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Film / Les Fugitifs

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Les Fugitifs ("The Fugitives") is a 1986 French comedy film directed by Francis Veber, starring Gérard Depardieu and Pierre Richard. Vladimir Cosma composed the soundtrack.

Jean Lucas, a bank robber, gets out of jail. He has decided to settle down, but the policeman who arrested him is sceptical about it. Lucas goes to a bank to deposit money, when someone enters, intimidates the customers with a gun and demands money. Then, he takes Lucas hostage to escape safely. The hostage taker is François Pignon, a jobless widower who brings up his daughter alone. He committed a heist because he is at loose ends. The problem for Lucas is that the police believe that he is responsible for the heist.

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An American remake, Three Fugitives, was released in 1989.


Les Fugitifs provides examples of:

  • Back-Alley Doctor: Martin, the veterinarian who treats Lucas for the bullet that Pignon fired in his leg. Lucas has no choice because the police search him.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: The bar where Pignon asks for a fake ID. The owner is a criminal and he tries to steal the loot of the bank heist.
  • Buddy Picture: Jean Lucas and François Pignon, two very different guys, finally become friends and work together to free Jeanne, to treat her and to escape to Italy.
  • Bumbling Dad: François Pignon is the father of Jeanne. He is very clumsy and he has crazy ideas like robbing a bank.
  • But Now I Must Go: Subverted in the end, because Lucas finally chooses to stay a little longer with Pignon and Jeanne.
  • Clear My Name: The police think that Lucas committed the bank heist. He has to prove that he is innocent.
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  • Cute Mute: Jeanne, Pignon's daughter, is an innocent child who has not spoken since her mother died.
  • Damsel in Distress: Jeanne is locked up in a home for children. She falls ill and she is going to die soon. Her father, Pignon, and Lucas free her and save her.
  • Disguised in Drag: In order to get through the roadblocks, Pignon has to dress as a woman.
  • Foreign Language Title: The German version first averted it (Die Flüchtigen, literal translation) and then combined it with the inevitable Fantastic Trope of Wonderous Titles (Zwei irre Typen auf der Flucht = Two Crazy Blokes on the Run).
  • Fugitive Arc: Pignon is on the run during most of the film. Lucas is on the run too during the first part of the film, then he manages to clear his name. But then he decides to help Pignon.
  • Homoerotic Subtext: Pignon and Lucas get very close to each other. Jeanne, Pignon's daughter, seems to need both of them. In the end, Pignon dresses as a woman and he pretends to be Lucas's wife. He sticks with the woman's clothes until the end of the film (even if it is not necessary any more). In the end, Lucas, Pignon and Jeanne seem to be a family.
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  • Hostage Situation: Pignon takes Lucas hostage to get away with the loot of the bank heist. The police think Pignon is the hostage.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Pignon mishandles his gun and accidentally shoots in Lucas's leg.
  • Ill Girl: Jeanne, Pignon's cute daughter, falls ill in the home for children. She is so weak that her life is in danger.
  • Inspector Javert: Duroc, a police officer, is convinced that Lucas is responsible for the heist. It takes a lot of time for him to realize that Lucas has really settled down.
  • Insult of Endearment: Lucas keeps on calling Pignon connard ("jerk"), even when they have become friends.
  • Jerk-to-Nice-Guy Plot: Lucas is a badass mobster. He constantly insults Pignon. When he is wounded, he claims that he does not need his help or the help of his daughter. Progressively, his relationship with Jeanne will show that he has a soft core and that he really cares for her and her father.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Lucas keeps on insulting Pignon, but, over the course of the film, he makes friends with him and he shows that he really care for him and his daughter.
  • Just Got Out of Jail: Lucas, a bank robber, gets out of jail. He has decided to settle down, but he is immediately involved in a bank heist.
  • Missing Mom: Jeanne's mother died, so Pignon brings up his daughter alone.
  • Mugging the Monster: Two yobs demand money from Lucas because he slept in a disused shed. Lucas pulls out his gun and force them to give him their clothes.
  • Retired Outlaw: Lucas was a bank robber, but now he has decided to settle down. He works as a locksmith.
  • Road Block: There are roadblocks to catch Pignon after the failed bank heist. He has to dress as a woman to get through.
  • Run for the Border: Pignon has to cross the Italian border to escape the police after a failed bank heist.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Lucas, a badass bank robber, makes friends with Pignon, a sensitive widower who deeply cares for his daughter.
  • Spiritual Successor: To La Chèvre (1981) and Les Compères (1983), two comedic buddy pictures directed by Francis Veber, starring Gérard Depardieu and Pierre Richard, with music by Vladimir Cosma.
  • Stupid Crooks: Pignon when he tries to rob the bank. The stocking he uses to conceal his face breaks bursts during the heist. Then his bag full of money ends up hanging on a lamp.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Jeanne has not spoken since her mother died. When Lucas says that he will go, she suddenly tells him not to go.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Jeanne is dressed as a boy to go through the roadblocks.
  • Tears of Joy: Pignon when his daughter Jeanne suddenly speaks.
  • Tempting Fate: The owner of the bar says that Lucas is not dangerous for him because he must keep a low profile while on the run. Immediately, a van enters his bar through the front window. This is Lucas who wants to free Pignon.
  • Too Unhappy to Be Hungry: Jeanne refuses to eat after getting separated from her father and placed into a home for children.
  • Workplace-Acquired Abilities: His skills as locksmith (and reformed burglar) come handy when Lucas helps Pignon to break into the home for children.

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