Otello (1986)

PG  |   |  Drama, Music  |  12 September 1986 (USA)
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Based on Shakesphere's play, Verdi's opera depicts the devastating effects of jealousy, "...the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds upon". Believing Otello has promoted the... See full summary »



(libretto), (adaptation), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Katia Ricciarelli ...
Petra Malakova ...
Massimo Foschi ...
Edwin Francis ...
Sergio Nicolai ...
Remo Remotti ...
Antonio Pierfederici ...
Ezio Di Cesare ...
Cassio (voice)
John Macurdy ...
Lodovico (voice)
Constantin Zaharia ...
Roderigo (voice)
Edward Toumajian ...
Montano (voice)
Giannicola Pigliucci ...
Brabantio (voice)


Based on Shakesphere's play, Verdi's opera depicts the devastating effects of jealousy, "...the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds upon". Believing Otello has promoted the fast-rising Cassio over himself, Iago plots to destroy both Cassio and Otello. Iago convinces the jealous Otello that his beautiful wife Desdemona is unfaithful, and that Cassio is her lover. Jealousy is followed by tragedy, then retribution, "Has Heaven no more thunderbolts?" Written by Mike Smith <mismith@brody.med.ecu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music


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Release Date:

12 September 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Othellos  »

Box Office


$189,042 (USA)

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?


Franco Zeffirelli later said that out of all the films he ever made, "Otello" is his favorite, and admitted that after he made the picture, he had "a bit of a crisis" because he felt that he could never be able to duplicate that achievement. See more »


Version of The Metropolitan Opera Presents: Otello (1978) See more »

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User Reviews

Bravo Zeffirelli!
10 September 2009 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

This is easily one of Franco Zeffirelli's better opera films. The cinematography is excellent, perfectly capturing the beautiful costumes and locations used here. A chief example of beauty was Desdemona lying on the bed all pure, as white as snow, as is said in the Shakespeare play. The subtitles are also very easy to read, and the plot while shortened is faithful to the play and to the opera's libretto. The music is just superlative. Verdi is without doubt up there with Puccini as the finest Italian opera composer, composing masterpieces such as La Traviata, Il Trovatore and Aida, and Otello based on Shakespeare's play deserves to be up there with them. So many highlights to choose from, there is Exultate, there are a couple of beautiful choruses and the riveting revenge duet between Otello and Iago, but my favourite has to be Desdemona's beautiful but haunting Willow Song(only in excerpt form here), that can give you goosebumps, because the repeated word Salce is quite hypnotic and foreboding. As for the singing, what can I say, fantastic. Placido Domingo was just brilliant, yes in the play, Othello is supposed to be black, I am trying to avoid being racist here, but Domingo is such a versatile talented singer, with a phenomenal voice, and a stage presence that does make Pavarotti inferior in comparison, it is forgiven. Katia Ricciarelli looked beautiful as the tragic Desdemona, and her voice was like an angel, in one word stunning. And Justino Diaz is very convincing as the hissable villain Iago, especially in the blasphemous but chilling Credo, who manipulates Otello into believing that Desdemona is unfaithful in quite an entertaining way. Overall, a very well done film adaptation of Verdi's opera. Bravo Zeffirelli! 10/10 Bethany Cox

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