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La Dolce Vita (1960)
"La dolce vita" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  19 April 1961 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 45,808 users   Metascore: 93/100
Reviews: 162 user | 115 critic | 12 from Metacritic.com

A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering paparazzo journalist living in Rome.



(story), (story), 6 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Maddalena (as Anouk Aimee)
Fanny (as Magali Noel)
Alain Cuny ...
Annibale Ninchi ...
Il padre di Marcello
Walter Santesso ...
Robert - marito di Sylvia
Jacques Sernas ...
Il divo
Nadia Gray ...
Valeria Ciangottini ...
Riccardo Garrone ...
Ida Galli ...
Debuttante dell'anno
Audrey McDonald ...
Jane (as Audey McDonald)


Journalist and man-about-town Marcello struggles to find his place in the world, torn between the allure of Rome's elite social scene and the stifling domesticity offered by his girlfriend, all the while searching for a way to become a serious writer. Written by Jeff Lewis

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


The Roman Scandals - Bound to shock with its truth! See more »


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



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Release Date:

19 April 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La Dolce Vita  »

Box Office


$19,516,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (premiere) | (re-release) | (premiere)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When shooting the famous Fontana di Trevi scene, director Federico Fellini complained that the water in the fountain looked dirty. A representative of Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) present at the shooting was able to supply the film team with some of the airline's green sea dye marker (for use in case of an emergency landing at sea). This was used to color the water, and the director was satisfied. See more »


The aircraft which brings Sylvia to Rome is an Alitalia Vickers Viscount as it comes in to land, but is both a Douglas DC-7C and DC-6B when it is on the ground. See more »


Steiner: We must get beyond passions, like a great work of art. In such miraculous harmony. We should love each other outside of time... detached.
See more »


Referenced in Candy (1968) See more »


I'm Goin' Away
Written by Alan Greene
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User Reviews

Complex And Rambling
22 May 2009 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Mostly because of the terrific high contrast, B&W visuals, and the evocative music, this is the only Fellini film I have seen that I have somewhat enjoyed. I recommend it, but not without reservations. It's a complex film with many textured layers of meaning. And, in typical Fellini fashion, it rambles and it meanders.

Deviating from standard three-Act structure, Fellini's story consists of roughly eight episodes, all starting at night and ending at dawn, more or less. Each has its own crisis. And the only thing that unites these episodes into a coherent whole is the story's protagonist, Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni). In his job as a journalist and overall observer of human nature, Marcello encounters people in high society who seem outwardly happy and self-fulfilled. On closer examination, however, these people are empty, hollow, alienated, emotionally adrift and vacant.

A good example is the starlet Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), a glamorous figure, but she's all image and no substance. "La dolce vita" is the first film that uses the concept of "paparazzi", which implies the importance of "image", separate from substance.

Throughout the various episodes Marcello sees these "images" of happiness, of contentment, but the images are deceptive, elusive, unreliable. In one episode, two "miracle" children "see" the Madonna. "The Madonna is over there", shouts one child. The crowd chases after her. But the other child who "sees" the Madonna runs in the opposite direction. Happiness, self-fulfillment, religious visions ... they're all a will-o'-the-wisp. And so, the film conveys a sense of pessimism and cynicism.

The film thus has deep thematic value. It caused a scandal when it was released, and was banned by the Catholic Church, apparently for appearing to be anti-religious.

Yet for all its deep meaning, "La dolce vita" can be a trial to sit through. Somewhere in the second half I began to lose interest. I don't have a problem with Fellini's deviation from standard plot structure. I do have a problem with a director who doesn't know when to quit. This film goes on for almost three hours. A good edit, to delete all the fat, would have tightened up the story and rendered it more potent. As is, it's too strung out, too stretched, too meandering.

If the viewer can persevere, there's enormous cinematic art in this film. And helped along by Nino Rota's music, the film is wonderfully evocative, at times stylishly melancholy.

47 of 59 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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