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Last Tango in Paris (1972)
"Ultimo tango a Parigi" (original title)

NC-17  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  7 February 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 34,034 users   Metascore: 77/100
Reviews: 175 user | 97 critic | 6 from Metacritic.com

A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex.


(story), (screenplay), 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maria Michi ...
Rosa's Mother / La mère de Rosa
Giovanna Galletti ...
Prostitute / La prostituée
Gitt Magrini ...
Jeanne's Mother / La mère de Jeanne
Catherine Allégret ...
Catherine (as Catherine Allegret)
Luce Marquand ...
Marie-Hélène Breillat ...
Monique (as Marie-Helene Breillat)
Dan Diament ...
TV Sound Engineer / L'ingénieur du son
Catherine Sola ...
TV Script Girl / La script-girl
Mauro Marchetti ...
TV Cameraman / Le cameraman
Tom - un cinéaste, le fiancé de Jeanne (as Jean-Pierre Leaud)
Peter Schommer ...
TV Assistant Cameraman / L'assistant-opérateur


While looking for an apartment, Jeanne, a beautiful young Parisienne, encounters Paul, a mysterious American expatriate mourning his wife's recent suicide. Instantly drawn to each other, they have a stormy, passionate affair, in which they do not reveal their names to each other. Their relationship deeply affects their lives, as Paul struggles with his wife's death and Jeanne prepares to marry her fiance, Tom, a film director making a cinema-verite documentary about her. Written by Erich Schneider <erich@bush.cs.tamu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for some explicit sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:





Release Date:

7 February 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Last Tango in Paris  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,250,000 (estimated)


SEK 2,704,423 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (R-rated) | (rough cut)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.75 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Maria Schneider much later in life said that making the film was her life's only regret, that it "ruined her life", and that she considers Bernardo Bertolucci a "gangster and a pimp". See more »


During the Tango contest scene, Paul's clapping doesn't match the soundtrack. See more »


[first lines]
Paul: [with his hands over his ears at the overwhelming sound of a passing train] Fucking GOD!
See more »


Edited into Destricted (2006) See more »


(or "La vuelta")
Composed by Gato Barbieri
See more »

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User Reviews

Brando's most personal film
26 January 2000 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Widely denounced as obscene upon its release and unjustifiably notorious for two of its scenes, Bernardo Bertolucci's 'Last Tango in Paris' is a savage story of lust and sexual debasement.

Marlon Brando delivers a ferocious performance as Paul, a middle-aged American expatriate tormented by his wife, Rosa's recent suicide, her infidelities and his failure to understand their relationship. In meeting a 20 year old girl, Jeanne, played by Maria Schneider, in an empty apartment, Paul hopes to form a relationship purely on his own terms and at his own pace, i.e. one he can understand fully. He insists on a new form of relationship, so basic that even their names were kept secret from each other, where she submitted to his every desire, where he could punish himself and relieve his despair and anger towards his wife by punishing Jeanne. Paul's only other interest is in Marcel (Massimo Girotti), Rosa's lover, for whom he has a curious respect and maybe a desire to obtain through him a better understanding of his own wife.

Despite his overpowering talent, Marlon Brando has often shown poor judgement in his choice of projects and has frequently trudged through films with no apparent effort or interest. In 'Last Tango in Paris' he gives everything and produces a performance of unrivalled force. Unfortunately the obvious improvisation in the film prevents the character of Paul from staying within check as he gradually becomes too much like Marlon Brando in the second half of the film. Nonetheless, when Brando is off-screen the film becomes hollow in comparison and is replaced by Jeanne's relationship with her fiance, an annoyingly pretentious TV director (Jean-Pierre Leaud).

This is a truly unique film and Bertolucci successfully highlights the romance in an affair that is fundamentally destructive. Brando's performance is remarkably powerful and intense, eclipsing every other player and dominating the entire film.

90 of 121 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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