The Leopard

Critics Consensus

Lavish and wistful, The Leopard features epic battles, sumptuous costumes, and a ballroom waltz that competes for most beautiful sequence committed to film.

98%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 47

89%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,540

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Movie Info

As Garibaldi's troops begin the unification of Italy in the 1860s, an aristocratic Sicilian family grudgingly adapts to the sweeping social changes undermining their way of life. Proud but pragmatic Prince Don Fabrizio Salina (Burt Lancaster) allows his war hero nephew, Tancredi (Alain Delon), to marry Angelica (Claudia Cardinale), the beautiful daughter of gauche, bourgeois Don Calogero, in order to maintain the family's accustomed level of comfort and political clout.

Cast & Crew

Burt Lancaster
Prince Don Fabrizio Salina
Claudia Cardinale
Angelica Sedara, Bertiana
Alain Delon
Tancredi Falconeri
Paolo Stoppa
Don Calogero Sedara
Rina Morelli
Princess Maria Stella Salina
Romolo Valli
Father Pirrone
Terence Hill
Count Cavriaghi
Pierre Clémenti
Francesco Paolo
Giuliano Gemma
Garibaldi's General
Suso Cecchi d'Amico
Writer (Screenplay and Adaptation)
Pasquale Festa Campanile
Writer (Screenplay and Adaptation)
Enrico Medioli
Writer (Screenplay and Adaptation)
Massimo Franciosa
Writer (Screenplay and Adaptation)
Luchino Visconti
Writer (Screenplay and Adaptation)
Pietro Notarianni
Executive Producer
Nino Rota
Original Music
Giuseppe Rotunno
Cinematographer
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Critic Reviews for The Leopard

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (20) | Fresh (46) | Rotten (1)

  • The film aches with regret over a crumbling empire, but its feelings are complicated by the wise prince, who recognizes his place on the wrong side of history.

    December 11, 2013 | Full Review…

    Scott Tobias

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • A magnificent film, munificently outfitted and splendidly acted by a large cast dominated by Burt Lancaster's standout stint in the title role.

    February 23, 2012 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • The film is a long, rich sigh at the end of the day, one that only Don Fabrizio can hear.

    November 24, 2011 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

    Ty Burr

    Boston Globe
    Top Critic
  • Two-plus hours of engrossing machinations and opulent scenery point the way to the pièce de résistance: a 45-minute gala scene that the Almighty himself would approve as a luxuriant prelude to the Rapture.

    December 22, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    Keith Uhlich

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The film is one of the most sumptuous ever made in Europe.

    September 1, 2010 | Rating: 5/5
  • Among several masterly setpieces, the long ballroom scene, with its sinuous movement and hundreds of extras, is an imperishable glory.

    August 27, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Leopard

  • Jan 09, 2020
    The costumes and locations are beyond exceptional. Add a fantastic cast headed by the ever-restrained Burt Lancaster and you've got a spectacular film.
    Christian C Super Reviewer
  • Apr 18, 2013
    Lancaster's unlikely appearance in this Italian film is memorable across the film's epic length.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2012
    Visconti remembers the good ole days (ala Gone With The Wind) of an stately affected upper class ruling the dirty lower classes with humble grace and dignity (only this story's set in Sicily, though at about at nearly the same time), and their fading demise ... whatever (I got no sympathy at all for sad rich folks mooning over the good ol'days, sorry). Sumptuously filmed and orchestrated, with loads of loving details and drenched in melancholy (like GWTW), its about the changing of the guard, and maybe that is sad. The cast is worthy if the subject isn't.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2012
    Man, this movie is some bull for not delivering on its promises, because I didn't see a single leopard in here. No, I didn't go into this film actually expecting to see leopards, or at least no more than I usually do when I see a film, because, as a big cat person, I always find it nice to see a kitty, something that I hear some movie called "Gummo" is filled with, so I look foward to seeing that whenever I get around to it. Joking ignorance over brutal cat killings in a film that no one saw aside, I do think it would be cool to see this film with leopard, and I don't mean that I want to see them happen across leopard, but that I want to see this film with leopards as the people. I can just see one of those majestic things going around with a top hat and a giant moustache, dancing with another leopard at the ball. Yeah, so if you can't tell, this joke isn't turning out as inspired as I thought it was going to. This film, on the other hand, is no stranger to inspiration, because if you can say nothing else about Italians, it's that they make great food, but next to that, next to that, you can say that they make great food, because they're food is so nice, you mention it twice, and, of course, finally, next to that, you can say that they really are pretty creepily similar to Jews in New York. Oh yeah, and they knew how to do some cool, unique stuff with films, though not at all to where they could drown out the flaws in their films, including this one. The film is a very dry and often talkative one, so it's to be expected that the film dulls down here and there. Really, the film surprisingly doesn't slow down all that much, even with all of its extensive mumbo-jumbo (That's the Italian word for "talk", right?), yet the film only goes so far before drying up, and the editing isn't really helping with that. I'm not sure how smoothly this film moves on its tighter American runtime, yet what I'm looking at is a three hour film that's not about to let you forget its length, dragging things out, not all that terribly, yet enough for the film to disengaging here and there, as the editing is so loose, allowing much excess material and repetition to set in. The film simply takes just too long to pick up, and when it does finally pick up, it never really takes off that far. The film has plenty a high point, yet can't transcend blandness in a lot of spots. However, make no mistakes, there are so plenty of high points, and just enough to ultimately triumph and make the film worthwhile. Sure, things stand to be tighter and more engrossing, yet it's not hard to stick with this film through and through, partially because it's difficult to look away. For its time, the film was incredibly well shot, and remains quite the piece of eye candy, even today. Giuseppe Rotunno's cinematography is lush and colorful, yet still with a degree of saturation that gives the film an elegant style that reflects the its classy themes and tones, and looks good while doing so. This can of course be said about the just as, if not more remarkable production designs that's glory goes enhanced by the cinematography, as if it could look better. The designs are elaborate, detailed and a joy to behold, with grand broadness to capture the stellar scope of the era, as well as both the fortunes and misfortunes within this time and environment. The film is a very well-produced, very elegant art piece, and that fine style, alone, make it engaging, even with all of the dryness, though it certainly helps that most of the intrigue within the film is, well, generally intriguing, if not simply compelling, and for that, credit not only goes out to director Luchino Visconti and his team of screenwriters, but also his colorful cast of distinctive charismas, whose appeal goes augmented by very human moments. Burt Lancaster, in particularly, really stands out, nailing the Prince Don Fabrizio Salina character's stern presence of charming prestige, yet occasionally throws in touches of humanity through subtle, yet poignant, if not quietly intense and deeply emotional vulnerability that makes his performance among the most compelling aspects of the film. The film is not without its faults, running too long of a line, and doing so very limply, yet it ultimately delivers upon reaching its destination in style, making it well worth the sit. In the end, the looseness in editing and story, as well as repetition exacerbates the sting of dryness that leaves the film to all too often dull down, occasionally to the point of being simply disengaging, yet for every mistake the film makes, it wins you back, whether it be through its phenomenal art direction or its fine cast of talents - from which Burt Lancaster particularly stands out -, both of which serve to supplement the generally compelling and consistently elegant story structure and telling that helps in making Luchino Visconti's "The Leopard" a mostly intriguing, always handsome and ultimately rewarding watch. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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