The Leopard
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Arguably Luchino Visconti's best film and certainly the most personal of his historical epics, The Leopard chronicles the fortunes of Prince Fabrizio Salina and his family during the unification of Italy in the 1860s. Based on the acclaimed novel by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, published posthumously in 1958 and subsequently translated into all European languages, the picture opens as Salina (Burt Lancaster) learns that Garibaldi's troops have embarked in Sicily. While the Prince sees the event as an obvious threat to his current social status, his opportunistic nephew Tancredi (Alain… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"The film aches with regret over a crumbling empire, but its feelings are complicated by the wise prince, who recognizes his place on the wrong side of history."
‑ Scott Tobias, AV Club
"Two-plus hours of engrossing machinations and opulent scenery point the way to the pièce de résistance: a 45-minute gala scene that the Almighty himself would approve as a luxuriant prelude to the Rapture."
‑ Keith Uhlich, Time Out New York
"[VIDEO ESSAY] Lancaster's every movement and facial expression transmits the text and subtext of his Italian character with a sense of regional authenticity that is beguiling."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"Watching The Leopard is like taking an indulgent bubble bath - albeit one in which the fragrance from the soap is overwhelming."
‑ Josh Larsen, LarsenOnFilm
"Visconti (a Marxist aristocrat) offers an elegiac meditation on the passing of a society whose feudalism he deplores but whose elegance he mourns."
‑ Philip Kemp, Total Film
"A magnificent film, munificently outfitted and splendidly acted by a large cast dominated by Burt Lancaster's standout stint in the title role."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Is this the most beautiful film ever made?"
‑ Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"A fine drama that Tolstoy would endorse, remarkable for relying not on conflict between the uncle and the nephew but rather on their thorough devotion to each other."
‑ Dan Jardine, Cinemania
"The Leopard is more than a tad too pleased by its own spots, but in this case the source material and its director's intentions were almost accidentally an appropriate match."
‑ Eric Henderson, Slant Magazine
"A feast of a film that is well worth seeing on a cinema screen."
‑ , Daily Express
"The film is a long, rich sigh at the end of the day, one that only Don Fabrizio can hear."
‑ Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"Stately, elegiac, ruminative, the film truly does now feel seamlessly all of a piece -- and looks glorious."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"Artistically drawn as if from an old master's hand."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"The film is one of the most sumptuous ever made in Europe."
‑ Derek Malcolm, This is London
"Among several masterly setpieces, the long ballroom scene, with its sinuous movement and hundreds of extras, is an imperishable glory."
‑ Anthony Quinn, Independent
More reviews for The Leopard on Rotten Tomatoes