Arabian Nights (1974 film)

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.

Arabian Nights
Directed byPier Paolo Pasolini
Produced byAlberto Grimaldi
Written byDacia Maraini
Pier Paolo Pasolini
Based onOne Thousand and One Nights
by Various authors
StarringFranco Merli
Ines Pellegrini
Ninetto Davoli
Franco Citti
Music byEnnio Morricone
CinematographyGiuseppe Ruzzolini
Edited byNino Baragli
Tatiana Casini Morigi
Distributed byUnited Artists
Release date
20 June 1974 (1974-06-20)
Running time
155 minutes (lost original cut)
125 minutes

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 travellers 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 continuing search for Zumurrud and his (mostly erotic) adventures. In the end, he arrives at the far-away kingdom and is reunited with Zumurrud. The film comprises 16 scenes[2]:

  • Lady of the Moons
  • Zumurrud’s story
  • Nur-e-din’s search
  • Crowned King
  • Dream
  • Aziz and Aziza
  • Love is my Master
  • Weep as you made her weep
  • Garden
  • The Painter’s story
  • Demon’s revenge
  • Transformation
  • Yunan’s story
  • Chamber in the sand
  • Dream revealed
  • Nur-e-din and 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
  • Abadit Ghidei as Princess Dunya
  • Fessazion Gherentiel as Berhame (Hasan)[3]


Filming took place in Isfahan, Iran, 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.[7]


  1. Irwin, Robert (2004). "The Arabian Nights in Film Adaptations". In Marzolph, Ulrich; Leeuwen, Richard van; Wassouf, Hassan (eds.). The Arabian Nights Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 24. ISBN 9781576072042.
  2. Arabian Nights DVD booklet BFI 2009
  3. Greene, Sheleen (2014). Equivocal Subjects: Between Italy and Africa - Constructions of Racial and National Identity in the Italian Cinema. Bloomsbury.
  4., retrieved 26 June 2019
  5. Jaisidewal, Nhu Gha on Facebook, retrieved 26 June 2019
  6. Il Fiore Delle Mille E Una Notte(1974) film locations, retrieved 26 June 2019
  7. "Festival de Cannes: Arabian Nights". Retrieved 2009-04-26.
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