1775 - Mr Lorry, an English banker, takes supposed orphan Lucie Manette to Saint Antoine, Paris, where she meets her lost father, who, after spending 18 years imprisoned in the Bastille, is deeply traumatised and out of his right mind. He is being sheltered by Monsieur Defarge, a wine-shop owner.
1780 - Charles Darnay is tried for treason, and Lucie and Mr. Lorry attend as witnesses to the prosecution. Sydney Carton is the assistant to the defence attorney who successfully acquits Darnay by pointing out their resemblance.
Charles Darnay and Lucie Manette fall in love and get married in England, where her father is now recovered and working a a doctor. However, Darnay is hiding is true identity as the Marquis of St. Antoine, having renounced his family and moved away.
1789 - An army of sans-culottes storm the Bastille prison, led by the Defarges, secretly revolutionaries. They burn down the Saint-Antoine chateau, and Monsieur Defarge searches the cell Dr. Manette was held in for something. Darnay gets a letter in England, and heads to Paris to help an old servant.
Darnay arrives to the gates of Paris and is arrested, charged with being an aristocratic emigrant. Having heard the news, Lucie and Dr. Manette rush to Paris to stay with Mr Lorry, who was there on business.
Despite Dr. Manette's status as a martyr of the Bastille, it takes them a year to get Charles out of prison. Meanwhile, Manette works as a prison doctor. Almost immediately after release, before they can escape back to England, Darnay is arrested again!