Esposito is a thief who cons tourists in Rome. A lengthy persecution by police Bottoni, who manages to catch it starts. In an oversight Esposito manages to flee again. Bottoni superiors inform him that if no catches him will lose his job.
Necchi (a bar owner), Perozzi (a journalist), Melandri (an architect) and Mascetti (a broken nobleman) live in Florence. They have been friends since their youngest years and spend every ... See full summary »
Caught red-handed for a crime he swears he didn't commit, the hopeful criminal mastermind and--for now--small-time thief, Cosimo, entrusts the square-jawed boxer, Peppe, with the plan for a seemingly fail-proof pawnshop heist on the quiet Madonna Street. However, as the news of this lucrative job spreads like wildfire, instead, it's Cosimo's band of maladroit petty criminals--including a destitute photographer with fatherly obligations--who will take action for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. But, will things work as planned?Written by
"Big Deal on Madonna Street" was the inspiration for the 1986 Broadway Musical "Big Deal" by Bob Fosse. Bob Fosse was inspired by other classic Italian films for his musical repertoire including Fellini's "Nights of Cabiria" and "8 1/2," the basis for "Sweet Charity" and "Nine" respectively. See more »
The thieves should know enough to wear gloves to hide their fingerprints. See more »
[seeing other prisoners smoking in the prison yard]
May your father and mother drop dead if you have a cigarette and aren't sharing.
[no one responds]
All orphans here, I see.
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As is typical in most Italian comedies, Monicelli has taken a cup of post war Italy realism and stirred in a cup of scenes from the human condition along with a dash of physical comedy which makes 'Big Deal On Madonna Street' a bittersweet cake we all can enjoy.
Like DeSica and Visconti, Monicelli uses post war Italy as the atmosphere in which these characters find themselves trying to eke out their lives. The recurring Italian film maker's theme of man against a complicated, bureaucratic life is no more evident than here. Throughout the film, the characters impressively quote Italian law by chapter and verse however this does not help them as they all have spent time in jail. The absurdity of knowledge without benefit of improvement is a another theme used. As Toto waxes eloquently regarding the sundry ways to break into a safe (one which the film goer is led to believe he knows nothing about), these men attempt to gain knowledge which they believe will deliver the big score. However even with knowing the apartment is empty, the type of safe the valuables are in and the way to gain access to the safe, their plan is flawed by their inability to execute what seems to them to be a fool proof blue print for success.
While Monicelli's themes ring as clear as the bell that has Peppe il pantera (Gassman) on the canvas, the characterizations of this band of misfits are classic. A stuttering, would be fighter (Gassman), and an out-of-work photographer who has sold his camera to survive (Mastroianni)lead the crew. The scenes played between Gassman's 'everything's easy' attitude and Mastroianni's inquisitiveness provide the viewer with hilarious cat and mouse verbal trade-offs.
In the end, 'Big Deal On Madonna Street' strikes a chord for viewers because we have all felt, at times, completely helpless by the absurdity of life and our pursuit for 'the prize' that we perceive will deliver us from our situation. However like this crew at the end of the film, we wake up every morning and realize that it's back to work to grind out another day.
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