The Clowns (1970)
"I clowns" (original title)

TV Movie  |  G  |   |  Documentary, Comedy  |  25 December 1970 (Italy)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,404 users  
Reviews: 8 user | 26 critic

A ragout of real memories and mockumentary, as Fellini explores a childhood obsession: circus clowns.


0Check in

Watch Now

$0.00 with Prime Video


Top 25 Trivia Items From the Last 25 Years

Here are some amazing facts and figures to deepen your appreciation of the movies you love.

See the full list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 19 May 2012
a list of 41 titles
created 23 Jun 2012
a list of 42 titles
created 04 Feb 2013
a list of 34 titles
created 11 months ago
a list of 24 titles
created 5 months ago

Related Items

Search for "The Clowns" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: The Clowns (TV Movie 1970)

The Clowns (TV Movie 1970) on IMDb 7.2/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Clowns.
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

City of Women (1980)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A businessman finds himself trapped at a hotel and threatened by women en masse.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Anna Prucnal, Bernice Stegers
Intervista (1987)
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Cinecitta, the huge movie studio outside Rome, is 50 years old and Fellini is interviewed by a Japanese TV crew about the films he has made there over the years as he begins production on ... See full summary »

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Sergio Rubini, Antonella Ponziani, Maurizio Mein
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

An orchestra assmbles for a rehearsal in an ancient chapel under the inquisive eyes of a TV documentary crew, but an uprising breaks out.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Balduin Baas, Clara Colosimo, Elizabeth Labi
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A beautiful but ambitious young woman joins a traveling troupe of third-rate vaudevillians and inadvertently causes jealousy and emotional crises.

Directors: Federico Fellini, Alberto Lattuada
Stars: Peppino De Filippo, Carla Del Poggio, Giulietta Masina
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Amelia and Pippo are reunited after several decades to perform their old music-hall act (imitating Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) on a TV variety show. It's both a touchingly nostalgic ... See full summary »

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Giulietta Masina, Franco Fabrizi
Roma (1972)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A fluid, unconnected and sometimes chaotic procession of scenes detailing the various people and events of life in Italy's capital.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Britta Barnes, Peter Gonzales Falcon, Fiona Florence
Drama | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In 1914, a luxury ship leaves Italy in order to scatter the ashes of a famous opera singer. A lovable bumbling journalist chronicles the voyage and meets the singer's many eccentric friends and admirers.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Freddie Jones, Barbara Jefford, Victor Poletti
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Roberto Benigni, Paolo Villaggio, Nadia Ottaviani
Drama | Fantasy | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A series of disjointed mythical tales set in first century Rome.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Martin Potter, Hiram Keller, Max Born
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

During a day in their honeymoon a couple is separated by the city's lust and the desires it produces.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Alberto Sordi, Giulietta Masina, Brunella Bovo
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Visions, memories, and mysticism all help a 40-something woman to find the strength to leave her cheating husband.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Giulietta Masina, Sandra Milo, Mario Pisu
Il Bidone (1955)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A trio of con-men lead by a lonesome swindler must deal with their job and family pressures.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Broderick Crawford, Richard Basehart, Giulietta Masina


Cast overview, first billed only:
Riccardo Billi ...
Himself - Italian Clown (as Billi)
Gigi Reder ...
Himself - Italian Clown (as Reder)
Tino Scotti ...
Himself - Italian Clown (as Scotti)
Valentini ...
Himself - Italian Clown
Fanfulla ...
Himself - Italian Clown
Merli ...
Himself - Italian Clown
Carlo Rizzo ...
Himself - Italian Clown (as Rizzo)
Colombaioni ...
Themselves - Italian Clowns (as I 4 Colombaioni)
Pistoni ...
Himself - Italian Clown
Martana ...
Themselves - Italian Clowns (as I Martana)
Giacomo Furia ...
Himself - Italian Clown (as Furia)
Alvaro Vitali ...
Himself (as The Troupe)
Dante Maggio ...
Himself - Italian Clown (as Maggio)
Galliano Sbarra ...
Himself - Italian Clown (as Sbarra)


Fellini exposes his great attraction for the clowns and the world of the circus first recalling a childhood experience when the circus arrives nearby his home. Then he joins his crew and travel from Italy to Paris chasing the last greatest European clowns still live in these countries. He also meets Anita Ekberg trying to buy a panther in a circus. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

clown | circus | childhood | memory | italy | See All (16) »


G | See all certifications »



| |


| |

Release Date:

25 December 1970 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

The Clowns  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Edited into Fellini's Circus (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

a semi documentary extravaganza of, forgive the expression, Felliniesque proportions!
1 October 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The Clowns might be the most wonderfully experimental of the obscure Federico Fellini films. Now depressingly only available on shoddy old videos from the 1980s (where, unintentionally on Fellini's part, the film skips a couple of times in jump cuts), it remains a testament to one of the director's life-long obsessions: the depravity, the joy, the delirium, and the choreography of the circus, particularly clowns in this case.

He opens the film with a particular image- a child watches outside his window as the circus tent is erected up, as if it were rising up from the ground like a tree- and then goes head-first into a circus performance. While it shouldn't be very funny, somehow it is, extremely so, in all the silliest ways that are partly Fellini in the timing of the shots and how buoyant the camera goes, and in the Nino Rota score (which, by the way, borrows from all the standards of circus fare, and as self-referentiality is the name of the game from 8 1/2 in the Wagner choice), and partly from the clowns themselves.

After a quick kaleidoscope view of a neighborhood with certain citizens, like a pool-hall man who's kind except for when he goes into a crazy state once in a while and acts like he's in war, Fellini changes gears, though not exactly. Like Herzog, and just as personally, we see a form of a documentary take shape, and not really at the same time. Fellini seems to be making a documentary on clowns, the history of them, interviews with the old masters from France and Italy and Germany, and visiting what remains of the great old sites and rare silent film reels. But then we see the camera is shooting *them* (them being the crew) shooting the documentary, and not in a usual documentary way: it's still a 'Fellini' film, meaning it has the self-indulgence of Fellini's narration, the dialog sometimes colliding into what the last person said, and in sweet gliding camera movements that seem to be flying on air.

What happens from this is that what could be just sheer indulgent flair turns into a creatively self-conscious work of personal film-making; we all know how wrapped up Fellini is in all of this, and without calling too much attention to it he's relaxed and humorous about it. See the great moment, in the midst of the climax, when he cuts to himself, being interviewed by some journalist, asked what is the 'message' he wants to convey with this film, and immediately after this buckets fall on Fellini and the journalists' heads. And as Fellini is technically doing a documentary, we get a superb whirlwind of showing and telling on the part of the clowns. We see them at how they work, with tigers and with big props, the midgets, the eternal pranksters, and how they look back on their times (one says he just can't look back anymore).

But what's most brilliant is how Fellini kind of answers his own hypothesis, which he comes to after viewing an all-too-short silent film of the clown Remy- that the circus is dead- by having a twenty-five minute long sequence where clowns deal with death, the widows, the resurrection, and just pure celebration. By the time it reaches its apex we're in the midst of one of the grandest of Fellini's orchestrated acts of abstract art, where clowns are running amok, the 'special effects' are going to a point (won't that 'horse' get in place!), and Rota's music seems to be going so fast one might see him off-screen with Fellini as his hands are on fire.

So why not a masterpiece? It is, in a sense, great more as a minor work than as something towering in the cinematic consciousness like La Dolce Vita or 8 1/2. It's also a little difficult to judge it as it now stands in its deteriorated state, as ten seconds of film in different spots seems to be jettisoned. But it is essential viewing for any Fellini fan, and for anyone who loves the circus as much as he does. And for someone like myself, who occasionally finds clowns a little too creepy and wacky for their own good, Fellini's contribution, however brief it is in 93 minutes, is unequivocal.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
How do you feel about clowns? psychsquad
Discuss The Clowns (1970) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page