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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

Unsure how to bring his film to a proper conclusion, Pier Paolo Pasolini shot 4 different endings. 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 Criterion DVD omits a short 25-second sequence during the first wedding ceremony, where one of the masters quotes a poem by Gottfried Benn. The sequence is intact on the R2 BFI DVD. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Quills (2000) 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

One of the most gruelling films ever made
17 January 2005 | by world_of_weirdSee all my reviews

Pier Paolo Pasolini, as is well known, was murdered not long after he finished work on this, his most audacious and confrontational film, yet even the most casual viewing of SALO begs the question - had he not been murdered, would he have taken his own life anyway? Every sequence, every shot and practically every moment of this film is so burdened with despair, barely concealed rage and a towering disgust with the human race, one gets the impression that Pasolini was barely hanging onto life - and any attendant shreds of hope - by his fingernails. Although ostensibly an adaptation of one of DeSade's most depraved works channeled through the horrifying excesses of the Second World War with the Fascist ruling classes as its (authentically vile) villains, SALO also contains a lot of contemporary criticism - Pasolini hated the modern world, and explained the stomach-churning 'banquet of s**t' as a none-too-subtle attack on the encroaching global domination of the fast food chains. (The scenes of sexual excess can similarly be read as a despairing attack on the permissive society - those who come to SALO expecting titillation or B-movie sleaze will be sorely disappointed.) Beyond the nihilistic content, which has been well documented elsewhere, the film has an overall mood that seems to have been engineered to make the viewer thoroughly depressed. Shot on washed-out, faded film stock using primarily static cameras, long shots, choppy editing and very few cutaways, SALO has a visual style reminiscent of cinema-verite documentary. Add to this the unnerving use of big band music, piano dirges and the (intentionally?) scrappy post-dubbed dialogue, and the distancing effect on the viewer is complete. SALO comes across as one long primal scream of rage, designed to shake the viewer out of his complacency, and in this respect, the film succeeds unequivocally. Whether or not you would care to watch this more than once, or indeed for 'entertainment', is another matter, but SALO is an important film that demands a careful viewing ONLY by those prepared for it.


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