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Shoeshine (1946) More at IMDbPro »Sciuscià (original title)

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Sergio Amidei (story) &
Adolfo Franci (story) ...
View company contact information for Shoeshine on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
26 August 1947 (USA) See more »
Un milagro como no conoció el cine en los 50 años de su historia! [Spanish poster.]
Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
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Nominated for Oscar. Another 4 wins See more »
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User Reviews:
Brilliant and Heartwrenching Film by a Brilliant Filmmaker See more (17 total) »


  (in credits order)
Franco Interlenghi ... Pasquale Maggi
Rinaldo Smordoni ... Giuseppe Filippucci
Annielo Mele ... Raffaele
Bruno Ortenzi ... Arcangeli
Emilio Cigoli ... Staffera
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pacifico Astrologo ... Vittorio (uncredited)
Maria Campi ... Palmist (uncredited)
Antonio Carlino ... L'Abruzzese (uncredited)
Angelo D'Amico ... Siciliano (uncredited)
Francesco De Nicola ... Ciriola (uncredited)
Enrico De Silva ... Giorgio (uncredited)
Claudio Ermelli ... Nurse (uncredited)
Leo Garavaglia ... Inspector (uncredited)
Antonio Lo Nigro ... Righetto (uncredited)
Antonio Nicotra ... Social worker (uncredited)
Anna Pedoni ... Nannarella (uncredited)
Gino Saltamerenda ... Il panza (uncredited)
Irene Smordoni ... Giuseppe's mother (uncredited)
Peppino Spadaro ... Lawyer Bonavino (uncredited)
Mario Volpicelli ... Prison principal (uncredited)

Directed by
Vittorio De Sica 
Writing credits
Sergio Amidei (story) &
Adolfo Franci (story) &
Cesare Giulio Viola (story) (as Cesare G. Viola) &
Cesare Zavattini (story)

Sergio Amidei (screenplay) &
Adolfo Franci (screenplay) &
Cesare Giulio Viola (screenplay) (as Cesare G. Viola) &
Cesare Zavattini (screenplay)

Produced by
Paolo William Tamburella .... producer
Original Music by
Alessandro Cicognini 
Cinematography by
Anchise Brizzi 
Film Editing by
Niccolò Lazzari  (as Nicolò Lazzari)
Production Design by
Ivo Battelli 
Giulio Lombardozzi  (as G. Lombardozzi)
Production Management
Nino Ottavi .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Elmo De Sica .... second assistant director
Argi Rovelli .... second assistant director
Umberto Scarpelli .... assistant director
Armando W. Tamburella .... second assistant director
Sound Department
Tullo Parmegiani .... sound (as Tullio Parmegiani)
Camera and Electrical Department
Elio Paccara .... camera operator
Other crew
Franco Serino .... production assistant
Herman G. Weinberg .... subtitler: English
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Sciuscià" - Italy (original title)
See more »
93 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Photophone System)
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Finland:K-16 (1953) | Portugal:M/12 | UK:A (original rating) | UK:12 (re-rating) (2006) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

Giuseppe Filippucci:Whoever invented the elevator is a genius.
Pasquale Maggi:Tell me about it. I slept in one for three months.
See more »
Movie Connections:


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Brilliant and Heartwrenching Film by a Brilliant Filmmaker, 27 October 2013
Author: bkrauser-81-311064 from United States

Just two years before Vittorio De Sica changed the world with The Bicycle Thieves (1948), the universally famous actor/director made a small, simple and beautiful movie by the name of Shoeshine (1946). Taking place in war ravaged Italy, the film features the stories of two young shoeshine boys who are tasked with delivering black market goods and get caught in a web of intrigue. Once they are caught by the police, their friendship is challenged when they're sent to an overcrowded boy's penitentiary.

The majority of the film takes place in the penitentiary where the two boys (Franco Interlenghi and Rinaldo Smordoni) are separated from each other almost instantly. Forced into separate cells each holding five boys, they become the center of their own maelstroms when one mistakenly betrays the other. I won't ruin the whole picture other than mentioning that the main source of motivation early on is a horse they bought together.

The period sets the tone for the film. Despite a bouncy score that highlights every small victory experienced by the characters, the lack of sustenance and poor conditions of life in and out of the penitentiary keeps things gloomy. The boys eat gruel which the warden calls "passable", medical help is slow and ineffective and beds are riddled with lice. Even one of the more kind-hearted superiors finds objection to the state of things. Yet at one point one of the boys calls his new home "paradise" because of its only slightly better living standard than sleeping in an elevator.

The film is considered one of the first Italian neorealist works which would leave an indelible mark on Italian cinema and movies worldwide. The form contends with economic hardship and moral denigration as a canvas. Many times they would shoot in and around the streets of Italian cities and even hire non-professional actors to intensify the realism. Often this was for practical reasons. The aftermath of World War Two left the film industry (previously under the close watch of Mussolini) unable to maintain their studios.

The Bicycle Thieves stands as the pinnacle of Italian neo-realism but for my money Shoeshine is the better movie. Both stories are quite compelling but from an outsider's perspective, the multiple Italian customs and the research required to understand them are much more-a- plenty in Bicycle Thieves. Additionally the main characters of Shoeshine are children no older than twelve. While in many cases this would be a slight when comparing one movie to another, the actors in Shoeshine act much more authentically to their predicament. There is one scene where the boys trot a horse down the street as the other shoeshine boys either cheer in zeal, or jeer in jealousy. They preen and strut like they're the talk of the town, the belle of the ball, or to put another way; two poor kids with a horse. How can you not smile at that image?

There is a famous review of Shoeshine by the famous Pauline Kael where she mentions a "… petulant voice of a college girl complaining to her boyfriend, 'well, I don't see what was so special about that movie.'" She then claimed alienation from those who could not experience "the radiance of Shoeshine." In many ways I feel the same about it. If you're not effected by De Sica's first classic then you're not fully human.

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