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Caravaggio (1986)

A retelling of the life of the celebrated 17th-century painter through his brilliant, nearly blasphemous paintings and his flirtations with the underworld.



(screenplay), (from an original idea by) (as Nicholas Ward-Jackson)

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Spencer Leigh ...
Scipione Borghese
Cardinal Del Monte
Noam Almaz ...
Boy Caravaggio
Dawn Archibald ...
The Pope
Una Brandon-Jones ...
Weeping Woman
Imogen Claire ...
Lady with the Jewels
Sadie Corre ...
Princess Collona


Fictionalized biopic of famed 17th century Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi de Caravaggio. As a young man, he gained the support of Cardinal Del Monte and Caravaggio proceeded to develop a new style of painting giving a more realistic view of the world in which he lived. He also begins love affairs with one of his models, Ranuccio as well as with Ranuccio's girlfriend Lena. Their relationship leads to murder and deceit. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Official Sites:




Release Date:

29 August 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Караваджо  »


Box Office


£450,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$532, 26 April 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,151, 28 April 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Michael Gough was fourth choice for the role of Del Monte. See more »


A typewriter is used, a saxophone is played, a train and steamship hooter are heard. In addition one of the characters plays with a (very advanced for the time of the movie) credit card-sized calculator with beeping buttons. These items are included deliberately as a stylistic decision of the filmmakers, not "goofs" of people unaware of the absence of these items in the 1500s and 1600s. See more »


Caravaggio: [to Ranuccio] Give me your hand.
[puts a ring on Ranucio's hand]
Caravaggio: For eternity and a day.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits scroll down the screen (top-to-bottom). See more »


Referenced in Designing 'The Long Day Closes' (2014) See more »


By kind permission of Casa Musicale Eco (Milan)
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User Reviews

Poetic and haunting film
26 January 2007 | by See all my reviews

Derek Jarman has crafted a beautiful and unique work of art in "Caravaggio". Perhaps the fact that I have a great love for the work of the real Michelangelo Caravaggio, influences my judgment just a bit; It was quite enjoyable to see the paintings come to life, and to witness how they might have actually been created. In fact, much of Jarmans poetic film has the look of a lush, living painting. There is much to admire here besides the aesthetics; the talented and beautiful cast, led by Nigel Terry, the intense-looking Sean Bean, as Ranuccio, and the elegant Tilda Swinton, as Lena; the woman loved by two very passionate, and tormented men. The acting is all around excellent, but Nigel Terry as Michelangelo really stands out. He is great to watch, and brings life to a man the world knows not so much about. Also actor Dexter Fletcher was quite funny and likable in his portrayal of the younger Caravaggio. More than a historical, biographical account of the painter, this is more the study of a classic love triangle. Caravaggio's models were mostly street people, many of them also criminals, and it seemed that he often became personally involved with his subjects. His love for 'Lena' seems to be as strong, if not stronger, than his love for 'Ranuccio'. And this divided love has tragic consequences, for all involved. I didn't find "Caravaggio" an overly gay film, as the subject wasn't focused on obsessively, like other films of this nature tend to do. The love affair between Lena and Michelangelo was given as much attention as the relationship between him and Ranuccio. Therefore those who might feel a little uncomfortable with the subject matter, need not be, as it is actually quite accessible. Recommended, especially for admirers of the painter Caravaggio. As mentioned earlier, there are scenes that are modeled exactly on the paintings. To see these come alive is really something to behold. There is a new region 2 DVD from Germany that features the most beautiful transfer I have ever seen of any film. It comes close to "High Definition" quality, I recommend this as well.

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