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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
3,382 ( 406)
Top Rated Movies #249 | Won 2 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 8 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:

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 »
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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

David lynch's favorite movie. 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 Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) 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

 
A Masterpiece
24 April 2005 | by gftbiloxiSee all my reviews

Frederico Fellini's masterwork 8 ½ is difficult to approach largely because of its reputation. Many critics also state that the film is so complex that it requires multiple viewings to understand, and this is likely to intimidate many viewers. But in truth, and in spite of its surrealistic flourishes, 8 ½ is more straight-forward than its reputation might lead you to believe.

The storyline itself is very simple. A famous director is preparing a new film, but finds himself suffering from creative block: he is obsessed by, loves, and feels unending frustration with both art and women, and his attention and ambition flies in so many different directions that he is suddenly incapable of focusing on one possibility lest he negate all others. With deadlines approaching the cast and crew descend upon him demanding information about the film--information that the director does not have because he finds himself incapable of making an artistic choice.

What makes the film interesting is the way in which Fellini ultimately transforms the film as a whole into a commentary on the nature of creativity, art, mid-life crisis, and the battle of the sexes. Throughout the film, the director dreams dreams, has fantasies, and recalls his childhood--and this internal life is presented on the screen with the same sense of reality as reality itself. The staging of the various shots is unique; one is seldom aware that the characters have slipped into a dream, fantasy, or memory until one is well into the scene, and as the film progresses the lines between external life and internal thought become increasingly blurred, with Fellini giving as much (if not more) importance to fantasy as to fact.

The performances and the cinematography are key to the film's success. Even when the film becomes surrealistic, fantastic, the actors perform very realistically and the cinematography presents the scene in keeping with what we understand to be the reality of the characters lives and relationships. At the same time, however, the film has a remarkably poetic quality, a visual fluidity and beauty that transforms even the most ordinary events into something slightly tinged by a dream-like quality. Marcello Mastroianni offers a his greatest performance here, a delicate mixture of desperation and ennui, and he is exceptionally well supported by a cast that includes Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, and a host of other notables.

I would encourage people not to be intimidated by the film's reputation, for its content can be quickly grasped. When critics state the film requires repeated viewing what they actually seem to mean is that the film holds up extremely well to repeated viewing; each time it is seen, one finds more and more to enjoy and to contemplate. Even so, I would be amiss if I did not point out that people who prefer a cinema of tidy plot lines and who dislike ambiguity or the necessity of interpreting content will probably dislike 8 ½ a great deal. For all others: strongly, strongly recommended.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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