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The Great War (1959)
"La grande guerra" (original title)

 -  Comedy | Drama | War  -  28 October 1959 (Italy)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 1,848 users  
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Italy, 1916. Oreste Jacovacci and Giovanni Busacca are called, as all the Italian youths, to serve the army in the WWI. They both try in every way to avoid serving the army. Giovanni bribes... See full summary »

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Title: The Great War (1959)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Oreste Jacovacci
...
Giovanni Busacca
...
Costantina
Folco Lulli ...
Bordin
Bernard Blier ...
Capitano Castelli
Romolo Valli ...
Tenente Gallina
Vittorio Sanipoli ...
Maggiore Venturi
Nicola Arigliano ...
Giardino
Geronimo Meynier ...
Il portaordini
Mario Valdemarin ...
Sottotenente Lorenzi
Elsa Vazzoler ...
Moglie di Boradin
Tiberio Murgia ...
Rosario Nicotra
Livio Lorenzon ...
Sergente Barriferri
Ferruccio Amendola ...
De Concini
Carlo D'Angelo ...
Capitano Ferri
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Storyline

Italy, 1916. Oreste Jacovacci and Giovanni Busacca are called, as all the Italian youths, to serve the army in the WWI. They both try in every way to avoid serving the army. Giovanni bribes Oreste, believing to his false pledges to make him avoiding the army. But the destiny make them meeting again on the train directed to the front. Nevertheless Oreste stolen money to Giovanni they become friends and in first times are allocated to a secondary and quite front (village of Tigliano). Here they spend some months in relative peace and Giovanni finds time to fall in love for prostitute Costantina. But war is getting everyday closer. During the most important battle among Italians and Austro-Hungarians, Giovanni and Oreste are in charge to deliver a vital message to the Italian headquarters. But, unfortunately, they fall in the hands of an Austrian officer that, under life menace, starts an interrogation to find out the Italian message. What they should try to do now? Written by 1felco

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Great War is hell at its hottest...men at their mightiest...the screen at its greatest!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

28 October 1959 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

La grande guerra  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Referenced in Splendor (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Funny and bitter, as Italian comedies often are
18 July 2009 | by (Lille, France) – See all my reviews

Winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 1959, this film deserves more attention from movie lovers all around the world. Some critics regard "The Great War" as Monicelli's finest work - and they might be right. Set in Northern Italy during World War I, of course the film is definitely antiwar. As Monicelli once said in an interview : "I wanted to show things as they were -- as usual, badly conducted and led, and no one wanting to fight, or knowing what they were fighting for." It is history from the point of view of the humble people, with a good deal of irony. Starting as a light comedy, "The Great War" ends on a very poignant note, while it doesn't hide any of the horrors of trench warfare.

To me, Mario Monicelli and Dino Risi were the masters of Italian (tragi)comedy back in the 50s and 60s. Their best films (like this one) offer a combination of levity, social criticism and black comedy which is extremely appealing and unique. That said, Monicelli and Risi would never have done such great films without great actors. Here, Gassman and Sordi are a wonderful pair as two army mates caught in a conflict they don't really care about. The film also features beauty queen Silvana Mangano in a small but important part as Gassman's love interest.

A classic, unmissable.


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