The Leopard

The Leopard 1963

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…
183mins
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PG
Mild violence, mild themes

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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.

Member Reviews

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

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