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And the Ship Sails On (1983)

E la nave va (original title)
In 1914, a luxury ship leaves Italy in order to scatter the ashes of a famous opera singer. A lovable bumbling journalist chronicles the voyage and meets the singer's many eccentric friends and admirers.


Federico Fellini


Federico Fellini (story), Tonino Guerra (story) | 2 more credits »
11 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Freddie Jones ... Orlando
Barbara Jefford ... Ildebranda Cuffari
Victor Poletti Victor Poletti ... Aureliano Fuciletto
Peter Cellier ... Sir Reginald J. Dongby
Elisa Mainardi ... Teresa Valegnani
Norma West ... Lady Violet Dongby Albertini
Paolo Paoloni ... Il Maestro Albertini
Sarah-Jane Varley Sarah-Jane Varley ... Dorotea
Fiorenzo Serra Fiorenzo Serra ... Il Granduca
Pina Bausch ... La Principessa Lherimia
Pasquale Zito Pasquale Zito ... Il Conte di Bassano
Linda Polan Linda Polan ... Ines Ruffo Saltini
Philip Locke ... Il Primo Ministro
Jonathan Cecil ... Ricotin
Maurice Barrier ... Ziloev


In July 1914 a luxury cruise ship leaves Italy with the ashes of the famous opera singer Edmea Tetua. The boat is filled with her friends, opera singers, actors and all kinds of exotic people. Life is sweet the first days, but on the third day the captain has to save a a large number of Serbian refugees from the sea, refugees who has escaped the first tremors of WWI. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | Music


PG | See all certifications »

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Did You Know?


The song "Rhinoceros", by Utah Saints on their album Two, contains a sample of Michael Stipe, the R.E.M. singer, detailing the scenario of this film . See more »


[first lines]
Orlando: They tell me: "Do the news, tell what happens!"
See more »


Referenced in Il tassinaro (1983) See more »


Death of the Swan
Composed by Camille Saint-Saëns
See more »

User Reviews

Sleeping Chickens
7 February 2010 | by tedgSee all my reviews

Fellini is a visionary mystic. He sees what he knows before he figures it out. So we have set design, costume design, even character design, before he fills things in with his narratives and allegories. I know this, so don't come to be disappointed when the stories and allegories do not quite work. It is the sign of risktaking that he allows his vision to outrace his sense.

Shakespeare thought "The Tempest" would be his last play. The technology of the stage had left him behind, so in a sort of final flourish built a play that exploited the new special effects, costume and stage technologies, far better than his contemporaries. And within that he placed a surrogate of himself. The play is full of deep observations on the nature of life and reason. Each of these is essential to his purpose, which was to present himself through ideas. Few of these were necessary to advance the story. Much was made of the plays within the play and who controls what elements of them

Fellini similarly believed this to be his final film. At 62, already advised that his heart would give out, he poured everything he wanted to say into this. Yes, he always did that, but this time he used "The Tempest" as his guide. Afterwards he would go to Peru for inspiration.

The film is folded into a literal opera, an opera about the life of a famous opera star, which morphs from small stories (a singoff in the boiler room) into an opera of war.

Orthogonally, the film is folded twice into an inner film being made of the event and an outer film of the film. The way we are introduced to these two devices simultaneously is one of the most trilling beginnings in the history of cinema. There is an inner, inner séance.

As a film experience, it is much like "Duck Soup," where the fakery and frippery is exposed and unremarked on: in the thing itself; in the ridiculous pomp of "royalty;" in the strutting of the artists, all conflated.

I would have been tempted to give this the honor of being one of the two Fellini films I set as fours. That would be because when a man prepares to die, it matters what he says. But it so happens that he thought the same before the two I picked.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.

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Italy | France


Italian | German | Serbian | Russian

Release Date:

7 October 1983 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

And the Ship Sails On See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


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Color (Eastmancolor)| Black and White

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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