The Name of the Rose (1986)

Original Titles

Il nome della rosa, Der Name der Rose, Le nom de la rose





Sean Connery, F. Murray Abraham, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger, Elya Baskin, Michael Lonsdale, Volker Prechtel, Feodor Chaliapin Jr., William Hickey, Michael Habeck, Urs Althaus, Valentina Vargas, Ron Perlman, Leopoldo Trieste, Franco Valobra, Vernon Dobtcheff, Donal O'Brien, Andrew Birkin, Lucien Bodard, Peter Berling, Pete Lancaster, Dwight Weist


When a murder occurs at a secluded Benedictine Abbey, monk William of Baskerville (Sean Connery) is called in to investigate. As he and his apprentice, Adso von Melk (Christian Slater), delve deeper and deeper into the case, more dead bodies begin to turn up.


*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Freely based on Umberto Eco's novel of the same name, The Name of the Rose is a dark and moody mystery film that may fail in keeping you interested if you have read the book.

Despite all the differences between the book and the film, the story is well told, and does not bore. However, I had some hard time processing some things. I'll start with the ending. I don't like the Hollywood fairytale, the "and they lived happily ever after" bullshit, because it's not how the story was supposed to end. In the book, there was a real hell on earth and that's was I was expecting. Another annoying thing is that the bad guys, or villains - I don't really know how to call them - are all portrayed like completely evil people. Eco blurred the line between good and evil, as evil can come from good, and  vice versa. And at last, the meaning of the title. The film makes you think it refers to the girl, if not for the Latin locution - stat rosa pristina nomine, nomina nuda tenemus, the ancient rose remains by its name, naked names are all that we have.

While the wonderful citations from the novel got lost in this cinematic adaptation, the gloomy atmosphere is spot on. First of all everything looks and sounds medieval - and being a lover of the Middle Ages, watching this has been a great pleasure and experience. Second, the cinematography by Tonino Delli Colli is wonderful. Despite the darkness, it finds the perfect glimmers of light to illuminate the faces.

The characters. Beside from the English monk with a Scottish accent and Sherlock Holmes's mind, the most impressive is Jorge. On one hand he is afraid of Aristotle's second book of poetics, and would like to destroy it; on the other hand he is sentimental about it, he realises that no matter how sinful the book is, it's just too precious to be destroyed.

Many strong performances make the film entertaining, and definitely worth watching, from Sean Connery's excellent portrayal of William of Baskerville, to Ron Perlman's outstanding portrayal of the heretical hunchback. However, F. Murray Abraham's talent is wasted.

Overall the film represents a good effort, but the book is way far more satisfying. 


William of Baskerville: The only evidence I see of the antichrist here is everyone's desire to see him at work.


  1. Recentemente l'ho recuperato su Rai Movie. Sempre bello rivederlo, mi dispiace solo che la pellicola della Rai è molto malandata..

    1. Io l'ho visto in VHS, quindi penso che a qualità siamo pari