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537 Ratings


Directed by Luchino Visconti
Italy, France, 1973
Drama, Biography, History


The historical evocation of Ludwig, king of Bavaria, from his crowning in 1864 until his death in 1886, as a romantic hero. Fan of Richard Wagner, betrayed by him, in love with his cousin Elisabeth, abandonned by her, tormented by his homosexuality, he will little by little slip towards madness.

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Ludwig Directed by Luchino Visconti

Awards & Festivals

Academy Awards

1974 | Nominee: Best Costume Design

Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists

1974 | 3 wins including: Best Cinematography

1974 | 4 nominations including: Best Director

David di Donatello Awards

1973 | 3 wins including: Best Film

Ludwig was one of Visconti’s most ambitious films. . . . The full version of Ludwig is even more deliberately paced than those earlier cuts, with all the solemn solitude of a chamber drama. Gone is the hysteria of The Damned or the insistent lyricism of Death in Venice. This is Visconti’s coolest, most ruminative film.
June 22, 2018
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It’s a film of frills, of excesses, as sumptuous and magnificent as the extravagant cape draped over King Ludwig’s shoulders. The textures . . . are every bit as beautiful and grandiose as in The Leopard (1963), usually heralded as Visconti’s masterpiece, but there’s a tragic air pervading this depiction of the ruling class.
June 21, 2018
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[Visconti’s] Ludwig is not only absurd, but touching—and certainly more harmless than the forces who work to dethrone him. Seeing him removed from these fantastic environs to putter around a somber chamber fit for a bachelor bourgeois Victorian bank clerk, one almost wants to cry.
June 08, 2018
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What are people saying?

  • Elena's rating of the film Ludwig

    Funny how everyone considered him insane or eccentric while he was alive, and now all admire his castles and his love for music and arts in general. That aside, it's a good movie, Helmut Berger's performance was flawless, and I didn't feel it was too much to watch his story unfold for 4 hours.

  • S Campbell's rating of the film Ludwig

    Its a long film but thanks to Visconti's Direction and a career best performance from Helmut Berger as Ludwig this is filmmaking at its very best

  • Dada Kubin's rating of the film Ludwig

    A portrait of the King as the Wagner enthusiast, romantic art escapist and sexually troubled megalomaniac that he pretty much was, as far as we know. “Ludwig” is a grandiose film of a grandiose person. Four hours long, yet it doesn’t feel at all too long, thanks to Visconti’s storytelling skills. You just need to sit back and enjoy the great performances and all those chandeliers.

  • Daniel S.'s rating of the film Ludwig

    Here we have, during almost four hours, Luchino Visconti's favorite corpus of themes : Decay of European aristocracy, repressed sexuality and politics. Ludwig was a romantic born a hundred years too late. Masterpiece.

  • Daniela's rating of the film Ludwig

    At some point during his homoerotic forays, I thought to myself: "This reminds me of Michael Jackson . . . " Kidding aside, this film is absolutely amazing. A true work of art. The opulent mise-en-scene, Helmut Berger's acting, the various psychological analyses of his deteriorating condition, eugh! Everything was great.

  • Mimic Hootings's rating of the film Ludwig

    Surprisingly untedious, this eccentric, kitsch, ludicrous and empty-headed folly is fascinating even while seldom managing to be particularly good. Berger's bizarre histrionics have to be seen to be believed, but the best sequences are the ones in which he does not appear (or appears only as a corpse). Glazed in the lachrymose syrup of Wagner's music, Visconti's film is a demented monument to fanatical camp excess.

  • Neil Hunter's rating of the film Ludwig

    I recently visited Herrenchiemsee, Ludwig's grotesque Versailles imitation on a Bavarian lake. The first three hours of this film (it perks up at the end) reminded me of that palace: redundant and depressingly overdressed. The acting is often quite bad (sometimes it's the effect of the dubbing), the drama is inert, and the film is carpeted with Wagner so that it comes to resemble muzak. Of course it looks beautiful!

  • Jim's rating of the film Ludwig

    ★★½ /35mm/ Obscenely long, void of thematic development, meandering aimlessly instead of building drama, moods, ideas. A multitude of mishandled opportunities, such as his obsession with Wagner or his muddled sexuality. The last hour is full of vivid drama lacking in the first 2½, Ludwig's stalking of an actor, Schneider touring the castles, a Bavarian orgy in a tree house, the brutal arrest and his solemn sad end.

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