Captain Corelli's Mandolin (2001) - Synopsis

Heading for Captain Corelli's MandolinJohn Madden (Shakespeare in Love (1998)) directs Academy Award®-winner Nicolas Cage (Leaving Las Vegas (1995)) and Penélope Cruz (All About My Mother (1999)) in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, an epic tale about the enduring hope of love and the devastating brutality of war, set amid the Italian occupation of Greece during World War II. Based on the critically acclaimed and hugely successful novel by Louis de Bernières, the screenplay is adapted by Shawn Slovo, with Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Kevin Loader and Mark Huffam producing.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin traces a love that begins uneasily between a conscripted officer of the occupying Italian army, Captain Antonio Corelli, and Pelagia, a strong-willed, ambitious young Cephallonian played by Penélope Cruz.

When Corelli and his company of men arrive on the unspoiled island, they think of their stay as a kind of Grecian holiday, with the war a distant radio dispatch. At first Pelagia and the other villagers resent these uninvited guests, but ultimately, the Italians' charm and passion for life wear away the divisions of nationality and circumstance, and Pelagia comes to see Corelli for the man he is: full of love for life, for his music, and perhaps even for her.

Inevitably, the war crashes upon the idyllic shores of Cephallonia, forever upsetting its tranquility, for the inhabitants as well as for the comfortably garrisoned Italians. The tender connection that has grown between Antonio and Pelagia is also threatened. As Captain Corelli faces the violent realities of warfare, he must confront the possibility of leaving Cephallonia and the woman he has come to love. Pelagia knows that she, too, is powerless in the face of war and must say goodbye to her lover, with no certainty that they will ever meet again.

Captain Corelli's Mandolin stars John Hurt (Elephant Man, the (1980)) as Pelagia's father, Dr. Iannis, the village's resident physician as well as its unofficial historian and mediator of local disputes. Christian Bale (American Psycho (2000)) plays Pelagia's betrothed, an unsophisticated fisherman called Mandras whose innocence is obliterated by the savagery of war. The international cast also includes the distinguished Greek actress Irene Papas (Zorba the Greek (1964)) as Mandras' formidable mother; David Morrissey (Hilary and Jackie (1998)) as the German captain Weber, who also finds himself seduced by Corelli's approach to life; and a band of Italian actors and singers who appear as "The La Scala Boys," the amateur opera singers who comprise Corelli's company.