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Productions: Movies > Francesco (1989)




After the death of St. Francis of Assisi, Clare and five of the original members of the brethren, meet up to remember episodes of the man who changed their lives.

Leone takes notes of the touching memories while the others help him. They remember his debauched youth and his time as a war prisoner, his decision to renounce his family’s wealth to live with the poor and the lepers, and the difficulties of such a courageous choice for both him and his brethren.

They then remember his encounter with Clare and the approval of their rule first by Pope Innocent III and then by Onofrio III. And finally, the last period of the Saint’s life when he realizes that his community was being corrupted and was running the risk of breaking up.

That’s the moment Francesco and Brother Leone decide to retreat to the mountains and live as hermits, praying and meditating. This is when he’ll receive his stigmata that will be the proof of his sainthood.

Technical Specifications

story: Liliana Cavani
screenplay: Liliana Cavani, Roberta Mazzoni
director: Liliana Cavani
assistant director: Paola Tallarigo
sets and costumes: Danilo Donati
editing: Gabriella Cristiani
photography: Giuseppe Lanci; for the three weeks in Perugia, Ennio Guarnieri
music: Vangelis
producer: Giulio Scanni for Karol Film, RAI Radio Televisione Italiana, RAI 1, Istituto Luce, Royal Film (Munich)
released by: Istituto Luce Italnoleggio Cinematografico, Sacis
origin: Italy
film: 35 mm, color
lenght: 155 minutes

Selected for…

  • Cannes Film Festival, 1989
  • Nominated for a David di Donatello for best film, best cinematographer, best musician, best set and costume designer, best editor, 1989


Mickey Rourke (Francesco)
Helena Bonham Carter (Chiara)
Andrea Ferreol (Pica)
Mario Adorf (Cardinal Ugolino)
Paolo Bonacelli (Pietro Bernardone)
Fabio Bussotti (Leone)
Riccardo De Torrebruna (Pietro Cattani)
Alekander Dubin (Angelo)
Stanko Molnar (Elia)
Paco Reconti (Rufino)
Diego Ribon (Bernardo)
Maurizio Schmidt (Masseo)
Paolo Proietti (Pacifico)
Peter Berling (Bishop of Assisi)
Nikolaus Dutsch (Cardinal Colonna)
Hanns Zischler (Innocent III)


  • “David di Donatello” to Danilo Donati for best costumes, 1989
  • “Nastro d’argento” to Fabio Bussotti for best supporting actor, 1989
  • “Premio Internazionale Ascoli Piceno”, 1991