Aria (1987)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Music  |  July 1988 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 5.8/10 from 2,083 users  
Reviews: 24 user | 16 critic

Ten short pieces directed by ten different directors, including Ken Russell, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Altman, Bruce Beresford, and Nicolas Roeg. Each short uses an aria as soundtrack/sound (... See full summary »


(segment), (segment), 8 more credits »
0Check in

Watch Now

From $1.99 on Amazon Video

1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Caravaggio (1986)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

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

Director: Derek Jarman
Stars: Noam Almaz, Dexter Fletcher, Nigel Terry
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two convicts break out of Mississippi State Penitentiary in 1936 to join a third on a long spree of bank robbing, their special talent and claim to fame. The youngest of the three falls in ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Altman
Stars: Keith Carradine, Shelley Duvall, John Schuck
The Dog (2013)
Documentary | Adventure | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A documentary portrait of the late John Wojtowicz, whose attempted robbery of a Brooklyn bank to finance his male lover's sex-reassignment surgery was the real-life inspiration for Dog Day Afternoon (1975).

Directors: Allison Berg, Frank Keraudren
Stars: John Wojtowicz, Carmen Bifulco, Jeremy Bowker
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A documentary of the successful career and assassination of San Francisco's first elected gay councilor.

Director: Rob Epstein
Stars: Harvey Fierstein, Harvey Milk, Anne Kronenberg
Black Widow (1987)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A federal investigator tracks down a gold digging woman who moves from husband to husband, kills them and collects the inheritance.

Director: Bob Rafelson
Stars: Debra Winger, Theresa Russell, Sami Frey
Gambit (1966)
Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An English cat burglar needs a Eurasian dancer's help to pull off the perfect heist, but even the most foolproof schemes have a way of backfiring.

Director: Ronald Neame
Stars: Shirley MacLaine, Michael Caine, Herbert Lom
Documentary | Biography | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

More than 30 years after Deep Throat's provocative debut, this documentary examines the legacy that the most profitable film of all-time left on society.

Directors: Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato
Stars: Linda Lovelace, Harry Reems, Dennis Hopper
Certificate: GP Comedy | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

After Duke Anderson is released from prison after ten years for taking the rap for a scion of a Mafia family, he cashes in a debt of honor with the mob to bankroll a caper.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Sean Connery, Dyan Cannon, Martin Balsam
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In a French forest in 1798, a child is found who cannot walk, speak, read or write. A doctor becomes interested in the child and patiently attempts to civilize him.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: François Truffaut, Jean-Pierre Cargol, Françoise Seigner
Performance (1970)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Chas, a violent and psychotic East London gangster needs a place to lie low after a hit that should never have been carried out. He finds the perfect cover in the form of guest house run by... See full summary »

Directors: Donald Cammell, Nicolas Roeg
Stars: James Fox, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Bertrand Morane's burial is attended by all the women the forty-year-old engineer loved. We then flash back to Bertrand's life and love affairs, told by himself while writing an ... See full summary »

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Charles Denner, Brigitte Fossey, Nelly Borgeaud
Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Inspired by fairy-tales such as Alice in Wonderland and Little Red-Riding Hood, "Valerie and her Week of Wonders" is a surreal tale in which love, fear, sex and religion merge into one fantastic world.

Director: Jaromil Jires
Stars: Jaroslava Schallerová, Helena Anýzová, Petr Kopriva


Cast overview, first billed only:
King Zog (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Stephanie Lane ...
Baroness (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Roy Hyatt ...
Chauffeur (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Sevilla Delofski ...
Maid (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Ruth Halliday ...
Companion (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Arthur Cox ...
Major (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Dennis Holmes ...
Colonel (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Paul Brightwell ...
Assassin (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Frank Baker ...
Assassin (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Chris Hunter ...
Assassin (segment "Un ballo in maschera")
Nicola Swain ...
Marie (segment "La virgine degli angeli")
Jackson Kyle ...
Travis (segment "La virgine degli angeli")
Marianne McLoughlin ...
Kate (segment "La virgine degli angeli")
Marion Peterson ...
Les Jeunes Filles (segment "Armide")
Valérie Allain ...
Les Jeunes Filles (segment "Armide")


Ten short pieces directed by ten different directors, including Ken Russell, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Altman, Bruce Beresford, and Nicolas Roeg. Each short uses an aria as soundtrack/sound (Vivaldi, Bach, Wagner), and is an interpretation of the particular aria. Written by Ed Sutton <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


A superbly sensual experience See more »


Comedy | Drama | Music


R | See all certifications »




| | |

Release Date:

July 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ária  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$1,028,679 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Federico Fellini was attached to this project in the very beginning. He worked with producer Don Boyd in Rome and only dropped out because he was ill--he was making his much delayed Intervista (1987). Like everybody else who saw "Aria", he loved various sections of the movie, particularly those of Franc Roddam and Julian Temple. See more »


Les Jeunes Filles: [Armide segment] He looks like he's made for love. He hasn't found my eyes charming enough. He hasn't found my eyes charming enough.
Les Jeunes Filles: O how I'd love to hate him.
See more »


Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Robert Altman (2001) See more »


Jouissons, jouissons ! Jouissons de nos beaux ans
from "Les Boréades (Acte 3, Scène III)"
Music by Jean-Philippe Rameau
Libretto by Louis de Cahusac (uncredited)
Performed by John Aler (uncredited) (credited Jennifer Smith, Anne-Marie Rodde, but their part were not used in this) with Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists
Conducted by John Eliot Gardiner
segment "Les Boreades"
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Much better than I was lead to believe
20 July 2001 | by (Saint Paul, MN) – See all my reviews

Sure, it has its pretentious moments, it plays like art-house, live-action Fantasia, but it also has moments of deep beauty and humor. Omnibus films are always a problem, but I have always had a keen interest in them. I will now rate the segments individually.

Nicolas Roeg - "Un ballo in maschera" - This segment may very well spoil the film for some people, because it is absolutely the worst of the whole bunch. It is difficult to follow, mostly because it tries to adhere to a clear plot (a hackneyed one, at that). The photography is unaccomplished. The best thing about it is the bit of Lesbian homoerotica that it never does enough with. This segment made me VERY nervous about continuing. 2/10.

Charles Sturridge - "La virgine degli angeli" - an unclear segment, but it hardly matters. The film has the best cinematography of the bunch, mainly because it is in a stunning black and white. The segment is dreamlike and beautiful. 7/10.

Jean-Luc Godard - "Armide" - I chose to brave this much-maligned film for the Godard and Altman segments. With Godard, I was much more impressed than I thought I would be. I can't claim to have seen all that many of his films since he made so many that almost no one has seen, but, judging from what I have seen, this may be his best work since the 60s. It is the funniest segment in this film, and the most artistically accomplished. Bravo, Jean-Luc! 9/10.

Julien Temple - "Rigoletto" - a very funny segment, it is also quite predictable. Still, this story about a husband and wife who are cheating on each other at the same resort is wonderfully filmed with long, complex tracking shots that depend on precisely timed choreography from the actors. It also has a great self-referencing joke about omnibus films themselves. The final scene is very weak. 7/10.

Bruce Beresford - "Die tote Stadt" - this short segment involves too lovers in (I think) Venice. It is pretty, with some nice shots of doves flying about the city. It is slight, but nice. 7/10.

Robert Altman - "Les Boréades" - not one of the better segments, unfortunately, this is more of a music video than a concept short film. It involves the occupants of an insane asylum attending a theatrical performance. The music and images work well together, so at least I can give it credit for being a good music video. 7/10

Franc Roddam - "Liebestod" - somewhat unfortunate for Beresford's segment, this segment is very similar to it. As you might assume from my phrasing, this one struck me much more. It is about a young man and his girl going to Las Vegas on a fatalistic voyage. 8/10.

Ken Russell - "Nessun dorma" - maybe the most visually striking segment, it plays in a fantasy world more than in reality. It is a beautiful tale of a fallen angel. 8/10.

Derek Jarman - "Depuis le jour" - I have heard a lot about Jarman, and this is the first piece of filmmaking I have seen from him. Hopefully, I'll see more in the future. This one is also music-videoish, but it is better than Altman's segement. It mainly concerns an old woman remembering her younger days. The editing and the use of different film stocks to represent both time and emotion are very beautiful. 8/10.

Bill Bryden - "I pagliacci" - the sad clown, possibly one of the most famous arias (particularly memorable from an episode of Seinfeld), this serves as the material separating each segement and the finale. It is simple and effective. 7/10.

Overall, I give it a solid 7/10. It isn't anywhere near as bad as you've heard.

24 of 29 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Credits - the piece vasikom
Discuss Aria (1987) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: