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The Little World of Don Camillo (1952)

Don Camillo (original title)
A determined priest and a Communist mayor develop a grudging friendship in spite of their official rivalry.


Julien Duvivier
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Fernandel ... Don Camillo
Gino Cervi ... Giuseppe 'Peppone' Bottazzi
Vera Talchi Vera Talchi ... Gina Filotti (as Vera Talqui)
Franco Interlenghi ... Mariolino della Bruciata
Sylvie ... Signora Cristina
Charles Vissières Charles Vissières ... Il Vescovo (as Charles Vissiere)
Clara Auteri Pepe Clara Auteri Pepe ... Woman saying 'Viva Peppone!' (as Clara Auteri)
Italo Clerici Italo Clerici ... Barchini
Peppino De Martino Peppino De Martino ... Assessor
Carlo Duse Carlo Duse ... Il Bigio
Manuel Gary Manuel Gary ... Il delegato (as Manoel Gary)
Leda Gloria Leda Gloria ... Signora Bottazzi
Luciano Manara Luciano Manara ... Filotti
Armando Migliari Armando Migliari ... Brusco della Bruciata
Giovanni Onorato Giovanni Onorato ... Scartazzini


In a village of the Po valley where the earth is hard and life miserly, the priest and the communist mayor are always fighting to be the head of the community. If in secret, they admired and liked each other, politics still divided them as it is dividing the country. And when the mayor wants his "People's House"; the priest wants his "Garden City" for the poor. Division exist between the richest and the poorest, the pious and the atheists and even between lovers. But if the people are as hard as the country, they are good in the bottom of their heart. Written by Jean-Marie Berthiaume <jiembe@videotron.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:

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Italy | France


Latin | Italian

Release Date:

13 January 1953 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Little World of Don Camillo See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The whole film was shot twice; there is a French and an Italien negative, that can be distinguished by details in editing and content (watch the position of the dog during the procession for example). See more »


Crocefisso: Where did you get that cigar, Camillo?
Don Camillo: Peppone had two. I think I took it without asking him. You know he believes in equal distribution of wealth.
See more »

Alternate Versions

German version runs 2 minutes shorter than the Italian original version. See more »


Followed by The Return of Don Camillo (1953) See more »


Music by Pierre De Geyter
See more »

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User Reviews

English-dubbed version of classic Don Camillo film is a winner
18 September 1998 | by philosophymomSee all my reviews

(Since I originally submitted this review to the IMDb, an English-subtitled DVD of "The Little World of Don Camillo" -- and of its first sequel, "The Return of Don Camillo" -- has become available in the US. However, I still think that a fan might be interested looking at in the old dubbed version, if he or she can find it.)

This film is the first in a series of five shot in the 1950s and 60s based on Giovanni Guareschi's well-loved "Don Camillo" stories. The joint Italian-French productions were made with the involvement of the author himself, who wrote screenplays and Italian dialog for various entries in the series; therefore, most consider them to be the official movie versions of the Don Camillo stories. Guareschi is quoted as warmly approving of the way that stars Fernandel and Gino Cervi brought to life his two famous protagonists, the battling parish priest and Communist mayor of a small village in post-war Italy. Today, more than forty years after the series was completed, the films are still played on European television, dubbed into a variety of languages. Unfortunately, however, they are all but unknown to English-speaking fans (particularly American ones) of Giovanni Guareschi and his wonderful characters.

But this need not be, for "Le Petit Monde de Don Camillo" (1951) does exist in an English-dubbed version. The only one of the five films to get the treatment, it is quite well done (once you get around the fact that it's dubbed in the first place). "King of Dubbers" Robert Rietti (Rietty) takes on the roles of both Don Camillo and Peppone, while none other than Orson Welles provides the voice-over narration and, in that capacity, the voice of Christ which Don Camillo hears in answer to his prayers. The narration is intrusive at times (they got their money's worth out of Welles), but the movie overall is a faithful adaptation and interweaving of some of the more memorable early Don Camillo tales.

As the story opens, we meet hot-tempered Don Camillo complaining to the Lord about the recent election of the town's Communist contingent. The new Mayor, Peppone, is a particular thorn in Camillo's side, as the two have had an on-going rivalry which only escalates after the election. Conflicts abound: Peppone wants to have his son baptized "Lenin," but Don Camillo has other ideas. The priest has been trying for years to scrape together the money for a town recreation center, then suddenly the Communists tap an unorthodox source of funds and build their own "People's Palace." Peppone wants to fly the Red banner at a church procession, and he doesn't take Don Camillo's veto well. Don Camillo invests heart and soul into a soccer match between the church's team and the Party's, and he doesn't understand why the Lord declines to take a side. The Communists call a strike against the local landowners, but Don Camillo is determined to save the neglected farm animals. And somehow, amid all the sometimes humorous, sometimes serious conflict, a Catholic "Juliet" and a Communist "Romeo" have fallen in love. Can priest and mayor lay down their fists and help them?

I should add, for the *very* knowledgeable Don Camillo film fan, that the dubbed version of "Little World" is based on the Italian rather than the French cut of the original movie (director Julien Duvivier and the mostly bilingual cast shot the two versions simultaneously). Thus, certain scenes that appeared in the French release but were excised by the censors in stricter Italy will not be in the English version.

I believe the dubbed version of "The Little World of Don Camillo" is still available in vintage video catalogs (that's where I got my VHS edition in 1998), and it's worth looking for, especially for fans of the warm and whimsical tales on which it is based.

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