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8½ (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama | 25 June 1963 (USA)
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A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

Director:

Federico Fellini

Writers:

Federico Fellini (story), Ennio Flaiano (story) | 4 more credits »
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Popularity
3,920 ( 59)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Marcello Mastroianni ... Guido Anselmi
Claudia Cardinale ... Claudia
Anouk Aimée ... Luisa Anselmi (as Anouk Aimee)
Sandra Milo ... Carla
Rossella Falk ... Rossella
Barbara Steele ... Gloria Morin
Madeleine Lebeau ... Madeleine - l'attrice francese
Caterina Boratto ... La signora misteriosa
Eddra Gale ... La Saraghina (as Edra Gale)
Guido Alberti Guido Alberti ... Pace - il produttore
Mario Conocchia Mario Conocchia ... Conocchia - il direttore di produzione
Bruno Agostini Bruno Agostini ... Bruno - il secondo segretario di produzione
Cesarino Miceli Picardi Cesarino Miceli Picardi ... Cesarino - l'ispettore di produzione
Jean Rougeul ... Carini - il critico cinematografico
Mario Pisu Mario Pisu ... Mario Mezzabotta
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Storyline

Guido is a film director, trying to relax after his last big hit. He can't get a moment's peace, however, with the people who have worked with him in the past constantly looking for more work. He wrestles with his conscience, but is unable to come up with a new idea. While thinking, he starts to recall major happenings in his life, and all the women he has loved and left. An autobiographical film of Fellini, about the trials and tribulations of film making. Written by Colin Tinto <cst@imdb.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

More sensational than "La Dolce Vita" See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | French | English | German

Release Date:

25 June 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Federico Fellini's 8½ See more »

Filming Locations:

Rome, Lazio, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$11,947, 11 April 1999, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$50,690, 25 April 1999
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cineriz, Francinex See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

At one point, Federico Fellini wanted to cast Laurence Olivier in the lead role. See more »

Goofs

When Guido visits Carla during her illness, a strap of her slip disappears in the close shot after she rolls over, but is apparent in longer shots both prior and after. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
man with kite: [during the opening dream sequence while Guido floats high in the air like a kite over the beach] Counselor, I've got him.
cardinal on horse: Down. Come down.
[the man tugs at the tethered rope]
cardinal on horse: Down for good.
[Guido plunges down toward the sea and the scene cuts to him waking up from this dream]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the American theatrical release version, Rodgers & Hart's "Blue Moon" can be heard twice: the first time, when it's played by strolling strings near the shopping plaza where Guido meets up with his wife, Luisa; the second time, when Guido goes out for a drive with the "real" Claudia. However, in the original Italian release, the song played in both scenes is "Sheik of Araby." The Criterion laserdisc features "Blue Moon," but it's "Sheik of Araby" on the DVD, possibly due to the use of different source materials. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mulholland Drive (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Nocturne No. 2 in E flat Major, Op. 9,2
(uncredited)
Written by Frédéric Chopin
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Exhilarating and inspired
26 April 2004 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

Fellini's 8 1/2 opens with a stunning dream sequence in which a man is trapped in his car in the middle of a traffic jam. The doors and windows are locked and there is no escape. Other drivers simply sit and stare at him passively. The driver starts to panic as smoke begins to build up within the car. Propelling himself outside a window, he floats over the other cars and soars above the world until he is pulled down a rope attached to a tether on his ankle. The driver is Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni), a film director at odds with himself. Shot in black and white, 8 1/2 is an exhilarating, confusing, irritating, and inspired journey into a man's consciousness. It is not just a look at the inner turmoil of one person, but also a commentary on each person's struggle to make sense of their life. The film's combination of kaleidoscopic images, evocative score by Nino Rota, and amazing performances ensure its place as one of the greatest films of the century.

Guido is preparing to shoot a new film with an expensive budget. He constructs a huge spaceship launch pad that costs $80 million but he is unsure of what he wants to say. Guido's dishonesty in dealing with his marriage, his career, and the fact that he really does not want to make the film forces him to falsely mislead people as to his true intentions. He feels like a failure and is physically spent. He checks into a spa to restore his health and well being but the contingent of producers, actors, writers, and hangers on undermine his strength. His feeling of being overwhelmed by personal and professional obligations provides the catalyst for dreams and fantasies that take him back to his childhood.

Fellini shows his encounter with the prostitute Saraghina (Eddra Gale) and the guilt he has to deal with in a confrontation with the Catholic Church. Guido invites his intellectual wife Luisa (Anouk Aimée) to the set but their relationship has turned cold and passionless, and sparks fly when she has to confront Carla (Sandra Milo), his buxom mistress. Guido is misguided but he has an innocence and charm that allows us to overlook his indulgences. He enjoys his pleasures but has a conscience and feels guilty about cheating on Luisa whom he loves and is afraid of losing. He fantasizes that all of the women in his life are together in a harem where they all dote on his every whim. When they finally recognize how little he cares about them, he is forced to suppress their revolt.

As image piles on image and the fantasy becomes indistinguishable from the reality, the viewer may get lost in a maze of dazzling incoherence. Fellini, however, always returns to solid ground and the film offers not only a satire on the frenzy, the uncertainty, and the clash of egos involved with making a film but also a serious commentary on the importance of honesty in a relationship. If 8 1/2 is occasionally exhausting, the ending is invigorating, letting us know that life is a game in which each of us is on the stage performing our roles and the only sane response to its turmoil is to join hands in love and celebrate the moment.


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