Pier Paolo Pasolini

The Canterbury Tales

The Canterbury Tales

Eight of Geoffrey Chaucer’s lusty tales come to life on-screen in Pier Paolo Pasolini’s gutsy and delirious The Canterbury Tales, which was shot in England and offers a remarkably earthy re-creation of the medieval era. From the story of a nobleman struck blind after marrying a much younger and promiscuous bride to a climactic trip to a hell populated by friars and demons (surely one of the most outrageously conceived and realized sequences ever committed to film), this is an endlessly imaginative work of merry blasphemy, framed by Pasolini’s portrayal of Chaucer himself.

Film Info

Special Features

  • New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interview with film scholar Sam Rohdie
  • The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a forty-seven-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
  • New interviews with art director Dante Ferretti and composer Ennio Morricone
  • Trailers
  • Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track
  • New English subtitle translation

Available In

Collector's Set

Trilogy of Life

Trilogy of Life

Blu-Ray Box Set

3 Discs

$63.96

Collector's Set

Trilogy of Life

Trilogy of Life

DVD Box Set

4 Discs

$63.96

Special Features

  • New digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
  • New interview with film scholar Sam Rohdie
  • The Secret Humiliation of Chaucer (2006), a forty-seven-minute documentary by Roberto Chiesi about The Canterbury Tales
  • New interviews with art director Dante Ferretti and composer Ennio Morricone
  • Trailers
  • Pasolini-approved English-dubbed track
  • New English subtitle translation
The Canterbury Tales
Cast
Hugh Griffith
Sir January
Laura Betti
Wife of Bath
Ninetto Davoli
Peterkin
Franco Citti
Devil
Josephine Chaplin
May
Alan Webb
Old man
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Geoffrey Chaucer
J. P. Van Dyne
Cook
Vernon Dobtcheff
Franklin
Adrian Street
Fighter
Ot
Chief witch-hunter
Derek Deadmin
Pardoner
Nicholas Smith
Friar
Goerge B. Datch
Host of the tabard
Peter McGregor
Merchant
Oscar Fochetti
Damian
Tony Moore
Informer
Albert King
Simkin, the miller
Eileen King
Simkin’s wife
Heather Johnson
Molly, Simkin’s daughter
Patrick Duffett
Alan
Eamann Howell
John
Dan Thomas
Nicholas
Michael Balfour
John, the carpenter
Jenny Runacre
Alison
Peter Cain
Absalom
Daniel Buckler
Witch-hunter
John Francis Lane
Greedy friar
Settimo Castagna
Angel
Athol Coats
Lecherous rich man
Judy Stewart-Murray
Alice
Tom Baker
Jenkin
Credits
Director
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Produced by
Alberto Grimaldi
Assistant directors
Sergio Citti
Assistant directors
Umberto Angelucci
Screenplay
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Based on the stories of
Geoffrey Chaucer
Director of photography
Tonino Delli Colli
Supervising editor
Enzo Ocone
Editor
Nino Baragli
Art director
Dante Ferretti
Costumes
Danilo Donati
Music selections by
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Music collaborator
Ennio Morricone
Continuity
Beatrice Banfi

From The Current

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In his films as well as his poems, novels, and short stories, Pier Paolo Pasolini evinced a love of vernacular speech, often choosing to write in the slangy argots of the working class and the dispossessed. He made his adaptation of The Decameron in …

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Pasolini Speaks
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Pier Paolo Pasolini is without question one of the most controversial filmmakers who ever lived. He is also among the most fascinating. He brought rigorous social and artistic philosophies to every project he embarked on, and boldly voiced beliefs th…

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The Canterbury Tales: Sex and Death
The Canterbury Tales: Sex and Death

Moving to Chaucer’s gray-skied England, Pier Paolo Pasolini pushed his trilogy into darker realms.

By Colin MacCabe

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From the Pasolini Archives
From the Pasolini Archives

On the anniversary of his birth, we look back on the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini, one of the most radical figures of Italian cinema.

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An Homage to Pier Paolo Pasolini
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The Complete Pasolini

Repertory Picks

The Complete Pasolini

The Museum of Modern Art in New York is holding its first full retrospective of the films of Pier Paolo Pasolini in more than twenty years. Starting tonight and running through January 5, the series will include not only the Italian provocateur’…

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Explore

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writer, Actor, Director

Pier Paolo Pasolini’s ability to simultaneously embrace conflicting philosophies—he was both a Catholic and a Marxist; a modern-minded, openly gay man who looked to the distant past for inspiration and comfort; a staunch leftist who at one point in the late sixties infamously spoke out against left-wing student protests (sympathizing instead with the working-class police)—was matched by the multifariousness of his professional life, as a filmmaker, poet, journalist, novelist, playwright, painter, actor, and all-around intellectual public figure. What he is best known for, however, is undoubtedly his subversive body of film work. He was a student of the written word, and among his earliest movie jobs was writing additional dialogue for Federico Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria (1957). Soon he was directing his first film, Accattone (1961), a tale of street crime whose style and content greatly influenced the debut feature of his friend Bernardo Bertolucci, La commare secca (1962), for which Pasolini also supplied the original story. The outspoken and always political Pasolini’s films became increasingly scandalous—even, to some minds, blasphemous—from the gritty reimagining of the Christ story The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) to the bawdy medieval tales in his Trilogy of Life (1971–1974). Tragically, Pasolini was found brutally murdered weeks before the release of his final work, the grotesque, Marquis de Sade–derived Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (1975), still one of the world’s most controversial films.