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Godefroy (a French knight) saves his king's life and is rewarded with the title of Count of Montmirail and is given leave to marry his betrothed. On his way home, he finds and captures a witch, taking her prisoner to be judged and burnt alive. She slips a poison into his drink, causing him to hallucinate, and when he returns to see his betrothed running towards him pursued by her father, he thinks she's being chased by a bear, shooting him dead. The wedding obviously called off (and his servant Jacquouille stealing and hiding jewels from the corpse), Godefroy consults his father's magician to travel back in time to prevent the accidental killing. Unfortunately, the mage screws up, sending Godefroy and Jacquouille several hundred years into the future.
Once the two wake up, their medieval outlook on life quickly get into trouble and are caught by the police, released into the custody of Beatrice, the Countess of Montmirail and Godefroy's descendant, who mistakes Godefroy for a long-lost cousin. The two return to the castle, which has been turned into a luxury hotel by Jacquard, Jacquouille's own descendant. Godefroy searches the castle for clues the mage might have left in the dungeons, while Jacquouille goes to the chapel to retrieve the stolen jewelry. Godefroy obtains the recipe for returning to his own time, but Jacquouille refuses, having found himself a girlfriend. Godefroy brings him back by force, but Jacquouille tricks Jacquard into drinking the potion.
The movie ends with Godefroy successfully fighting off the witch's potion and shooting her, saving his marriage to be, Jacquouille living a happy life with his girlfriend, and the unfortunate Jacquard stranded in the past.
There is a sequel (Les Visiteurs II) in which Jacquard and Jacquouille are returned to their rightful times just to find out that Jacquouille created a temporal paradox by stealing Beatrice's father's jewels, and an American remake, Just Visiting (Les Visiteurs en Amerique).
- Burn the Witch
- Butt Monkey: Poor Jacquard. His hotel is invaded by smelly uncivilized men from Middle Ages while he's trying to impress important foreign guests, his car gets destroyed, he gets sent to a time period full of aforementioned smelly uncivilized people ... It Gets Worse in the sequel, as he is almost burnt alive and gets tortured.
- Conspicuous CGI: Notably in the sequel, Jacquard is tortured and forced to drink water until his eyes and navel bug out cartoonishly, and the remake, for Godefroy's hallucinations.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Godefroy inverts it for most of the film, only to finally get his stuff together at the end for a major Moment of Awesome.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Godefroy is surrounded by a French riot squad and while giving a valiant defence, his sword and shield are no match for their modern shields and batons. Eventually he is tackled and given Valium to be subdued.
- Dance Line: In the American remake, there's a scene towards the end of the film which ushers Hunter being discovered.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Obviously, from the black guy being called a Saracen to Jacquouille's refusing to sit at the table like the high-born folks.
- Did Not Do the Research / Dawson Casting: Arguably. Valérie Lemercier was 29 and played the daughter of a duke on her wedding day in the middle ages. Girls used to get married when they were much younger.
- Maybe she was widowed at some point.
- The Dung Ages: Our heroes carry the traditional garb of their time (meaning they STINK), and the first thing Beatrice's dentist husband notices is the horrible state of their teeth.
- Godefroy convinces Jacquouille that his body is rotting when he tells him to breathe on an unsuspecting person, the horrified reaction sends Jacquouille to devour toothpaste.
- Epic Flail: Godefroy uses a mace to destroy a "devil's cart" (a postal van).
- Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: averted in the French movies, played straight in the American remake.
- Fish Out of Temporal Water: The two main characters are scared and confused by modern concepts, such as cars, planes, television, charging into churches bellowing "SANCTUARY!" no longer being an appropriate response to the law... And reversed when two of the modern characters are sent back in time.
- Foot Focus: The French king persuades his lover (an English duke's niece) to show him her ankles.
- Foreign Remake: The Visitors IN AMERICA!
- Golf Clubbing: Jean-Pierre uses his golf club this way in the sequel.
- Groin Attack: Godefroy grabs a doctor by the groin and pins him against the wall.
- Have a Gay Old Time: Among other examples, baiser used to mean "kiss", while in modern French it means, well, "fuck". Also, to mean the act of washing Godefroy uses the word lavement, which means "enema".
- Identical Grandson: Played by the same actors, obviously. Godefroy's descendant Beatrice is the spitting image of his betrothed Frénégonde, while Jacquouille and Jacquard's uncanny resemblance is commented on (everyone thinks Jacquouille is Jacquard's incredibly embarrassing and socially ignorant brother, no matter how much Jacquard denies it).
- Godefroy is at first thought to be the family's long-lost cousin Hubert, last seen as a race car driver in Borneo.
- Idiot Ball: The magician forgot one main ingredient (quail eggs) of the potion, sending Godefroy and Jacquouille to the 20th century instead of sending them a few days back in time.
- Jabba Table Manners: Frénégonde's father.
"Father, you promised you wouldn't burp at the dinner!"
- Lingerie Scene
- Medieval Morons: Godefroy and Jacquouille destroy a postal van, believing it to be sorcerous.
- Jacquouille all the way. However, he is a wood smart.
- In another scene, they drink from the toilet, not understanding how faucets work, and bathe fully clothed.
- Never the Selves Shall Meet: When first going to the castle, a large ring on Godfroy's finger begins smoking and shaking, as does its temporally stable version in a display case in the castle. As they get closer, the two rings burst free and fly off towards each other, colliding in midair and destroying Jacquard's car.
- Nightmare Fuel: Godefroy's hallucinations and the Time Travel transformations with major Uncanny Valley component. In-universe, the appearance of the rot-toothed hobo-lookalike heroes sends Beatrice's children screaming.
- Off with His Head!: The English knight who ambushes the French king and Godefroy at the beginning. The king's sword strike only beheads his armor, because he retracted his head inside the breastplate. He reveals his head, and then Godefroy's strike successfully beheads him. The headless corpse wanders for a few seconds and collapses.
- The Other Darrin: Frénégonde ans Béatrice were played by Muriel Robin in the sequel.
- Scary Black Man: The postman scares Jacquouille away believing him to be a Saracen in a devil-cart.
- Seeking Sanctuary: "ASILE! ASILE!"
- Shout-Out : Numerous stylistic references to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, right down to the music, which is a blatant pastiche. Lampshaded by Dame Ginette rambling about "that tall good-looking guy who rides horses like Kewin Costère !"
- Stupid Statement Dance Mix: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=le16b1ayW5s
- Super Strength: Godefroy Neck Lifts a hospital orderly with no trouble.
- Take That: The French riot police are infamous in France for being very brutal (they are employed as lifeguards, viewed by some as serious overkill).
- Time Travel
- Timey-Wimey Ball: Because we can see Godefroy and Jacquouille's descendants in the present, a Genre Savvy viewer may believe the whole thing is a Stable Time Loop (granted the "timeline replacement" bit near the end of the movie, is only there to motivate Godefroy)... Except there's the whole infamous ring scene, where the two "Bague du Hardi" from the past and the present fuse together. It makes no logical sense and, even granted "A Wizard Did It", Makes Just as Much Sense in Context. Apparently, that an only ring could be present in two samples at a time because of Time Travel was found a logical paradox by the writers, never mind that it only applies to the ring and to nothing else in the film. In short, it's pure Voodoo Shark.
- Weaksauce Weakness: Godefroy is an all-around sword-swinging Badass, but he gets carsick.
- World of Ham
- Would Hit a Girl: The English duke, who backhands his treacherous niece while wearing steel gauntlets and shoots her chaperone at point-blank range with a crossbow.
- Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe: The dialogues are full of butchered Old French.