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Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, War | 10 January 1976 (Italy)
Four fascist libertines round up nine adolescent boys and girls and subject them to one hundred and twenty days of physical, mental and sexual torture.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Giorgio Cataldi ...
The Bishop
Umberto Paolo Quintavalle ...
The Magistrate (as Umberto P. Quintavalle)
Aldo Valletti ...
The President
Signora Castelli
Signora Maggi
Hélène Surgère ...
Signora Vaccari (as Helene Surgere)
Sonia Saviange ...
The Pianist
Sergio Fascetti ...
Male Victim
Bruno Musso ...
Carlo Porro - Male Victim
Antonio Orlando ...
Tonino - Male Victim
Claudio Cicchetti ...
Male Victim
Male Victim
Umberto Chessari ...
Male Victim
Lamberto Book ...
Lamberto Gobbi - Male Victim


Set in the Nazi-controlled, northern Italian state of Salo in 1944, four dignitaries round up sixteen perfect specimens of youth and take them together with guards, servants and studs to a palace near Marzabotto. In addition, there are four middle-aged women: three of whom recount arousing stories whilst the fourth accompanies on the piano. The story is largely taken up with their recounting the stories of Dante and De Sade: the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Shit and the Circle of Blood. Following this, the youths are executed whilst each libertine takes his turn as voyeur. Written by <andrewm@kbss.bt.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A disturbing motion picture for mature audiences who are prepared to view it. See more »


Drama | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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Release Date:

10 January 1976 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


When Pier Paolo Pasolini was asked who is the film's audience, he said, "It's for everyone. For people like me." See more »


In the beginning of the film a 1948 Fiat 500 B can be seen. See more »


[first lines]
[four men, sitting at a table, each sign a booklet]
The Duke: Your Excellency.
The Magistrate: Mr. President.
The President: My lord.
The Bishop: All's good if it's excessive.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Essential Bibliography: Roland Barthes: 'Sade, Fourier, Loyola' (Editions du Seuil); Maurice Blanchot: "Lautréamont et Sade' (Editions de Minuit; in Italy Dedalo Libri); Simone de Beauvoir: 'Faut-il brûler Sade' (Editions Gaimard); Pierre Klossowski: 'Sade mon prochain, le philosophe scélérat' (Editions du Seuil; in Italy SugarCo Edizioni); Philippe Sollers: 'L'écriture et l'experience des limites' (Editions du Seuil) See more »


Referenced in Adjust Your Tracking (2013) See more »


Prelude in C minor
Composed by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

One of the most gruelling films ever made
17 January 2005 | by (England) – See all my reviews

Pier Paolo Pasolini, as is well known, was murdered not long after he finished work on this, his most audacious and confrontational film, yet even the most casual viewing of SALO begs the question - had he not been murdered, would he have taken his own life anyway? Every sequence, every shot and practically every moment of this film is so burdened with despair, barely concealed rage and a towering disgust with the human race, one gets the impression that Pasolini was barely hanging onto life - and any attendant shreds of hope - by his fingernails. Although ostensibly an adaptation of one of DeSade's most depraved works channeled through the horrifying excesses of the Second World War with the Fascist ruling classes as its (authentically vile) villains, SALO also contains a lot of contemporary criticism - Pasolini hated the modern world, and explained the stomach-churning 'banquet of s**t' as a none-too-subtle attack on the encroaching global domination of the fast food chains. (The scenes of sexual excess can similarly be read as a despairing attack on the permissive society - those who come to SALO expecting titillation or B-movie sleaze will be sorely disappointed.) Beyond the nihilistic content, which has been well documented elsewhere, the film has an overall mood that seems to have been engineered to make the viewer thoroughly depressed. Shot on washed-out, faded film stock using primarily static cameras, long shots, choppy editing and very few cutaways, SALO has a visual style reminiscent of cinema-verite documentary. Add to this the unnerving use of big band music, piano dirges and the (intentionally?) scrappy post-dubbed dialogue, and the distancing effect on the viewer is complete. SALO comes across as one long primal scream of rage, designed to shake the viewer out of his complacency, and in this respect, the film succeeds unequivocally. Whether or not you would care to watch this more than once, or indeed for 'entertainment', is another matter, but SALO is an important film that demands a careful viewing ONLY by those prepared for it.

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Recent Posts
Why do people like this film? desertgaara1995
Has anyone read De Sade's 120 Days of Sodom? Ser_Pounce_Is_My_Homeboy
Where can I legally watch this? Ser_Pounce_Is_My_Homeboy
Don't call these films 'art' go-lobo
Who else thinks the scriptwriter /director lost his mind? axelpuri
I think I missed the point... cyclonajade150
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