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Life Is Beautiful (1997)
"La vita è bella" (original title)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  12 February 1999 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 369,948 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 1,026 user | 152 critic | 32 from

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.



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Top 250 Movies #26 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 60 wins & 42 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Giustino Durano ...
Sergio Bini Bustric ...
Ferruccio (as Sergio Bustric)
Doctor Lessing (as Horst Bucholz)
Giuliana Lojodice ...
Amerigo Fontani ...
Pietro De Silva ...
Francesco Guzzo ...
Raffaella Lebboroni ...
Claudio Alfonsi ...
Rodolfo's Friend
Gil Baroni ...
Massimo Bianchi ...
Man with Key


In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish book keeper named Guido starts a fairy tale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank. Written by Anthony Hughes <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

jewish | tank | italy | holocaust | 1930s | See All (70) »


An unforgettable fable that proves love, family and imagination conquer all.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for holocaust-related thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




| |

Release Date:

12 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Life Is Beautiful  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$118,920 (USA) (23 October 1998)


$57,598,247 (USA) (1 October 1999)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (first release)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Before they go to sleep Guido and Ferruccio have a few jokes about the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, a favorite writer of Adolf Hitler. See more »


The champagne bottle changes position when Guido is describing how to serve lobster (first it's tilted towards the right, then centered, then tilted again, etc.). Also, the bottle is first completely sealed (with all the labels and stuff) and then we can see it without all those labels, to appear completely sealed again in a backward-to-forward take, and then opened again. See more »


[first lines]
Giosué Orefice: [narrating as an adult] This is a simple story... but not an easy one to tell.
See more »


Referenced in Hollywood's Top Ten: Movies to Warm Your Heart (2011) See more »


Beautiful That Way
Written by Nicola Piovani and Noa
Performed by Noa
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Movie About Hope
12 November 2000 | by (Washington, DC) – See all my reviews

Life Is Beautiful takes the premise that love and hope can survive the most trying of conditions, in this case a Nazi concentration camp. Most everyone knows this very popular and honored film, so I won't belabor the story. Briefly, in my humble opinion, this film deserves all the accolades it's been awarded. A near perfect film, my only gripe is that Mr. Benigni's performance could have been more understated, especially the half of the film that's set in the concentration camp. But this is only a slight complaint. For a joyful, life-affirming movie, Life Is Beautiful is tops. But be forewarned, as its principal backdrop of anti-Semitism and Nazi murder, it is not a very happy movie.

70 of 104 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Americans , really ? rabarbers144
Not in the IMDB Top 250 kent_over_pi
Greatest Italian movie ever? I don't think so... art_of_cinema
ok for those who cried.... jono101
Italian version with English subs or English dubbed version? artknish
Oscar... Benigni/Norton turdferguson1000
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