Marat/Sade (film)

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DVD cover
Directed by Peter Brook
Produced by Michael Birkett
Screenplay by Adrian Mitchell
English translation:
Geoffrey Skelton
Based on Marat/Sade
by Peter Weiss
Starring Patrick Magee
Ian Richardson
Michael Williams
Clifford Rose
Glenda Jackson
Freddie Jones
Music by Richard Peaslee
Cinematography David Watkin
Edited by Tom Priestley
Distributed by United Artists
Release date
  • 22 February 1967 (1967-02-22) (US)
  • 8 March 1967 (1967-03-08) (UK)
Running time
116 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade, usually shortened to Marat/Sade (pronounced [ma.ʁa.sad]), is a 1967 British film adaptation of Peter Weiss' play Marat/Sade. The screen adaptation is directed by Peter Brook, and originated in his theatre production for the Royal Shakespeare Company. The English version was written by Adrian Mitchell from a translation by Geoffrey Skelton.

The cast included Ian Richardson, Patrick Magee, Glenda Jackson, Clifford Rose, and Freddie Jones. It was filmed at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire and released by United Artists on 22 February 1967 in the United States, and 8 March 1967 in the United Kingdom. The film's score comprised Richard Peaslee's compositions. David Watkin was the cinematographer.[2] The film uses the full title in the opening credits, though most of the publicity materials use the shortened form.


In the Charenton Asylum in 1808, the Marquis de Sade stages a play about the murder of Jean-Paul Marat by Charlotte Corday, using his fellow inmates as actors. The director of the hospital, Monsieur Coulmier, supervises the performance, accompanied by his wife and daughter. Coulmier, who supports Napoleon's government, believes that the play will support his own bourgeois ideas, and denounce those of the French Revolution that Marat helped lead. His patients, however, have other ideas, and they make a habit of speaking lines he had attempted to suppress, or deviating entirely into personal opinion. The Marquis himself, meanwhile, subtly manipulates both the players and the audience to create an atmosphere of chaos and nihilism that ultimately brings on an orgy of destruction.



Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported an approval rating of 100%, based on 12 reviews, with an average rating of 7.8/10.[3]

Roger Ebert wrote, "The actors are superb. When we first see the Marquis (Patrick Magee), he looks steadily into the camera for half a minute and the full terror of his perversion becomes clearer than any dialog can make it. Glenda Jackson, as Marat's assassin Charlotte Corday, weaves back and forth between the melancholy of her mental illness and the fire of the role she plays. Ian Richardson, as Marat, still advocate violence and revolution even though thousands have died and nothing has been accomplished." [4]

Film critic Leonard Maltin awarded the film 4 out of a possible 4 stars, calling the film "chilling", praising the film's atmosphere as being " vivid that it seems actors are breathing down your neck".[5]


Brook shared the Nastro d'Argento for Best Director of a Foreign Film with Robert Bresson, who was honored for Mouchette, and received Special Mention at the Locarno International Film Festival.


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