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The Hawks and the Sparrows (1966)

Uccellacci e uccellini (original title)
Innocenti Totò and his son Innocenti Ninetto are drifting on a road in Italy, when they meet a Marxist speaking crow. The trio travels together in a long journey as their hunger increases.


Pier Paolo Pasolini (story), Pier Paolo Pasolini (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Totò ... Innocenti Totò / Brother Cicillo
Ninetto Davoli ... Innocenti Ninetto / Brother Ninetto (as Davoli Ninetto)
Femi Benussi ... Luna
Umberto Bevilacqua Umberto Bevilacqua ... Incensurato
Renato Capogna Renato Capogna ... Scoundrels Leader
Alfredo Leggi
Pietro Davoli Pietro Davoli ... Scoundrel
Renato Montalbano Renato Montalbano
Rosina Moroni Rosina Moroni ... Poor Cottage Owner
Flaminia Siciliano Flaminia Siciliano ... Scoundrel
Lena Lin Solaro Lena Lin Solaro ... Urganda
Gabriele Baldini Gabriele Baldini ... Dante's Dentist
Giovanni Tarallo Giovanni Tarallo ... Starving Peasant
Ricardo Redi Ricardo Redi ... Mansion Owner
Vittorio Vittori ... Ciro Lococo


This richly symbolic film is really impossible to understand without some knowledge of 20th Century Italian history, and particularly the power of the Roman Catholic Church. The Lateran Treaty of 1929 finally politically separated Italy from Church power by creating the Vatican as a sovereign state. But the trade off was the that the Church was still left in power over many aspects of everyday Italian life. For instance, Italy finally established a civilian divorce law through a bitterly contested 1970 referendum. Before then, divorce was under strictly in the domain of Church law, and the Church NEVER granted a divorce, even in extreme cases like when a spouse was abandoned many years hence. Overall, however, the power of the Church still resided in the blind allegiance of Italians at all levels to Church morality. Over decades, this led to impeding Italy's social and political progress, and greatly maintained the status quo in the division between the privileged upper class and the ... Written by Joe Kulik

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The surprise comedy hit of the New York Film Festival See more »


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

10 December 1969 (West Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

The Hawks and the Sparrows See more »

Filming Locations:

Assisi, Perugia, Umbria, Italy See more »


Box Office

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Arco Film See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Shooting the scenes with the raven was problematic, as it tended to attack protagonist Totò with its beak. Several birds were used. See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits are performed as a song. See more »


Referenced in The Vesuvians (1997) See more »


Uccellacci E Uccellini (Titoli Di Coda)
Composed by Ennio Morricone
See more »

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User Reviews

Viaggio in Italia con Pasolini
26 November 2005 | by debblystSee all my reviews

"Uccellacci e Uccellini" is probably the best chance to get acquainted with Pasolini's political thoughts pre-1968 other than reading him. It's a candid, allegoric and provocative attempt to express his ideas about a very specific epoch in Italian history, after the death of left-wing political "father" Palmiro Togliatti in 1964 (whose funeral is one of the great scenes of "Uccellacci") and the "death" of Neo-Realism. It also reflects the intense differences between social classes, intellectual trends and political forces that would lead to the acts of "contestazione generale" in the late 1960s.

WIth "Uccellacci", we can learn some of Pasolini's thoughts on Marxism, Fascism, religion, the Catholic church, the role of intellectuals, the bourgeoisie, political parties, the dire conditions of the campesinato and the borgate (slums), poverty, greed, famine, cultural and social apartheid -- you name it. That's the main problem with this passionately personal and visually stunning walking-road-movie: too many targets, too little time to hit them all in the bull's eye.

A natural follow-up to his documentary "Comizi d'Amore" (1965) -- in which he traveled all over Italy interviewing people about their thoughts on love and sex -- Pasolini shows in "Uccellacci e Uccellini" the unofficial apartheid in Italy, a basically "unmelting" pot of dozens of different ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds "artificially" unified in mid-19th century but still plagued by social/economical/cultural chasm. And he also denounces the sterility of the discourse of the "official-left" intelligentsia, which he clearly despised (and which heavily attacked him on many issues and occasions).

In the Italy of the 1960s, the Left was concerned with the struggle of workers, intellectuals and students against the establishment; the contadini (peasants) weren't even properly considered as a political force -- they were the symbol of archaic, pre-boom Italy. Pasolini was the main voice to take the side of the peasants; against famine, sophism falls flat, as the intellectual crow will shockingly discover at the end of "Uccellacci". The political discourse can no longer be theoretical; it has to be urgent, pragmatic, directed towards action. Godard, Bertolucci, Alea, Ruy Guerra, Resnais and others also approached the theme at the time; but, unlike the majority of intellectual-filmmakers of the 60s, Pasolini ACTUALLY had had a rural (though highly literate) background.

Wildly (in)famous at the time as poet/filmmaker/writer/anti-Vatican political activist (but, contrary to a false general belief, he was never a gay militant, though he certainly wasn't in the closet), Pasolini picks up the journey into the "Italia profonda" from Visconti's "Ossessione" and "La Terra Trema" to most of Rossellini and leaves his own distinctive signature in the very complex era of the economic boom.

Pasolini smartly uses the parable genre with much comic relief so he can talk about serious political issues in a "commercial" film, relying heavily on veteran champion Totò's immense talent, charisma and experience. In one of his last films, Totò is joined by 16 year-old newcomer Ninetto Davoli, here in a completely relaxed, natural performance; they make a perfect duo. The cinematography by master Tonino delli Colli features jaw- dropping locations and compositions. The music by Ennio Morricone is memorable, his very personal touch instantly recognizable; and there are funny sung (!) opening credits. There are two minor letdowns that prevent total audience adhesion: 1) it lacks a brighter tempo, the rhythm falters at times; 2) the episodes are rather loosely linked 3) there are episodes which might be shorter (the wonderful but overlong St. Francis story) and others might be longer (the visit to the rich landowner's house).

"Uccellacci e Uccellinni" is a very personal Pasolini ("my favorite" he said in a 1969 interview) and one of his few films not based on literature classics, mythology or the Bible. It's mandatory for all interested in Pasolini's work and/or the political issues of the 1960s, as well as for fans of the unforgettable, one and only Totò.

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