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Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975)

Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Horror, War | 19 May 1976 (France)
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.

Writers:

Pier Paolo Pasolini, Sergio Citti (screenplay collaboration)
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Popularity
501 ( 107)
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paolo Bonacelli ... The Duke
Giorgio Cataldi ... The Bishop
Umberto Paolo Quintavalle ... The Magistrate (as Umberto P. Quintavalle)
Aldo Valletti ... The President
Caterina Boratto ... Signora Castelli
Elsa De Giorgi ... Signora Maggi
Hélène Surgère ... Signora Vaccari (as Helene Surgere)
Sonia Saviange ... The Pianist
Sergio Fascetti Sergio Fascetti ... Male Victim
Bruno Musso Bruno Musso ... Carlo Porro - Male Victim
Antonio Orlando Antonio Orlando ... Tonino - Male Victim
Claudio Cicchetti Claudio Cicchetti ... Male Victim
Franco Merli ... Male Victim
Umberto Chessari Umberto Chessari ... Male Victim
Lamberto Book Lamberto Book ... Lamberto Gobbi - Male Victim
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Storyline

Nazi-Fascist Northern Italy, 1943-44. Four senior members of government, aided by henchmen and Nazi soldiers, kidnap a group of young men and women. They hold them for 120 days, subjecting them to all manner of torture, perversion and degradation. Written by grantss

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Taglines:

Direct from the New York Film Festival showing See more »

Genres:

Drama | Horror | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film had an extremely limited release worldwide, and was banned in many countries. It got a wide release in Sweden in 1976, and sold 125,000 tickets, meaning 1.5% of all Swedes saw the movie. It also grossed more than The Omen. See more »

Goofs

In the beginning of the film a 1948 Fiat 500 B can be seen. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[four men, sitting at a table, each sign a booklet]
The Duke: Your Excellency.
The Magistrate: Mr. President.
The President: My lord.
The Bishop: All's good if it's excessive.
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Crazy Credits

Essential Bibliography: Roland Barthes: 'Sade, Fourier, Loyola' (Editions du Seuil); Maurice Blanchot: "Lautréamont et Sade' (Editions de Minuit; in Italy Dedalo Libri); Simone de Beauvoir: 'Faut-il brûler Sade' (Editions Gaimard); Pierre Klossowski: 'Sade mon prochain, le philosophe scélérat' (Editions du Seuil; in Italy SugarCo Edizioni); Philippe Sollers: 'L'écriture et l'experience des limites' (Editions du Seuil) See more »

Alternate Versions

Salo has had a colorful history with Australian censorship boards. It was banned in Australia for 18 years before being re-submitted for a classification with the Office of Film and Literature (OFLC) in December 1992. It was then banned again by the full board of classifiers. The distributor at the time, Premium Films, appealed the decision to the Classification Review Board in early 1993. This Review Board lifted the ban and granted it an uncut cinema release with an R rating. It enjoyed a stint at arthouse cinemas in 1993, and again in 1996. The conservative Queensland Attorney-General, who caught wind of this re-release, applied for a review of the film in 1997 with the OFLC. They initially confirmed its R rating. The Attorney-General, unhappy with this decision, applied to the Classification Review Board for a complete review of its classification. This Board decided to ban it again. A DVD version was submitted in 2010 and passed by the Classification board as an R18+ on the basis of "176 minutes of additional material of behind-the-scenes footage which served to give the film context and reinforce its fictional nature", and this R18+ was confirmed by the Classification Review Board. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Another Top 10 Banned Movies! (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Inno a Roma
(uncredited)
Composed by Giacomo Puccini
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User Reviews

 
One of the roughest films you'll ever see.
6 June 2005 | by futures-1See all my reviews

"Salo: The 120 Days of Sodom" (1975): Be prepared for one of the roughest films you'll ever see. This was Pasolini's last, and going by what I've seen, his vision only became bleaker and more disturbed as the years clawed along. Using the Marquis de Sade's ideas on the decadence of 18th century France, Pasolini represents Fascist Italy (1944-45). We are shown the upper class – always removed and protected from the outer world – as predators of the poor, weak, young, and less educated. A group of wealthy adults shop amongst the kidnapped older children of bourgeoisie. They choose eighteen, and steal them away to a hidden mansion, where there is no escape. There, the adults live out every twisted fantasy they've ever had or can now muster, while demeaning, raping, and torturing the youngsters. The teens react in many ways, none of which are "pretty". This entire film experience MUST be viewed as a symbolic, emotional "explanation" of what it was like to live under Nazi/Fascist rule (in this case), and how an otherwise normal, decent society could be turned into lunatics and sub-animals. Although made 30 years ago (with the usual weaker production qualities of that era), I cannot think of another work which so blatantly and painfully illustrates what those in power are capable of doing when boredom gives rein to impulse. In comparison, "Lord of the Flies" barely lights upon these issues, "Pink Flamingos" was but a tiny, kitschy springboard, and "Schindler's List" described a much narrower range of degradation. To this day, "Salo: …" is banned in some countries. This is NOT a film about acting, lighting, sound, camera work, etc.. This is a film about states of mind – theirs then, ours now. P.S.: If you are interested in set design, this one is FILLED with original Cubist/Bauhaus/Futurist/Moderne furnishings, murals, and art. Spectacular. Those styles were not yet being reproduced, so Pasolini used the real thing. There is also an interesting use of a Charles Rennie MacIntosh chair…which will alter how you see this design from here on out.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | French | German

Release Date:

19 May 1976 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,017
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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