Aldo Piscitello, a minor government clerk, is forced in 1934 to join the Fascist party. When the war comes, he finds himself able only to talk ineffectually in secret against Mussolini, ... See full summary »



(novel), (English narrative only) | 4 more credits »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Umberto Spadaro ...
Ave Ninchi ...
Elena (as Odette Bedogni)
Ernesto Almirante ...
Il nonno / Grandpa
Enzo Biliotti ...
Il podestà / The Baron
Carlo Sposito ...
Riccardo (as Carletto Sposito)
Loris Gizzi ...
Il ministro / The Fascist minister
Aldo Silvani ...
Il farmacista / The pharmacist
Giovanni Grasso ...
L'avvocato Mascoli
Olinto Cristina
Raniero De Cenzo ...
Il dottor Rapisardo
Agostino Salvietti
Giuseppe Nicolosi


Aldo Piscitello, a minor government clerk, is forced in 1934 to join the Fascist party. When the war comes, he finds himself able only to talk ineffectually in secret against Mussolini, even as his own son Giovanni is sent into battle. By the end of the war, Aldo has found the courage to stand up for his beliefs, but by then it is too late. Written by Jim Beaver <>

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The GENIUS that went into making "To Live in Peace", "Open City", "Paisan", and "Death of a Salesman" has been combined to give you...


Drama | War


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Release Date:

21 August 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Difficult Years  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Edited into Lo schermo a tre punte (1995) See more »

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User Reviews

A Very Lucid Political Portrait of Fascist Years in Italy
12 July 2010 | by (Brazil) – See all my reviews

In a time when the revision of the recent past produce more innocuous works as Sotto Il Sole di Roma by Renato Castellani, Zampa directed this bitter and lucid parable focus on people that, like the main character, have been to maintain the difficult equilibrium between public and private interests in an authoritarian society. What seems at begin a light chronicle marked by a nostalgic and precocious maudlin feeling, like the one present in Castellani's movie, quickly becomes a narrative politically audacious, something relatively rare on neo-realist films, and with a notorious relative absence of Manichaeism. The movie shows, for example, how opportunistic were most of the old fascists, now very close friend of Americans after the bankruptcy of Fascism. But the same isn't so different for the shy resistance old guys that usually meets clandestinely at the pharmacy. The owner of the same (Aldo Silvani) was murdered by the fascist after an emotional explosion between a Mussolini's rally. His prison and death, however, were far from our eyes and far of the grandiose and heroic tone showed in films like the classic "Roma, Cittá Apertá" (1945). The Sympathy with the American soldiers wasn't shared by the own film and even in the fictional world it seems much more a fruit of opportunism than sincere. Filmed in a conventional way, this movie make an interesting use of archive images between fictional ones, something very common nowadays but probably an original strategy then. The narrative is framed not only by a voice over throughout the film, far from being excessive intrusive, but by newspaper headlines, radio comments and even one of the hundreds of propaganda short movies produced by LUCE, the educative fascist institution. At least one moment archive images weren't inserted in diegesis but an obvious comment of the own narrator that helps to illustrate the time passing. Perhaps one of the most important elements of the film is to be vehicle for many things repressed all those years of fascism on Italian society (and its movies of course), showing a human face under the appearances. This is particularly true for the moment of Giovanni (Massimo Girotti) reclaiming about the excessive times he heard or say "Signor Si", a kind of military subordination salute very popular those days, at the Army, and equally very present on war films of that time directed by names as Roberto Rossellini, Alessandro Blasetti or Augusto Genina. This movie anticipates in an important way, the political satire vein that would be very disseminated not only in Italian cinema of the next decades.

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