IMDb > We the Living (1942)

We the Living (1942) More at IMDbPro »


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Release Date:
1942 (Italy) See more »
The 1942 Film Classic Starring Alida Valli, Rossano Brazzi, and Fosco Giachetti
The time is the Russian Revolution. The place is a country burdened with fear - the midnight knock at the door... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
A political love story See more (3 total) »


  (in credits order)

Directed by
Goffredo Alessandrini 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Goffredo Alessandrini  uncredited
Corrado Alvaro  adaptation
Oreste Biancoli  uncredited
Anton Giulio Majano 
Ayn Rand  novel
Orio Vergani  adaptation

Produced by
Erika Holzer .... associate producer
Henry Mark Holzer .... associate producer
Duncan Scott .... producer
Film Editing by
Eraldo Da Roma 
Duncan Scott 
Production Design by
Giorgio Abkhasi 
Andrea Belobodoroff 
Costume Design by
Rosi Gori 
Production Management
Franco Magli .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Giorgio Cristallini .... assistant director
Anton Giulio Majano .... assistant director
Art Department
Amleto Bonetti .... construction coordinator
Sound Department
Piero Cavazzuti .... sound engineer
Tullo Parmegiani .... sound engineer
Camera and Electrical Department
Leone Bioli .... camera operator
Editorial Department
Erika Holzer .... editing advisor
Henry Mark Holzer .... editing advisor
Ayn Rand .... supervising editor
Other crew
Helen Milsted Eisenman .... subtitler: English

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Ayn Rand's We the Living" - USA (video box title)
See more »
USA:170 min

Did You Know?

When the movie was restored, the nitrate negatives of the movie had survived in fine condition, but the original soundtrack had not, and it was re-recorded with other actors voicing the roles.See more »
Movie Connections:
Edited from Noi vivi (1942)See more »


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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful.
A political love story, 29 March 2013
Author: atlasmb from United States

Ayn Rand's novel, We the Living, was made into 2 films by an Italian company and released in 1942. They made these films without the consent of the author. Nevertheless, the resulting films were rather well done, except for the fact that dialogue and plot were added that were a) more acceptable to the fascist government in power and b) antithetical to Rand's beliefs and the nature of the characters. Thus, when Rand was asked for her permission to re-release the films decades later, she agreed with the stipulation that the offending sections be excised. After all, the actions and motivations of the characters were contradictory with the added lines. (Example: it does not make sense for a character to condemn the principles of a free market economy when he is rebelling against a socialist economy).

Rand was mostly pleased with the Italian product and the actors' performances, so she was pleased to have the films--which were combined into one film--modified and released. Besides being a great novelist, she started her writing career as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Her understanding of plot and character development are second to no one's.

The story itself is a complex love story, a triangle between the heroine and the two relationships she had with two men--one who was a member of the ruling communist party, and one whose father was a member of the overthrown aristocracy. Both men are victims of their times in that they see aristocracy and communism as the only two alternatives. The first man learns the realities of compromising his values due to practicalities within the party and the social/political structure. The second suffers for his values but eventually learns to compromise them (they were not so strong to begin with) to survive in the corrupt society of the USSR.

Without the exposition of Rand's novel, the political messages of the story are probably difficult to discern, other than the "I" vs "The State" basics.

One writer criticized Rand for wanting to bring the film closer to her original vision, as if those who stole her work had a right to their artistic vision. I guess you could say that the fascist authorities also had a right to their vision, but obviously whatever rights they had to their own beliefs gave them no rights when it comes to amending Rand's work. The original Italian films would, no doubt be interesting, but mostly as examples of propaganda and for historical purposes.

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