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(1963)

 -  Drama | Fantasy  -  25 June 1963 (USA)
8.2
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 63,599 users  
Reviews: 204 user | 122 critic

A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

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(story), (story), 4 more credits »
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8½ (1963) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Top 250 #198 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Luisa Anselmi (as Anouk Aimee)
...
Rossella Falk ...
...
Madeleine Lebeau ...
Madeleine, l'attrice francese
Caterina Boratto ...
Eddra Gale ...
La Saraghina (as Edra Gale)
Guido Alberti ...
Mario Conocchia ...
Conocchia, il direttore di produzione
Bruno Agostini ...
Bruno - il secondo segretario di produzione
Cesarino Miceli Picardi ...
Cesarino, l'ispettore di produzione
Jean Rougeul ...
Carini, il critico cinematografico
Mario Pisu ...
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Storyline

Guido is a film director, trying to relax after his last big hit. He can't get a moment's peace, however, with the people who have worked with him in the past constantly looking for more work. He wrestles with his conscience, but is unable to come up with a new idea. While thinking, he starts to recall major happenings in his life, and all the women he has loved and left. An autobiographical film of Fellini, about the trials and tribulations of film making. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

More sensational than "La Dolce Vita" See more »

Genres:

Drama | Fantasy

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

25 June 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$11,947 (USA) (9 April 1999)

Gross:

$50,690 (USA) (23 April 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

8½ was shot, like almost all Italian movies at the time, completely without sound recording on set. All dialogue was dubbed during post production. Fellini was known for shouting direction at his actors during shooting, and for rewriting dialogue afterwards, making a lot of the dialogue in the movie appear out-of-sync. (Source: High-def Digest) See more »

Goofs

When Guido and Claudia go out for their drive, they stop near some springs. Guido exits the passenger side of the car (off camera); we hear the door open and close. But when Claudia, who was driving, steps out moments later (also off camera), we never hear her door open or close. See more »

Quotes

Writer: You see, what stands out at a first reading is the lack of a central issue or a philosophical stance. That makes the film a chain of gratuitous episodes which may even be amusing in their ambivalent realism. You wonder, what is the director really trying to do? Make us think? Scare us? That ploy betrays a basic lack of poetic inspiration.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in The Cockups (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Concertino alle Terme: Sinfonia
(uncredited)
Written by Nino Rota
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Five Martini Cinematic Experience
6 February 2005 | by (Dallas, Texas) – See all my reviews

Intellectuals have written volumes on this strange film by Italian New Wave director, Federico Fellini. I am not an intellectual, so my review will be brief. At its most basic, "8 1/2" (a.k.a. "Otto e mezzo") concerns Guido, a film director (supposedly a surrogate for Fellini himself), who is having what amounts to a midlife crisis. Guido is frustrated in his film-making, and by his relations with other people in his life. But the film's story does not proceed in a traditional, linear fashion. Fellini more or less abandons logical narration, in favor of "open form" narration, wherein the story's causal chain of events is broken.

Thus, trying to figure out what is going on in this film can be hard. Guido's fantasies, memories, dreams, and reality co-mingle in a kind of cinematic stew. Fellini presents viewers with a kaleidoscope of surreal B&W images of ordinary objects and eccentric, chattering characters which interact with Guido and with each other, in ways that defy logic, and give breathtaking meaning to the term symbolism. Followers of psychologist Carl Jung would have a field day. In style, the film is flamboyant. In substance, the film is maddeningly subliminal. And yet, even the most metallic cynic, Pauline Kael notwithstanding, must surely appreciate the rareness of Fellini's probing introspection.

Given the bizarre, unstructured content of "8 1/2", I wonder about the issue of necessity. Suppose Fellini had added an extra ten minutes to the screenplay, or deleted ten minutes. Would that have made any difference? Apart from Guido, if this or that character had been deleted, how would that have changed the story's significance? And if, as some have suggested, the film is a mirror image of Fellini's own confused psyche, can the story be construed as an intuition of his future film-making?

"Otto e mezzo" is not for everyone. Like a Zen koan, "8 1/2" invites frustration. It is above all else a celebration of ambiguity and abstraction, a cinematic experience to ponder, especially on the heels of four or five martinis ... or 8 1/2, if you really want to induce immense intellectual insight. Cheers.


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