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A Pilot Returns (1942)

Un pilota ritorna (original title)
A young Italian pilot is interned in a British prison camp after his plane is shot down during the war against Greece. He falls in love with a doctor's daughter and manages to escape during... See full summary »


Roberto Rossellini


Michelangelo Antonioni (screenplay), Ugo Betti (dialogue) | 6 more credits »


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Complete credited cast:
Massimo Girotti ... Il tenente Gino Rossati
Michela Belmonte ... Anna
Gaetano Masier Gaetano Masier ... Il tenente Trisotti
Elvira Betrone Elvira Betrone ... La signora Rossati, madre di Gino
Nino Brondello Nino Brondello ... Il tenente Vittali
Piero Lulli Piero Lulli ... De Santis
Giovanni Valdambrini Giovanni Valdambrini ... Il medico, padre di Anna
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Piero Palermini Piero Palermini ... Un giovane ufficiale inglese
Jole Tinta Jole Tinta ... La madre del bimbo ammalato


A young Italian pilot is interned in a British prison camp after his plane is shot down during the war against Greece. He falls in love with a doctor's daughter and manages to escape during a bombardment. He reaches home, wounded, just as news arrives of the Greek surrender. Written by Anonymous

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Drama | War


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Did You Know?


The film was made with the participation of the officers of the Italian air force. See more »


Referenced in Luchino Visconti (1999) See more »

User Reviews

Proto-Neorealist Cinema
18 October 2002 | by EdgarSTSee all my reviews

For the first time I've seen a film by Roberto Rossellini prior to his Neorealist classics, based on a story by il Duce's son, Vittorio Mussolini (credited with the anagram Tito Silvio Mursino). So by its date and origin it may be labeled a "Fascist film", but not surprisingly Rossellini avoids any overt reference to or exaltation of the regime, from a screenplay co-written with Michelangelo Antonioni, among others. At first I thought I was going to see a sort of Italian "Top Gun" as the movie takes around 20 minutes describing the activities of Italian pilots, but soon the airplane of the title hero (Massimo Girotti, the star of Visconti's "Ossessione") is knocked down and he is imprisoned by the British officers. Suddenly the hunter becomes the hunted, and Rossellini elaborates on his belief that personal stories are illustrations of history and politics: the pilot is nothing but a puppet of his country's foreign policy. Rossellini then describes the state of the prisoners, as they endure cold, hunger and disease, and are taken by the British from an old farm to a port in the Mediterranean, while bombs are dropped over roads, fields and bridges, to a patriotic ending (that is revealed by the title). Rossellini tells this story in 85 minutes, with early examples of what Bazin would describe as "image fact": long takes, where the camera moves (including a 360° turn) not to advance the story, but to show the environment, the conditions where the characters interact. Rossellini narrates fast and synthesizes the fable, though his economy was not determined --as in "Romà, citta aperta"-- by the surrounding events (war), showing the development of a style that would grow during the Neorealist movement

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Italian | English | Greek

Release Date:

8 April 1942 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

A Pilot Returns See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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