22 user 29 critic

Bitter Rice (1949)

Riso amaro (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 18 September 1950 (USA)
Two criminals on the run end up working in a rice field and decide to recruit other workers for their next robbery.


Giuseppe De Santis


Giuseppe De Santis (story), Carlo Lizzani (story) | 7 more credits »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Vittorio Gassman ... Walter (as Vittorio Gassmann)
Doris Dowling ... Francesca
Silvana Mangano ... Silvana
Raf Vallone ... Marco
Checco Rissone Checco Rissone ... Aristide
Nico Pepe Nico Pepe ... Beppe
Adriana Sivieri Adriana Sivieri ... Celeste
Lia Corelli Lia Corelli ... Amelia
Maria Grazia Francia Maria Grazia Francia ... Gabriella
Dedi Ristori Dedi Ristori ... Anna
Anna Maestri Anna Maestri ... Irene
Mariemma Bardi Mariemma Bardi ... Gianna
Maria Capuzzo Maria Capuzzo ... Giulia
Isabella Marincola Isabella Marincola ... Rosa (as Isabella Zennaro)
Carlo Mazzarella ... Gianetto


Francesca and Walter are two-bit criminals in Northern Italy, and, in an effort to avoid the police, Francesca joins a group of women rice workers. She meets the voluptuous peasant rice worker, Silvana, and the soon-to-be-discharged soldier, Marco. Walter follows her to the rice fields, and the four characters become involved in a complex plot involving robbery, love, and murder. Written by Laura Ernestina Ruberto <lruberto@ucsd.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A drama of women workers in the Po Valley rice fields! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Lucia Bosè was the director's first choice for the role of Silvana. It wasn't until he met Silvana Mangano by chance that he decided to cast her in the film. De Santis also wanted Mangano to appear in his next picture Under the Olive Tree (1950) but when she got pregnant, she was replaced by Bosé. See more »


Featured in Fejezetek a film történetéböl: A neorealizmus (1990) See more »

User Reviews

Marxist Opiate for the Masses
7 August 1999 | by tencoSee all my reviews

Riso Amaro is bizarrely and wonderfully paradoxical: a movie that decries and deconstructs Hollywood-style escapism at every turn, and ,yet, is itself as pure an opiate for the masses as is known to Italian cinema.

The closest comparison that occurs to me is Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West. Both fetishize the technical and narrative magic of classic American films, the boundless optimism of the American dream that only soaring crane shots and panoramic vistas filled with casts of thousands (or at least a few dozen) can convey. Both fondly revisit every last genre movie cliche that can be crammed in edgewise. Yet, both are the work of foreigners asserting their alien and alienated status.

If your sensibility tends to dialectical Marxism, view Bitter Rice as a fascinating demonstration and critique of lumpen-proletariat "double-consciousness". If you could care less about such things, dig Silvana Mangano and Vittorio Gassman doing a rhumba, or the lovely exploited riceworkers hiking their skirts above their thighs and wading towards a watery catfight with non-union laborers ---or all the other delirious and visionary standout sequences that add up to Gone With the Wind as shot by Sam Fuller. Amazing stuff.

In a perfect world, this film would be available in the USA. It isn't at the moment. Slap some subtitles on it somebody, please!

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Release Date:

18 September 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bitter Rice See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Lux Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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