Vito Polara is a young ambitious man from the slums of Naples, who wants to get as much power and money as possible. He decides to quit smuggling cigarettes and tries to take over the local... See full summary »



(screenplay), (story) | 4 more credits »
5 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Crime | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The unclear and complicated twists between governal powers, independentist party and Mafia in the Sicily of the '40s culminate with the death of Salvatore Giuliano.

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Frank Wolff, Salvo Randone, Frederico Zardi
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Enrico Mattei helped change Italy's future, first as freedom-fighter against the Nazis, then as an investor in methane gas through a public company, A.G.I.P., and ultimately as the head of ... See full summary »

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Gian Maria Volontè, Luigi Squarzina, Peter Baldwin
Crime | Thriller | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A detective (inspector Rogas) is assigned to investigate the mysterious murders of some Supreme Court judges. During the investigation he discovers a complot that involves the Italian ... See full summary »

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Lino Ventura, Tino Carraro, Marcel Bozzuffi
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Prior to a city council election, the collapse of a building leaves a land developer and his political backers defending themselves against a scandal.

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Rod Steiger, Salvo Randone, Guido Alberti
Many Wars Ago (1970)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

On the Italian/Austrian front during World War I, a disastrous Italian attack upon the Austrian positions leads to a mutiny among the decimated Italian troops.

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Mark Frechette, Alain Cuny, Gian Maria Volontè
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The rise and fall of a famous torero, Miguelin, inside and outside of the bullfighters ring.

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Miguel Mateo 'Miguelín', José Gómez Sevillano, Pedro Basauri 'Pedrucho'
Comedy | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A wonderful fairy tale of the misadventures of a beautiful but temperamental Neapolitan peasant, Isabella, when she meets the ill- tempered Spanish Prince Rodrigo Ferrante y Davalos. The ... See full summary »

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Sophia Loren, Omar Sharif, Georges Wilson
I magliari (1959)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Mario is in Hannover to work as a miner but after loosing his job he decides to go back to Italy. When Totonno steals his passport to avoid the police and later on he offers him a new job ... See full summary »

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Alberto Sordi, Belinda Lee, Renato Salvatori
The Truce (1997)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Based on Primo Levi's autobiographical "The Reawakening".

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: John Turturro, Rade Serbedzija, Massimo Ghini
Tre fratelli (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Three men face their mother's death.

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Michele Placido, Vittorio Mezzogiorno
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Edmund Kean is a popular British actor and theatrical nineteenth addicted to vices, however, and in debt. He contends with the Prince of Wales, his companion of excesses, the Danish ... See full summary »

Directors: Vittorio Gassman, Francesco Rosi
Stars: Vittorio Gassman, Eleonora Rossi Drago, Anna Maria Ferrero
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In a small village in Latin America, Santiago Nasar is killed in the morning, which surprises nobody. The Vicario brothers were openly declaring they would kill him to regain the lost honor... See full summary »

Director: Francesco Rosi
Stars: Rupert Everett, Ornella Muti, Gian Maria Volontè


Cast overview, first billed only:
Vito Polara
Nino Vingelli ...
Decimo Cristiani ...
Tina Castigliano ...
Madre di Vito
Pasquale Cennamo ...
Salvatore Ajello
Elsa Valentino Ascoli ...
Madre di Assunta
José Jaspe ...
Ferdinando Ajello
Nello Ascoli
Salvatore Cafiero
Guido Cante
Gennaro Di Napoli
Elsa Fiore
Ferdinando Gerra
Ubaldo Granata ...


Vito Polara is a young ambitious man from the slums of Naples, who wants to get as much power and money as possible. He decides to quit smuggling cigarettes and tries to take over the local fruit and vegetable distribution, which is considered more profitable. After challenging the rural crime boss of the local Camorra, Vito becomes part of his gang and soon his life changes. He moves to a new luxurious seaside apartment and plans to start a family with the beautiful Assunta. At their wedding party, however, and later on, he's about to see who the real boss is. Written by 1felco

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




See all certifications »





Release Date:

8 September 1958 (Spain)  »

Also Known As:

The Challenge  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Featured in Il cineasta e il labirinto (2004) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Jose Suarez boldly inserts himself into markets controlled by comorra
10 August 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"La sfida" (1958) (The Challenge) is an Italian film noir, listed as such by Selby and Spicer but not Grant. My opinion is that it is more film noir than not, while retaining some neo-realist character. I think that noir enthusiasts and those especially interested in foreign-made noirs will definitely want to see this. It's a good film whose story shows the business aspects of the vegetable trade as controlled by comorra near Naples. It can be compared to "Thieves Highway", as the sole IMDb review notes.

José Suárez plays "Vito Polara", a bold, brash, gutsy, ambitious guy from a poor background. He lives with his mother and siblings in a cramped apartment building jammed next to many others. He makes money by whatever opportunities arise in business like smuggling American cigarettes and selling off a truckload of zucchini and pumpkins. He sees an opportunity in buying direct from the farmers who raise vegetables in the country near Naples and cutting out the middlemen. When he attempts to do this, he finds that the comorra, led by "Salvatore Ajello" (Decimo Cristiani) has the farmers under its thumb, sets prices and buys up all the farming output. It has muscled and intimidated its way into forming a buying cartel or monopsony. This doesn't deter Vito who challenges Ajello openly. The angry Ajello is advised not to risk jail by shooting Polara openly. He concedes and Polara gains a foothold and becomes a cartel participant.

Polara's love life blossoms when Rosanna Schiaffino, in a nearby apartment, makes herself known to him. Soon they plan to marry. Polara has newfound wealth and moves his family to an expensive penthouse. His debts rise as he lives beyond his current means.

One of his buyers in Naples who takes his produce pressures him for an early delivery of tomatoes. The cartel has, however, banned all deliveries for a week in order to raise its selling prices. Polara sees and takes a chance to make some money by selling earlier; but he has to secure the tomatoes and comorra is guarding the farm supplies. Meanwhile he is busy getting married and Ajello has not lost his animus against Polara.

The neo-realist character of this film comes in naturally in the many scenes that are filmed on location and outdoors in both the city and countryside. It comes in when we see the poor people living in the tenement district and how they treat the sexy Schiaffino. Scenes that have crowds, processions, and poor children running around and playing add realism that links to the classic era of neo-realism.

Director Rosi would go on to direct such noirs as "Salvatore Giuliano", "Hands Over the City", "Lucky Luciano", "The Mattei Affair" and "Cadaveri Eccellenti".

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: