The Decameron (1971)
"Il Decameron" (original title)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, History  |  1971 (France)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 6,464 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 52 critic

An adaptation of nine stories from Boccaccio's "Decameron".


(novel) (as G. Boccaccio) ,
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jovan Jovanovic ...
Rustico (scenes deleted)
Masetto of Lamporecchio
Angela Luce ...
Giuseppe Zigaina ...
Maria Gabriella Maione ...
(as Gabriella Frankel)
Vincenzo Cristo
Allievo di Giotto (as P.P. Pasolini)
Giorgio Iovine
Salvatore Bilardo
Vincenzo Ferrigno ...
Luigi Seraponte
Antonio Diddio
Mirella Catanesi


An adaptation of nine stories from Bocaccio's "Decameron": A young man from Perugia is swindled twice in Naples, but ends up rich; a man poses as a deaf-mute in a convent of curious nuns; a woman must hide her lover when her husband comes home early; a scoundrel fools a priest on his deathbed; three brothers take revenge on their sister's lover; a young girl sleeps on the roof to meet her boyfriend at night; a group of painters wait for inspiration; a crafty priest attempts to seduce his friend's wife; and two friends make a pact to find out what happen= s after death. Pasolini is up to his old tricks satirizing the Church, and throwing in liberal doses of life and love. Written by Philip Brubaker <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Ribaldry! Rakes and libertines. Raised skirts and lowered lashes. A blush on every cheek. Pasolini. Filming The Decameron. Bringing life to art...and art to life. See more »


Comedy | Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sensuality, and for some language | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

1971 (France)  »

Also Known As:

The Decameron  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


The first film in Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life", continuing with The Canterbury Tales (1972) and concluding with Arabian Nights (1974). See more »


When Caterina sleeps with Riccardo, a tan line left by a bikini top can be seen on her back. However the bikini was not in use in 14th century Italy. Riccardo's body also shows tan lines left by wearing a pair of bathing trunks. Tan lines are also visible on the sinners cast into Hell in the dream sequence. See more »


Allievo di Giotto: Why create a work of art when dreaming about it is so much sweeter?
See more »


Referenced in Wie de Waarheid Zegt Moet Dood (1981) See more »

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User Reviews

The Painter
2 October 2005 | by (Virginia Beach) – See all my reviews

Film lovers know "Andrei Rublov," that Russian film about an icon painter. The beauty of the film comes in part because the filmmaker is on the same quest as his character, and that quest has as its core the discovery of beauty. The interesting thing about movies is that they create and sustain a fantasy world that lives beyond any one movie and into which we assume each movie is born. That world has its own type of beauty, one born of color and glamor and poise.

Paosolini does the same thing as Tarkovsky, but where Tarkovsky dealt with cosmic beauty and recognition, this artist has simpler goals: to engage with flesh, to flow with the simple streams of ignoble daily motion, and to discover beauty in that plain world.

Oh, what a terrific cinematic place to visit! This is a far from that collection of movie metaphors and beauty as we can go. There is no movie acting here. There is no external beauty. There is no recourse to familiar characters or representation. As usual, he draws his source material from matter that is not only before cinema, but before any popular writing.

And he works with that material outside any movie tricks. Well, he still has that Italian tendency to believe that the world is populated by characters and not situations or any sort of fateful flow. Just people who do things. Lots of little things, usually associated with pleasure.

So if you are building a world of cinematic imagination you need to have this as one of your corners. That's silly, every one of us is building a cinematic imagination — we cannot avoid it. What I mean to say is that if you are building an imagination, some of which you understand and can use, some of which you actually want and can enjoy without being sucked into reflex...

If you want to just relate to people as people and test how easy it is to find grace in the strangest of faces, then this is your movie voyage for the night.

One rather shocking thing is how the nudity works. In "ordinary" film, we thing nothing of seeing two people humping and moaning, nude pelvises grinding is the most hungry of ways. But we gasp when some genital is shown. Here, the exact reverse is found: no shyness about the obvious existence of genitals, an erection even. A sleeping girl with her hand in her lover's crotch. DIsplayed as if it were in the same cinematic territory as the faces he finds.

But when these characters lay on each other for sex, we have the most prurient of actor's postures. I think this was done simply to avoid an automatic sweep into ordinary film ways. It has that effect anyway.

I don't know anyone that chooses more interesting faces. Distinctly Southern European, odd atypical faces.

And finally, there is the bit of his own story inserted, the artist in the church. Creating scenarios of rich life. In the movie, the most amazing scenes are those that have little or nothing to do with the story. There's a "death" tableau that could be the richest single shot I have ever seen, anywhere.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

21 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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