6 user 17 critic

La macchina ammazzacattivi (1952)

A demon bestows on a self-righteous working photographer's camera the power to smite from the Earth "evil-doers". Naturally, the indignant photographer turns his new weapon on, one by one, ... See full summary »


Roberto Rossellini


Learn more

More Like This 

Fear (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Irene Wagner, the wife of prominent scientist Albert Wagner, finds herself blackmailed about her affair by her lover's jealous ex-girlfriend. The plot, an experiment in causing fear, drives her into a rage.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Mathias Wieman, Renate Mannhardt
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A series of vignettes depicting the lives of the original Franciscan monks, including their leader and the bumbling Ginepro.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Aldo Fabrizi, Gianfranco Bellini, Peparuolo
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A barber, murderer because of jealousy, spends twenty years in jail. He cannot, however adjust himself to a changed world and to the hypocracy of his own relatives and decides to return ... See full summary »

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Totò, Vera Molnar, Nyta Dover
L'amore (1948)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In the first episode, a heartbroken woman talks to her ex-lover on the phone. In the second, a pregnant woman believes she is carrying the child of Saint Joseph.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Anna Magnani, Federico Fellini, Peparuolo
Europe '51 (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A wealthy woman becomes obsessed with humanitarianism when her young son dies after attempting suicide.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Alexander Knox, Ettore Giannini
Stromboli (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Karin, a young woman from the Baltic countries, marries fisherman Antonio to escape from a prison camp. But she cannot get used to the tough life in Antonio's volcano-threatened village, Stromboli.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Mario Vitale, Renzo Cesana
Desire (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Paola, a Milan call girl, returns home to her village in an attempt to go straight. Rejected by her father, blackmailed by a former lover, and lusted after by her brother-in-law, she turns to her beloved sister for support.

Directors: Marcello Pagliero, Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Massimo Girotti, Carlo Ninchi, Elli Parvo
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Bardone, a petty con man, is arrested by the Gestapo and coerced into impersonating a partisan leader in order to expose another resistance organizer.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Vittorio De Sica, Hannes Messemer, Sandra Milo
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An unhappily married couple attempts to find direction and insight while vacationing in Naples.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Ingrid Bergman, George Sanders, Maria Mauban
Paisan (1946)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The language barrier has tragic consequences in a series of unrelated stories set during the Italian Campaign of WWII.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Carmela Sazio, Joseph Garland Moore Jr., William Tubbs
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Three allied prisoners, a Russian, an American and an Englishman, attempt to escape with the help of a young couple from Rome.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Leo Genn, Giovanna Ralli, Sergey Bondarchuk
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young German boy faces the problems of the tough life in the immediate post WWII Berlin.

Director: Roberto Rossellini
Stars: Edmund Moeschke, Ernst Pittschau, Ingetraud Hinze


Cast overview:
Gennaro Pisano ... Celestino Esposito
Marilyn Buferd ... Ragazza americana / American Tourist
William Tubbs William Tubbs ... Padre della ragazza americana / American Tourist (as Bill Tubbs)
Helen Tubbs Helen Tubbs ... Madre della ragazza americana / American Tourist
Giovanni Amato Giovanni Amato ... Sindaco del paese / The Mayor
Clara Bindi Clara Bindi ... Giulietta Del Bello
Giacomo Furia Giacomo Furia ... Romano Cuccurullo
Joseph Falletta Joseph Falletta
Pietro Carloni Pietro Carloni
Camillo Buonanni Camillo Buonanni
Aldo Giuffrè
Aldo Nanni Aldo Nanni
Gaio Visconti Gaio Visconti
Carlo Giuffrè


A demon bestows on a self-righteous working photographer's camera the power to smite from the Earth "evil-doers". Naturally, the indignant photographer turns his new weapon on, one by one, his entire village, beginning with the wealthy or illustrious. Soon, the poor he is so supposedly so enamored of become his victims too, so rife with impatience and contempt is he, that the slightest flaw is cause for smiting. Inevitably, he embarks on a task to destroy everyone. Written by astropolis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Fantasy


See all certifications »





Italian | English

Release Date:

14 May 1952 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

One Machine to Kill Bad People See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Censorship visa # 115999 delivered in 11-3-1952. See more »


Featured in Jolanda e Rossellini (1995) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A delightful and highly original comedy.
31 March 2013 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

"La Macchina Ammazzacattivi" ("The Machine That Kills People") is an amazing film. It proves, along with De Sica's "Miracle in Milan", that a Neo-Realist film can be funny as well as surreal. What I mean by 'Neo-Realist' is that there was a style of film popularized just before WWII ended and it continued into about the mid-1950s. Because the studios were broke, they had to content themselves with making films without stars--using locals as well as local buildings and streets instead of sets. Most of these films are rather serious in tone, but this film (as well as the De Sica film) are ridiculously non-serious--and are both charming to boot.

The film is set in a small Italian town. Celestino is a photographer who thinks he's seen the dead patron saint of the village, St. Andrew. This 'saint' bestows on Celestino a great power--a magical camera that can kill! Fortunately, Celestino isn't blood-thirsty. But, when the leaders of the town all show themselves to be a greedy and selfish lot, he reluctantly (at first) uses this gift to punish the wicked. Eventually, however, Celestino goes too far--and this leads to one of the strangest endings I can recall seeing in an Italian film. Suffice to say that I won't say more, as I don't want to spoil the surprise--but it's worth it!

This is a very odd film in that the director, Roberto Rossellini, lost interest in the movie and left it on the shelf. Somewhere along the line, the studio had another director finish it and the film was released--and practically everyone hated it! But, today it's been restored and is a classic. I think that the dark comedy was just ahead of its time, as the film played badly then but works great today due to changing sensibilities. All I know is that I thought the film was wonderful--and it's definitely the best Rossellini film I have seen--and it's filled with many wonderful moments.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 6 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed