IMDb > Galileo (1975)
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Galileo (1975) More at IMDbPro »

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6.8/10   363 votes »
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Popularity: ?
Down 13% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Charles Laughton (English translation of play)
Barbara Bray (adapted for the screen)
View company contact information for Galileo on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
18 June 1981 (Hungary) See more »
This bio-pic is about Galileo, the 17th century Italian who laid the foundations of modern science.... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
King of night vision, king of insight. See more (5 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Topol ... Galileo Galilei

Edward Fox ... Cardinal Inquisitor

Colin Blakely ... Priuli

Georgia Brown ... Ballad Singer's Wife

Clive Revill ... Ballad Singer

Margaret Leighton ... Elderly Court Lady

John Gielgud ... The Old Cardinal

Michael Gough ... Sagredo

Michael Lonsdale ... Cardinal Barberini (later Pope Urban VIII)
Richard O'Callaghan ... Fulganzio

Tim Woodward ... Ludovico Marsili

Judy Parfitt ... Angelica Sarti

John McEnery ... Federzoni

Patrick Magee ... Cardinal Bellarmin

Mary Larkin ... Virginia
Iain Travers ... Andrea Sarti (boy)

Tom Conti ... Andrea Sarti (man)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

James Aubrey ... Monk-Scholar
Robert Bridges ... Fat Prelate

Tom Chatto ... Town Crier
Dermot Colman ... Choirboy

Paul Curran ... Mathematician
Mischa De La Motte ... Third Sacristan
Richard Dennis ... Peasant

Vernon Dobtcheff ... First Secretary
William Gossling ... First Sacristan
Andrew Harding ... Choirboy
Brian Hawksley ... Second Sacristan
Basil Henson ... Infuriated Monk
Ian Hoare ... Duke Cosimo di Medici
Harold Innocent ... Second Secretary-Informer
Robert Langdon Lloyd ... Monk-Scholar (as Robert Lloyd)
Martin Milman ... Monk-Scholar
John Moffatt ... Philosopher
Robert Owens ... Choirboy
Maurice Quick ... Fourth Sacristan
Ronald Radd ... Vanni

John Savident ... Second Senator
Norman Scace ... First Senator

John Sharp ... Monk Official
Leon Silver ... Monk-Scholar

Madeline Smith ... Young Court Lady
Job Stewart ... Monk-Scholar
Peggy Thorpe-Bates ... Court Lady
Bill Wallis ... Supporting Monk
Charles West ... Rector-Gaffone
William Wild ... Guard
Henry Woolf ... Father Clavius

Ken Wynne ... Court Official

Directed by
Joseph Losey 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Barbara Bray  adapted for the screen
Bertolt Brecht  play
Charles Laughton  English translation of play
Joseph Losey  adapted for the screen
Margarete Steffin  uncredited for play

Produced by
Ely A. Landau .... producer (as Ely Landau)
Otto Plaschkes .... executive producer
Original Music by
Hanns Eisler 
Richard Hartley 
Cinematography by
Michael Reed 
Film Editing by
Reginald Beck 
Casting by
Dyson Lovell 
Production Design by
Richard Macdonald 
Art Direction by
Richard Rambaut 
Costume Design by
Ruth Myers 
Makeup Department
Bob Lawrance .... makeup artist
Philip Leakey .... makeup artist
Helen Lennox .... hair stylist
Anne McFadyen .... hairdresser
Production Management
Richard F. Dalton .... production manager (as Richard Dalton)
Jim Di Gangi .... production supervisor (as Jim DiGangi)
Henry T. Weinstein .... executive in charge of production
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Gerry Gavigan .... second assistant director
Peter Waller .... third assistant director
Anthony Waye .... first assistant director
Art Department
Bill Beavis .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Rex Hobbs .... property master (uncredited)
Jill Quertier .... property buyer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Peter Horrocks .... dubbing editor
Bill Rowe .... dubbing mixer
Ivan Sharrock .... production sound mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Gerry Anstiss .... camera operator
Steve Birtles .... gaffer
Ron Drinkwater .... focus puller (uncredited)
Vasil Kamenov .... electrician (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Klara Kerpin .... wardrobe mistress (as Klara Kerpen)
Ken Lawton .... wardrobe master
Editorial Department
Michael Ellis .... assistant editor
Music Department
Richard Hartley .... composer: additional music
Richard Hartley .... music arranger
Other crew
Pamela Davies .... continuity
Ronald Hynd .... choreographer
Les Landau .... production associate
Dyson Lovell .... production consultant

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
USA:145 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG | Singapore:NC-16 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:PG (video rating) | USA:PG

Did You Know?

Lindsay Anderson turned down the part of The Infuriated Monk.See more »
Andrea Sarti:[upon Galileo's recantation] Unhappy is the land that has no heroes.
Galileo Galilei:Incorrect. Unhappy is the land that *needs* a hero.
See more »
Movie Connections:


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5 out of 25 people found the following review useful.
King of night vision, king of insight., 15 November 2004
Author: Andy (film-critic) from Bookseller of the Blue Ridge

Needless to day Galileo, look where we are now. I applaud your work and your dedication to the truth it has changed my future immensely. Sadly, the same can't be same for this film. If there was ever a film that you needed to use as a weapon of mass destruction against an unknown foe, Joseph Losey's Galileo would be my number one pick. By doing this you would ensure victory to your team by forcing your opponents to fall asleep. Galileo was the dullest piece of film I have ever encountered. From the acting to the irritating boys singing before every scene was just pure rubbish. This biography did nothing but uproot past High School science reports about this genius. It presented nothing new and nothing exciting. It was genetic cross between a classic British mini-series and one of those friends that never seems to get the hint that they are talking way too much. It was a disaster that would probably, in today's standards, put Galileo back into house arrest.

The role of Galileo was played an interesting actor by the name of Topol. New to this generation's work, I wasn't sure who Topol was until I watched this film. For those of you who do not know, he is a mix between an insane street urchin and a bearded John Belushi. His actions in this film seemed random and rabid at the same time. I never knew what he was going to do or say next, half due to the poor quality in sound, but also because Topol never looked scripted. I guess this is a good thing because it gave some realism to the scene, but it destroyed his character. I kept seeing Galileo as insane instead of brilliant. I know some will argue that Galileo was insane, but when I read about him I just couldn't picture him as one of those screwball geniuses. I always felt he was the real deal, just misunderstood. Topol's delivery of Galileo is longwinded in the sense that he talks more about his actions than just doing them. There seemed to be a lot of this going around in the film, but I will get into that later. Honestly, I wasn't impressed with Topol's performance in this film. I need to see him in more before I make my final decision on his acting ability, but Galileo was not his cup of tea. Outside of Topol, I didn't care about any of the other characters or really fully understand who they were. The lack of character development (odd in a three hour film) and poor sound (outside of the singing kids) only pulled me further away from the rest of the cast. They were just not up to quality standards.

While researching this film, I read by another reviewer about the reasoning for the American Film Theater to make this style of movie. In the mid 70s the organization released several of their plays to the silver screen for their members. As a chance to capture more people to their plays, they offered these subscriptions with six tickets to other films that they had released. The strange aspect about these movies is that they are not filmed as if the actors are on a stage, nor do they carry a lavish budget. They use some fancy (for the time) camera work to highlight some emotions in the characters, but that is it. The rest is cheap and claustrophobic scenery that would immediately turn the novice moviegoer away. Perhaps during this era this was considered amazing cinematography and set design, but in my eyes it just seems shoddy and poor. For this film to work well there needed to be less conversation, more involvement by other characters, and less singing. I didn't see this film labeled as a musical (and I understand why the kids sang to help guide the audience throughout the film as in a play), so I didn't need the twenty minute sexually driven dance sequence in the middle. It was as if it was put in there for the men in the audience that had patiently been waiting through this film (forcing their eyes to remain open) as an added benefit. Suddenly everyone was awake, just in time for the second act. GRRRRRRR.

Overall, this film put me to sleep several times before it was over. It was not the biography I was hoping for on this acclaimed scientist. As a period piece film it failed and as a 'courtroom drama' it failed as well. The actors seemed like they were overacting for film because they were used to the theater productions. Infants did the camera work and the singing kids who introduced the scenes should have been put out of their misery. At least wait till someone has hit puberty to get them singing! Jeesh. If the American Theater wanted this to attract others to their productions, they should have filmed it on a stage, it would have created a better atmosphere and tone. Topol, I hope to see you in better down the road, but until then, stay far away from science.

Grade: * out of *****

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