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Sex & Nudity

  • Suggested MPAA Rating: NC-17 for aberrant behavior including scenes of rape, graphic nudity, and some grisly images.
  • 10/10
  • Salò is widely considered to be one of the most sexually graphic and obscene films ever made. Every sexual act imaginable is shown or talked about (graphically) at one time or another, but usually without showing direct sexual contact; acts include sodomy, coprophilia, transvestism, S&M, rape, and masturbation.
  • Young men and women are forced to participate in sadistic sexual acts and ones that are designed to be degrading and humiliating.
  • There is plenty of full frontal nudity, mostly young men and women who are sex slaves at a mansion. We see penises and vaginas, usually from a distance though.
  • There is a scene where a young man and woman have a mock wedding, and all the other sex slaves are naked with genitalia showing and one of the fascists stops the ceremony to come and grope and kiss the naked bodies of both the men and women.
  • Two men have sex with each other; it is in a dark room, and we see the "top" man's buttocks during this scene.
  • There are acts of transvestism: a young man is forced to dress as a woman; three men dressed in drag.
  • A young woman urinates onto a man's face, and the man drinks it.
  • Men and women are stripped naked during many scenes.
  • Two of the "sex slave" girls are in a lesbian relationship; we see them kissing and having sex.
  • A man and a woman are briefly seen having sex together; they are both killed for having "normal sex."

Violence & Gore

  • 10/10
  • A young man's tongue is cut off. Brief, but graphic.
  • A woman is scalped with a knife. Brief, but also graphic.
  • A person's eye is graphically cut off with a knife. Lasts for a few seconds.
  • Two or three people are briefly seen having their nipples burn with candles or branding irons, some on-screen some off-screen.
  • However, no sounds are heard from the victims in these scenes, with music playing in the background instead.
  • A woman eats a piece of cake with small razor blades in it; she yelps briefly and bleeds a little while doing so.
  • A young woman is killed quietly offscreen; we see her body afterward with her throat in dried blood.
  • A young man is whipped on the back several times after not "begging like a dog."
  • A man is shot after he is caught having sex with a woman, the shooting is off-screen, but we see some bloody bullet holes, his love is shot in the head offscreen directly after this
  • Several young men and women are raped.
  • A young woman commits suicide to escape the degradation and abuse by jumping out a window. Nothing is heard or seen.
  • We can see people being hung on nooses; this is only from a distance though.
  • A woman tells violent stories with a smile on her face (she recounts one where a woman has a rat sewn into her vagina).


  • 9/10
  • "Whore" is said several times, though (usually) not in an overly derogatory manner. There is some sexual dialog. Also a few uses of "fuck" and "shit" in the Criterion dubbed version
  • Stories of past sexual encounters are told with graphic detail.

Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking

  • 5/10
  • Several characters smoke throughout the film.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • 9/10
  • The eye-gouging and razor blade scenes, though brief, are probably the most intense moments.
  • The atmosphere is unsettling, even if there isn't a whole lot of violence and gore. The woman gleefully talks about some twisted and perverted things.
  • The main characters sometimes tell awful jokes to distress the sex slaves.
  • A young woman is forced to eat human feces, may be hard to watch.
  • Everybody eats human feces at a dinner event, some are smiling and loving it while others are disgusted.


The Parents Guide items below may give away important plot points.

Frightening & Intense Scenes

  • The film ends on a very sad note. Nearly all of the victims are killed and the others have no chance of escape.

See also

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