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The Rose Tattoo (1955)

Unrated | | Comedy, Drama, Romance | 1956 (Brazil)
An Italian-American neighborhood in Louisiana is disturbed when truck driver Rosario Delle Rose is killed by police while smuggling. His buxom widow Serafina miscarries, then over a period ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Seaman Jack Hunter
Estelle Hohengarten
Sandro Giglio ...
Father De Leo
Florence Sundstrom ...


An Italian-American neighborhood in Louisiana is disturbed when truck driver Rosario Delle Rose is killed by police while smuggling. His buxom widow Serafina miscarries, then over a period of years draws more and more into herself, trying to force her lovely teenaged daughter Rosa to do likewise. On one eventful day, Rose finally breaks away; Serafina learns of Rosario's affair with another woman; and a new carefree, handsome Italian truck driver enters her life... Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Lusty...Rousing...Startling! See more »


Comedy | Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »





Release Date:

1956 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

A Rosa Tatuada  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was Magnani's first English-speaking role in a Hollywood film. She was very nervous about her English, and her heavy accent during filming, and in fact had turned down the role in the stage version earlier for the same reason. Magnani's performance was widely applauded and she walked home with the Oscar for Best Actress as a result. See more »


When the truck crashes in flames and rolls down the hillside, it is obvious from the beginning of the sequence that there is nobody in the cab. See more »


Referenced in Bullets Over Broadway (1994) See more »


Out of Nowhere
Music by Johnny Green
Used instrumentally at dance
See more »

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User Reviews

A Flawless Diamond Performance in a Gold-Plated Setting
15 May 2005 | by (Alexandria, VA) – See all my reviews

Ten out of ten for Anna Magnani's tour-de-force performance in "The Rose Tattoo," but the film itself falls a notch or two below that level. From time to time, a performance comes along that is so brilliant that the work of all other actors in the same year pales in comparison. Ben Kingsley in "Gandhi" and Daniel Day Lewis in "My Left Foot" come to mind, and Anna Magnani as Serafina Delle Rose in "The Rose Tattoo" can be added to that short list. The actress seems to physically transform herself before your eyes from a depressed, self-pitying widow, who has been swallowed by grief over the death of the husband that she worshiped, into a flirtatious, earthy woman, who cannot resist the attention and physical attraction of Alvaro, a truck driver, who is played by Burt Lancaster. Unfortunately, Lancaster, who often overacted when there was not a strong director to control him, lets loose at times in a nearly buffoonish performance as the suitor. Fortunately, nearly half the movie passes before he arrives on screen. Since Lancaster is capable of subtle restrained work such as that in "Atlantic City" and "Field of Dreams," one can only fault director Daniel Mann for not reining in the actor's over-the-top gestures and shameless mugging.

The original Tennessee Williams play has been effectively opened up and only occasionally betrays its stage origins. James Wong Howe's black-and-white cinematography beautifully captures the atmospheric art direction, and two of the film's three Academy Awards deservedly went to the cinematographer and art director. The third, of course, was presented to Anna Magnani. The film has some dry stretches, Marisa Pavan is obviously much older than the 15 that she portrays, and Lancaster is definitely miscast, which was possibly a studio decision for marquee value. However, despite its flaws, "The Rose Tattoo" remains a worthy film for its Tennessee Williams lines and the brilliance of Magnani's performance. Unfortunately, the great Italian actress made far too few films and died much too young, so film lovers should relish this diamond-caliber performance, even if its setting is only gold-plated. .

25 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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