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Jovan Jovanovich, Ninetto Davoli, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Guido Alberti, Giacomo Rizzo ... see more see more... , Gianni Rizzo , Patrizia de Clara , Gianni Esposito , Monique van Vooren , Wolfgang Hillinger , Patrizia Capparelli , Vittorio Fanfoni , Franco Citti , Angela Luce , Silvana Mangano

The Decameron was the first of director Pier Paolo Pasolini's "trilogy of life." The film, based on the sexually supercharged tales of Boccaccio, is a patchwork of many of Pasolini's favorite themes. ... read more read more...Pasolini himself plays the role of an aspiring fresco painter who is advised that his completed work will never be as satisfying as his dream of that work. The film is followed by Pasolini's The Canterbury Tales and The Arabian Nights. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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75% liked it

3,250 ratings


83% liked it

12 critics

R, 1 hr. 47 min.

Directed by: Pier Paolo Pasolini

Release Date: January 1, 1970

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DVD Release Date: June 4, 2009

Stats: 144 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (144)

  • April 14, 2013
    Based on the 14th Century Boccaccio collection of stories, this film depicts medieval proletariat in various sexual escapades.
    It is an array of oddities. Toothless proles abound in this collection of stories that eschews the framing narrative of the original book, and as a resu... read morelt there's little that this film says on a grand scheme, excepting perhaps a vague Marxist comment. Some of the stories are funny, like the would-be thief.philanderer who falls in a pit of shit, and some of the stories are simply a mind-fuck, like the woman who plants her lover's dismembered head in a pot that rests of her windowsill.
    Overall, I enjoyed parts of this film, but I couldn't see its over-arching raison d'etre.
  • June 20, 2010
    Earthy, vibrant adaptation of eight stories from the fourteenth-century work by Boccaccio. Probably Pier Paolo Pasolini's most purely enjoyable film with comedy and little erotic.
  • December 18, 2009
    he unapologetic choice of ancient, crumbling and dirty locations, coupled with the choice of "real-looking" actors devoid of manufactured graces made this film feel right. 14th century Italy surely was as full of natural humour, even in close proximity to death, as this film make... read mores out. Casual sex in spite of the threat of mortal sin is treated likewise with candour. A real masterpiece showing humanity in all its various forms.
  • February 14, 2008
    Pier Paolo Pasolini adapts several stories from Boccacio's "Decameron", focusing on the bawdy and anti-clerical. Slow and arty, and several of the tales fizzle at their climax; rarely have grave-robbing, infiltration into a convent of sex-starved nuns, and dong shots been made ... read moreso boring. His CANTERBURY TALES and ARABIAN NIGHTS are in the same vein, but somewhat superior.
  • April 19, 2011
    Pasolini's adaptation of nine stories from the ancient text, Bocaccio's 'Decameron', is an entertaining romp! Pasolini's specialty is using 'regular people' and not trained actors in his films. This gives the subject matter a wonderful realism because all these people are not gor... read moregeous Hollywood-types. Some of the stories are not as entertaining as others, but as a whole, it was very entertaining!
  • August 15, 2008
    Boccaccio would have been proud..and cautious at first,it's a delightful pleasure to watch Decameron,striking images and anarchic events taking place,Pasolini once again bedazzles us.
  • December 20, 2007
    Another brilliant collection of ireverent stories in the unique cruel and beautifull style of the master PPP.
    Most refined anarchist srnse of humor.

Critic Reviews

January 26, 2006
Time Out

The sight of the endless assembly of seemingly toothless proles Pasolini picked up as extras can be a bit intimidating. Full Review

Vincent Canby
May 9, 2005
Vincent Canby, New York Times

Marvelous. Full Review

Jonathan Rosenbaum
January 1, 2000
Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

Working with an Italian classic, he seems less inclined to transform his material, though what emerges is entertaining, if only in a mild way. Full Review

James Kendrick
January 4, 2013
James Kendrick, Q Network Film Desk

at times it achieves nearly sublime heights (or, more accurately, lows) of grubby humor and vitality, but at other times it feels strained and slapdash Full Review

Andrew L. Urban
June 5, 2009
Andrew L. Urban, Urban Cinefile

Those with gentle sensibilities and who regard nuns as sacred should avoid this film. Full Review

October 23, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Pasolini departed further from the spare Neorealism of his early career and hit upon a formula that won him unanticipated commercial success. Full Review

Leo Goldsmith
April 20, 2004
Leo Goldsmith, Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Pasolini questions his own dream, his idealization of this beautiful, bucolic world he has created in which peasant and artist and the Virgin Mary coexist in divine harmony. Full Review

John A. Nesbit
August 5, 2003
John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews

down to earth indictment of human folly well worth checking out Full Review

May 24, 2003

It's par for the course with this kind of film that it doesn't all work, but it's continually fascinating. Full Review

Cole Smithey
March 12, 2008
Cole Smithey,

No review available.

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