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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:

The final vision of a controversial filmmaker 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 »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,017
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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

One of the top ten favorite films of director Rainer Werner Fassbinder. 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

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

Edited into Histoire(s) du cinéma: Seul le cinéma (1994) See more »

Soundtracks

Pastorale in F major, BWV 590
(uncredited)
Composed by Johann Sebastian Bach
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A LAST MESSAGE
24 March 2001 | by maxbembaSee all my reviews

Reportedly, when the executives of one, now defunct, American film company saw "Saló", which they helped co-finance and had distribution rights on, they were so disturbed and embarrassed that they didn't know what to do. Are we going to release this thing? With our company name on it? Where?

They had to show that they released it somewhere in the U.S. or territories.

So they did. In a small theater in El Condado area near San Juan, Puerto Rico.

There's where I saw it. In the mid-70's. With the film company's name on it.

Is it any good? Well, I'm no great admirer of Pasolini. Frankly, I find his movies intolerable. And "Saló" is no exception. But, unlike his Trilogy of Life ("The Decameron", "Canterbury Tales", "Arabian Nights") where he at least displayed some flair and humor, this one is a different animal.

His style was always somewhat ponderous. In "Saló" it is heavily, oppressively didactic: static tableaux-style framing, a deliberately slow pace, no humor whatsoever, and actors who don't play characters but conceits. Although Pasolini uses De Sade's "120 Days of Sodom" as scaffolding and as a pointed commentary, "Saló" is actually based on real events that happened in the Republic of Saló in Northern Italy, where a group of wealthy fascists abducted a large group of young men and women, went on to debase them, and after they were done with them they killed them. Pasolini staged all the scenes as demonstrations of degradation and cruelty. And he does not flinch.

At the end he includes a bibliography.

It's an unpleasant experience.

Clearly, Pasolini, an award-winning poet and one of the leading intellectuals of his time, was very angry when he did this moving picture. He wanted to send a message to Italy and to the world.

It was his last film.

Months later he was murdered.

After several weeks of being in release, the theater was raided by our local vice authorities.


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