One of my favorite movies is “The Count of Monte Cristo”. It was released in 2002. When I first watched it in the theater I thought it was going to be a boring movie. After all, what is so exciting about France and Italy in the 1800’s? But I was pleasantly surprised. The story with its drama and intrigue along with its dashes of humor made for a compelling movie going experience. Join me now as I go through the top 10 moments from “The Count of Monte Cristo”.
10: Napoleon interrupting the drinking and singing of Edmond and Fernand
Edmond and his “friend” Fernand are off sailing when the captain gets sick. They land on the island of Alba where Napoleon is currently being held captive. With luck they avoid being killed by the dragoons on the island and somehow end up in the wine cellar where they share wine and song. Napoleon interrupts the both of them and the look on Edmond and Fernand’s faces is priceless. On this island, Napoleon first tells Edmond that in life we are either kings or pawns. And with a later addition to that phrase, when Edmond and Fernand are gone, Napoleon adds to that: emperors and fools.
When in life have you been the king or the pawn? Are we pawns no matter what position we attain?
9: Edmond being betrayed and sent to prison
Edmond was an honest and naive young man. He was made captain of the Ferione (I’m not sure if that is how you spell the ship’s name). He is also about to marry Mercedes. As life could not get any better, things take a tragic turn for the worse. Edmond is arrested in his home and taken in front of Prosecutor Villefort. As Edmond gives him a letter he received from Napoleon, Villefort burns the letter and throws him in a locked carriage where he is taken to prison. I believe the name of the prison is “Chateau d’ If”. It is there he is whipped and spends many years alone, except for a yearly beating.
Have there been moments where everything seems to click and go right? Do events happen sometimes that just seem to derail the good things in life?
8: Edmond seeing the priest for the first time
Edmond Dantes has been in prison for many years by this time. He’s grown a full blown wizard beard and looks much like Jesus would I imagine, without all the dirt on him. As he sits, destitute of any hope or positive emotion, the ground begins to rumble. He scampers back like a rat and the bricks on the floor begin to bulge up. When I first saw the movie I was thinking, “Ok, whatever this is, it is going to be cool!” Moments later, our good friend the priest emerges through, having been digging a tunnel. As he and Edmond talk, Edmond says he’s counted the thousands of stones on his walls. The priest says, “But have you named them yet.” As Edmond cries, the priest chuckles and says they can dig their way out and with the two of them digging and it will take, oh, about eight years. Edmond loses it and laughs hysterically. One of my favorite scenes of the movie!
Has there been a moment where things have been so ridiculous in your life that you just have to laugh?
7: Edmond escapes from prison and finds Luigi Vampa and Jacopo
As Edmond and the priest dig, the priest teaches him to read, write, about economics, about sword fighting, and much more. They get to a point where they see roots and realize they are only months away from digging. However, at this time, the tunnel they are digging collapses and the priest’s lungs are punctured. Edmond drags him back to his room. The priest gives him a map to the treasure of Sparta, which Edmond says he (Edmond) would use for revenge. The priest tells him to not commit the same crime he was sentenced to prison for – treason. As Edmond hatches a plan to escape and carries it out, with some of it not going quite as expected, he is washed ashore and finds a gang of smugglers and thieves.
Luigi Vampa, the ring leader, tells Edmond to fight Jacopo to the death. Jacopo is being charged with taking extra profits that were not his and this is his reward for doing so. Luigi says Jacopo is the best knife fighter he has ever seen. Edmond snickers and says, “Perhaps you should get out more.” Luigi cackles loudly and the fight is on. After briefly circling each other and a few knife thrusts by Jacopo, Edmond disarms Jacopo in short order and cuts a deal to keep them both on the ship. Jacopo becomes Edmond’s servant for life.
Have you ever created a plan that didn’t go quite how you expected? Have you made new friends by doing something extra-ordinary for someone?
6: Eyes in the back of his head – kings and pawns revisited
As Luigi and his crew, of which Edmond is still a part, reach the shores of Marces (not sure of the name, this is my best guess, but it is where Edmond was born and lived), Edmond stares into the distance, not joining the crew. From out of nowhere, a small bag which probably contains various precious stones and what not comes sailing through the air from behind him. Edmond holds out his hands and catches it gracefully. Luigi smiles and says, “Eyes in the back of your head.” to Edmond. Edmond tells Luigi that this was his home. Luigi gives him the go ahead to leave the crew and make right whatever he needs to. Edmond grins and replies back, “In life, we are either kings or pawns a man once said.” Luigi says, “Si, who told you this?” Edmond gives Luigi a serious stare and says, “Napoleon Bonaparte.” Luigi lets out his familiar cackling laugh and marvels at the stories Edmond tells.
Have you ever told a true story and had someone not believe what you said?
5: Edmond finds the treasure with Jacopo and becomes a count
As Edmond makes landfall with Jacopo, he makes some visits to old acquaintances and learns that Mercedes has wed his former best friend, Fernand. Hearing that his father hung himself shortly after Edmond was pronounced dead further fueled Edmond into desperation. He told Jacopo to get them a small boat, to which they took to find the Treasure of Sparta. After parading around in the boat, they come to a little cove where under the water, Edmond finds a plethora of treasure chests. After filling the entire boat with treasure, Jacopo says there are many more boat loads still. Edmond insists he wants revenge on those who have done him wrong and throws the treasure map into a fire. He purchases an epic-sized mansion and becomes “The Count of Monte Cristo.”
Would finding a treasure map make you lose your senses? Or would you use the treasure for good?
4: Many thanks your grace
Edmond learns that Count Mondego (Fernand) has a son, which leads him to setup a plot with Luigi Vampa (the smuggler leader). Albert (the alleged son of Fernand and Mercedes) goes to Rome to enjoy festivities with friends. However, the festivities turn sour when he is seduced by a woman who leads him to a dark cave where “bad men” threaten to cut off his finger, which contains the ring of his family crest, and send it to them as a ransom. Albert’s reply is “do your worst.” As the head bad man is about to do his worst, the Count of Monte Cristo comes to the rescue and fights them off, and Albert runs off. Finally, the count throws a bag of something valuable to Luigi Vampa, who holds it and says, “Many thanks your grace.”
Have you ever staged an event to make it look real to someone else? Did it work?
3: And yet you’ll only get 50
Greedy men, Villefort and Fernand discuss the Count of Monte Cristo and that he has found the treasure of Sparta. They decide not to arrest him, but to instead “relieve” him of it. They setup an elaborate plan to steal the treasure and then meet to distribute it. Villefort (who is the chief prosecutor – and a corrupt one at that) says he requires 70%. Fernand responds back quickly and says “and yet you’ll only get 50.” Villefort’s reply, “DONE”.
Have you known anyone that was greedy? How did they behave when it came to money?
2: Edmond destroys the lives of his enemies
Edmond uses “squeeze techniques” to force those who betrayed him to lose their assets and money. Villefort is arrested after Edmond tricks him into telling him that he hired Fernand to kill Villefort’s father. Danglar, the first mate when Edmond was on the ship where he talked to Napoleon is arrested after tampering with Edmond’s gold shipments. In a twist of irony, Villefort is sent to the very same prison that Edmond went to. Finally, Fernand loses control of everything, including Mercedes and she ends up going with Edmond to start a new life together, with their newly discovered son, Albert, and Jacopo. Fernand is having none of this and rushes to fight Edmond, one last time.
What is the ultimate fate of those who plot, scheme, and betray?
1: Edmond is reunited with his family and friends
After Edmond kills Fernand in an epic duel of two former best friends, he takes his family and Jacopo to the top of a plateau by the prison, “Chateau d’ If”. Edmond intended to have the prison leveled, but instead decides to keep it. He utters some of his famous last words of the movie, “You were right priest, you were right. This I promise you and God, all that was used for vengeance will now be used for good. So rest in piece my friend.” A fitting end to a fine movie.
Don’t you just love a happy ending?
The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite movies of all time. It shares a tale of struggle and triumph against impossible odds. Isn’t that what life is all about for each of us? To see what we can do against impossible odds. I learned from this movie that determination and continuous learning over a long period of time make you a force to be reckoned with. I hope you enjoyed this top 10 moments of The Count of Monte Cristo. Until next time!
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