7.2/10
229
15 user 2 critic

Italiani brava gente (1964)

Chronicle of the unheralded and unsuccessful invasion of the Soviet Union by the Italian army during World War II.

Director:

Giuseppe De Santis
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Arthur Kennedy ... Ferro Maria Ferri
Zhanna Prokhorenko ... Katya
Raffaele Pisu ... Gabrielli
Tatyana Samoylova ... Sonya
Andrea Checchi ... Sermonti
Riccardo Cucciolla ... Sanna
Valeri Somov ... Giuliani
Peter Falk ... Medic Captain
Nino Vingelli ... Amalfitano
Lev Prygunov ... Bazzocchi
Grigory Mikhaylov ... Russian Partisan (as Grigorij Mikhailov)
Ivan Paramonov ... German Deserter (as I. Paramonov)
Gino Pernice ... Collidi
Boris Kozhukhov ... Major
Vincenzo Polizzi ... Sicilian
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Storyline

During the summer of 1941, Germany and its European allies invade the Soviet Union. Fascist Italy participates at the invasion. The first trains carrying Italian soldiers arrive in the Soviet Union during grain-harvest season. The Soviet Army withdrew during the initial German onslaught that spearheaded the invasion. The newly arrived Italian soldiers wonder at the size of the Soviet countryside that seems to never end. The soldiers also notice the Soviets withdrew so fast that many fields have not been harvested yet. Fields of wheat, sunflower and corn glow golden under the bright summer sun. The Italians attempt to make friends with the Soviet civilians whom they meet at various stopping points along the way. But the civilians are scared of the invaders and rightfully so. The German troops have already passed through, terrorizing the Soviet populace. The Italian soldiers even try to share their bread rations with the civilians and they try to cheer the Russians up by singing a ... Written by nufs68

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They were damned by fate and dogged by a deadly foe !

Genres:

Drama | History | War

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | Soviet Union

Language:

Italian | Russian | German | Spanish

Release Date:

16 September 1964 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Italiani brava gente See more »

Company Credits

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?

Goofs

The Russian tanks featured in the film are T-34/85's, which were not produced until early 1944, a full a year after the events in this film took place. See more »

Alternate Versions

The original version ran 155 minutes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Baarìa (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Film Noir version of a War Movie.
5 January 2005 | by jnselkoSee all my reviews

Most folks don't know that the Italians had over 80,000 troops in Russia during WWII, and fewer know that most of them died or were captured during the retreat in the dead of winter from Stalingrad.

This movie does an excellent job of showing the life of an (any) average soldier in any army- the grunts, the footsloggers, the cannon fodder. The few officers shown (the exception being the colonel in charge of the unit) are far from heroic, being either cowards or incompetents.

Shot in stark black and white, this movie personalizes war in a way that hagiography's such as "Patton" or extravaganza's like "The Longest Day" absolutely failed to do. If anything, this is like a (much) shorter version of "A Band Of Brothers"- it is that good.

As stated by other commentators, nothing good happens to anyone in this movie- it is real-life film noir. Good, bad, indifferent, everybody suffers. This is what a war movie made by, if not Jules Dassin or Robert Siodmak, than Richard Fleischner or Felix Feist would look like.

It is not all gloom and doom however. The scenes which take place during the advance through the Ukraine in the spring and summer are light, and reveal the soldiers attitude of "What are we doing here?" and contrasts them well with the occasional appearance of a Nazi official or an officer of the Wehrmacht.

For those interested, read "Few Returned" by Eugenio Corti, an Italien officer who was one of the few to escape the destruction of the Italian Expeditionary Force on the steppes of Russia, and for an Italian's view of their erstwhile "ally", I recommend "Kaput" by Curzio Malaparte, an Italian journalist who witnessed at first hand the savagery of the Nazi occupation in Poland and points east.


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