The Leopard (1963) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Leopard (1963)

The Leopard (1963)

The Leopard

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Movie Info

Arguably Luchino Visconti's best film and certainly the most personal of his historical epics, The Leopard chronicles the fortunes of Prince Fabrizio Salina and his family during the unification of Italy in the 1860s. Based on the acclaimed novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, published posthumously in 1958 and subsequently translated into all European languages, the picture opens as Salina (Burt Lancaster) learns that Garibaldi's troops have embarked in Sicily. While the Prince sees the event as an obvious threat to his current social status, his opportunistic nephew Tancredi (Alain Delon) becomes an officer in Garibaldi's army and returns home a war hero. Tancredi starts courting the beautiful Angelica (Claudia Cardinale), a daughter of the town's newly appointed Mayor, Don Calogero Sedara (Paolo Stoppa). Though the Prince despises Don Calogero as an upstart who made a fortune on land speculation during the recent social upheaval, he reluctantly agrees to his nephew's marriage, understanding how much this alliance would mean for the impecunious Tancredi. Painfully realizing the aristocracy's obsolescence in the wake of the new class of bourgeoisie, the Prince later declines an offer from a governmental emissary to become a senator in the new Parliament in Turin. The closing section, an almost hour-long ball, is often cited as one of the most spectacular sequences in film history. Burt Lancaster is magnificent in the first of his patriarchal roles, and the rest of the cast, especially Delon and Cardinale, become almost perfect incarnations of the novel's characters. Filmed in glorious Techniscope and rich in period detail, the film is a remarkable cinematic achievement in all departments. The version that won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival ran 205 minutes. Inexplicably, the picture was subsequently distributed by 20th Century Fox in a poorly dubbed, 165-min. English-language version, using inferior color process. The restored Italian-language version, supervised by cinematographer Giuseppe Rotunno, appeared in 1990, though the longest print still ran only 187 minutes. ~ Yuri German, Rovimore
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Giuseppe Tomasi Di Lampedusa, Suso Cecchi d'Amico, Luchino Visconti, Enrico Medioli, Pasquale Festa Campanile
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 8, 2004
Runtime:
Criterion Collection

Cast

Burt Lancaster
as Prince Don Fabrizio ...
Alain Delon
as Tancredi Falconeri
Claudia Cardinale
as Angelica Sedara/Bert...
Rina Morelli
as Maria Stella
Paolo Stoppa
as Don Calogero
Serge Reggiani
as Don Ciccio
Ida Galli
as Carolina
Anna-Maria Bottini
as Governess Mademoisel...
Terence Hill
as Count Cayriaghi
Leslie French
as Cavalier Chevally
Olimpia Cavalli
as Mariannina
Sandra Chistolini
as Youngest Daughter
Brook Fuller
as Little Prince
Giuliano Gemma
as Garibaldino General
Giovanni Melisendi
as Don Onofrio Rotolo
Lola Braccini
as Donna Margherita
Ivo Garrani
as Col. Pallavicino
Rina De Liguoro
as Princess of Presicce
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News & Interviews for The Leopard

Critic Reviews for The Leopard

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (16)

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.

Full Review… | December 11, 2013
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.

Full Review… | February 23, 2012
Variety
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | November 24, 2011
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.

Full Review… | December 22, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

Is this the most beautiful film ever made?

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

Stately, elegiac, ruminative, the film truly does now feel seamlessly all of a piece -- and looks glorious.

Full Review… | May 5, 2005
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Leopard

A great big sigh of a movie. Beautiful and moving.

brooklynspo
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

Visconti's leisurely paced three-hour epic is a deeply sad and nostalgic meditation on mortality and the passing of an era. A sumptuous drama rich in nuances, with beautiful performances (especially Burt Lancaster) and an unforgettable extended ballroom scene in the end.

blacksheepboy
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

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.

ApeneckFletcher
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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