Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001)



Critic Consensus: The cinematography is gorgeous, but the movie plays it fast and loose with history and the novel it was adapted from. Mostly, the movie fails because the romance between the leads strains credulity and the story is largely uninvolving.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

During World War II, an Italian officer, Captain Corelli, is put in command of a garrison that's occupying the Greek island of Cephallonia. After a beautiful local woman's fiance--a fisherman--departs to fight with the Greek army, she falls in love with Corelli who becomes torn between his own love for her and his political allegiances.more
Rating: R (for some violence, sexuality and language)
Genre: Drama, Romance
Directed By:
Written By: Louis de Bernières, Shawn Slovo
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 5, 2002
Box Office: $25.3M
Universal Pictures - Official Site


Nicolas Cage
as Capt. Antonio Corell...
John Hurt
as Dr. Iannis
Irene Papas
as Drosoula
Aspasia Kralli
as Mrs. Stamatis
Dimitris Kaberidis
as Father Arsenios
Pietro Sarubbi
as Velisarios
Joanna-Daria Adrakta...
as Lemoni (younger)
Ira Tavlaridis
as Lemoni (older)
Katerina Didaskalu
as Lemoni's Mother
David Morrissey
as Capt. Weber
Patrick Malahide
as Col. Barge
Antonis Antoniou
as Recruiting Officer
Kostas Philippoglou
as Trembling Man
Vincenzo Ricotta
as Quartermaster
Roberto Citran
as General Gandin
Dina Kafterani
as Mad Person
Vlassis Zotis
as Mad Person
Alexia Bouloukou
as Mad Person
Pavlos Lalis
as Partisan
Federico Fioresi
as Soldier of La Scala
Sandro Fioresi
as Soldier of La Scala
Francesco Guzzo
as Soldier of La Scala
Germano Di Mattia
as Soldier of La Scala
Simone Spinazze
as Soldier of La Scala
Sergio Albelli
as Soldier of La Scala
Davide Quatraro
as Soldier of La Scala
Paco Reconti
as Soldier of La Scala
Nuccio Siano
as Soldier of La Scala
Salvatore Lazzaro
as Soldier of La Scala
Alessandro Repossi
as Soldier of La Scala
Tim Hardy
as Colonel
Francesco Cabras
as Soldier with Cigaret...
Nunzio Lombardo
as Soldier at Dance
Sofia Yannioti
as Prostitute
Marina Corelli
as Prostitute
Evi Tzortzi
as Prostitute
Leticia Moustaki
as Prostitute
Angelica Lambri
as Prostitute
Irene Christidi
as Prostitute
Giovanni Parricelli
as Waterfront Band Memb...
Martin Robertson
as Waterfront Band Memb...
Ben Gant
as Waterfront Band Memb...
Paul Spong
as Waterfront Band Memb...
Eddie Hession
as Waterfront Band Memb...
Mike Pickering
as Waterfront Band Memb...
Oren Marshall
as Waterfront Band Memb...
Peter Stark
as Soldier
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Captain Corelli's Mandolin

Critic Reviews for Captain Corelli's Mandolin

All Critics (119) | Top Critics (38)

Strikes too many false notes on the dramatic side to add up to a satisfying emotional experience.

Full Review… | August 7, 2008
Top Critic

The film's perfectly watchable, but it's never more than that.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The movie duplicates exactly my experience with the book, although I must say I was thankful to be spared serial outbreaks of hearty Greek dancing.

Full Review… | January 22, 2002
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

Cage's ancestors may have come from the Old Country, but he's no more Italian than Franco-American SpaghettiOs.

January 6, 2002
Washington Post
Top Critic

Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz are ill-matched, and the range of heavy accents is distracting.

Full Review… | September 19, 2008

A romance as spectacular as this novel is, it still has a difficult job making the leap to the screen.

May 20, 2003
Palo Alto Weekly

Audience Reviews for Captain Corelli's Mandolin

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Guy Madden you sly dog. I don't know how you do it but somehow you manage to get an accredited actress to take off her clothes for you. In your film Shakespeare in Love it was Gwyneth Paltrow going topless (which she also won an Oscar for, dare I say, in no coincidence), and thank God you didn't get Dame Judi Dench to try it out with the previous film Mrs. Brown. And now with the horrifically titled Captain Corelli's Mandolin you have coaxed the beautiful Penelope Cruz into baring her breasts as well, no doubt in hopes of winning some of that coveted Oscar gold. And although I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to see the lovely Cruz minus a stitch above the waist, frankly, Corelli ain't no Shakespeare.[/color][/font]
[font=Arial][color=darkred][/color][/font][font=Arial][color=darkred]We open on an island on the offshoot of Greece in the start of the 1940s. The waters are blue, the sand is white, the people are happily ethnic, and it's basically a postcard. The island is overpopulated with idyllic beauties and friendly people and then evil evil war had to come and steal the innocence. Cruz plays a woman who has a first name that I have no clue of or remotely how to pronounce it, but I am certain it began with a P. Cruz is studying to be a doctor under the tutelage of her wise old customed father (John Hurt). She's engaged to be wed to hunky fisherman Mandras (Christian Bale) until the war threatens their peaceful isolated world. Mandras feels the patriotic urge to go to war and thwart the advancing Italians and Cruz pines for his safe return writing letter after letter with no answer to only fear the worst.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]As the war continues the Italians do advance further and take occupation of the Greek island. Captain Antonio Corelli (Nicolas Cage) is amongst the divisions assembled to this Mediterranean isle. He is agreed to stay in Cruz's home and, as always, begins to develop feelings for Cruz. She feels some as well but is torn on what her actions should be. Corelli, it turns out, is far more a singer than a fighter. He has a battalion of men he dubs his "opera" and they break into frequent song and an overall zeal for life. They run around drinking and singing on the beaches complete with topless women making this Italian occupation seem like summer camp.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]The good times don't last of course and the war rages closer and closer. Soon the Italian army surrenders and then the Germans come in to retake occupation of the Greek island. Corelli must decide to go home or help fight amongst the guerrillas and native people to keep their beautiful land away from Nazi hands.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Penelope Cruz seems to be heavily pushed on me by Hollywood. They keep casting her in movies and telling me I like her, when in fact, I have seen nothing of hers to prove so. Corelli may be the finest American work she's done, but hell, what is that saying? She is too mute at times and the emotions that we should see tearing her up are simply dampened by her staring downcast or biting her lip. Well . . . at least she looks partially Greek.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Cage is an Italian-American, and yet his Italian accent is atrociously comical. His performance is like the Joker doing an Italian accent. He also kisses like he is trying to swallow poor Penelope's tiny head. Somehow beyond my reasoning the talented Christian Bale got in this movie. He's about as convincing as a Greek as Laurence Olivier was as a Moor. The rest of the cast is filled with Greek people portraying Greek people.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]The love story of Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a mish-mash of uninvolving war violence and a cloying romance that never gets into the proper gear. There are elements of guilt and affection, but they aren't transcendent of any reality. The first time Corelli tells Cruz he loves her they have sex in a field that very moment. There is not enough groundwork laid to produce a decent romance. So the supposed "smolder" between Cruz and Cage is thematically unbelievable, and kind of a bit creepy.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Corelli suffers from A.I. syndrome in that it desperately needed to end twenty minutes earlier than it did. [/color][/font][url="javascript:void(0)"][font=Arial][color=darkred]The fact that Cage survives a machine gun execution because a [b]SINGLE[/b] [b]PERSON[/b] stood in front of him is bad[/color][/font][/url][font=Arial][color=darkred], but it gets even worse for the inhabitants of the Greek island. [/color][/font][url="javascript:void(0)"][font=Arial][color=darkred]Some get hung by their own people, some get shot in the face from Germans, and then everyone must suffer after the war by having an earthquake level half of their town.[/color][/font][/url][font=Arial][color=darkred] This stretch of film goes from pointless to comically absurd. It's like Madden fell asleep in his director's chair and someone thought, "Well, let's model the last act of the film after a Universal tram ride. Hey, can we have Jaws pop out of the water at some point?" Corelli has failed as a romance and during its end stretch it completely fails as any kind of cogent drama.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]The direction is adequate by Madden but the script just doesn't cut the mustard. In the end they rely on the old Hollywood principal of Nazis being pure evil, so much so they might as well have mustaches to twirl. I thought at one moment they were going to tie Cruz to a railroad track and would have preferred it if they had. This is a film caught between romance and war, and it does a disservice to both. The war is a naive afterthought and the romance lacks any credibility. The scenery sure looks nice though. In the end, Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a film desperately out of tune.[/color][/font]

[font=Arial][color=darkred]Nate's Grade: C-[/color][/font]

Nate Z.
Nate Zoebl

Super Reviewer

An Italian officer occupies a Greek home during WWII and falls for the daughter of a local doctor.
This film adaptation of a decent novel includes only what is mediocre about the book and leaves out everything that is good. The most glaring issue occurs at the end, which I won't give away, but I will say that the best line of the book "You owe me a life" isn't included.
Nicolas Cage's performance is as bad as most of his other performances, but with an inconsistent accent, waffling motivations, and looking just plain stupid when he tries to be goofily charming, this might be Cage's worst. And Christian Bale, whose character is stripped of its most interesting aspects, seems lost, and when the plot makes him vanish, he goes quietly and unmemorably.
Overall, while I'm not sure if I can recommend the book, I know that I can't recommend the film.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Nicolas Cage ruins yet another movie that might have been good.

Christian C

Super Reviewer

Captain Corelli's Mandolin Quotes

– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)

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