4 user 2 critic

Beyond Good and Evil (1977)

Al di là del bene e del male (original title)
The life and ideas of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. A love triangle unfolds as Nietzsche and his best friend decides to live with a Jewish woman. According to Nietzsche's ... See full summary »


Liliana Cavani


Liliana Cavani (story), Liliana Cavani (screenplay) | 2 more credits »
2 wins. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Dominique Sanda ... Lou Andreas-Salomé / Wife
Robert Powell ... Paul Rée
Erland Josephson ... Friedrich Nietzsche
Virna Lisi ... Elisabeth / Fritz's sister
Michael Degen Michael Degen ... Karl Andreas / Husband
Elisa Cegani Elisa Cegani ... Franziska / Fritz's mother
Umberto Orsini ... Bernard Foester
Philippe Leroy ... Peter Gast
Carmen Scarpitta Carmen Scarpitta ... Malvida
Nicoletta Machiavelli ... Amanda
Amedeo Amodio Amedeo Amodio ... Dottor Dulcamara / il diavolo-the devil
Renato Scarpa ... Psichiatra / Psychiatrist
Clara Colosimo Clara Colosimo ... Trude / Domestica-maid
Roberto Bruni Roberto Bruni ... Professor Julius Longbehn
Mircha Carven Mircha Carven ... Wolfgang


The life and ideas of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. A love triangle unfolds as Nietzsche and his best friend decides to live with a Jewish woman. According to Nietzsche's philosophy, that is beyond all morality. Depicting Nietzsche's opium addiction and madness meritorious. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


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Italy | France | West Germany



Release Date:

5 October 1977 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Beyond Good and Evil See more »

Filming Locations:

Germany See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (English)

Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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User Reviews

The character assassination or spiritual dissection of Nietzsche
12 January 2019 | by clanciaiSee all my reviews

The film tells the story of the "ménage à trois" between Nietzsche, Paul Rée and Lou Salome, the beautiful woman they both were desperately in love with - Nietzsche proposed to her three times, being turned down every time, as she preferred friendship. Nevertheless she agreed to live with them both, having them both as lovers, which of course could end in no other way but badly. Still, these were the most important years of Nietzsche, during which he wrote his major works, and after the break with Paul Rée and Salome, his life was more or less finished, writing a few more books that found no readers and then suffering a total collapse, possibly the consequence of much abuse of both opium and sex of all kinds - Wagner said that he attracted syphilis from visitng too many gay brothels in Genoa. Paul Rée became a doctor and died att 52 in an accident in the Alps - in the film he dies being raped to death by homosexualls, which couldn't be more wrong.

That's the default of the film. It wallows in sexual exaggerations, which is totally unnecessary and only drags the film down in baseness, posthumously humiliating Nietzsche. The actots are perfect, though, but the best performance is by Virna Lisi, who plays the sister Elisabeth, who married an antisemite and insisted on a break of her famous brother with the "Jewishly contaminated" Paul Rée and Lou Salome, who both had Jewish ancestry, althopugh no believers. Nietzsche accused his sister of causing the major disaster of his life by interfering in his relationships with the two people he loved the most.

So it is a tragedy, and it is beautifully filmed - no matter how you might dislike and object to the exaggerations of the film, it is a work of art first of all of outstanding beauty, and Liliana Cavani, the director, was herself the scenographer. The music is equally prominent and enhances the beauty of the film. Erland Josephson is better in dark depressive films of Ingmar Bergman, while here he is miscast and not convincing, entirely lacking Nietzsche's German temperament. Robert Powell, on the other hand, is another asset here. It is worth seeing at least once, although it needs some endurance.

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