A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering tabloid journalist living in Rome.

Director:

Federico Fellini

Writers:

Federico Fellini (story), Ennio Flaiano (story) | 5 more credits »
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Popularity
4,385 ( 703)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcello Mastroianni ... Marcello Rubini
Anita Ekberg ... Sylvia
Anouk Aimée ... Maddalena (as Anouk Aimee)
Yvonne Furneaux ... Emma
Magali Noël ... Fanny (as Magali Noel)
Alain Cuny ... Steiner
Annibale Ninchi ... Il padre di Marcello
Walter Santesso ... Paparazzo
Valeria Ciangottini Valeria Ciangottini ... Paola
Riccardo Garrone ... Riccardo
Evelyn Stewart ... Debuttante dell'anno (as Ida Galli)
Audrey McDonald Audrey McDonald ... Jane
Polidor ... Pagliaccio
Alain Dijon Alain Dijon ... Frankie Stout
Mino Doro ... Amante di Nadia
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Storyline

Rome, 1959/60. Marcello Rubini (played by Marcello Mastroianni) is a writer and journalist, the worst kind of journalist - a tabloid journalist, or paparazzo. His job involves him trying to catch celebrities in compromising or embarrassing situations. He tends to get quite close to his subject, especially when they're beautiful women. Two such subjects are a local heiress, Maddalena (Anouk Aimee), and a Swedish superstar-actress, Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), both of whom he has affairs with. This is despite being engaged to Emma (Yvonne Furneaux), a rather clingy, insecure, nagging, melodramatic woman. Despite his extravagant, pleasure-filled lifestyle, he is wondering if maybe a simpler life wouldn't be better. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Sweet Life See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Federico Fellini considered Peter Ustinov and Walter Pidgeon for the role of Steiner. See more »

Goofs

In the Via Veneto scene when Marcello meets his father, the windshield of Marcello's car is missing. You can see his hand holding on to the windshield frame as he exits his car. See more »

Quotes

Paparazzo: What do you think you like most in life?
Sylvia: I like lots of things. But there are three things I like most. Love, love and love.
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Alternate Versions

In the original American release, distributed by American International Pictures, the titles open with the AIP logo and appear over a shot of the sky with clouds. In the current release on DVD - and as shown on TCM - the title sequence is over a black background. When originally released, censors in several countries trimmed certain scenes, including the orgy near the end of the film. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 20,000 Days on Earth (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Goin' Away
(uncredited)
Written by Alan Greene
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User Reviews

Complex And Rambling
22 May 2009 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Mostly because of the terrific high contrast, B&W visuals, and the evocative music, this is the only Fellini film I have seen that I have somewhat enjoyed. I recommend it, but not without reservations. It's a complex film with many textured layers of meaning. And, in typical Fellini fashion, it rambles and it meanders.

Deviating from standard three-Act structure, Fellini's story consists of roughly eight episodes, all starting at night and ending at dawn, more or less. Each has its own crisis. And the only thing that unites these episodes into a coherent whole is the story's protagonist, Marcello (Marcello Mastroianni). In his job as a journalist and overall observer of human nature, Marcello encounters people in high society who seem outwardly happy and self-fulfilled. On closer examination, however, these people are empty, hollow, alienated, emotionally adrift and vacant.

A good example is the starlet Sylvia (Anita Ekberg), a glamorous figure, but she's all image and no substance. "La dolce vita" is the first film that uses the concept of "paparazzi", which implies the importance of "image", separate from substance.

Throughout the various episodes Marcello sees these "images" of happiness, of contentment, but the images are deceptive, elusive, unreliable. In one episode, two "miracle" children "see" the Madonna. "The Madonna is over there", shouts one child. The crowd chases after her. But the other child who "sees" the Madonna runs in the opposite direction. Happiness, self-fulfillment, religious visions ... they're all a will-o'-the-wisp. And so, the film conveys a sense of pessimism and cynicism.

The film thus has deep thematic value. It caused a scandal when it was released, and was banned by the Catholic Church, apparently for appearing to be anti-religious.

Yet for all its deep meaning, "La dolce vita" can be a trial to sit through. Somewhere in the second half I began to lose interest. I don't have a problem with Fellini's deviation from standard plot structure. I do have a problem with a director who doesn't know when to quit. This film goes on for almost three hours. A good edit, to delete all the fat, would have tightened up the story and rendered it more potent. As is, it's too strung out, too stretched, too meandering.

If the viewer can persevere, there's enormous cinematic art in this film. And helped along by Nino Rota's music, the film is wonderfully evocative, at times stylishly melancholy.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | English | French | German

Release Date:

19 April 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La Dolce Vita See more »

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Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$198,220
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (premiere) | (re-release) | (premiere)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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