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The Great War (1959)

La grande guerra (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, War | 28 October 1959 (Italy)
The Italian Army fought against the Austrians during World War I.

Director:

Mario Monicelli

Writers:

Agenore Incrocci (story and screenplay) (as Age), Furio Scarpelli (story and screenplay) (as Scarpelli) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alberto Sordi ... Oreste Jacovacci
Vittorio Gassman ... Giovanni Busacca
Bernard Blier ... Capitano Castelli
Folco Lulli ... Bordin
Vittorio Sanipoli ... Maggiore Venturi
Romolo Valli ... Tenente Gallina
Mario Valdemarin Mario Valdemarin ... Sottotenente Lorenzi
Nicola Arigliano Nicola Arigliano ... Giardino
Livio Lorenzon Livio Lorenzon ... Sergente Barriferri
Tiberio Mitri Tiberio Mitri ... Mandich
Carlo D'Angelo Carlo D'Angelo ... Capitano Ferri
Tiberio Murgia Tiberio Murgia ... Rosario Nicotra
Marcello Giorda Marcello Giorda ... Generale
Achille Compagnoni Achille Compagnoni ... Il cappellano
Geronimo Meynier Geronimo Meynier ... Il portaordini
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Storyline

Italy, 1916. Oreste Jacovacci and Giovanni Busacca are conscripted, as all the Italian youths, to serve the army in the WWI. They meet at the recruiting office where Giovanni bribes Oreste in the hope of securing a medical deferment, however the joke is on him when Oreste pulls off a hilarious double cross. Destine to serve as comrades in the same unit, they meet again on the train to the front. Despite the rocky beginning and the stolen money, they become friends and the comedic duo experience everything from blustery sergeants to bureaucratic requisition officers to the war weary lieutenant Hen. While in the village of Tigliano they spend some months in relative peace, and Giovanni attempts to gain the graces (and favors) of overworked prostitute Costantina, who also turns the tables to lighten his wallet. But war also brings with it gruesome sights and harrowing dangers. During the most important battle among Italians and Austro-Hungarians, as the Italians in retreat, Giovanni and ... Written by 1felco

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Captured with raging realism...filmed on a breathtaking scale! The monumental story of the giant men who fought the Great War...and the women who followed them into hell! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | German

Release Date:

28 October 1959 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

La gran guerra See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Italian censorship visa # 30261 delivered on 16-9-1959. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Splendor (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ingenious characterization .....
10 December 2015 | by PimpinAinttEasySee all my reviews

To the ghost of Mario Monicelli,

Ciao ancora! The Great War/La Grande Guerra is the second movie directed by you that I watched over the last two weeks. I come from a patriotic country. And the only war films I have seen are mostly the American and British ones and the awful Indian ones. But your film was unique compared to all of them. It is almost a film which a commercial film audience could enjoy though I guess the hardcore patriots would not identify with the two cowardly lead characters. But they are characters anyone with a soul could relate to. Your film hardly ever had a dull moment. It was hilarious. There were so many instances when I laughed my ass off.

The traitorous deserting characters were so tongue in cheek. The characterization is pure genius. The Destouches character from Celine's Journey to the End of the Night came to mind while I watched Oreste and Giovanni stumble through their life in the army. You did a great job portraying the horror of war despite the antics of the two protagonists. It is always the poor and the wretched who are doomed to fight the wars of the rich. Not an original message, but your treatment of this theme was unique.

Vittorio Gassman is such an amazing actor. In India, someone who looked like him would never play a loser. Now I have watched three movies where he plays total losers.

I will be stealing more of your movies over the next few weeks, Mario.

Best Regards, Pimpin.


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