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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.
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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


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A disturbing motion picture for mature audiences who are prepared to view it. See more »


Drama | Horror | War


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Italy | France


Italian | French | German

Release Date:

19 May 1976 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


First part of Pier Paolo Pasolini's "Trilogy of Death". The subsequent two parts were never filmed because Pasolini was murdered a few months after he had finished this movie. The trilogy was intended to complement the previous "Trilogy of Life", including The Decameron (1971), The Canterbury Tales (1972) and Arabian Nights (1974). See more »


When the Duke kisses several victims during Sergio and Renata's wedding, some victims and Ezio begin to laugh, off the character. See more »


[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.
See more »

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 »


Featured in Pasolini (2014) See more »


Prelude in E minor
Composed by Frédéric Chopin
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Not a Film about Fascism at all
22 November 2001 | by Ariel6See all my reviews

Pasolini made it quite clear in several texts that this is not an anti-fascist film, but rather that fascism is a symbol for something far more pervasive. He ultimately saw himself as a committed director, and thus all of his historical films are about the present, and this film was made in the 70's, not in the 40's. It is rather an anti-bourgeois film. (Pasolini's political enemies at the time were not fascists at all, but the Christian Democrats)...Furthermore it is NOT a defense of Sade, but an apology for his earlier writings and films which mythicized acts of violence and glorified them as the pure, unconscious, pre-verbal expression of the subproletariat. However Pasolini saw the riots of the bourgeois students in 1968 as nihilistic acts of revolt, not revolution--a revolt of the Bourgeoise against itself, as his poetry makes clear. He watched in horror as he saw his vision of true revolution twisted into a childish and merely destructive tantrum against the previous generation. And so it is the Bourgeoise, symbolized by Fascism, which he represents and condemns in Salo, in the guise of what he considered to be a medieval morality play. And it is in this context that he apologizes for having made statements like "Only a bloodbath can save the world" (1962), which is quoted in the film. Yet, like everything else, it has been appropriated by the bourgeoise, who misinterpret it first as Nietzsche, then as St. Paul, until it gets reduced to a merely absurdist Dada interpretation. The characters are continually misinterpreting the many structuralist citations, because they have no history. History has been destroyed, and thus Pasolini is trying to re-introduce it in the film. The revolution, by 1968, was impossible, as there was nobody left to fight it. The bourgeoise, Pasolini lamented, had subsumed everything into itself-there was no "other", only a technological god-like and all-inclusive power structure. But what is most shocking is that it is the Sadean libertarianism and the permissivness of that class that Pasolini finds most disturbing. He held that the permissiveness of the "anarchy of power" was more tyrannical than repression. He was most traumitized, oddly, by the increasing tolerance of homosexuals. And so truely Pasolini takes the side of Dante, not Sade. And finally, its ultimately a film about misinterpretation. What the characters say and what they do (as in Sade) are incongruent. He knew that he was to be misunderstood by his Bourgeois audience, as it misunderstood itself, Pasolini said that it was intrinsic that Salo remain enigmatic (on the model of Dante), and this is the film's real genius. Judging by most of these reviews, Pasolini made his point.

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