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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 371,116 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 1,026 user | 152 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

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 Rated 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 <husnock31@hotmail.com>

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?


Roberto Benigni says the title comes from a quote by Leon Trotsky. In exile in Mexico, knowing he was about to be killed by Joseph Stalin's assassins, he saw his wife in the garden and wrote that, in spite of everything, "life is beautiful". See more »


Horst Buchholz (Dr. Lessing) is mistakenly credited as "Horst Bucholz." See more »


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


References Singin' in the Rain (1952) See more »


Belle nuit (Barcarolle)
from the opera "Les contes d'Hoffmann"
Music by Jacques Offenbach
Libretto by Jules Barbier (uncredited)
Performed by Montserrat Caballé (as M. Caballé), soprano; and Shirley Verrett (as S. Verret),
Recorded by RCA Victor
New Philharmonia Orchestra (uncredited)
Conducted by Anton Guadagno (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The most aptly named movie - A classic
12 November 2005 | by (New Delhi) – See all my reviews

I have never in my life seen a movie that so truly symbolizes its name and its message. Roberto Benigni - 'The Italian Treasure House' has probably given to his viewers his best. The story, the performances, the entire theme of a person performing his duties as a husband, as a father is very 'moving' and inspiring. 'Life is beautiful' as the name goes is about a Jewish man, who falls in love with a non-Jewish lady, marries her, has a kid and who is then taken as a prisoner in a concentration camp along with his wife and kid. But the way he protects his kid from the horrors of the genocide, how he always tries to find ways to make his wife and kid smile and laugh, is what makes the movie, a MUST SEE.

It is certainly one of the best movies that I have seen.

121 of 166 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
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Oscar... Benigni/Norton turdferguson1000
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