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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

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Horror | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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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 »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Roger Ebert owned the film on LaserDisc for years after the film's release, but never watched it because he was intimidated by the graphic content. He supposedly died without ever watching it. 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.
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

The film was rejected for cinema by the BBFC in 1976 and a private showing of the uncut version at the Old Compton Cinema Club in London's Soho resulted in a police raid and confiscation of the movie. A heavily edited version - minus 6 minutes of footage including scenes of torture, homosexuality and excrement eating, and including a 4 minute prologue describing the history of the town of Salo - was later prepared by UK censor James Ferman for club showings. The film was finally passed completely uncut for cinema and video in the UK in December 2000. See more »

Connections

Featured in Azghyin ushtykzyn'azaby (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Pastorale in F major, BWV 590
(uncredited)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Interesting, but also slightly disappointing
25 November 2006 | by rbverhoefSee all my reviews

What director Pier Paolo Pasolini does with 'Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom' is making a point a lot of people already understand. Those who do not will probably not get this film either. In the most simple way you can say that the film shows us what happens when an unchecked regime has all power. Pasolini uses the fascists and places the events near the end of WW-II. Sex and violence and the desire to power are very much connected, Pasolini thinks and shows.

The story itself exists out of nine boys and nine girls being physically and mentally tortured, most of the time sexually. This is done by four Libertines and the people who support them; well dressed people with the sickest of ideas. Although I thought the scenes were either disgusting or disturbing the film itself is not that unwatchable. Not that it is for everyone though. The stories told in the film are more disturbing than most of the things shown, and the only really disgusting scene deals with excrement and eating.

What Pasolini does, one thing I particularly admired, is show human nature in the most evil way. And I am not just talking about the fascists here. To survive we do about anything, and some sequences of betrayal show how merciless people can be, maybe even more so in conditions like these. These sequences also show that even though it seems there is no future, there is always time and especially need for sex. In this case "normal" sex, without any humiliation or torture.

The admiration for this piece of work is overshadowed by some aspects. Again, it makes a good point, but with the horrors of the Nazi's and Italian fascists in our memory we don't really need a film like this to show that again. The interesting parts are in the details, like I described above. I was fascinated, a little disgusted, and in the end slightly disappointed. That said I am very glad I have seen it, probably without seeing it ever again. I would recommend to try that as well.


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