Summary of the Movie "The Scarlet Pimpernel"

by Allison Horky
Louis XVI was in power at the start of the French Revolution.

Louis XVI was in power at the start of the French Revolution. Images

"The Scarlet Pimpernel," a 1982 movie shown on TV and directed by Clive Donner, stars Anthony Andrews as the Scarlet Pimpernel, Jane Seymour as his wife, Marguerite St. Just; and Ian McKellen as the Pimpernel-tracking French ambassador Chauvelin. Sir Percy Blakeney becomes the Pimpernel when he goes into France to rescue aristocrats from death by guillotine during the French Revolution. After each rescue he leaves a small flower, a scarlet pimpernel.


Sir Blakeney plays a an round-town, English nobleman who has a reputation as conceited and overly concerned about his appearance. However, when he becomes the Pimpernel, he is brave and seeks to change the world with his secret and radical rescues. He marries Maguerite. who does not know about his secret actions in France, though she talks of this secret man often. Chauvelin is sent from France to England to seek out the Pimpernel.


Sir Blakeney takes off to France often during the film to save aristocrats from the guillotine with his team of friends. He feels these deaths as a result of the French Revolution need to be stopped. However, the leaders in France disagree, and they are frustrated by his attempts to thwart their progress in the Revolution. France sends Chauvelin, who is head of Public Safety, to find the Pimpernel and stop him from getting into France. Blakeney's inability to stay away from France sets the stage for his entrapment by Chauvelin.

Marguerite's Involvement

Sir Blakeney is deeply in love with his wife, Marguerite, but he cannot tell her about his activities in France. She thinks he is a playboy who stays out all the time with this friends, having too much fun. However, she had a past involvement with the man who is tracking Blakeney, Chauvelin. When Chauvelin comes to England to find the Pimpernel, he suspects Blakeney and has his friend, Lord Dewhurst, robbed to confirm his suspicions. He goes to Marguerite to help him expose her husband. Chauvelin tells Marguerite that he can free her brother from jail if she helps.

Chasing the Pimpernel (Spoiler)

Sir Blakeney also promises Marguerite that he will save her brother, which is where Marguerite thinks he is going one night. After finding his Pimpernel ring in this study, she realizes who he really is. Despite Blakeney's lies about his activities, Marguerite loves him, and she fears for him because she has given Chauvelin crucial information about him. She, too, takes off for Paris to help him from being killed by Chauvelin. She finds him, and they fight their way away from Chauvelin back into England.

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