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The Leopard(Il gattopardo)

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Italy, France · 1963
Rated PG · 3h 6m
Director Luchino Visconti
Starring Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale, Paolo Stoppa
Genre Drama

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

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What are people saying?

Yasmeen Gaber Profile picture for Yasmeen Gaber

Visconti's aristocratic roots show through his sympathy for a different time in Italian class consciousness. This epic film depicts the end of a family's era and the personal effects of a national revolution. Despite the film's tendency to eulogize the Sicilian aristocracy that crumbled for the sake of Italian unification, the quality of the film is on par with other epic films of the time and is beautifully and unapologetically melodramatic.

Nina Gallagher Profile picture for Nina Gallagher

Luchino Visconti's classic epic follows an aristocratic Sicilian family struggling to adjust to the changes in Sicilian culture during the Unification of Italy in the 1860s. Visconti's film, based on a novel of the same name, beautifully captures Italy's history and socioeconomic structure during the Risorgimento. Following Visconti's other epic works like Rocco and His Brothers, he explores the intricacies of Italian culture through the interpersonal relationships of his characters, condensing massive moments into epic and melodramatic narratives.

What are critics saying?


The New York Times by

For the most part, Nino Rota's music provides a rich melodic surrounding for the pictorial magnificence, and a heretofore unknown Verdi waltz that is played at the ball at the finish appropriately supplements this remarkably vivid, panoramic, and eventually morbid show. (Review of Original Release)


Chicago Reader by Dave Kehr

The film's superb first two hours, which weave social and historical themes into rich personal drama, turn out to be only a prelude to the magnificent final hour--an extended ballroom sequence that leaves history behind to become one of the most moving meditations on individual mortality in the history of the cinema. (Review of 1983 Release)


Village Voice by J. Hoberman

The Leopard is the greatest film of its kind made since World War II—its only rivals are Kubrick's "Barry Lyndon" and Visconti's own "Senso."


Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington

Sumptuous and beautiful, suffused with a serene melancholy and deeply ambivalent love for a long-vanished past, Luchino Visconti's 1963 The Leopard is one of the greatest of all historical costume epics.


Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert

The Leopard was written by the only man who could have written it, directed by the only man who could have directed it, and stars the only man who could have played its title character.


The A.V. Club by Scott Tobias

Virtually every Super Technirama frame of Luchino Visconti's 1963 masterpiece The Leopard could be described as "painterly" in its ornate details and exquisitely balanced color compositions. (Review of DVD Release)

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