The film features an international cast including the American actor Burt Lancaster, the Austrian Helmut Berger and the Italians Silvana Mangano and Claudia Cardinale (in a very short role as the professor's wife) and the French actress Dominique Sanda in a cameo as the professor's mother. It was shot in English language, however, an Italian dubbed version was also produced at the time, in which Lancaster's and Berger's lines are dubbed into Italian by other actors.
The film was censored in Spain for the nude and political content and because Francisco Franco's daughter and son-in-law are mentioned. However, it was re-released there, uncut, in 1983. The word cunt was removed from its UK original release but restored on the British DVD edition.
Retired American professor (Burt Lancaster) lives a solitary life in a luxurious palazzo in Rome. He is confronted by a vulgar Italian marchesa (Silvana Mangano) and her companions: her lover (Helmut Berger), her daughter (Claudia Marsani) and her daughter's boyfriend (Stefano Patrizi) and is forced to rent to them an apartment on an upper floor of his home. From this point on, his quiet routine is turned into chaos by his tenants' machinations, and everybody's life takes an unexpected but inevitable turn.
- Burt Lancaster (The Professor)
- Helmut Berger (Konrad Huebel)
- Silvana Mangano (Marquise Bianca Brumonti)
- Claudia Marsani (Lietta Brumonti)
- Stefano Patrizi (Stefano)
- Elvira Cortese (Erminia)
- Philippe Hersent (Porter)
- Guy Tréjan (Antiquario)
- Jean-Pierre Zola (Blanchard)
- Umberto Raho
- Enzo Fiermonte (Police chief)
- Romolo Valli (Michelli)
- Dominique Sanda (Professor's mother [in flashbacks, uncredited])
- Claudia Cardinale (Professor's wife [in flashbacks, uncredited])