The Canterbury Tales (1971)

The Canterbury Tales (1971)

TOMATOMETER

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Canterbury Tales Photos

Movie Info

Italian director Pier Pasolini tells four of the Chaucer tales in this graphic and satirical picture that chronicles the 14th-century's social, sexual, and religious standards in England. In Pasolini's Trilogy of Life, this second entry follows The Decameron and precedes The Arabian Nights.
Rating:
R
Genre:
Art House & International , Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
United Artists

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Cast

Hugh Griffith
as Sir January
Laura Betti
as The Wife from Bath
Tom Baker
as Jenkin
Franco Citti
as Mysterious Youth
Alan Webb
as Old Man
Pier Paolo Pasolini
as Geoffrey Chaucer
J.P. Van Dyne
as The Cook
Vernon Dobtcheff
as The Franklin
Adrian Street
as Fighter
O.T.
as Chief Witch Hunter
Derek Deadman
as The Pardoner
George Bethell Datch
as Host of the Tabard
Dan Thomas
as Nicholas
Michael Balfour
as John the Carpenter
Jenny Runacre
as Alison
Peter Cain
as Absalom
Daniele Buckler
as Witch Hunter
John Francis Lane
as Greedy Friar
Athol Coats
as Rich Homosexual
Peter Stephens
as Justinus
Elisabetta Genovese
as Prosperine
Homer King Gordon
as Chancellor
Tiziano Longo
as Simkin the Miller
Eileen King
as Simkin's Wife
Martin Whelar
as Jack the Justice
John McLaren
as Johnny the Grace
Edward Monteith
as Dick the Sparrow
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Critic Reviews for The Canterbury Tales

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (1)

If Pasolini had something more than grubby fantasy on his mind -- and presumably he did -- it isn't immediately apparent.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

the brash, arguably campy manner in which Pasolini transcribes Chaucer's medieval bawdiness to the screen, coupled with the film's various technical faults (particularly the lousy dubbed dialogue), tends to make the film a chore to watch.

Full Review… | January 4, 2013
Q Network Film Desk

As art films derived from classic literature brimming with erotic interludes, Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life" still provides a great way to both look smart and look at naked bodies.

Full Review… | November 21, 2012
Slant Magazine

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | July 29, 2010
Senses of Cinema

After the formidable commercial success of his bawdy Decameron, Pier Pasolini applied the same formula to Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales with somewhat less appealing results.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for The Canterbury Tales

After the formidable commercial success of his bawdy Decameron, Pier Pasolini applied the same formula to Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales with somewhat less appealing results.

Lee Mayo
Lee Mayo

Has its moments of awesome humor, some of it pretty crude for what should be an "art" film (lots of fart jokes actually, including one involving a hot poker), and an ending that is sensational with lots of devils and angels and Satan taking a shit. Lots of fun.... and Tom Baker is in it. Full NC-17. There is no K-9 to help. Just Baker and his porno moustache. He alone bumps the film up a star; I'm still critical of the acting being so amateurish at times and the dubbing, but...goddamn, some of this will haunt me forever.

Jack Gattanella
Jack Gattanella

This movie is second of Pasolini's so called 'Trilogy of Love' (Il Decameron, I Racconti di Canterbury, Il fiore di mille e una notte; 1970-1974). All these movies are quite specific, there are said not to be that provocative or intriguing. They are greatly influenced by the fact that while directing them Pasolini was contented because of his intimate relationship with the 'innocent barbarian', actor Ninetto Davoli. It is also said that in 'Trilogy of Love' Pasolini became resigned to the present time world by escaping to the past. However I don't think it's true. In these movies, Pasolini introduces to the audience an incorrupt world where people don't care about 'material aspects of life', they try to live at the full stretch, they seek love and, of course, sex and they do not respect 'the repressive limits imposed by religious and bourgeois morality' (Gino Moliterno). This is probably why Pasolini later declared that these three films were most ideological of his career (in his famous and long interview with Massimo Fini). I suppose Pasolini tried to confront such 'primitive' world with the world he had lived in and which he had hated so much (this confrontation is present all the time, especially by the contrast between the love and the death, by the contrast between the first tales, in which the human naked body dominates, and the last two tales in which pursuit of money causes death and perdition. Because of such end it is also suggested that I Racconti di Canterbury are very close to Pasolini's disillusioned last movie, Saló). It is common to hear that Chaucer must have rolled over in his grave after this movie was released. But if you try to understand The Canterbury Tales in the context of Chaucer's attitude towards love in his (other) literary works, you will probably find that Chaucer would resemble to Pasolini alias Mr Chaucer ends the film with writing 'Here end the Canterbury Tales, told for the mere pleasure of their telling, Amen'.

Cassandra Maples
Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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