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Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958)

I soliti ignoti (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Crime | 2 October 1958 (Italy)
A motley quintet of inept small-time thieves attempt the burglary of a local pawnshop in this Italian farce.

Director:

Mario Monicelli

Writers:

Agenore Incrocci (story) (as Age), Furio Scarpelli (story) (as Scarpelli) | 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Vittorio Gassman ... Peppe il pantera
Renato Salvatori ... Mario Angeletti
Memmo Carotenuto Memmo Carotenuto ... Cosimo
Rossana Rory ... Norma
Carla Gravina ... Nicoletta
Claudia Cardinale ... Carmelina
Carlo Pisacane ... Capannelle
Tiberio Murgia Tiberio Murgia ... Michele detto Ferribotte
Gina Rovere Gina Rovere ... Teresa - la moglie di Tiberio
Gina Amendola Gina Amendola ... Mario's 'Madre'
Elvira Tonelli Elvira Tonelli ... Assunta
Elena Fabrizi Elena Fabrizi ... Signora Ada (as Elisa Fabrizi)
Pasquale Misiano Pasquale Misiano ... Massimo
Renato Terra Renato Terra ... Eladio
Aldo Trifiletti Aldo Trifiletti ... Fernando - portinaio
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Storyline

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 Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Story of a Perfect Crime... Perfectly Hilarious!

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

2 October 1958 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Big Deal on Madonna Street See more »

Filming Locations:

Via Alesia, Rome, Lazio, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"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 »

Goofs

The thieves should know enough to wear gloves to hide their fingerprints. See more »

Quotes

Cosimo: [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]
Cosimo: All orphans here, I see.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Small Time Crooks (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Who are these guys anyway?
30 December 2005 | by stannotuttibeneSee all my reviews

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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