Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Italian: Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma), commonly referred to as simply Salò, is a 1975 Italian film written and directed byPier Paolo Pasolini, with uncredited writing contributions by Pupi Avati. It is based on the book The 120 Days of Sodom, by the Marquis de Sade. The story is in four segments, inspired by Dante's Inferno: the Anteinferno, the Circle of Manias, the Circle of Shit and the Circle of Blood. It was Pasolini's last film; he was murdered shortly before Salò was released.
Because of its scenes depicting intensely graphic violence, sadism and sexual depravity, the film was extremely controversial upon its release, and remains banned in several countries. The film is currently banned outright in Malaysia due to "repulsive, outrageous and abhorrent content" (extremely high impact violence, offensive depictions of cruelty and other content that is repelling and abhorrent). The film was then banned in Singapore due to its "extreme content that may cause controversy in Singapore". The film is banned outright in several other countries as well, including Sri Lanka, Iran, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
The film focuses on four wealthy, corrupted fascist libertines after the fall of Benito Mussolini's Italy in July 1943. The libertines kidnap eighteen teenage boys and girls and subject them to four months of extreme violence, sadism, and sexual and mental torture. The film is noted for exploring the themes of political corruption, abuse of power, sadism, perversion, sexuality and fascism.
Although it remains a controversial film, it has been praised by various film historians and critics, and, while not typically considered a horror film, Salò was named the 65th scariest film ever made by the Chicago Film Critics Association in 2006 and is the subject of an article in The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural (1986).
In 2012, Sight and Sound placed the film on their critics Top 250 Films of All Time list.