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Life Is Beautiful (1997)

La vita è bella (original title)
PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, War | 12 February 1999 (USA)
1:30 | Trailer

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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.



(story and screenplay by), (story and screenplay by)
634 ( 12)
Top Rated Movies #26 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 66 wins & 46 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 ...
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


An unforgettable fable that proves love, family and imagination conquer all. (Canadian one sheet) See more »


Comedy | Drama | War

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


$20,000,000 (estimated)

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 »


When Dora looks out her barrack to listen to the opera piece, her long hair can be seen under her scarf. In concentration camps, women's heads were regularly shaved to prevent the proliferation of lice. See more »


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


Featured in The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007) 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), mezzo-soprano
Recorded by RCA Victor
New Philharmonia Orchestra (uncredited)
Conducted by Anton Guadagno (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Funny, entertaining, and amazingly intense and dramatic.
27 March 2000 | by (Luoyang, China) – See all my reviews

I find it sad that so many people are so narrow-minded that they will not watch a movie that is black and white or, in this case, is subtitled. I feel sorry for people who refuse to watch a movie like Life Is Beautiful just because it is a foreign film. They have no idea what a beautifully acted and directed film this is, and they'll never know what an amazing experience they are missing.

Life Is Beautiful manages to walk the extremely thin line between humor, fantasy, and tragedy. Sure, the film is clearly comedic, but nevertheless it manages to very effectively communicate the tremendous losses suffered in the Nazi concentration camps and has scenes at least as intense as any scene in Schindler's List.

This is one of the best films that I have ever seen. It manages to be so encompassing that you hardly notice the subtitles are even there. I proudly cast my vote of 10.

175 of 220 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Americans , really ? rabarbers144
I'm sorry, but I don't get it. mcintyre-15
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
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