Two shoeshine boys in postwar Rome, Italy, save up to buy a horse, but their involvement as dupes in a burglary lands them in juvenile prison where the experience take a devastating toll on their friendship.
Vittorio De Sica
Cesira is a beautiful widow and a successful grocery store owner in Rome. WWII is raging, and she fears for her beloved daughter, 13-year-old Rosetta, amid the daily bombings. They travel to the village where Cesira was born, where Cesira believes they will be safer. There, they are happy even as food dwindles. A young intellectual, Michele, falls in love with Cesira, who is too consumed with the well-being of her daughter and their survival to return his timid advances. As the allies advance, Cesira decides to return to Rome - and encounter the horrors of war at last.Written by
It has been said that Anna Magnani was originally cast in the role of Cesira, but when she was unable commit to the film due to illness, it was Magnani herself who suggested Sophia Loren for the role, suggesting to director Vittorio De Sica that if Loren (who was 25 years old at the time) would not mind playing a mother with an adolescent daughter, then the role should go to her. See more »
When she enters the church, Rosetta's hair is short (her mother had recently cut it.) After the rape, her hair is suddenly long again. See more »
Bombs! Bombs Away! Bombs Away!
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It's WWII. Cesira (Sophia Loren) flees Rome away from the allied bombing for the sake of her 13 year old daughter Rosetta (Eleonora Brown). She's a widow of a loveless marriage and she's the object of everyman's desire. They go back to Cesira's home village. The idealistic anti-Fascist Michele Di Libero (Jean Paul Belmondo) falls for her. Mussolini is imprisoned and Michele is overjoyed. They even help a couple of English soldiers. The situation deteriorates as the war closes in and food becomes scarce. A group of Germans force Michele to lead them back to their lines. As the Americans approach, the villagers clear out. Cesira decides to go back to Rome on their own. They take shelter in a bombed out church where they are both raped by a large group of Arab soldiers.
Sophie Loren is magnetic. She powers every scene. Eleonora Brown does a good job keeping up. The story meanders a little. There are a lot of unrelated things that pop up. All of a sudden, there's a Russian deserter. The randomness sometimes help the story. When the story moves to the German occupied town, it really starts to move. The tension gets ratcheted up higher and higher.
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