The Conformist


The Conformist

Critics Consensus

A commentary on fascism and beauty alike, Bernardo Bertolucci's The Conformist is acclaimed for its sumptuous visuals and extravagant, artful cinematography.



Total Count: 54


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,735
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Movie Info

The conformist is 1930s Italian Marcello Clerici (Jean-Louis Trintignant), a coward who has spent his life accommodating others so that he can "belong." Marcello agrees to kill a political refugee, on orders from the Fascist government, even though the victim-to-be is his college mentor. The film is a character study of the kind of person who willingly "conforms" to the ideological fashions of his day. In this case, director Bernardo Bertolucci suggests that Marcello's desire to conform is rooted in his latent homosexuality. In addition to its strong storyline, the film is critically revered for the astonishing production design by Nedo Azzini, which, together with Vittorio Storaro's camerawork, recreates the atmosphere of Fascist Italy with some of the most complex visual compositions ever seen on film, filled with highly stylized uses of angles, shapes, and shadows. The Conformist was cut by five crucial minutes when first released in the US; those missing moments were restored in the 1994 reissue. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi


Jean-Louis Trintignant
as Marcello Clerici
Enzo Tarascio
as Professor Quadri
Dominique Sanda
as Anna Quadri
Pierre Clémenti
as Lino Semirama--the Chauffeur
Gastone Moschin
as Manganiello
as Marcello's mother
Giuseppe Addobbati
as Marcello's father
Yvonne Sanson
as Giulia's mother
Fosco Giachetti
as The Colonel
Benedetto Benedetti
as The Minister
Gio Vagni Luca
as Secretary
Alessandro Haber
as Cieco ubriaco
Pasquale Fortunato
as Marcello as a child
Marta Lado
as Marcello's Daughter
Carlo Gaddi
as Hired Killer No. 1
Franco Pellerani
as Hired Killer No. 2
Claudio Cappelli
as Hired Killer No. 3
Umberto Silvestri
as Hired Killer No. 4
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Critic Reviews for The Conformist

All Critics (54) | Top Critics (17) | Fresh (53) | Rotten (1)

  • The unsettling blend of images and ideas in this movie cannot satisfactorily be disentangled or decoded, and it's the very strangeness of Bertolucci's masterpiece that has made it so influential in cinema history.

    Aug 29, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Bertolucci's boldest and most expressive film ...

    Aug 26, 2014 | Full Review…
  • The Conformist is celebrated for cinematographer Vittorio Storaro's tumbling autumn leaves, but its emotional impact involves a tumbling soul.

    Dec 15, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • All hail the revival of one of Bernardo Bertolucci's best films.

    Feb 29, 2008 | Rating: 4/5
  • Bertolucci's film has the compelling quality of a bad dream.

    Feb 29, 2008 | Rating: 4/5
  • One of the most referenced and extraordinary films in cinema history.

    Feb 29, 2008 | Full Review…
    Little White Lies
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Conformist

  • Apr 01, 2014
    The Conformist is a film that has stuck with me since my initial viewing a few days ago, perhaps it deserves half a star higher. The slow style draws similarity to Melville's assassin film Le Samourai. Trintignant puts up a solid performance as the assassin (Marcello), but my issue with the character was he felt to smooth to be a universal conformist. Marcello feels like a charming individual, just not another man in the crowd. The film does reveal what it means with labeling Marcello as a conformist with the climax, which follows his fascist conformity. The second theme, sex, is also addressed in the end which I feel is the most important scene in the whole film. The last scene is chilling and revealing, crucial to the film.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 30, 2012
    Visually great, but really tough to sit through.
    Jared H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 03, 2012
    Started off very well, very stylized and compelling. The complex narrative is quite pleasurable to watch, however, by the end there is something lacking. I think the film gets weighed down by the character of Giula because she isn't as interesting as Marcello himself. The camera work and mis en scene are breathtaking. The relationship between him and Italo is very interesting as well till the very end. The ending though when Lino is discovered alive and we see Marcello turn on Italo and proclaim them both as fascists is troubling because we don't see the change that brings Marcello to that point. I felt in those kinds of instances that the film sacrificed psychology for style.
    G S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2011
    Appreciate it more than I enjoyed watching it. Beautifully shot, incredibly insightful, often boring.
    Reid V Super Reviewer

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