IMDb > Umberto D. (1952) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Umberto D.
Quicklinks
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
Overview
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guidemessage board
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
Promotional
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Umberto D. More at IMDbPro »

Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 1 of 7:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [Next]
Index 70 reviews in total 

61 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

The best of the Italian neo-realist films

10/10
Author: kwongers from USA
16 June 2005

Vittorio DeSica's wonderful "Umberto D" was one of the last films of the Italian neo-realism movement and by far its best one. It is also one of my favorite movies ever. The movie's premise is simple: it is a slice of the life of a poor lonely pensioner, Umberto. Throughout the movie, we see Umberto struggle to find money to pay rent to his horrible landlady, love his dog Flike, and deal with the loneliness and disillusionment of the postwar era.

"Umberto D" is a character-driven film. It works very well because of its sharp observations on loneliness and poignant gestures. The gestures evoke powerful feelings without necessitating dialogue. Many of the scenes, even the ones that do not necessarily advance the plot, are hypnotically beautiful in their simplicity. Take, for example, a beautiful scene where Umberto finally needs to beg for money but cannot physically bring himself to do it. He extends his palm up, but when a passer-by stops to give him money, Umberto quickly flips his hand over, as if testing for rain. The film is full of these small gestures that quietly emphasize the desperate loneliness and poignancy of Umberto's situation.

The acting in this film is absolutely superb. Carlo Battisti, despite having never acted before, is wonderful as the titular character; his face is a fascinating blend of stubborn dignity and weariness of life. Maria Pia-Casilio, who plays the maid, is just as good as evoking life's loneliness and quiet desperation. The supporting cast is also very strong.

One of the very few criticisms I have heard of this film is that it is too sentimental and borderline sappy. While some scenes with Umberto and his dog Flike are sentimental, never is it "too" sentimental. DeSica knows how far he can push his film without making it sappy, and he wisely shows it as it is. Nothing feels forced. The subject material itself and the simplicity in which it is presented will bring tears. (If you don't cry in this movie, you need to have your heart professionally de-thawed.) But "Umberto D" is never dumbed down into sappiness and clichéd corniness. It is a very powerful film.

"Umberto D" is the masterpiece of the Italian neo-realist era. It's a rather bleak and very realistic movie, but it makes some fascinating commentary on the human condition, specifically the loneliness we face. Highly, highly recommended. 10/10.

Was the above review useful to you?

33 out of 34 people found the following review useful:

"Wherever you go, I'll be here."

10/10
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States
10 August 2003

As I watched Umberto D., by Oscar nominated actor and legendary Oscar winning director Vittorio De Sica, I knew clearly one thing for certain- Carlo Battisti, playing the role of retired civil servant Umberto Domenico Ferrari, is the most convincing non-professional actor in any given decade of European movie-making. He knows the purpose De Sica is after within every ounce of his soul (one can see it repeatedly in his eyes, the small mannerisms)- this is a story of loss, sad yet in an outlook and outcome that is cruel up to a point and never fiddles with the viewer's emotions dishonestly. Therefore, one can see him, in a sense, for what he is- he's us, merely you and I at the end of our lines of life with one wrong step sent to us after another.

Battisti's Umberto is retired, known fairly among his past employees, and living in a dank, infested one room who seems to be on the standard downward spiral for such a neo-realist effort (indeed, like The Bicycle Thief, many of the elements against him are from society's natural pitfalls). His health starts to go, as he gets a fever, and is sent unsympathetically to the hospital and returns to find the place being torn at each wall. The landlady wants him out, since she will only accept full rent instead of partial rent, and the maid of the house (Maria Pia-Casillo), while kind and friendly, lives in a similar prism of fear and emptiness. However, even she can't help him in the financial difficulties. This leads him out into the streets outside of Rome, where the film plays out like a Chaplin movie, without the humor and female companion- only with his best friend in the world, a little dog named Flag.

By the 3rd act of this epitome of heartbreaker movie-making, a quote passed through my head that Michelangelo Antonionni once stated: The actor is a moving object. That sentence, I can guess, is true of Battisti, as well as for his little dog. Aldo Graziati's camera follows him and his companion like another piece of the frame, which makes our focus on them all the more compelling. They're just their, acting the ways an old man and his pet act with one another, which is care and devotion. Battisti, in turn, delivers for De Sica an over-whelming performance of emotion. The very last scene is one of the definitive milestones of the movement at the time in Italy - despite it all; a relationship between a man and his "best friend" can be stronger in desperate times than a man can have with a fellow human being. Truly, this ending is quite suitable for one of the best films of it's time, and for De Sica a memorial tribute to his father. A++

Was the above review useful to you?

52 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

There's hardly been a better film ever made

10/10
Author: zetes from Saint Paul, MN
20 November 2000

Umberto D. may be the single most powerful film ever made. It's pretty much impossible not to be affected by it, and I'd imagine only a monster could get through it without shedding a tear. It's not all sad, and certainly cannot be called unrelentingly depressing. There are plenty of beautifully funny moments. The main character, Umberto, is one of the greatest characters I've ever met at the movies. It would be simple to make him just a man to pity: he is a poor old man who is down on his luck. But the artists behind the film have fleshed him out into an incredibly human character. The supporting characters, even those who show up for just a moment, are just as well created. And the acting is godly. 10/10, without a second thought. It's one of the best films ever made.

Was the above review useful to you?

29 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Appreciation.

10/10
Author: Gerald A. DeLuca (italiangerry@gmail.com) from United States
27 February 2002

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Much has been written about this landmark masterpiece from Vittorio De Sica. I first saw it (with my parents) as a young man in high school, at the Uptown (Columbus) Theatre in Providence, and at the age of thirteen I was thoroughly moved by this story of old age, poverty, and near-despair! Perhaps that was a precocious reaction from a youngster, but as the years moved on and I've become closer in age to its sad hero and am retired just as he was, I've never ceased to be moved by this story. The truly stirring scenes are those between Umberto and his dog Flaik. The moment when he saves it from impending death in the dog pound and clasps it to himself as the only thing in the world he can love and be loved by, is utterly overwhelming. Willy-nilly, the dog returns the favor, the gift at life, at the end by saving his master from a suicidal leap before an oncoming train. These scenes are justly extolled by Martin Scorsese in his documentary tribute to the Italian cinema IL MIO VIAGGIO IN ITALIA.

Yes, the film seems to have an almost Dickensian outlook on the world. The bad are truly bad, gargoyles in fact, like that hideous couple that shelter dogs and to whom Umberto wisely decides not to abandon Flaik, and like the caricatured bitch of a landlady that is Umberto's nemesis. And the good are long-suffering, like the unwed pregnant servant girl and like Umberto himself. Through it all the message of director Vittorio De Sica and screenwriter Cesare Zavattini radiates. Life is a treasure. This film celebrates that idea so poignantly and so wisely. We live. We suffer. We are Umberto D.

Was the above review useful to you?

24 out of 28 people found the following review useful:

An unforgettable masterpiece

10/10
Author: anhedonia from Planet Earth
20 May 2004

This is storytelling at its simplest and most beautiful. An old man - his sole companion, a dog - tries to survive on a fixed, tight income while being mistreated by his landlady.

DeSica brilliantly captures the despair of his protagonist and makes this film unforgettably powerful. This film deserves to be seen by everyone, not just those who enjoy foreign-language films.

This film is touching, memorable and manages to draw us into Umberto's life without ever becoming maudlin. The denouement is heartbreaking, but the film never lapses into sentimentality. "Umberto D" truly is one of the greatest films ever made.

Was the above review useful to you?

18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Have A Good Cry

10/10
Author: Rob Christopher (randomcha@hotmail.com) from Chicago
29 April 2002

An elderly retired civil servant in Rome is about to be forced onto the streets due to the loss of his pension, with only his little dog to comfort him. I'm not even a dog lover and this movie STILL got to me. I rented this on video when I was in high school and my mom ended up watching it with me. The ending (which I won't spoil for those who haven't seen it yet) is the only time I can remember when we have both been crying at the same time during a movie. This is truly a beautiful film and I have to see again soon.

Was the above review useful to you?

13 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Neorealist Classic (A story of an old man and his dog)

9/10
Author: Mauri-3 from London, England
13 July 1999

Umberto D was made towards the end of the Neo-realist period in Italian cinema, following on from Roma Citta Aperta (1945),Riso Amaro (Bitter Rice 1946),Paisa (Paisan 1946) and Ladri di Biciclette (The Bicycle Thieves 1948). Many critics see Umberto D has the finest example of the genre and Vittorio de Sica, the director, himself considered it to be his best work. Set in post-war Italy, it is the story of a retired public worker, trying to survive on a meagre state pension and being threatened with eviction from his landlady. His only friends are his small dog 'Flick' and his landlady's young maid Maria who has just discovered she is pregnant. Filled with despair over his situation he finally contemplates suicide.

The film sticks firmly to the neorealist conventions; the lead actor is a non professional actor (a college Professor who agreed to play the role), the use of studio sets is kept to minimum and the everyday lives of people are examined in minute detail. One could say that for long parts of the film nothing much happens, for instance when we follow Maria's early morning routine of grinding some coffee, but from these detailed vignettes, we learn a great deal of the thoughts feelings and emotions of the characters. These sequences are why it is a great film. The acting is wonderful, the impossible situations of the old man and of the unmarried but pregnant Maria are really brought to life for the audience. Although a tragic tale it does include many moments of humour and the ending although non-committal is uplifting. All in all a classic.

Was the above review useful to you?

18 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

great film

10/10
Author: rstless123 from United States
7 November 2005

This was a very touching and wrenching film. It is indeed hard to watch because everyone is so dismissive of Umberto. But people can be like that, especially in desperate times, such as post war Italy when all the money was going to rebuild churches, not feed people. Better for proud hard working Umberto to put on a brave face and quietly disappear so nobody has to worry about him or be concerned about him. At the end he did find that he and Flike still had each other, this little dog didn't care if Umberto had any pride left or not, he loved him just the same. And Umberto needed him to be reminded of the simple joys in life. A very profound and moving film.

Was the above review useful to you?

15 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

A classic neo-realist film!

Author: anton-6 from sweden
6 May 2002

This touching story of a poor man in Italy after the war. The director, De Sica has also done the masterpiece "The bicycle thief". A very good and simple film that almost perfectly shows his fight to live a decent life his last years. The end is VERY sad(still I felt it had some hope). A highly recommended film. Also Carlo Battisti's performance is masterful. 9/10

Was the above review useful to you?

8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Neorealism at its best

9/10
Author: rosscinema (rosscinema@comcast.net) from Oceanside, Ca.
13 May 2003

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is Vittorio DeSica's simple but powerful story of a retired civil servant named Umberto Domenico Ferrari and his pet dog Flag. Umberto cannot afford to live anymore on his meager pension and is about to be evicted by his evil landlady. Umberto's only friend is Maria (Maria-Pia Casilio) but she is pregnant by someone that even she is not sure of. Umberto gets sick and goes to the hospital for a few days and when he gets out Flag is gone. He goes to the local pound and finds him. Umberto is a man who once had a very respectable job and has an immeasurable amount of pride. He has to think about begging in the streets but just can't go through with it. One of the great things about these Italian neorealist films is that we really do see what conditions are like in post-war Italy. The authentic locations are priceless to these films and it also creates a docu-drama feel. DeSica's "The Bicycle Thief" is my favorite of these type of films but this is also a classic gem! *****SPOILER ALERT*****

The last 20 minutes of this film is tough to watch and it can easily bring tears to the most jaded eyes. Unable to find a new home for Flag, Umberto tries to commit suicide by walking in front of a train with Flagg in his arms. A gut wrenching scene where Umberto is unable to go through with it and Flagg is temporarily upset with his master. The last scene of them together is classic neorealism. Umberto realizes he is a survivor and is just going to try and eke out an existence. The two of them playfully bounding down the road. Umberto's fate is unsure, thats the way life is. We have all come to expect these ambiguous endings and when they're done properly like in this film, it helps to create a truly haunting and memorable experience. Martin Scorsese said in an interview that this is one of his all time favorite films. The man has great taste!

Was the above review useful to you?


Page 1 of 7:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [Next]

Add another review


Related Links

Plot summary Ratings Awards
External reviews Plot keywords Main details
Your user reviews Your vote history