Theatrical release poster
Directed byLiliana Cavani
Screenplay byLiliana Cavani
Roberta Mazoni
Produced byGiulio Scanni
StarringMickey Rourke
Helena Bonham Carter
CinematographyGiuseppe Lanci
Ennio Guarnieri
Edited byGabriella Cristiani
Music byVangelis
Distributed byItal-Noleggio Cinematografico
Release date
April 22, 1989 (1989-04-22)
Running time
104 min (Germany)
150 min (Italy)
133 min (Argentina)
West Germany

Francesco is a 1989 historical drama film about the life of St. Francis of Assisi. It is directed and co-written by Liliana Cavani, and stars Mickey Rourke as Francis and Helena Bonham Carter as the future St. Claire. The screenplay is adapted from Hermann Hesse’s 1904 book Francis of Assisi. Vangelis composed the musical score.

The film won three awards and was nominated for a fourth. Danilo Donati won the 1989 David di Donatello Award for Best Production Design, and the 1989 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Silver Ribbon also for Best Production Design. Fabio Bussotti won the Syndicate's Best Supporting Actor Award. Director Liliana Cavani was nominated for the Golden Palm at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.[1]

The film is the second of three works by Cavani about St. Francis, preceded by a 1966 telefilm starring Lou Castel in the title role, and a 2014 production with Mateusz Kościukiewicz.


Through flashbacks, the film charts Francis's evolution from rich man's son to religious humanitarian and finally to full-fledged saint.

Raised as the pampered son of a merchant, Francis goes off to war, only to return with a profound horror for the society which generated such suffering. In one scene, as an act of renunciation, he strips himself of his fine clothing in front of his father, and leaves the house naked and barefoot, joining the lepers and beggars in the poor section of town. A series of episodes from Francis' life follows, rather than a coherent narrative, until his final days when he receives the stigmata, the wounds Christ suffered at the crucifixion.



The soundtrack of the film was composed by the Greek composer Vangelis. It was never officially issued, but released in a limited edition not licensed for public use by Andromeda Music (AMO103) in 2002.

See also


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Francesco". Retrieved 2009-08-01.