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Paolo Bonacelli, Giorgio Cataldi, Umberto Paolo Quintavalle, Aldo Valletti, Caterina Boratto ... see more see more... , Elsa De Giorgi , Hélène Surgère , Sonia Saviange , Sergio Fascetti , Bruno Musso , Antonio Orlando , Claudio Cicchetti , Franco Merli , Umberto Chessari , Lamberto Book , Gaspare DiJenno , Giuliana Melis , Faridah Malik , Graziella Aniceto , Renata Moar , Dorit Henke , Antinisca Nemour , Benedetta Gaetani , Olga Andreis , Tatiana Mogilansky , Susanna Radaelli , Giuliana Orlandi , Liana Acquaviva , Rinaldo Missaglia , Giuseppe Patruno , Guido Galletti , Efioso Etzi , Claudio Troccoli , Fabrizio Menichini , Maurizio Valaguzza , Ezio Manni , Paola Pieracci , Carla Terlizzi , Anna Maria Dossena , Anna Recchimuzzi , Ines Pellegrini , Marco Bellocchio , Laura Betti , Michel Piccoli , Caterina Bonacelli

The final work of notorious Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini, this film updates the Marquis de Sade's most extreme novel to fascist Italy in the final days of WW II. Dispensing with the novel's me... read more read more...ditations on sexual liberation and the search for truth, Pasolini presents four decadents who kidnap dozens of young men and women and subject them to the most hideous forms of torture and perversion in an isolated villa. Rape, murder, and a coprophagic banquet are only the beginning of the atrocities on display. Photographed by Tonino Delli Colli, the film also features a lavish score by Ennio Morricone. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi

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64% liked it

14,699 ratings


69% liked it

26 critics

NC-17, 1 hr. 57 min.

Directed by: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Release Date: January 1, 1979

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DVD Release Date: August 11, 1998

Stats: 1,865 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (1,865)

  • July 28, 2013
    It took nearly 40 years, but we've gotten to a point in modern cinema where looking back on Pasolini's swan song is now a doable, not entirely nauseating task. An essential viewing for any prospective filmmaker.
  • November 11, 2012
    'Salo' masquerades as some sort of political allegory, but the supposed subtext is just a tenuous excuse for covering a whole spectrum of perversity - it has no purpose apart from to shock and disgust.
  • June 8, 2012
    A disgusting, extreme and shocking vision by Pier Paolo Pasolini of Marquis de Sade's book. Salo is an uncomfortable and unique experience, that also presents some black humor and humanism. It's a psychological, moral and a metaphor vision of the ditadorship and all the ways of k... read moreill the freedom. Unforgettable. Fresh.
  • February 3, 2012
    Salo, or the 120 Days of Solom is not a film you're likely to seek out on your own. You pretty much have to be goaded into seeing it. It's one of the most controversial films ever made, despite the fact that it's all a work of fiction. It's based on true events (actually, the boo... read morek it's derived from is), but if you watch the film closely you'll realize just how fictionally well-made it is. I can't begin to defend it on any sort of moral level. If filmmaking had any deadset morals to it then it would a pretty sparse landscape and I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now. The film has a level of social consciousness to it, despite the vile things taking place in it. It contains enough brutal violence, rape, sadism, torture and coprophagia for ten other films. I can't say I enjoyed the film or that I can recommend it. It's clearly an art film and nothing more, but if you can handle the unpleasantness of it without pure disgust or outrage, then by all means, see it as a work of art.
  • February 5, 2011
    Disgusting is the only word for it.
  • October 19, 2010
    Like nothing before it or since. Far more brutal than pretty much any 'horror' film, and seems viciously amoral. Highly polarising, and I'm more than willing to accept some hating it for it's extreme content. But that's your failing. Some films have higher intentions than 'entert... read moreainment.'
  • December 9, 2009
    Based on the book The 120 Days of Sodom by the Marquis de Sade. Because of its scenes depicting intensely graphic violence, sadism, and sexual depravity, the movie was extremely controversial upon its release, and remains banned in several countries to this day. When Pier Paolo P... read moreasolini was asked who is the film's audience, he said, "It's for everyone. For people like me."

    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 SALÓ 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, SALÓ 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 SALÓ 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, SALÓ 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. SALÓ 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 SALÓ is an important film that demands a careful viewing ONLY by those prepared for it.

    salo Pictures, Images and Photos
  • December 6, 2009
    Great God this is so very disturbing.
  • November 17, 2009
    I honestly don't know how to rate this. It is the most sinister piece of film I've ever seen. It made me physically sick, which is something that has never happened to me before when watching a movie. As a film, it is outstanding. It makes you question the very essence of human n... read moreature and how people could be drawn to think and feel such horrible things, yet take no shame or disgrace in them. What I find most captivating about this movie is the decision to make the captured children not all that innocent. They are flawed and selfish, that's what makes their torture all the more realistic. The true kicker to me though, is the motivation. There is none. These fascist Italian elites take these children simply to see something be destroyed.
  • October 2, 2009
    Pier Paolo Pasolini's last film is a masterpiece! It?s disgusting, depraved, shocking and cruel. It is not entertainment, its art. Many people get confused by this, Having watched it I can't say I enjoyed it, I will probably never watch it ever again but I thought it was brillian... read moret. Not many other films have this effect. Pasolini put De Sade's disgusting novel to good use to voice his hatred of fascism and our capitalistic and materialistic society that was destroying the Italy he so loved. It fair to say he wasn't a happy chappy, his hate, anger and repulsion is laid bare in Salo, a necessary Evil of sorts. Watch once, if you think you've got the stomach but please read up on it before you do!

Critic Reviews

Geoff Andrew
October 18, 2008
Geoff Andrew, Time Out

It's very hard to sit through and offers no insights whatsoever into power, politics, history or sexuality. Nasty stuff. Full Review

Jonathan Rosenbaum
October 23, 2007
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Very hard to take, but in its own way an essential work. Full Review

Vincent Canby
May 9, 2005
Vincent Canby, New York Times

A perfect example of the kind of material that, theoretically, anyway, can be acceptable on paper but becomes so repugnant when visualized on the screen that it further dehumanizes the human spirit, w... Full Review

Anton Bitel
July 2, 2013
Anton Bitel, Scene 360

It... speaks to the authoritarian abuses of twentieth-century history - but it has also, thanks to the chilling (and unflinching) way in which it presents grotesque atrocity, proven as difficult as fe... Full Review

Jeffrey M. Anderson
January 7, 2012
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid

I can't think of a reason in the world that anyone should subject him or herself to this. Full Review

Eric Melin
October 27, 2011
Eric Melin,

Pasolini illustrates his belief that society forces people to conform by making his victims turn on each other, then making the audience complicit. Just by watching, we are voyeurs, and Pasolini calls... Full Review

Simon Foster
September 30, 2010
Simon Foster,

By reputation alone, owning Salò should be enough to impress your cinephilic friends; watching it with them will be whole lot harder. Full Review

Cole Smithey
July 11, 2009
Cole Smithey,

Dramatically feral and artistically fertile, "Salo" is a rigorous movie that dares to use the metaphor of torture as a device of utter physical and psychological annihilation for both the victim and t... Full Review

Steve Biodrowski
August 27, 2008
Steve Biodrowski, ESplatter

Intended to be read as a caustic commentary on the evils of Fascism, Salo is marred by the uneasy perception that Pasolini (rather like purveyors of modern Torture Porn) is simply getting off on the a... Full Review

Eric Henderson
August 25, 2008
Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine

Fastidiously attuned to the denial of the comforting release of either eroticism or expulsion, Pasolini's boudoirs of perversion lack De Sade's scarlet hedonism. Quite the opposite, his boners reveal ... Full Review

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