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The Canterbury Tales (1972)

I racconti di Canterbury (original title)
NC-17 | | Comedy, Drama, History | 30 May 1980 (USA)
Pasolini's artistic, sometimes violent, always vividly cinematic retelling of some of Chaucer's most erotic tales.

Writers:

(screenplay), (book) (as G. Chaucer)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Sir January
...
...
Perkin
...
...
May
Alan Webb ...
Old Man
...
J.P. Van Dyne ...
The Cook
...
The Franklin
Adrian Street ...
Fighter
O.T. ...
Chief Witch-Hunter (as OT)
Derek Deadman ...
The Pardoner (as Derek Deadmin)
...
George Bethell Datch ...
Host of the Tabard (as George B. Datch)
...
Nicholas
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Storyline

Pasolini's artistic, sometimes violent, always vividly cinematic retelling of some of Chaucer's most erotic tales.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | History

Certificate:

NC-17 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

|

Release Date:

30 May 1980 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Canterbury Tales  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (cut) | (premiere)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Pier Paolo Pasolini later disowned his Trilogy of Life who felt their commercial success betrayed his artistic vision. See more »

Goofs

Some of the women have tan-lines from bikinis. See more »

Quotes

Perkin's mother: [singing] Oh, there was a little beggar man that goes from town to town, and wherever he get a job and work he's willing to sit down.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Playboy: The Story of X (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting but not Chaucer
26 February 2006 | by (New Zealand) – See all my reviews

If you watched this movie in order to get a crib of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, you'd be out of luck, and missing the point. Chaucer's underlying anti-clerical and pro-love-and-life philosophy may be there, but the substance is very different. Pasolini's 14th century England lives and dresses more like 16th Century Italy.

The Miller's Tale is much grimmer when brought to the screen than Chaucer would have intended. "And Nicholas is branded on the bum, And God bring all of us to Kingdom Come" in Coghill's cheerful popular translation, becomes something more like the execution of Edward II. Not just on, but in. And the execution of a sodomite too poor to bribe his way off the griddle seems drawn out just to make a bad joke about the seller of "griddle cakes" (frittelli) plying his trade in the crowd.

He is one of the more than fair share of handsome young men in the film, and there's more than a fair share of closeups of their middle regions, front and back, in tight-fitting breeches (not that I'm complaining).

One feature that is almost entirely absent is any sense of pilgrimage. The storytellers appear only at the beginning and end of the tale. Instead we cut back to Chaucer himself (Pasolini himself, and very handsome he is too), writing the tales at a snail's pace. There are also long (by 2006 standards) tracking shots over indifferent scenery. Yet other scenes jump disconcertingly, the start of one tale used to mark the end of the previous one.


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