Captain Corelli's Mandolin (film)

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Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Madden
Produced by Tim Bevan
Eric Fellner
Mark Huffam
Kevin Loader
Screenplay by Shawn Slovo
Based on Captain Corelli's Mandolin 
by Louis de Bernières
Starring Nicolas Cage
Penélope Cruz
John Hurt
Christian Bale
Music by Stephen Warbeck
Cinematography John Toll
Edited by Mick Audsley
Distributed by North America
Universal Studios
Miramax Films
Release dates
  • 4 May 2001 (2001-05-04) (UK)
  • 20 June 2001 (2001-06-20) (France)
  • 17 August 2001 (2001-08-17) (US)
Running time
129 minutes[1]
Country France
United Kingdom
United States
Language English
Budget $57 million[2]
Box office $62,112,895[2]

Captain Corelli's Mandolin is a 2001 epic war film directed by John Madden and based on Louis de Bernières' 1994 novel of the same name. It stars Nicolas Cage and Penélope Cruz. The film is dedicated to the thousands of Italian soldiers executed by German forces on Cephalonia in September 1943 and to the people of Cephallonia who were killed in the post-war earthquake.


The bucolic beauty of Greece's Ionian islands has been invaded by Italy, bringing a large Italian garrison and a few Germans to the tranquil island of Cephallonia, which immediately surrenders. Captain Antonio Corelli, an officer of the Italian 33rd Acqui Infantry Division with an irrepressibly jovial personality and a passion for the mandolin, and who trains his battery of men--who have never fired a shot--in choral singing, initially alienates a number of the villagers, including Pelagia. The daughter of the village doctor, she is an educated and strong-willed woman, and while at first offended by the Italian soldier's behaviour, she slowly warms to Corelli's charm and mandolin playing as they are forced to share her father's home when the doctor agrees to put him up in exchange for medical supplies.

When Pelagia's fiance, Mandras, a local fisherman, heads off to war on the mainland, the friendship between Antonio and Pelagia grows. Her beauty and intelligence have captured Corelli's heart; and his fondness for the village's vibrant community causes him to question his reasons for fighting. Antonio and his battery of musical troops become part of the lives of the villagers, but the moment is fleeting. As the war grows closer, Antonio and Pelagia are forced to choose between their allegiances and the love they feel for one another--a love which must overcome tremendous odds, and endure the inevitable sacrifice which accompanies devotion.

The Italian government surrenders to the Allies, and the Italian troops happily prepare to go home. However, their erstwhile allies the Germans insist on disarming the Italians, intemperately and violently. The Greeks, too, are exposed to the brutal incoming Germans, and arrange with the Italians to use their arms in a brief and futile resistance. For this, the German High Command has thousands of the Italian troops shot as traitors. Corelli survives when one of his soldiers shields Corelli from the fusillade of German executioners' bullets with his own body and falls dead on top of him. Mandras finds Corelli still alive among the pile of massacred soldiers and takes him to Pelagia and the doctor for treatment and recovery, and then to a boat to escape the island. Upon Pelagia's questioning, Mandras says he rescued Corelli from the heap of dead soldiers because Mandras wants to re-kindle Pelagia's love for Mandras. But it does no good and the couple part. Previously, on one of Mandras's returns to Cephallonia, he told Pelagia the reason he never replied to her many love letters was that he is illiterate.

In 1947, Pelagia receives a parcel from Italy containing a record of the tune Corelli wrote for her, but no note. An earthquake destroys much of the village including the doctor's house; but island life continues, and, soon after, Corelli returns to Pelagia.


1940 28 October Italy invades Greece and is locked in a strategic stalemate.
1941 6 April Germany invades Greece
1 June The Axis forces occupy all of Greece
2-year time span
1943 8 September Italy and the Allied forces sign an armistice
15 September The German Luftwaffe bombards the Italian positions with Stuka dive-bombers
10-year time span
1953 12 August The Great 1953 Ionian earthquake occurs



Box office

The film opened at number six at the US box office, taking in $7,209,345 in its opening weekend. It brought in only $25,543,895 domestically but brought in an additional $36,569,000 overseas to a total of $62,112,895 worldwide, bringing its $57 million budget back.[2]

Critical reception

The film's plot deviated somewhat from the novel's, with many of the book's tragic episodes softened. It maintains a 29% rating according to Rotten Tomatoes with the consensus: "The cinematography is gorgeous, but the movie plays it fast and loose with history and the novel it was adapted from. Mostly, the movie fails because the romance between the leads strains credulity and the story is largely uninvolving."[3]

Roger Ebert gave the film a poor review, two stars out of four.[4] One of his quotes was, "What we get is kind of a condensed version of some of the sights and sounds of the novel, without the heart, the spirit and the juicy detail."[4]


Cruz's performance earned her a Golden Raspberry Award nomination for Worst Actress (also for Blow and Vanilla Sky).

Film Dedication

See also


  1. "CAPTAIN CORELLI'S MANDOLIN (15)". Buena Vista International. British Board of Film Classification. 18 April 2001. Retrieved 7 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001)". Box Office Mojo. 18 October 2001. Retrieved 7 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Captain Corelli's Mandolin". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 May 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 Ebert, Roger – Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Chicago Sun Times, 17 August 2001

External links