The Conformist (1970)
"Il conformista" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama  |  22 October 1970 (USA)
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A weak-willed Italian man becomes a fascist flunky who goes abroad to arrange the assassination of his old teacher, now a political dissident.


(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcello Clerici (as Jean Louis Trintignant)
Gastone Moschin ...
Enzo Tarascio ...
Professor Quadri
Fosco Giachetti ...
Il colonnello
José Quaglio ...
Pierre Clémenti ...
Yvonne Sanson ...
Madre di Giulia
Milly ...
Madre di Marcello
Giuseppe Addobbati ...
Padre di Marcello
Christian Aligny ...
Raoul (as Christian Alegny)
Carlo Gaddi ...
Hired Killer
Umberto Silvestri ...
Hired Killer
Furio Pellerani ...
Hired Killer


This story opens in 1938 in Rome, where Marcello has just taken a job working for Mussollini and is courting a beautiful young woman who will make him even more of a conformist. Marcello is going to Paris on his honeymoon and his bosses have an assignment for him there. Look up an old professor who fled Italy when the fascists came into power. At the border of Italy and France, where Marcello and his bride have to change trains, his bosses give him a gun with a silencer. In a flashback to 1917, we learn why sex and violence are linked in Marcello's mind. Written by Dale O'Connor <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bertolucci's Masterpiece about Sex and Politics [re-release]




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Release Date:

22 October 1970 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Conformist  »

Box Office


$750,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (first release) (international)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alberto Moravia's novel is told from an omniscient point of view. For the film adaptation, Bernardo Bertolucci chose to tell the story more from the viewpoint of the protagonist, whose memories and feelings are deliberately misleading and unreliable. Bertolucci's non-linear approach to the film's timeline only adds to the film's stream-of-consciousness feeling. See more »


When Manganiello is driving Marcello around, the windshield wipers are on in the close shots, but off on the long shots. See more »


Italo: A normal man? For me, a normal man is one who turns his head to see a beautiful woman's bottom. The point is not just to turn your head. There are five or six reasons. And he is glad to find people who are like him, his equals. That's why he likes crowded beaches, football, the bar downtown...
Marcello: At Piazza Venice.
Italo: He likes people similar to himself and does not trust those who are different. That's why a normal man is a true brother, a true citizen, a true patriot...
Marcello: A true fascist.
See more »


Referenced in Dream Slashers (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Just simply a masterpiece
3 February 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Story of a weak-willed Italian man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) who is ordered, in 1938, to assassinate his one-time professor. He is ordered by a Fascist organization he joined to become normal, to conform (he's gay and ashamed of it). He takes his annoying wife (Stefania Sandrelli) with him...only to find his professor has married a former love of his (Dominique Sanda). Can he kill them both? This film is just riveting. The story is never boring and full of some very intriguing people. The acting is superb--especially by Trintignant who you see holding his fear and indecision inside and Sanda who is unbelievably sexy...and dangerous. I don't know much about politics so I'm not going to discuss that.

But this film is a must-see for the incredible cinematography by Vittorio Storano and masterful direction by Bernardo Bertolucci. The sets are exquisite--every single one looks incredible and is beautifully lit and shot for maximum impact. Sometimes I was just so caught up in the visuals I lost track of the story! Every shot is filled with rich symbolism. My favorite sequence was at a dance hall when Trintignant is "caught" in the dance. Also some prints are missing a 10 minute "Dance of the Blind" that was cut from original prints. It's no loss--it adds nothing to the story.

Quite simply one of the most beautiful films I've ever seen with a strong, intriguing plot. A powerful must-see film. A 10 all the way.

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