Conversation Piece

Watch Conversation Piece

  • R
  • 1974
  • 2 hr 1 min
  • 7.4  (5,141)

In Luchino Visconti's 1974 film Conversation Piece, Burt Lancaster stars as a retired professor living alone in a sumptuous Roman palazzo. Though the professor is generally reclusive, he rents out one of his guest rooms to a young aristocrat named Konrad (played by Helmut Berger). Initially, Konrad's arrival is met with irritation on the professor's part—especially because Konrad makes it clear that he plans to throw a series of wild parties in the apartment. But soon enough, the two men strike up an unlikely friendship based on their shared interest in art and intellect.

The professor begins to introduce Konrad to his circle of friends, including the professor's longtime housekeeper and maid (Silvana Mangano), as well as a wealthy art collector (Claudio Cassinelli) and his wife (Claudia Marsani). As the group spends more time together, tensions begin to run high—one of Konrad's guests becomes aggressive and violent, and a local thief (Stefano Patrizi) begins to target the group's well-appointed homes.

Despite these rising tensions, the core focus of Conversation Piece remains the relationship between the professor and Konrad. The film explores themes of loneliness, the struggle to connect across generational divides, and the power dynamics inherent in social relationships.

As expected from the masterful Visconti, Conversation Piece is visually stunning. The professor's apartment is decked out in the most exquisite furnishings and artwork. Opulent meals are consumed in ornate dining rooms, and we watch as characters walk down grand hallways and gaze out over Rome's stunning skyline.

But despite the wealth on display in Conversation Piece, the film never feels like it's glamorizing the elite. Instead, the focus is on the ways in which even the most privileged individuals can feel alienated and alone. Lancaster's performance as the professor is masterful—he captures both the intellectual curiosity and quiet sadness that define his character. Meanwhile, Berger imbues Konrad with a youthful energy and a lightheartedness that belie his own struggles with loneliness and despair.

Conversation Piece isn't an action-packed movie. Instead, it's a slow and thoughtful exploration of human connection and the dynamics that define our relationships. But for anyone who enjoys character-driven dramas and visually sumptuous films, Conversation Piece is an absolute classic. It's a thought-provoking and poignant look at the power of conversation—and the way that it can both unite and divide us.

Conversation Piece is a 1974 drama with a runtime of 2 hours and 1 minute. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.4.

Conversation Piece
Where to Watch Conversation Piece
Conversation Piece is available to watch free on Plex and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and YouTube VOD. Some platforms allow you to rent Conversation Piece for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    2 hr 1 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.4  (5,141)