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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 45,755 users   Metascore: 93/100
Reviews: 161 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.



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Top Rated Movies #248 | 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 world's most talked about movie today! See more »


Comedy | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

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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
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Did You Know?


The famous scene in the Trevi Fountain was shot in March, when nights were still cold. According to Federico Fellini (in an interview with Costanzo Costantini), Anita Ekberg stood in the cold water in her dress for hours without any trouble. Marcello Mastroianni, on the other hand, had to wear a wetsuit beneath his clothes, and even that wasn't enough. Still freezing, he downed an entire bottle of vodka, so that he was completely drunk while shooting the scene. See more »


In the Via Veneto scene when Marcello meets his father, the windshield of Marcello's car is missing. You can see his hand holding on to the windshield frame as he exits his car. 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 »


Spoofed in The Best of Gilda Radner (1989) See more »


Jingle Bells
Written by James Pierpont (as James Lord Pierpont)
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User Reviews

Seductive but exhausting New Wave epic
23 July 2009 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

This movie is about a Roman journalist at the crossroads of his life but unable to move forward in any meaningful direction. He is a man trapped in his life of superficiality.

Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita is a very aesthetically beautiful film. The widescreen compositions are often outstanding. The crisp black and white photography is lit to perfection and a joy to behold. One of the factors that makes Italian cinema in general so appealing for me is the gorgeous natural light of that country, allied with the stylish decor and architecture; and in this film these elements are well in abundance. If nothing else, La Dolce Vita is a treat to the eyes. Style over substance is a term that could certainly also be applied to the denizens of LDV's Rome. We are introduced to an array of beautiful but shallow character's; from Marcello Mastroianni's gossip journalist, via Anita Ekberg's international film star or Nico's fashion model, everyone is beautiful on the surface but somewhat dead underneath. And perhaps this is a problem with the film in general; a three hour expose of shallow people is an exhausting experience.

The film is not plot-driven. It's episodic, divided into seven days in the life of a Roman gossip columnist. It's not always obvious what the point of certain events actually is. I found myself spending quite a lot of energy actually trying to actively understand the meaning of Marcello's experiences, and not always successfully I concede. But suffice to say that a very general reading of the film's message would be that it is about the superficiality of celebrity and the emptiness of much of modern urban life. And while a lot of it is still very relevant today – in particular the public's obsession with celebrity – it's not always clear what Fellini is trying to say. It's quite an obtuse film, with a fair amount of symbolic imagery and loaded dialogue. It's certainly serious cinema. Although I often found myself enjoying it most when it was less intellectual and more sensual, such as the wonderful iconic scene where Anita Ekberg takes a dip in the Fontana di Trevi. This justifiably famous sequence is the most purely cinematic moment in La Dolce Vita and, in my opinion, the film could have benefited from more scenes of such striking power punctuated through its three hour running time.

Overall, although I do admire this film, I find it too tiring and drawn out to love. It's very well acted and photographed, it's just a little unengaging and occasionally tedious. That said, it's one to seek out if you are at all interested in 60's New Wave cinema.

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