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The Top 5 Best Movie Frollo from The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Updated on March 18, 2015
Disney Frollo
Disney Frollo

The Top 5 Best Movie Frollos

The English title of The Hunchback of Notre Dame de Paris may point to Quasimodo, but it’s Frollo who gets the plot in gear by attempting to kidnap Esmeralda. Frollo in the book is a complex character who has to fight earthly desires but is driven to torment and crime. In book he is a priest and very committed to perfect in his profession but due to the strict codes of early Hollywood morality Frollo subsequently is rarely depicted as priest in major movies.

This page is a look at which Frollo in film, and by extension TV movies were included, is the best depiction of the character and just all around memorable character. And because there isn’t a lot of Hunchback movies out there this is a The Top Five Best Frollo.

List is Subject to change, as you never know if and when a new Hunchback movie will come along.


Have you read the Hunchback of Notre Dame?

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Kenneth Haigh as Frollo, 1977 Version
Kenneth Haigh as Frollo, 1977 Version

Number #5

Kenneth Haigh The 1977 Version

The 1977/1976 Tv movie is one of the most accurate versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. While they do leave big subplots out, like Esmeralda’s backstory, they do try to squeeze a lot of the book in it and as result we get a sort watered-down Frollo who tries hard with material but there is a lack of passion and torment to the writing. It's actually the major problem with the 1977 version is that while it’s accurate the production value are so lack luster that is a very dull version and the characters suffer because of it. So with a bigger budget and more effort this really could have been a great Frollo.

Alain Cuny as Frollo, 1956 Version
Alain Cuny as Frollo, 1956 Version

Number #4

Alain Cuny, The 1956 Version

The 1956 version of The Hunchback is the first time since the 1923 version that Frollo was depicted as priest, though I have no idea how the lost film depicted the character though is surviving photograph of the 1911 version it seemed like Frollo was a priest.

The trouble with the 1956 Frollo is that despite him being a priest who practices alchemy there is nothing really to this Frollo. He glares at Esmeralda and hides behind walls and that is the extent of his torment and desire for her. It almost cheating the way the Frollo and Esmeralda have like no interaction with each other. And if a Frollo can’t communicate this torment than he just not very interesting and yet the 1956 Frollo is still better than some other movie Frollos

Derek Jacobi as Frollo, 1982 Version
Derek Jacobi as Frollo, 1982 Version

Number #3

Derek Jacobi, The 1982 Version

Frollo from the 1982 TV-movie is a very good depiction of Frollo but they take some dramatic license with the character that is detrimental to the drama. First off let’s just get to the elephant in the room, the wig. Frollo’s blond salad bowl wig is beyond silly. Besides being ridiculous even for the 80’s it makes him look too kind. Frollo at the start is a good kind and just person but he supposed to look austere and harsh with a balding head and what is let is gray.

Another problem with this Frollo is that he goes from zero to hundred with regards to his obsession for Esmeralda. In the book he spends months obsessing over her and tormenting over her until it reaches a critical mass. In the 1982 version he sees her getting arrested and with in a few hours he wants her, it just robs the drama from the character.

Despite all the however, Jacobi does a good job with the material he is given and we have a legit jail/confession scene which is the big Frollo scene that is rarely done.

Disney Frollo
Disney Frollo

Number #2

The Disney Version

The Disney Version of Frollo is without a doubt one of Disney best villains, within the first ten minutes he chases a poor mother down which leads to her death and nearly drowns her infant, he’s just cruel and a control-freak but how is he as depiction of Frollo?

Well being a Disney movie. a media giant that tries to appeal to everyone, Frollo is a judge and has control over Paris, in fact he burns most of Paris down and the king doesn’t say one word. As a judge he doesn’t have the church as his cause for why is tormented over his desire for Esmeralda. Instead it’s him being bigoted towards Gypsies and his torment is more anger and based in losing control. While book Frollo didn’t hate the Gypsies to the extent that Disney Frollo does, the anguish and losing control over his baser desire is in keeping with the book. While he not one-hundred percent accurate to the book he is still one, if not the most memorable Frollos in film and I mean come Hellfire is one the best scenes in a Disney movie, it might just be perfect

Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Frollo, 1939 Version
Sir Cedric Hardwicke as Frollo, 1939 Version

Number #1

Sir Cedric Hardwicke, 1939 Version

If you ever wondered where Disney got the idea to make Frollo a judge, look no further that the 1939 version. The 1939 version was the first movie version to make Frollo a judge. Unlike the Disney version, there is a religious component to his characterization though he acts more on hating the Gypsies.

What is really great about the 1939 Frollo is the the way Hardwicke plays him. He plays the role in a really restrained manner. He never goes into full-on crazed fevered mode like Frollo in the book but there is something to the depiction that makes one feel that this Frollo is walking a very fine line to keep himself together and at any moment he could just lose full control over himself.

Also the jail/confession scene, a.k.a the tree scene, is done with great angles and shadows the gives Frollo an almost possessed quality

Who is your favorite character from The Hunchback of Notre Dame?

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Which version of Frollo is your favorite?

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      claude frollo 2 years ago

      bonjour mon amour claude


      bonjour mon amour