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Last Tango in Paris (1972)

Ultimo tango a Parigi (original title)
NC-17 | | Drama, Romance | 7 February 1973 (USA)
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1:31 | Trailer

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A young Parisian woman meets a middle-aged American businessman who demands their clandestine relationship be based only on sex.

Writers:

Bernardo Bertolucci (story), Bernardo Bertolucci (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
2,235 ( 74)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marlon Brando ... Paul
Maria Schneider ... Jeanne
Maria Michi ... Rosa's Mother / La mère de Rosa
Giovanna Galletti ... Prostitute / La prostituée
Gitt Magrini Gitt Magrini ... Jeanne's Mother / La mère de Jeanne
Catherine Allégret ... Catherine (as Catherine Allegret)
Luce Marquand Luce Marquand ... Olympia
Marie-Hélène Breillat Marie-Hélène Breillat ... Monique (as Marie-Helene Breillat)
Catherine Breillat ... Mouchette
Dan Diament Dan Diament ... TV Sound Engineer / L'ingénieur du son
Catherine Sola Catherine Sola ... TV Script Girl / La script-girl
Mauro Marchetti Mauro Marchetti ... TV Cameraman / Le cameraman
Jean-Pierre Léaud ... Tom - un cinéaste, le fiancé de Jeanne (as Jean-Pierre Leaud)
Massimo Girotti ... Marcel
Peter Schommer Peter Schommer ... TV Assistant Cameraman / L'assistant-opérateur
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Storyline

While looking for an apartment, Jeanne, a beautiful young Parisienne, encounters Paul, a mysterious American expatriate mourning his wife's recent suicide. Instantly drawn to each other, they have a stormy, passionate affair, in which they do not reveal their names to each other. Their relationship deeply affects their lives, as Paul struggles with his wife's death and Jeanne prepares to marry her fiance, Tom, a film director making a cinema-verite documentary about her. Written by Erich Schneider <erich@bush.cs.tamu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You will never see the most highly acclaimed film of our time on television. This may be your last chance to see it in a theater. (1975)

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for some explicit sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

MGM

Country:

France | Italy

Language:

English | French

Release Date:

7 February 1973 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Last Tango in Paris See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (rough cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Maria Schneider gave frank interviews in wake of the film's controversy. She claimed that she had slept with fifty men and seventy women, that she was "bisexual completely," and that she used heroin, cocaine and marijuana. See more »

Goofs

During the Tango contest scene, Paul's clapping doesn't match the soundtrack. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Paul: [with his hands over his ears at the overwhelming sound of a passing train] Fucking GOD!
See more »

Alternate Versions

A scene in which Paul scares away a bible salesman from his apartment by getting on all fours and barking like a dog was in the film at its world premiere at the New York Film Festival. Although Pauline Kael, present at that screening, specifically praised the scene in her "New Yorker" review of the film, Bertolucci cut it out of the film before its general release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Last Rose (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Shenandoah
(uncredited)
Traditional
Performed by Marlon Brando
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Last Tango in Paris will return to you any thought you put into it...A masterpiece!
21 December 2004 | by ACitizenCalledKaneSee all my reviews

Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris is like any other piece of art; You get out of it only as much as you put into it. Many people saw this movie in the 1970's (and still see it today) as being pornography and nothing else. Others viewed it and took note of Brando's performance (how could you not?!?), and noticed much, much more than a mere "skin flick." Personally, I find it to be a very important piece of art. Why? Because it broke barriers! In art, barriers only exist so that they may be broken, and I know that sounds like some "liberal artsy BS," but I think it's true. Artists are always trying to get down to the basics of human existence, and, unfortunately, it's not always pretty. This film, I believe, portrays a few elements of the human experience. Passion is the first. Then, facades, our need to defend ourselves from vulnerability. Also, the film tries to show the circular nature of our lives (things end only to begin again). The passion is expertly exposed through the savage brutality that Brando brings to the performance, as only he knew how to. Many argue that this was Brando's finest performance, and I can see why. I don't know if I could ever pick one performance of his and say it was his best, but this would easily, easily be a prime candidate. In Last Tango in Paris, Marlon Brando pulls out all of the stops, almost abusing his freedom in the role. Yet, this is where the film gets truly intriguing. Is this an act? It is, at least in name, a performance, but, how much of it is a performance, and how much is a stream of consciousness therapy session? I have never seen an actor pour so much of himself out before a camera. Watching it, I couldn't help but wonder, "What must be going on behind his eyes?" How can a man reveal so much of who he is, knowing that it is being filmed to be viewed by millions? Brando's "performance" forces the audience to question is Marlon Brando the performer or the performance. We'll never know. Perhaps he didn't know. Perhaps that is how he could pull off the monumental performance that he did. It is quite possibly the greatest performance I have ever seen. The fact that I have to wonder whether his character, Paul, is the truth or an image is only testament to Brando's power. As far as the circular nature of things, we see a role-reversal between Maria Schneider and Marlon Brando. At the beginning, it is Brando who is confused, lost, driven mad by the toll that a past love has taken on him. Yet, at the end of the film, it is Schneider's Jeanne who cares not about names, identity, and personal histories. Her life is committed to distance and emotional isolation. Her mind has confined itself to that little apartment where intimacy knew no bounds, except the publicity of a painful outside world. A million questions could be asked about these two central characters. What was going on in their minds? Who was more fragile, the tormented Paul, or the seemingly carefree Jeanne? Who controlled the relationship? Was there control? Was there a relationship? This film, like all other great films, leaves us asking questions, not only about the characters we've seen, but about the characters we portray on a daily basis.


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