Accattone is a 1961 Italian drama film written and directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini. Despite being filmed from an original screenplay, Accattone is often perceived as a cinematic rendition of Pasolini's earlier novels, particularly The Ragazzi and A Violent Life. It was Pasolini's first film as director, employing what would later be seen as trademark Pasolini characteristics; a cast of non-professional actors hailing from where the movie is set, and thematic emphasis on impoverished individuals.
While many people were surprised by Pasolini's shift from literature to film, he had considered attending the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome before World War II. Pasolini had collaborated with Federico Fellini on Le notti di Cabiria and considered cinema to be writing with reality. The word "accattone" is a slang term mainly used for beggars, referring to people who never do well, who are lazy, and who rarely hold down a job.
Accattone is a story of pimps, prostitutes and thieves, types also represented in his novels. The life of the working (and not-working) poor is depicted, in contrast to Italy's postwar economic reforms. Pasolini’s choice of topics was scandalous at the time, as was his blurring of the lines between the sacred and the profane. Although Pasolini tried to distance himself from neorealism, the film is considered to be a kind of second-generation neorealism, with one critic believing it "may be the grimmest movie" he'd ever seen.
Vittorio (Franco Citti), nicknamed "Accattone" (meaning 'beggar' in Italian), leads a mostly serene life as a pimp until his prostitute, Maddalena, is hurt by his rivals and sent to prison. Finding himself without either a steady income or much inclination for working himself, he first tries to reconcile with the estranged mother of his child, but is driven away by her relatives; he then encounters the (apparently) naive Stella and tries to lure her into prostituting herself for him. She is willing to try, but when her first client begins pawing her she cries and gets out of the car. Accattone tries to support her, but gives up on honest labor after one day, and following a bizarre vision of his own death, gets killed in a traffic accident when he tries to evade the police on a stolen motorcycle.Franco Citti as Vittorio "Accattone" Cataldi
Franca Pasut as Stella
Silvana Corsini as Maddalena
Paola Guidi as Ascenza
Adriana Asti as Amore
Luciano Conti as Il Moicano
Luciano Gonini as Piede D'Oro
Renato Capogna as Renato
Alfredo Leggi as Papo Hirmedo
Galeazzo Riccardi as Cipolla
Leonardo Muraglia as Mammoletto
Giuseppe Ristagno as Peppe
Roberto Giovannoni as The German
Mario Cipriani as Balilla
Roberto Scaringella as Cartagine
Silvio Citti as Sabino
Monica Vitti (uncredited) as Ascenza (voice)
Franco Citti was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor in 1963 for his title role.