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Lisztomania (1975)

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt (Roger Daltrey) attempts to overcome his hedonistic life-style while repeatedly being drawn back into it by the many women in his life and fellow composer Richard Wagner (Paul Nicholas).


Ken Russell


Ken Russell




Cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Daltrey ... Franz Liszt
Sara Kestelman ... Princess Carolyn
Paul Nicholas ... Richard Wagner
Ringo Starr ... The Pope
Rick Wakeman ... Thor
John Justin ... Count d'Agoult
Fiona Lewis ... Marie d'Agoult
Veronica Quilligan ... Cosima
Nell Campbell ... Olga Janina
Andrew Reilly Andrew Reilly ... Hans von Bülow
David English David English ... Captain
Imogen Claire Imogen Claire ... George Sand
Rikki Howard Rikki Howard ... Countess
David Corti David Corti ... Daniel
Anulka Dziubinska ... Lola Montez


A send-up of the bawdy life of Romantic composer and piano virtuoso Franz Liszt (Roger Daltrey), with ubiquitous phallic imagery and a good portion of the movie devoted to Liszt's "friendship" with fellow composer Richard Wagner (Paul Nicholas). This movie begins during the time when Franz would give piano performance to a crowd of shrieking teenage fans while maintaining affairs with his mistresses. He eventually seeks Princess Carolyn of St. Petersburg (Sara Kestelman) (at her invitation), elopes, and, after their marriage is forbidden by the Pope (Sir Ringo Starr), he embraces the monastic life as an abbé. Written by Jonathan Dakss <dakss@columbia.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The erotic, exotic electrifying rock fantasy... It out-Tommy's TOMMY.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Roger Daltrey performed all of the piano pieces himself, as well as most of his stunts. See more »


Liszt: Her Majesty gets a lot of satisfaction out of a good smoke?
Princess Carolyn: it's the perfect form of pleasure. It's exquisite and leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one ask?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Music by Rick Wakeman Assisted by Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner See more »


Referenced in Horror Business (2005) See more »


Composed by Franz Liszt
Lyrics by Jonathan Benson
Performed by Roger Daltrey
See more »

User Reviews

This could have been so good
3 September 2002 | by kidlitfanSee all my reviews

The real-life Franz Liszt had an incredibly bizarre life, with plenty of erotic encounters. He also wrote gorgeous music. This should have been a great movie.

Unfortunately, Ken Russell goes even more nuts than usual with his Ken Russellisms. Gratuitous breasts? Check. Sparkly crosses? Check. Sexy nuns? Check. Phallic symbols? Check. Adolescent girl behaving shockingly? Check. The only thing missing is the water that usually gushes symbolically through his pictures.

Roger Daltrey comes off as a complete idiot in interviews, yet gives incredible performances in everything from Pete Townshend to William Shakespeare. He tries to save Lisztomania with his acting (he can go from farce to high drama easily)and his good looks (though he's gorgeous with his signature curls straightened, why exactly DOES his hair get straighter as the film progresses?)

Many of the supporting actors help a bit, too, including a tiny but memorable, pre-Rocky Horror scene from Little Nell.

I've seen Tommy many times, but I don't think I'll ever watch Lisztomania more than once. However, I'm not sorry I saw it. I would love to own the soundtrack--Liszt and Wagner sound terrific redone as 70's guitar-rock.

At a mere 103 minutes, there is too much padding. I recommend that people watch as I did, with a hand on the fast-forward of your remote.

Lisztomania is too mired in its own coolness and allegory. Many scenes start out promisingly, and many of the visuals are shocking or impressive at first, but then the scenes go onnnn and onnnn...

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Release Date:

1976 (Portugal) See more »

Also Known As:

Lisztomania See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby (3 channels)


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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