The Leopard (1963)

The Leopard
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Mild violence, mild themes

Director: Luchino Visconti
Actors: Burt Lancaster, Alain Delon, Claudia Cardinale, Romolo Valli, Ottavia Piccolo, Paolo Stoppa, Pierre Clementi, Giuliano Gemma, Carlo Valenzano, Brook Fuller, Anna Maria Bottini, Lucilla Morlacchi, Ida Galli, Rina Morelli, Terence Hill

Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard is an epic on the grandest possible scale. The film recreates, with nostalgia, drama, and opulence, the tumultuous years of Italy's Risorgimento—when the aristocracy lost its grip and the middle classes rose and formed a unified, democratic Italy. Burt Lancaster stars as the aging prince watching his culture and fortune wane in the face of a new generation, represented by his upstart nephew (Alain Delon) and his beautiful fiancιe (Claudia Cardinale). Awarded the Palme d’Or at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, The Leopard translates Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa's novel, and the history it recounts, into a truly cinematic masterpiece.

Status: LongWait
Run time: 183mins
Origin: FRANCE
Aspect Ratio:
Audio Formats: Italian Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English

Member Reviews (33)

A brilliant picture of a certain period of Italian history. It presents a glimpse of what life was like as a fading aristocrat in Italy, which was in upheaval. Wonderful acting and great cinematography. An important film which gives excellent insights into Italian history.
Posted Wednesday, 17 April 2013 See my other reviews
This film certainly has not withstood the test of time. Ham acting basically, a sychophantic Alain Delon, and all Claudia can do is to pout.
Posted Tuesday, 19 June 2012 See my other reviews
The Prince of Salina or Don Fabrizio (Burt Lancaster) heads an aristocratic family of Palermo, Sicily, in the turbulent year of 1860 during the struggle between the red brigade of Garibaldi and the Bourbon regime in Sicily. The nephew of the Prince, Tancredi, (Alain Delon) joins the Garibaldi insurgents with the tacit consent of the Prince more concerned about the waning of his home, fortune, vigor and creeping age. Tancredi returns and marries Angelica (Claudia Cardinale) the daughter of wealthy ex-peasant Don Calogero (Paolo Stoppa). The climactic scene is the sumptuous forty-minute ball, where Tancredi introduces Angelica to society. The excellent DVD is in brilliant Technicolor, the spoken language is Italian dubbed for Lancaster and Delon but the lip synchrony is perfect. The direction is by Luchino Visconti (of Death in Venice fame) and the music, conducted by Nino Rota, contains excerpts of the opera La Traviata by Verdi. Visconti doubted about Burt Lancaster and had in mind Lawrence Olivier, the great Shakespeare interpreter, to play the role of the Prince. Note the genial ending of the film: the Prince is away from his home, walks in the streets, enters an obscure alley and disappears as if figuratively turning to his demise.
Posted Monday, 5 December 2011 See my other reviews
They don't make them like this anymore. Set in Sicily with very authentic looking and feeling sets, Burt Lancaster amazingly seems born to play the role of a Sicilian nobleman. The depth and complexity of his character are well portrayed as is the sexual tension between he and the young woman played by Claudia Cardinale, only hinted at but oh so present. Claudia doesn't disappoint either, she is strikingly beautiful with a voice to match despite being the daughter of a dubious background. The intelligence and sensivity the duke displays in allowing his nephew to marry makes perfect sense - she is a strong woman. And the ball - enormous, full of activity - one last chance to get some hint of what a formal ball was like anywhere in Europe during the eighteenth century. Visconti does not scrimp and save, he fills the screen with characters going about their business on a very broad and beautiful scale. Bella!
Posted Saturday, 24 July 2010 See my other reviews
Art S.
Epic, in its depiction of the political changes in Italy in the 1860s, but personal, in its characterization of the Prince of Salina (Burt Lancaster), a man who sees his place in the world fading away. Sumptuous in design, with lots of deep focus and traveling shots, and opulent sets and costumes.
Posted Monday, 26 April 2010 See my other reviews
Beautiful, beautiful film - every scene is spectacular - magnificent landscapes and astonishing interiors combine with gorgeous costumes and great acting. My only quibble is the voice dubbing and Charlton Heston in the lead - altough he is very good, I think it would have been better with an Italian actor - but that's me. I have never seen such fabulous interiors in a film before - you must see this film just to see these dazzling and sumptuous palaces and villas - so gorgeous.
Posted Thursday, 15 April 2010 See my other reviews
There is a story in there among the 3 hours of mainly nothing of consequence. But it could have been told in a quarter of the time. How the Sicilian aristocracy lost their influence and way of life as Italy was unified. There are some fine scenes and good acting, but this gets lost in overall tedium.
Posted Saturday, 6 March 2010 See my other reviews
Yes it is quite an experience, but not for the person who likes any sort of action. Those long, languid, lingering shots of bored aristocrats do get a bit repetitive after a while.
Posted Thursday, 21 January 2010 See my other reviews
Magnificient landmark. This is a must see movie. Everything is perfect: script, scenario, actors, etc. As a bonus this movie puts into perspective one of the most crucial pages of italian history.
Posted Friday, 13 March 2009 See my other reviews
G P.
whilst certainly well produced with meticulous attention to detail, the leopard is an excruciatingly dull meditation on the changing of the guard in post-garibaldi italy. visconti wastes delon and cardinale, using them as pretty props to a story of an aristocrat out of touch or perhaps too in touch with his times.
Posted Sunday, 14 December 2008 See my other reviews
Adriaan van Jaarsveldt
Unless you are a real lover of the period piece or perhaps a dedicated student of the Risorgimento period of Italian history I suspect you may find it a challenge to get all the way through this one. I made it about two thirds of the way through the ball scene at the end before hitting fast forward. I could hardly believe how much of it there was left. At just over three hours, The Leopard is a long film, but it?s not so much the length as the pace that is the problem. Nothing much happens, but it happens very slowly. Burt Lancaster was a controversial choice to play the Sicilian aristocrat who, realising that the nobles? grip on power is slipping, encourages his nephew (Alain Delon) to marry the mayor?s daughter (Claudia Cardinale). The mayor is not of the nobles, he (horrors) made his money from property development and is not 100% au fait with dinner party etiquette. I?m sure there is much symbolism here and indeed by the end of the ball we feel acutely the weariness of the aristocratic revelers as they put themselves through yet another tortuous Mazurka. Better value elsewhere.
Posted Monday, 29 September 2008 See my other reviews
Peter U.
Beautiful, incredibly realised. Visconti at his lush peak. I feel though, as a period drama it lacked that very thing - drama. Ultimately a bit of a dull story. I agree there are messages about priviledge, politics and ownership (people and place). Parallels with any time. Other writers and other films make the point more effectively though I feel even though I have always been a fan of the slow burn filmic delivery. But in the end - OH how sumptuously beautiful and how accurately portrayed (no continuity glitches here and what scenery and places! An interesting historical piece as well. Do watch it, but it may be hard for some 21st Century folk to sit through.
Posted Friday, 27 June 2008 See my other reviews
Maria D.
Posted Thursday, 12 June 2008 See my other reviews
Paz A.
This is one of my favourite films of all time. Fantastic cinamatography, thought-provoking ideas, brilliant actors. A gem to be watched again and again to savour the details.
Posted Wednesday, 23 April 2008 See my other reviews
Peter D.
The others have said it all. A very leisurely treatment, but rewarding if you have the stamina. A visual feast, and the colour stands the test of time, but a pity the image was not digitally remastered the way the sound was. If you were impressed by Burt Lancaster's acting in this, I suggest viewing Judgment at Nuremburg.
Posted Friday, 11 April 2008 See my other reviews
Sacha S.
Posted Tuesday, 26 February 2008 See my other reviews
Brian M.
and a half. Looks wonderful. Burt is spectacularly good BUT when a movie is 3 plus hours I need more drama. It was a bit of a slog
Posted Sunday, 27 January 2008 See my other reviews
Nathan C.
Posted Monday, 2 July 2007 See my other reviews
Lyneve C.
Posted Wednesday, 18 April 2007 See my other reviews
Jack K.
This historical masterpiece is set in late 19th century Sicily as Italy is undergoing a unifying revolutionary change. Burt Lancaster is the Prince of Salina, the ‘leopard’ who reluctantly accepts the inevitable loss of his aristocratic world. Beautifully filmed throughout, the lengthy ballroom scene is a joy, especially the Prince’s dance with the stunning Claudia Cardinale, who plays the daughter of an emerging middle class family and is engaged to the Prince’s nephew.
Posted Monday, 5 February 2007 See my other reviews
Janet B.
Viewing with subtitles was not a problem. An interesting,reality story. First class acting. beautiful costums forladies,authentic styles for the times and place for men. very enjoyable.Thanks.
Posted Tuesday, 16 January 2007 See my other reviews
Dean H.
Posted Friday, 8 December 2006 See my other reviews
Terence B.
Long but enjoyable.
Posted Monday, 21 August 2006 See my other reviews
Jan R.
Posted Thursday, 29 June 2006 See my other reviews
John O.
A masterpiece of a style of filmmaking that's rare these days. Epic and yet detailed, and very fresh and puzzling, with charismatic performances especially from wonderful Mr Lancaster and M. Delon. A portrait rather than a drama - but what a portrait.
Posted Thursday, 2 February 2006 See my other reviews
Peter B.
OK, I really want to give this four and a half. It fails to get a five only because as I read elsewhere yes it fails to grip at times. There isn't a great deal of drama. The drama is actually happening off screen in the political and social struggle of the times. But (a very big but) this film is sheer class. It never undersells its audience, offering a sort of worldly tragedy in an exquisitely masterly film production. Yes its like a painting encapsulating a moment in history, quite moving and beautiful. Definitely one for the 1001 films you must see before you die!
Posted Thursday, 2 February 2006 See my other reviews
Peter L.
An excellent film, but knowlege of Italian history is a must to make sense.
Posted Tuesday, 6 December 2005 See my other reviews
Paz A.
One of my favourite movies of all time. Magnificently filmed, superb location and costumes, good acting, just about perfect for my taste
Posted Sunday, 27 November 2005 See my other reviews
Jan M.
A beautifully portrayed film of these times. Music, costumes and the scenery were very memorable.
Posted Tuesday, 1 November 2005 See my other reviews
Trevor H.
Posted Monday, 24 October 2005 See my other reviews
Helene C.
Very few movies have the character, the feel and the rendition of a period as this story has. Superb acting and a great plot - society's transition. Nothing much changes. Not to be missed
Posted Tuesday, 13 September 2005 See my other reviews
5 stars +. One of the world's truly great films. Impeccable casting, outstanding music. To watch this is to have lived the experiences of the characters. A great novel brought convincingly to life.
Posted Sunday, 28 August 2005 See my other reviews
Stefano Boscutti
Posted Monday, 1 August 2005 See my other reviews
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