The Canterbury Tales (1972)
Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Notable cast: Tom Baker, Hugh Griffith, Laura Betti

Pasolini’s film retells eight of Chaucer’s original stories: The Merchant’s, Friar’s, Miller’s, Wife of Bath’s, Reeve’s, Pardoner’s, and Summoner’s tales. While Pasolini’s adaptation is largely faithful, he expands several stories, adding material such as a public execution in “The Friar’s Tale.”

Ribald Tales of Canterbury (1985)
Director: Bud Lee
Notable cast: Hyapatia Lee, Mike Horner, Colleen Brennan

As in Chaucer’s story, this film features a group of pilgrims telling lewd, ribald stories en route to Canterbury Cathedral.

Canterbury Tales (2003)
Director: Andy De Emmony, John McKay, Julian Jarrold, Marc Munden
Notable cast: Nikki Amuka-Bird, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Billie Piper, Julie Walters

This BBC series takes six stories (The Miller’s, Wife of Bath’s, Sea Captain’s, Pardoner’s, and Man of Law’s tales) and sets them in modern Britain, turning the characters into recognizable 20th-century figures who work in television, pubs, and prisons.

Chaucer and the Canterbury Tales (2008)
Director: Kenny Leon
Notable cast: N/A

This film is a documentary of Chaucer’s life with particular attention to how he wrote The Canterbury Tales.

A Canterbury Tale (1944)
Directors: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger
Notable cast: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price, John Sweet


This film, about a small group of travelers on their way to Canterbury during World War II who find themselves enmeshed in a bizarre mystery in a small town in Kent, is not a retelling of any of Chaucer’s famous tales. However, it is an excellent (if largely unknown) film inspired by the stories of Chaucer’s pilgrims that rewards viewers who seek it out with an intense conjuring up of English history and Chaucerian atmosphere.