Mondo film  

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"He skips off back to the castle and we are back where we started on his metaphysical journey, older if not wiser. Although considered a failure, artistically and conceptually, Mondo Candido still enjoys a strange allure. There are still glimpses of the Jacopetti and Prosperi spirit in this unforgettable overblown, Technicolor indulgence."--page 42, Sweet & Savage (2006) by Mark Goodall

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A mondo film is a documentary film, sometimes resembling a pseudo-documentary, usually depicting sensational topics and scenes.

While there were precursors such as America As Seen by a Frenchman (1960), the fad started with Mondo Cane (1962) by Gualtiero Jacopetti and proved quite popular. Mondo films are often easily recognized by name, as even English language mondo films often included the term "mondo" in their titles. Over the years the film makers wanted to top each other in shock value in order to draw in audiences. Cruelty to animals, accidents, tribal initiation rites and surgeries are a common feature of a typical mondo. Much of the action is also staged, even though the film makers may claim their goal to document only "the reality".

The Russ Meyer film Mondo Topless was one of the few "documentaries" restricted to the old midnight movie circuit of the pre-VCR era, as it explored strip clubs in 1960s San Francisco, at a time when strip clubs were a novelty in the United States restricted to centers of port-city decadence such as San Francisco.

Other examples of movies in this genre include Mondo di Notte by Gianni Proia, Mondo Balordo by Roberto Bianchi Montero, and Mondo Ford by Ricardo Fratelli.

The eighties saw a resurgence of Mondo movies, though now they focused almost solely on onscreen death, rather than cultures of the world. The Faces of Death series is probably the best known example of this type of mondo, or 'death' movie. The producers at this time still used faked footage, passed off as real.

The mondo film in the 21st century has transformed into a very 'in your face', gory spectacle, as seen in the Faces of Gore and Traces of Death series. There is considerably less fake footage and many of these use news footage of accidents from the far east.


List of films

The original mondo film series was the Mondo Cane series made by Gualtiero Jacopetti, Paolo Cavara, and Franco Prosperi. When this type of film proved successful, many imitators followed.

The Mondo Cane Series

  • Mondo Cane 2 (1963). Italy. Director and Screenplay: Franco E. Prosperi, Gualtiero Jacopetti. Music: Nino Oliviero. Uncut run time: 95 minutes. R-rated run time: 76 minutes.

Max Steele

In the late 80s, Stelvio Massi, a.k.a. Max Steele, made two spin offs of the original Mondo Cane series with two more films, which are also known as Mondo Cane 3 and Mondo Cane 4 on various video releases.

  • Mondo Cane Oggi (a.k.a. Mondo Cane 3) (1986). Italy. Director and Cinematography: Stelvio Massi (Max Steele). Screenplay: Stelvio Massi. Uncut run time: 78 minutes.
  • Mondo Cane 2000, l'Incredibile (a.k.a. Mondo Cane 4) (1988). Italy. Director and Cinematography: Stelvio Massi (Max Steele). Screenplay: G. Crisanti

Uwe Schier

In 1993, Hurricane Pictures edited a mix of scenes featured in Addio ultimo uomo and Shocking Africa, labeling it fifth chapter of the saga (teil V in German language).

  • Mondo Cane teil V (a.k.a. Mondo Cane 5) (1993). Germany. Producer: Uwe Schier and Gian Carlo Rossi.

The Castiglioni Brothers

In 1969, the brothers Angelo and Alfredo Castiglioni began to make a series of their own Mondo films that lasted into the early 80s. They made five films in all, tying Jacopetti and Prosperi as the most prolific Mondo film producers. Each film examines brutal and bizarre behavior on the African continent. Their films are also known for being some of the most graphic Mondo films ever made.

  • Africa Segreta (a.k.a. Secret Africa) (1969). Italy. Directors: Angelo Castiglioni, Alfredo Castiglioni. Uncut run time: 103 minutes. Music: Angelo Francesco Lavagnino.
  • Magia Nuda (a.k.a. Mondo Magic) (1975). Italy. Directors: Angelo Castiglioni, Alfredo Castiglioni. Music: Zacar.
  • Addio Ultimo Uomo (a.k.a. The Last Savage) (1978). Italy. Directors: Angelo Castiglioni, Alfredo Castiglioni. Music: Franco Godi.
  • Africa Dolce e Selvaggia (a.k.a. Shocking Africa) (1982). Italy. Directors: Angelo Castiglioni, Alfredo Castiglioni. Music: Franco Godi.

The Savage Trilogy

Antonio Climati, cinematographer to Prosperi and Jacopetti in many Mondo films, teamed up with Mario Morra in 1974 to produce their own string of Mondo films, aptly named the "Savage Trilogy". Franco Prosperi also went on to produce these films. Climati and Morra were notorious for staging several scenes of their documentaries.

  • Ultime grida dalla savana (a.k.a. Savage Man Savage Beast) (1975). Italy. Director and Screenplay: Antonio Climati, Mario Morra. Music: Carlo Savina. Uncut run time: 94 minutes.
  • Savana violenta (a.k.a. This Violent World) (1976). Italy. Director and Screenplay: Antonio Climati, Mario Morra. Music: Guido De Angelis, Maurizio De Angelis.
  • Dolce e selvaggio (a.k.a. Sweet and Savage) (1983). Italy. Director and Screenplay: Antonio Climati, Mario Morra. Music: Daniele Patucchi.

Death Films

In 1978, Faces of Death popularized a new Mondo style called Death Films, which consisted completely of humans or animals dying in graphic ways. Several imitators followed, and most use or are completed arranged of footage from other Mondo or death films.


  • Mondo Nudo (1963). Italy. Director: Francesco De Feo. Screenplay: Gian Carlo Fusco, Giuseppe Marotta. Music: Teo Usuelli.
  • Il Pelo nel Mondo (1964). Italy. Director and Screenplay: Antonio Margheriti, Marco Vicario. Music: Bruno Nicolai, Nino Oliviero.
  • I Malamondo (1964). Italy. Director: Paolo Cavara. Screenplay: Guido Castaldo, Paolo Cavara, Ugo Gregoretti, Francesco Torti. Music: Ennio Morricone.
  • Le Schiave Esistono Ancora (a.k.a. Slave Trade in the World Today) (1964). Italy. Directors: Maleno Malenotti, Roberto Malenotti, Folco Quilici. Screenplay: Baccio Bandini, Gianfranco Calderoni, Roberto Malenotti. Music: Teo Usuelli.
  • Mondo Balordo (1964). Italy. Director: Roberto Bianchi Montero. Screenplay: Guido Castaldo Francesco Torti. Music: Coriolano Gori, Nino Rosso.
  • Mondo Freudo (1966). USA. Director: Lee Frost. Music: Rodney Lee Bermingham, The Duvals, Chuck Morgan, Bill Wild.
  • Mondo Bizarro (1966). USA. Director and Screenplay: Lee Frost. Music: Lawrence Von Lattman.
  • Shocking Asia (1974). West Germany. Director: Rolf Olsen. Screenplay: Rolf Olsen, Ingeborg Stein Steinbach. Uncut run time: 94 minutes.
  • Notti Porno nel Mondo (a.k.a. Mondo Erotica) (1977). Italy. Director and Screenplay: Bruno Mattei. Music: Gianni Marchetti.
  • This Is America (a.k.a. Crazy Ridiculous American People {UK}, a.k.a. Jabberwalk) (1977) USA. Directed by Romano Vanderbes.
  • This Is America - Part 2 (1977) USA. Directed by Romano Vanderbes.
  • Brutes and Savages (1978). USA. Director: Arthur Davis. Screenplay: Jenny Craven. Music: Riz Ortolani.
  • Des Morts (a.k.a. Of the Dead) (1981). Director and Screenplay: Jean-Pol Ferbus, Dominique Garny, Thierry Zéno. Music: Alain Pierre. Uncut run time: 105 minutes.
  • The Killing of America (a.k.a. Violence U.S.A. {Japan}) (1982). USA. Director: Sheldon Renan, Leonard Schrader. Screenplay: Chieko Schrader, Leonard Schrader. Music: W. Michael Lewis, Mark Lindsay. Uncut run time: 90 minutes.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mondo film" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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