6.5/10
5,966
37 user 53 critic

The Canterbury Tales (1972)

I racconti di Canterbury (original title)
NC-17 | | Comedy, Drama, History | 30 May 1980 (USA)
Pasolini's artistic, sometimes violent, always vividly cinematic retelling of some of Chaucer's most erotic tales.

Writers:

Pier Paolo Pasolini (screenplay), Geoffrey Chaucer (book) (as G. Chaucer)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

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More Like This 

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In pre-war Italy, a young couple have a baby boy. The father, however, is jealous of his son - and the scene moves to antiquity, where the baby is taken into the desert to be killed. He is ... See full summary »

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The life of Jesus Christ according to the Gospel of Matthew. Pasolini shows Christ as a Marxist avant-la-lettre and therefore uses half of the text of Matthew.

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A mysterious young man seduces each member of a bourgeois family. When he suddenly leaves, how will their lives change?

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Accattone (1961)
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In World War II 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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4 short films by a quartet of directors. Rosselini's 'Chastity' ('Illibatezza') deals with an attractive air hostess who receives the unwelcome attentions of a middle aged American. ... See full summary »

Directors: Jean-Luc Godard, Ugo Gregoretti, and 2 more credits »
Stars: Rosanna Schiaffino, Bruce Balaban, Maria Pia Schiaffino
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hugh Griffith ... Sir January
Laura Betti ... The Wife from Bath
Ninetto Davoli ... Perkin
Franco Citti ... The Devil
Josephine Chaplin ... May
Alan Webb Alan Webb ... Old Man
Pier Paolo Pasolini ... Geoffrey Chaucer
J.P. Van Dyne J.P. Van Dyne ... The Cook
Vernon Dobtcheff ... The Franklin
Adrian Street Adrian Street ... Fighter
Orla Pederson ... Pilgrim (as OT)
Derek Deadman Derek Deadman ... The Pardoner (as Derek Deadmin)
Nicholas Smith ... Friar
George Bethell Datch George Bethell Datch ... Host of the Tabard (as George B. Datch)
Dan Thomas ... Nicholas
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Storyline

Pasolini's artistic, sometimes violent, always vividly cinematic retelling of some of Chaucer's most erotic tales.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | History

Certificate:

NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | English

Release Date:

30 May 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Canterbury Tales See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$8,368
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (premiere)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pier Paolo Pasolini later disowned his Trilogy of Life, feeling their commercial success betrayed his artistic vision. See more »

Goofs

Some of the women have tan-lines from bikinis. See more »

Quotes

The Cook: Between a jest and a joke, many a truth can be told.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK cinema version was cut by the BBFC with edits to anal sex shots, a man being whipped, and Rufus urinating on the crowd during the 'Pardoner's Tale' segment for an 'X' certificate. The cuts were fully restored in 2001 and the certificate downgraded to a '15'. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The weakest link.
26 August 2003 | by dbdumonteilSee all my reviews

It is the second part of Pasolini's "trilogy of life" and IMHO,the weakest :part of the reason can be found in the fact that it's merely more of the same ;after" Il decameron' the sensation of surprise has disappeared.Bawdiness,bawdiness and bawdiness,and a good dose of scatology.Besides,the stories,adapted from Chaucer are less interesting than in "IL decameron" ;the only good really good segment,as far the script is concerned ,is the one with the students and the miller's family:the mistaken identities are hilarious.But what remains is never really exciting.The scene in which a gay is literally "fried " is downright disturbing,coming from a director like Pasolini;the sequence is treated seriously ,almost without humor-unless the donuts seller counts-.

No one can argue the splendor of the cinematography;most of the times,it looks like pictures at an exhibition:the moist misty landscapes -particularly in the students' sequence- sharply contrasts with the mediterranean overcome by the heat ones in "il decameron";and the score,which includes old English traditionals is first-rate too.Ninetto Davoli,Pasolini's favorite actor,does his usual (almost silent) stint,in the grand tradition of Charlie Chaplin,which almost seems supernatural in this context;One should add that Josephine Chaplin is also part of the cast:some kind of double tribute.

The script is the Achille's heel of the movie."Il fiore della mille e una notte" will set the record straight and redeem Pasolini,for it's without a doubt the peak of the trilogy of life,with its numerous stories " à tiroirs".


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