The Conformist (re-release) Image

Universal acclaim - based on 11 Critics What's this?

User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 46 Ratings

Your Score
0 out of 10
Rate this:
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 4
  • 3
  • 2
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0
  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Set in Rome in the 1930s, this re-release of Bernardo Bertolucci's 1970 breakthrough feature stars Jean-Louis Trintignant as a Mussolini operative sent to Paris to locate and eliminate an old professor who fled Italy when the fascists came to power.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 0 out of 11
  1. 100
    Seems every bit the masterpiece it was when first released by Paramount. In this dazzling film, Bertolucci manages to combine the bravura style of Fellini, the acute sense of period of Visconti and the fervent political commitment of Elio Petri -- and, better still, a lack of self-indulgence.
  2. 100
    Masterfully arranged for color, texture, decor and camera fluidity, The Conformist is more like a symphonic poem than a movie. (Review of 1994 Release)
  3. The Conformist has a decadent visual beauty about it that's breathtaking. But as striking as Bertolucci's classic looks, there's even more powerful stuff in the storytelling.
  4. 100
    Bertolucci's masterpiece--made when he was all of 29--will be the most revelatory experience a fortunate pilgrim will have in a theater this year is a foregone conclusion.
  5. One of the great Bertolucci's most acclaimed films...Trintignant gives a legendary performance.
  6. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    One of Bertolucci's best films, The Conformist makes a provocative connection between repressed sexual desires and fascist politics. It's an intriguing, elegantly photographed study of the twisted Italian character of the 1930s. (Review of Original Release)
  7. 88
    Storaro and Bertolucci have fashioned a visual masterpiece in The Conformist, with some of the best use of light and shadow ever in a motion picture. This isn't just photography, it's art -- powerful, beautiful, and effective. (Review of 1994 Release)

See all 11 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 12
  3. Negative: 1 out of 12
  1. PaulE.
    Jun 24, 2007
    Bertolucci's best and one world's best during the 20th Century.
  2. leiris
    Dec 7, 2006
    One of cinema's all time masterpieces.
  3. DavidH.
    Jan 19, 2007
    I saw this when it was being shown as a one-off at my local cinema (was unavailable elsewhere) and it was one of the greatest experiences at the cinema of my life. Sardonic humour, absorbing characters, beautifully filmed, with perhaps the most harrowing murder sequence I've ever seen. I couldn't praise this film anymore. Expand
  4. GB
    Mar 24, 2008
    Evokes Arendt's 'The Banality of Evil.' Loved the scenes where you get into the character's head without the need for dialogue or voice-over (eg, the scene where he watches a piece of luggage threatening to fall on his wife's head and does nothing about it). The scene where he abandons the Dominique Sanda character to her fate is unforgettable. Much has been said about the cinematography and the use of light: a little unsubtle for me: too obviously symbolist. A masterpiece nonetheless. Expand
  5. Nov 7, 2013
    Bertolucci is another wunderkind in the industry, at the age of 30, his fourth feature film, THE CONFORMIST has been proved to be a timeless classic, which I feel privileged to watch it now for the very first time.

    Tilting camera angle, impeccable shots paralleling the moving train and zooming in from the external side of the window, sensual hues, cubistic buildings, punctilious light and shade deployment (Professor Quadri, the hunchbacked man being introduced by his silhouette), fluid ballroom dancing sequences, the bleak and cold-hearted manslaughter in a wintry woodland, all emerge as consecutive surprises and gustos along its non-linear narrative.

    Marcello (Trintignant), a newly-recruited fascist member in Rome, is assigned for an assassination of his old professor Quadri (Tarascio), who dwells in Paris now with her young wife Anna (Sanda), the film hops back and forth episodically in recounting the newly-wed Marcello’s matrimony life with Giulia (Sandrelli), a petit bourgeois trophy wife; their honeymoon to Paris with a clandestine aim to carry out the task until Marcello compellingly falls for Anna; meanwhile Bertolucci allocates episodes to sort out Marcello’s personal lives, his attachment with his amicable blind friend Italo (Quaglio), his drug-addicted mother (Milly) and lunatic father (Addobbati); but underneath his placid and gentile veneer, lies an unfading quandary, stems from his encounter with a pedophile (Clémenti) in his childhood and his latent homosexuality which pulses him to a perpetual and professed seeking of normalcy.

    Trintignant is exceedingly under-appreciated in his sophisticated and self-constrained portrayal of a man put in contradiction with almost anything around him, perfectly tallies with the political message of the film, a stooge, put-upon in order to rectify his own weakness, indiscriminately clutches any straw to obey conformability, while in the end, a sense of loss and disparagement is his own bitter fruit. Sanda and Sandrelli are stunning in their own distinctive beauties, the former is resolute, swinging both ways and emanating the like-a-moth-to-a-flame fatalism; the latter imbues a more traditional feminine allure with little clue about what’s in her husband’s mind.

    Also it is noteworthy to give credit to Georges Delerue, who produced a spellbound score underlining the varying tenors of Marcello’s state of mind. THE CONFORMIST is a pièce de résistancer with its idiosyncratic aesthetic charisma to crown Bertolucci as the most important auteur in Italian cinema after his illustrious progenitors!
  6. Sep 4, 2012
    The rating this movie deserves would depend on what year it is. Back when this came out, it would have been relevant to Europe's still fresh scars from WW2. I'm in generation Y, and although this film makes a good historical and cultural demonstration, it is tailored for my parents, not me. It's something I have to "try to get", not something I can just watch and know immediately the points the movie is trying to convey. In other words, it's a movie I have to learn how to watch while I'm watching it, which was nice mental stimulation, but ultimately less entertaining and something my memory won't encode fondly, despite it's strengths. I hope this who know their 20th century European history and culture won't think I am being ungrateful, and I understand this movie should have higher appeal to those who do.

    I must say though, I very much enjoyed the buildings in this movie.
  7. Jan 10, 2011
    Quite honestly one of the most boring and pointless films you will ever see. You will hate ever minute of it's pointless meandering plot. This is a movie that critics and film academics have to enjoy to be allowed to attend each other's wine parties. Expand

See all 12 User Reviews

Related Articles

  1. Metacritic's Best and Worst Movies Based on Novels

    Metacritic's Best and Worst Movies Based on Novels Image
    Published: December 15, 2009
    While The Lovely Bones is receiving a cool reception from critics, some novels have made a more successful transition from page to screen. Metacritic's film editor selects ten of the best-reviewed adaptations in our database ... and ten of the worst.