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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 369,786 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 63 wins & 39 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?


After its Oscar win, the film increased its box office tally by 45% and added nearly 500 theaters to its US run. Not bad for a movie that had been on general release for 22 weeks. 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 »


Edited into Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen (2012) 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

One of the best movies ever.

This is one of those movies that have a lasting effect on you. After watching it, I found that it has less to do with the Holocaust and more to do with the human feelings and the beautiful relationship of a father and his son. The holocaust provides the ultimate context, that brings and highlights the story and adds yet another deep dimension to the movie. No such piece of art has ever before combined laughter and tears of sadness in me before and that is the miracle of the movie. The realism of the movie is not its strong point, but then again it is not supposed to be; this helps in bringing the audiences to a state of mind away from reality, focusing on the feelings generated by forgetting about all external events and developments of the war. Despite that, the movie does not fail to point out an element of the nazi psychology demonstrated by the doctor who was obsessed with riddles. This portrayed the nazi 'state of mind' (if ever such an expression existed) as a sick mentally disturbed state. Life is really beautiful as you watch Guido's relentless efforts to make a lovely exciting experience of the concentration camp to his son. You get exhausted just watching him going through his painful day and yet you smile as he speaks to his son and makes him laugh. One can go on forever describing the creativity of this movie, but one will not be able to capture all its beauty in writing.

275 of 343 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Americans , really ? rabarbers144
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Oscar... Benigni/Norton turdferguson1000
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