roger Fortin, Henri's son, a former champion boxer who is now a truck driver. Poor but honest, Fortin agrees to drive a Jewish family to Switzerland to escape the Nazi occupation of France. As they drive, Fortin asks one of the refugees to read aloud to him. The Jewish attorney, Andre Ziman begins reading from Les Miserables. This is how Lelouch introduces the Hugo story, he then carefully blends the old story into the 20th Century setting. There are some interesting revelations in this new version as characters attempt to break the cycle and change the ultimate outcome.

Les Miserables won the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film (1996).