MOVIEmeter
Top 5000
Down 51 this week

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

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  12 February 1999 (USA)
8.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.6/10 from 346,105 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 1,017 user | 150 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.

Director:

Writers:

(story), (story)
Watch Trailer
0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Instant Video

ON DISC

IMDb Picks: May

Visit our IMDb Picks section to see our recommendations of movies and TV shows coming out in May, sponsored by COVERGIRL.

Visit the IMDb Picks section

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 24 titles
created 08 Nov 2011
 
a list of 36 titles
created 02 Jan 2012
 
a list of 35 titles
created 02 Mar 2012
 
a list of 42 titles
created 22 Mar 2014
 
a list of 22 titles
created 5 days ago
 

Related Items

Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Life Is Beautiful (1997) on IMDb 8.6/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Life Is Beautiful.

User Polls

Top 250 #28 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 63 wins & 39 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

The Pianist (2002)
Biography | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

After he becomes a quadriplegic from a paragliding accident, an aristocrat hires a young man from the projects to be his caregiver.

Directors: Olivier Nakache, Eric Toledano
Stars: François Cluzet, Omar Sy, Anne Le Ny
Amélie (2001)
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

Amelie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.

Director: Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Stars: Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  

In Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Forrest Gump (1994)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  

Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him.

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Stars: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Gary Sinise
City of God (2002)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer.

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund
Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele, Leandro Firmino
Crime | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.

Director: Frank Darabont
Stars: Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, David Morse
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

A former neo-nazi skinhead tries to prevent his younger brother from going down the same wrong path that he did.

Director: Tony Kaye
Stars: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly D'Angelo
Action | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

Director: Luc Besson
Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Stars: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

A sexually frustrated suburban father has a mid-life crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter's best friend.

Director: Sam Mendes
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch
Edit

Cast

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
Edit

Storyline

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) »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

12 February 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Life Is Beautiful  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$57,598,247 (USA) (1 October 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (first release)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Horst Buchholz did his own dubbing for the English and German dubbed versions. See more »

Goofs

Just before Guido is caught by the spotlight at the end of the movie, a woman belonging to the group of Jews being deported smiles to the camera. See more »

Quotes

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

Connections

Referenced in Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Marcia Reale
(1831)
Written by Giuseppe Gabetti (as G. Gabetti)
Ed. Casa Musicale Pucci - Portici (Na)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A superb tragi-comedy
26 February 1999 | by (Durham, England) – See all my reviews

Roberto Benigni's Vita e bella, is in many ways similar to Chaplin's Great Dictator. Both are comic attacks on fascism, but the former's is the more successful. Benigni initially accesses the emotions of his audience through simple comedy, which is a pleasant mix of Keaton and Chaplin. Romance ensues with his real life wife Nicoletta Braschi. The first half of this film has been seen by various critics as being inferior to the second, but this is certainly not the case. In the first section we follow the delightful romance that will eventually lead to marriage and the creation of the wonderful Giosue (Giorgio Cantarini).

It is the first half where the audience can laugh the loudest and delight at the immense comedy talent of Benigni. Unlike so many films nowadays there is nothing crude or course, his is simple innocent humour, which is all the more effective. The way he ties together little strand in the film to create comedy elements shows a great writing ability, and a mastery of timing when it comes to their execution on screen. Various incidents related to the rise of anti-semitism and fascism in Italy show that there are sinister forces at work which come to the fore in the second segment.

Guido (Benigni) moves events on from Tuscany in 1939 to the last year of the war in a concentration camp. In this period he and Dora (Braschi) have had their son Giosue (Cantanarini). The five year old greatly reminds me of Toto in Cinema Paradiso, and plays an equally important role in his prospective film (though in Paradiso's case it is at the beginning of the movie). The relationship between the two is very similar to that of Jackie Coogan and Charlie Chaplin (though Benigni, unlike Chaplin, keeps the best of the comedy moments). Guido attempts to keep from the boy the horrors of what is going on, and this eventually manifests itself as a game where the aim is to score 100 points, with the winner winning a real tank (which, of course appeals to the young boy). Comic moments are still present, that involving Guido's translation of the rules of the camp is particularly notable, but it becomes somewhat more difficult to laugh when we consider the gravity of what is going on.

The emphasis begins shifts, and we realise that this is a film about human spirit above all else. Guido not only appeals to the audience due to his comedy and sheer pleasantness, but also in the way that he loves his family and the measures that he will go to to protect them.

This is certainly no Schindler's List, but it never pretends to be. Occasionally events seem a little contrived, but this does seem to work in the film's favour. However, this film avoids the tendency of Hollywood to go far over the top in emotional and credibility terms.

Benigni shines like a lantern throughout the picture, showing that he is a talent, not only in comedy terms, that far outshines his peers. Cantanari is a delight, and Braschi also plays her part well. There is even an appearance by The Magnificent Seven's Horst Buchholz as Doctor Lessing, a man who events change for the worse.

Please don't let the fact that it, to all but the Italians, is a foreign language film. The language itself adds a beauty of form to the film, much as it did in the case of Il Postino. This has to be a certainty for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, though something tells me that it will be overlooked for other awards as it is Italian and not a mainstream English language picture.

Please see this film, and make up your own mind. It is appealing in so many different ways that I'm sure that you will not be disappointed.


187 of 239 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
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
Discuss Life Is Beautiful (1997) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?