At the peak of his creative powers, the 29-year-old Bernardo Bertolucci eschewed the influence of mentor Jean-Luc Godard, partnered up with Vittorio Storaro and developed his own style for one of the most visually dazzling, politically and psychologically intriguing and possibly greatest of all Italian films.
Told in a non linear structure that would go on to influence ‘The Godfather Part II’ (not the only influence on Coppola’s film), the story begins in Rome, 1938. Marcello (Jean-Louis Trintignant) is a young fascist who takes on the job of assassinating his former professor who has fled to Paris. With his girlfriend (Stefania Sandrelli) in tow he meets the professor and his young wife (Dominique Sanda).
A thriller as well as study of Italian politics and psychological character, Bertolucci’s Oscar-nominated adaptation of Alberto Moravia’s novel (an adaptation Moravia greatly admired) has gone on to influence filmmakers such as Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese and Michael Mann and remains one of the great triumphs of world cinema.
★★★★★ "Funny and frightening, seductive and satirical, ridiculous and tragic, this remains Bertolucci's greatest film" - David Parkinson, Empire
The Guardian's No 13 Best Arthouse Film of All Time