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

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Technical Specs


| (first release) (international)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


The film was in contention for the Golden Bear at the Venice Film Festival. However, a huge controversy over the inclusion of Michael Verhoeven's film O.K. (1970) resulted in the Festival being abandoned and no awards being given out. See more »


A radio tower appears in a flashback to Marcello's Rome boyhood in 1917. See more »


[denies a rumor regarding his father]
Marcello: You see, the origin of my father's mental illness isn't venereal. That can be medically confirmed.
Giulia's Mother: By the way, my little girl has had the mumps, scarlet fever, and German measles.
Marcello: They're all very moral maladies.
See more »


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User Reviews

Architecture meets celluloid.

What is most amazing about The Conformist is it's cinematography and angles.

Director Bertolucci and Cinematographer Storraro have created a masterpiece of form by using light, camera angles, and character positioning.

The architecture dwarfs the characters as they try to make sense of their existence during Italy's fascist period (1930's). They are placed theatrically at times creating a balance of space.

The Conformist is the most stunning film visually I have ever seen. Every scene is immaculate, kind of surreal, almost to rich for the senses to take in one viewing.

The story is somewhat difficult on the first viewing but one can figure the basic plot line. It is a story about repression and oppression, about nationality, political beliefs during a paradigm shift. It is about acceptance and avoidance. It is about playing it safe in a time of tension.

The final scene suggests what the main character might have become had he chose the truth. It is left up to us to judge him and realize that it is sort of a catch 22; either way, he would have ended up in that dark place where a fascist country would mentally place same sex love.

See this film to see the potential of the beauty of film.

Conform or not to Conform? That is the Question.

37 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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