Ludwig (1973) - Rotten Tomatoes


Ludwig (1973)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Ludwig Photos

Movie Info

The 19th-century King of Bavaria becomes involved in scandal. Conspired against by his own ministers, he died in mysterious circumstances which for reasons of state were attributed to his own madness.


Helmut Berger
as Ludwig II
Romy Schneider
as Elisabeth von Österreich
Trevor Howard
as Richard Wagner
Silvana Mangano
as Cosima Wagner
Helmut Griem
as Count Duerckheim
Nora Ricci
as Ida von Ferenczy
Gert Fröbe
as Father Hoffmann
Umberto Orsini
as Count Von Holstein
Folker Bohnet
as Joseph Kainz
Heinz Moog
as Prof. Gudden
Adriana Asti
as Lila Von Buliowski
Marc Porel
as Richard Hornig
Mark Burns
as Hans von Buelow
Ingrid Caven
as Lola Montez (uncredited)
Isabella Telezynska
as Queen Mother
John Moulder-Brown
as Prince Otto
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Critic Reviews for Ludwig

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (5)

It can feel cumbersome, frustratingly disjointed, at times certainly a heavy watch. And yet this full-length Ludwig... feels today like a painting whose images and forms can be at least freshly recognized.

June 28, 2018 | Full Review…

Built mostly around medium close-ups and dark interiors, the film creates a sense of isolation that matches the lead character's own state of mind.

June 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Grand and melancholy...

June 11, 2018 | Full Review…

Visconti has been such an intelligent film maker in the past that it's difficult to believe that Ludwig could be quite as bereft of ideas as it is.

May 9, 2005 | Rating: 1.5/5

Perhaps only Visconti, who seems obsessed with the gloomy side of decadence, could have made Ludwig II of Bavaria seem boring.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

There is no apparent intelligence in the way all this has been stuck together, let alone the way in which mind-shriveling dialogue has been assigned various mouths.

June 12, 2020 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Ludwig


We Could be Heroes…Grand, Operatic, and Elegiac! Visconti is at his best enlivening the historical, with his attention to every detail. Shot on location, the narrative structure wonderfully paces the rule of King Ludwig II of Bavaria. Helmut Berger infuses his portrayal with ambiguity, further heightened by nascent homosexuality: Is he mad or a genius? This idealistic Moon King is not a ruler for a united German republic. Associations with the feminine and embryonic state abound. With twitching hands and shifting eyes, Ludwig’s mannerisms alone chart his retreat to a world of fantasy. This film must be seen in its complete, unexpurgated version to appreciate the artistry. Truly Royal!

Stefanie C
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

Even before he is crowned King of Bavaria in 1864, Ludwig(Helmut Berger) makes plans for his kingdom to be a center of arts in Europe. Along these lines, he invites famed composer Richard Wagner(Trevor Howard) to Munich but he is nowhere to be found. And he is shocked when he finds out that his police are employed in tracking him. In the meantime, Ludwig is encouraged to vacation at Bad Ischl where all the fashionable crown heads are staying this year including his cousin Elisabeth(Romy Schneider), Empress of Austria, who has the ulterior motice of trying to set up Ludwig with his cousin Sophie(Sonia Petrovna). Directed by Luchino Visconti, "Ludwig" is a scrupulously made if talky and overlong spectacle that tries its best to avoid any specific history like the unification of Germany in exchange for an examination of the role of the ruler in a monarchy. In other words, who runs the country: the king or the nobles? And what if the king has little interest in statesmanship? The movie is told in flashback from a hearing set to determine Ludwig's mental capacity to rule, determining whether he is insane or merely eccentric.(This does remind me of a very recent case where the royal title was only honorary.) I could tell you he is certainly gay. In any case, there is a simple answer located in an old saying: If you are poor, then you are crazy. If you are rich, then you are eccentric.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

What more can you ask when you have an all-star cast of Berger,Mangano,Howard,Schneider,a cohesive prestige of "wealthy pendants" and a brilliant piece of biographical composition.A legendary figure to dedicate this probably,aha...who cares if that individual is a combination of Napoleon,T.E. Lawrence and Caligula?

Dimitris Springer
Dimitris Springer

Super Reviewer

Ludwig Quotes

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