IMDb > Fists in the Pocket (1965)
I pugni in tasca
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Fists in the Pocket (1965) More at IMDbPro »I pugni in tasca (original title)

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7.8/10   2,004 votes »
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Release Date:
27 May 1968 (USA) See more »
A young man takes drastic measures to rid his dysfunctional family of its various afflictions. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
5 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Intense film noir in which a son turns to matricide and fratricide See more (7 total) »


  (in credits order)

Lou Castel ... Alessandro

Paola Pitagora ... Giulia
Marino Masé ... Augusto
Liliana Gerace ... Madre
Pier Luigi Troglio ... Leone
Jeannie McNeil ... Lucia
Irene Agnelli ... Bruna
Celestina Bellocchio ... Ragazza alla festa
Stefania Troglio ... Cameriera
Gianni Schicchi ... Tonino
Alfredo Filippazzi ... Dottore
Gianfranco Cella ... Ragazzo alla festa
Lella Bertante
Sandra Bergamini
Mauro Martini ... Ragazzo

Directed by
Marco Bellocchio 
Writing credits
Marco Bellocchio 

Produced by
Enzo Doria .... producer (as Ezio Passadore)
Original Music by
Ennio Morricone 
Cinematography by
Alberto Marrama 
Film Editing by
Silvano Agosti  (as Aurelio Mangiarotti)
Anita Cacciolati 
Art Direction by
Gisella Longo 
Sound Department
Vittorio De Sisti .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Giuseppe Lanci .... camera operator
Alberto Rosa .... assistant camera
Other crew
Elda Tattoli .... dubbing director
Paolo Carlini .... voice dubbing: Lou Castel (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"I pugni in tasca" - Italy (original title)
"Fist in His Pocket" - USA
See more »
105 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.75 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Italy:VM18 (original rating) | Italy:VM14 (re-rating) (1978) | USA:Not Rated | West Germany:18

Did You Know?

The film premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival. It was loved by young critics, loathed with equal passion by the Catholic establishment and earned huffy put-downs from Luis Buñuel and Michelangelo Antonioni, two heroes of director Marco Bellocchio.See more »
Revealing mistakes: When the whole family is having dinner, Augusto is seated at one corner of the table and the mother is sitting on a side at the other corner. The cat is shown to be eating meat off the mother's plate in one scene, but in the next scene Augusto is shown picking up the cat as if was right next to him on the table. Once he removes the cat, the next camera angle again shows Augusto and the mother at opposite ends.See more »
Alessandro:I'm a volcano of ideas.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Quo Vadis, Baby? (2005)See more »


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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Intense film noir in which a son turns to matricide and fratricide, 10 December 2012
Author: msroz from United States

This picture has a plot that is disturbing, and I've had to let 24 hours pass before deciding what the story is about. First off, the reviews to date appearing before mine are excellent in explaining the movie's artistic merits and themes. My take benefits from having read them.

The plot is straightforward, although extremely unusual. A young man who is epileptic is part of a family with deep problems. He determines to take everyone's lives. This doesn't work out as planned, so he instead murders his blind mother and then his younger brother, who is of subpar intelligence. The movie ends in midstream without his having completed his designs, his sister being next in line apparently. He and his sister have a close to incestuous relationship. Their older brother doesn't know what his younger brother has done, but the sister does, and she does nothing about it.

This tale is told in a normal and matter of fact fashion for the most part, although naturally the characters have emotional outbursts and oddities.

The characters are thoroughly removed from almost all hope of regaining any semblance of normal human creativity. The beauty of La Traviata serves as a background to an epileptic seizure. The brother and sister trample on every symbol of their family, their mother, material possessions, religion and so on. They have no shame and no sense of something valuable to hold onto. The killer has no sense of redemption other than through his murders.

The writer and film makers have used this family as a microcosm or metaphor of Italy, Europe and Western civilization in general. They are saying that all the old values are dead. World War 2 following upon World War 1 following upon the philosophic death of God have seen to that. The suffocating bureaucratic welfare states have seen to that. The flawed church establishments have seen to that. The family has proved unable to withstand the pressures, it too having its own share of dysfunctionalities. What is left, we are shown artistically, is suicide and death. These are the new normal. They are the direction of these trends and their underlying thrust, and this family reflects it all. The killer's energy is released only by removing what he sees as the obstacles. He can no longer think straight. He can't see any other alternatives. If youth is ever the hope, and if this is youth, then there is no hope. The civilization will go to its degraded end. All of this is the message.

And while it is being told, the surroundings remain as always. Nature's beauties remain. Things seem normal, even when they are not. A mother can be pushed off a beautiful cliff and nature doesn't blink. God doesn't strike the murderer dead. There is no blood, no gore. There is not even any joy in the killer. He in fact is frustrated that no one else recognizes his cleverness in getting away with it. His look is surely wicked and devilish at times, even as he is boyish. The actor did a great job at conveying that. Evil looks normal. The message is that the evil in Europe has so permeated every institution, including the family, that there are no paths left to redemption.

The movie ends with this downward spiral in progress and incompleted, as if to say, wait and watch the rest of this tragedy unfold in real life. The movie is therefore very much an intensification of noir themes in these destructive directions of an obsessed young man.

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