Arabian Nights (1974 film)

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Arabian Nights
Directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
Produced by Alberto Grimaldi
Written by Dacia Maraini
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Based on One Thousand and One Nights
by Various authors
Starring Franco Merli
Ines Pellegrini
Ninetto Davoli
Franco Citti
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Giuseppe Ruzzolini
Edited by Nino Baragli
Tatiana Casini Morigi
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
June 20, 1974 (1974-06-20)
Running time
155 minutes (lost original cut)
125 minutes
Country Italy
Language Italian

Arabian Nights is a 1974 Italian film directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Its original Italian title is Il fiore delle mille e una notte, which means "The Flower of the One Thousand and One Nights".

The film is an adaptation of the ancient Arabic anthology The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, better known as The Arabian Nights. It is the last of Pasolini's "Trilogy of Life", which began with The Decameron and continued with The Canterbury Tales. The lead was played by young Franco Merli who was discovered for this film by Pasolini.

The film contains abundant nudity, sex and slapstick humor. It preserves the eroticism and the story within a story structure of Arabian Nights and has been called "perhaps the best and certainly the most intelligent" of Arabian Nights film adaptations.[1]


The main story concerns an innocent young man, Nur-e-Din (Franco Merli), who comes to fall in love with a slave girl, Zumurrud (Ines Pellegrini), who selected him as her master. After a foolish error of his causes her to be abducted, he travels in search of her. Meanwhile, Zumurrud manages to escape and, disguised as a man, comes to a far-away kingdom where she becomes king. Various other travelers recount their own tragic and romantic experiences, including a young man who becomes enraptured by a mysterious woman on his wedding day, and a man who is determined to free a woman from a demon (Franco Citti). Interwoven are Nur-e-Din's continuous search for Zumurrud and his (mostly erotic) adventures. In the end he arrives at the far-away kingdom and is reunited with Zumurrud.


  • Ninetto Davoli as Aziz
  • Franco Citti as The Demon
  • Franco Merli as Nur Ed Din
  • Tessa Bouché as Aziza
  • Ines Pellegrini as Zumurrud
  • Margareth Clementi as Aziz's mother
  • Luigina Rocchi as Budur
  • Alberto Argentino as Prince Shahzmah
  • Francesco Paolo Governale as Prince Tagi
  • Salvatore Sapienza as Prince Yunan
  • Zeudi Biasolo as Zeudi
  • Barbara Grandi
  • Elisabetta Genovese as Munis
  • Gioacchino Castellini


Filming took place in the deserts of Eritrea and Yemen as well as in Nepal.[1] The sound track was composed by Ennio Morricone.


The film was entered into the 1974 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix Spécial Prize.[2]


  1. ^ a b Irwin, Robert (2004). "The Arabian Nights in Film Adaptations". In Marzolph, Ulrich; Leeuwen, Richard van; Wassouf, Hassan. The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 24. ISBN 9781576072042. 
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Arabian Nights". Retrieved 2009-04-26. 

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