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Promotional poster
Directed byPier Paolo Pasolini
Written byPier Paolo Pasolini
Produced by
CinematographyTonino Delli Colli
Edited byNino Baragli
Music byJohann Sebastian Bach
Arco Film
Distributed byTitanus
Release dates
  • 31 August 1961 (1961-08-31) (Venice)
  • 25 September 1961 (1961-09-25) (Cinema '61)
  • 22 November 1961 (1961-11-22) (Italy)
Running time
117 minutes

Accattone is a 1961 Italian drama film written and directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Despite an original screenplay, the film is often perceived as a cinematic rendition of Pasolini's earlier novels, particularly Ragazzi di vita (The Ragazzi, 1955) and Una vita violenta (A Violent Life, 1959).[1] Pasolini's first film as a director, Accattone uses what would later be seen as his trademark characteristics; a cast of non-professional actors hailing from the film's setting, and thematic emphasis on impoverished individuals.

While many were surprised by his shift from literature to film, Pasolini had considered attending the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome prior to World War II. He had additionally collaborated with Federico Fellini on Le notti di Cabiria (1957) and considered cinema to be writing with reality. The word accattone [akkatˈto:ne] is an informal term meaning "vagabond" or "scrounger".[2][3]

Accattone is a story of pimps, prostitutes and thieves, types also represented in Pasolini's novels. The life of the employed (and unemployed) impoverished is depicted, a contrast to Italy's postwar economic reforms. Pasolini's topical choice was scandalous at the time, as was his blurring of the lines between the sacred and the profane. Although Pasolini attempted to distance himself from neorealism, the film is often considered a kind of second-generation neorealism, with one critic believing it "may be the grimmest movie" he'd ever seen.[4]


Vittorio (Franco Citti), nicknamed "Accattone" (meaning 'beggar' in Italian), leads a mostly serene life as a pimp until his prostitute, Maddalena, is hurt by his rivals and sent to prison. Finding himself without either a steady income or much inclination for working himself, he first tries to reconcile with the estranged mother of his child, but is driven away by her relatives; he then encounters the (apparently) naive Stella and tries to lure her into prostituting herself for him. She is willing to try, but when her first client begins pawing her she cries and gets out of the car. Accattone tries to support her, but gives up on honest labor after one day, and following a bizarre vision of his own death, he goes stealing with a couple of friends and gets killed in a traffic accident when he tries to evade the police on a stolen motorcycle.


  • Franco Citti as Vittorio "Accattone" Cataldi
  • Franca Pasut [fr; it] as Stella
  • Silvana Corsini [it] as Maddalena
  • Paola Guidi as Ascenza
  • Adriana Asti as Amore
  • Luciano Conti as Il Moicano
  • Luciano Gonini as Piede D'Oro
  • Renato Capogna as Renato
  • Alfredo Leggi as Papo Hirmedo
  • Galeazzo Riccardi as Cipolla
  • Leonardo Muraglia as Mammoletto
  • Giuseppe Ristagno as Peppe
  • Roberto Giovannoni as The German
  • Mario Cipriani (actor) [it] as Balilla
  • Roberto Scaringella as Cartagine
  • Silvio Citti as Sabino
  • Monica Vitti (uncredited) as Ascenza (voice)


Franco Citti was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor in 1963 for his title role.[5]


  1. ^ Moliterno, Gino (February 2004). "Accattone". Senses of Cinema Inc. Archived from the original on 6 September 2007. Retrieved 26 September 2007.
  2. ^ Sisto, A. (13 March 2014). Film Sound in Italy: Listening to the Screen. Springer. ISBN 9781137387714 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Bertellini, Giorgio (14 December 2017). The Cinema of Italy. Wallflower Press. ISBN 9781903364987 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Barbaro, Nick (19 January 2001). "Che Bella: Italian Neorealism and the Movies -- and the AFS Series -- It Inspired". The Austin Chronicle. Archived from the original on 7 December 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  5. ^ "Accattone" – via

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