For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
508 Ratings

The Tales of Hoffmann

United Kingdom, 1951
Fantasy, Musical, Music


A poet dreams of three women—a mechanical performing doll, a bejeweled siren, and the consumptive daughter of a famous composer—all of whom break his heart in different ways. Powell and Pressburger create a phantasmagoric marriage of cinema and opera in this one-of-a-kind classic.

This film is not currently playing on MUBI but 30 other great films are. See what’s now showing
The Tales of Hoffmann Directed by Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1951 | Winner: Special Award

Berlin International Film Festival

1951 | 2 wins including: Silver Bear for Best Musical

Academy Awards

1952 | 2 nominations including: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Color

The film is everything extravagant about the Archers distilled, amplified, and sustained for two hours with feverish devotion. Powell spoke of what he called a “composed film,” in which vivid imagery was set to music to create an operatic cinema. They had done sequences like that before—the dialogue-free ballet in The Red Shoes, or the climax of Black Narcissus. But suppose you tried it for an entire film?
November 03, 2017
Read full article
The movie that inspired such diverse directors as Cecil B. DeMille, Martin Scorsese, andGeorge Romero, “The Tales of Hoffmann,” directed by partners Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, is a dream of opera fully-realized, utilizing dance and music and extraordinary production design in ways that still seem radical and unprecedented.
March 11, 2015
Read full article
No harm in being ahistorical—by reimagining a 19th-century opera as a magnificent, choreographed revel, Powell and Pressburger repeat their Red Shoes feat. The movie’s in its sixties, but refuses to age: screen it in schools, and all the handwringing about the limited and graying audience of certain artforms may be replaced by healthy youthful clapping.
March 11, 2015
Read full article

What are people saying?

Related films