8.1/10
96,543
237 user 107 critic

8½ (1963)

Not Rated | | Drama | 25 June 1963 (USA)
Trailer
1:56 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies.

Director:

Federico Fellini

Writers:

Federico Fellini (story), Ennio Flaiano (story) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
3,792 ( 233)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 16 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

La Dolce Vita (1960)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

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

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Marcello Mastroianni, Anita Ekberg, Anouk Aimée
La Strada (1954)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart
Amarcord (1973)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A series of comedic and nostalgic vignettes set in a 1930s Italian coastal town.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Magali Noël, Bruno Zanin, Pupella Maggio
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A waifish prostitute wanders the streets of Rome looking for true love but finds only heartbreak.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Giulietta Masina, François Périer, Franca Marzi
Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Max von Sydow, Gunnar Björnstrand, Bengt Ekerot
Persona (1966)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A nurse is put in charge of a mute actress and finds that their personae are melding together.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Margaretha Krook
The 400 Blows (1959)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A young boy, left without attention, delves into a life of petty crime.

Director: François Truffaut
Stars: Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, Claire Maurier
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

After living a life marked by coldness, an aging professor is forced to confront the emptiness of his existence.

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Stars: Victor Sjöström, Bibi Andersson, Ingrid Thulin
Andrei Rublev (1966)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The life, times and afflictions of the fifteenth-century Russian iconographer.

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky
Stars: Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolay Grinko
Breathless (1960)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy.

Director: Jean-Luc Godard
Stars: Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean Seberg, Daniel Boulanger
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In post-war Italy, a working-class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell
L'Avventura (1960)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other.

Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Stars: Gabriele Ferzetti, Monica Vitti, Lea Massari
Edit

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
Edit

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:

This film talks about you...about your life...about your family...about your work...about your doubts...about your dreams...You will see yourself in the leading role as though you were looking in a mirror...This is your film. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | French | English | German

Release Date:

25 June 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Ranked number 7 non-English-speaking film in the critics' poll conducted by the BBC in 2018. See more »

Goofs

When Guido and Claudia go out for their drive, they stop near some springs. Guido exits the passenger side of the car (off camera); we hear the door open and close. But when Claudia, who was driving, steps out moments later (also off camera), we never hear her door open or close. See more »

Quotes

Luisa Anselmi: Don't explain. I didn't ask you anything. Just spare me the shame of hearing you swear to a mess of lies.
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 Cannibal Holocaust (1980) See more »

Soundtracks

Concertino alle Terme: Sinfonia
(uncredited)
Written by Nino Rota
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
This movie taught me a new "language"
22 February 2006 | by Asa_Nisi_Masa2See all my reviews

It's been said before: Marcello Mastroianni plays Guido Anselmi, a fictitious, 43-year-old film director with a personal crisis that stunts his creative flow and his inability to get on with his new film after the enormous success of his previous one. The character is iconically brought to life by the immortal Mastroianni with artificially greyed hair and is universally identified as an alter ego of Fellini himself.

The first time I saw 8½ I was in my teens and hated it. I then rewatched it only a few years later, in my early 20s, and something miraculous happened. It was probably a pivotal moment in my film-viewing experience: it suddenly gave me new parametres by which to judge movies and even art in general. I suddenly learnt this new language, so much more beautiful and sophisticated than anything I had heard before. What was most amazing was that after the first negative experience, I had somehow tapped into this language's secret, and it wasn't in the least bit hermetic or difficult, though more complex and sophisticated than other languages I already knew. Many of the movies I'd considered greats became amateurish or dwarfish in comparison.

To me, this was no longer simply a movie, but Art in a more universal sense of the word, Art that just IS and has nothing to strive for or prove. Which is why I find it so nonsensical and contradictory to call something like 8½ "pretentious" - to me, pretentious is when an insecure auteur is trying consciously and hard to be profound, difficult, original, ground-breaking, and you can see their intent clearly, and detect the effort behind the artifice. Nothing of any of this is anywhere to be perceived in 8½, which makes creating masterpieces look easy.

I admit that 8½ is not an easy movie, nor one for everyone. Visually, fewer movies are as iconic, memorable, original, poetic, funny, inventive, allegorical, exhilarating.

The scenes I love are too many to mention, but here are just a few: The steam bath scene when in an odd procession/ritual, the patients are being led into what must be a Turkish bath. All the steam surrounding them, the men wearing sheets that look like shrouds or togas, all looking like mock-ancient Roman dignitaries... Then, through a loud-speaker Mastroianni-Anselmi is told the dried-up, turkey-like Cardinal, will now condescend to meeting him. Before Guido rushes off to meet the Cardinal, all his friends and colleagues beg him to put in a good word for them. This is such a gleeful stab at Italy's grovelling, nepotistic culture of ingratiating oneself to the powers-that-be by paying them lip-service even for the most petty personal advantages. Then Guido stands before the embodiment of Catholic paternalism and his obsequious minions. And everything is at its most pompous and lifeless - this dusty, mummified institution is less in touch with the humanity it's supposed to comfort and advise than it is possible to believe.

I also love the character of Guido's mistress, Carla, played by Sandra Milo at her gaudiest and most voluptuous. Though initially it's difficult to understand what Guido would have seen in her, eventually it become more apparent. Meeting his wife Luisa, you see how well the two women's ways of being complement one another. See for example how she reacts in a simple, good-humoured, self-deprecating way when in the café scene, Guido's elegant, neurotic wife played by Anouk Aimée at her most androgynously attractive - mockingly compliments Carla's tacky outfit for its "elegance". In such instances one gets a sense that though Fellini is parodying his subjects, he also has a fundamental love and human compassion for them.

The prostitute La Saraghina is probably one of the most memorable female characters put to film ever. She is probably somewhere in her 50s and rougher than sandpaper, overweight yet strangely fit and voluptuous, with lots of scary, wild dark hair, overdone raccoon eye make-up caked onto her aggressive, striking, sardonic face as she sits and dances on the lonely beach in Rimini next to her war bunker-home. Guido is fascinated by what is "young and yet ancient", eternal, meaning what is muse-like, archetypically, like the divinely beautiful Claudia character, perfectly embodied by Claudia Cardinale (the ultimate director's muse rather than a real woman or mistress). La Saraghina may not be a young woman like Claudia, she may not represent spontaneity and fresh, uncluttered artistic inspiration like she does, but she is also a muse of sorts - the muse of guilt-free pleasure and non-self-conscious, free, unidealised, earthy femininity. All this is La Saraghina - the town's young boys respond to this in her (including Guido as a child) and are bewitched by her and pay to her to see her demonic yet liberating, visceral dance.

I have so much more to say about this movie, for instance about Nino Rota's memorable score, or how the movie's non-linear structure and juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated scenes emulates the rhythm and mood of dreams to perfection. Also, the scenes featuring Guido's parents and their embodiment of the emotional blackmail, that eternal sense of guilt and the stunting of individuality that the paternalistic institution of family at its most traditional represents in Italy. Or of Guido's touching childhood memories, of the wonderful way in which the movie ends, in a merry-go-round of what really matters in life, when all else has been swiped aside and all that remains is the desire to cherish (with all their imperfections) all those who have really mattered most in our lives...


168 of 210 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 237 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed