Set in Italy, the film follows the lives and interactions of two boys/men, one born a bastard of peasant stock (Depardieu), the other born to a land owner (de Niro). The drama spans from 1900 to about 1945, and focuses mainly on the rise of Fascism and the peasants' eventual reaction by supporting Communism, and how these events shape the destinies of the two main characters.Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
This movie's original budget of six million dollars inflated to almost ten million dollars. See more »
In the movie, Olmo is depicted as coming back from World War One, while Alfredo, even though conscripted, manages to stay at home thanks to his father's connections. In reality, people born in 1901 (like Olmo and Alfredo) were never conscripted to fight in the war, as they were only 17 when it ended in November 1918. The last ones to be conscripted in Italy where those born in 1899. See more »
Alfredo Berlinghieri, you, and all parasites, will pay the bill for the Fascist revolution. And the bill will not be cheap. The bill will not be cheap. Everybody will pay! Everybody, rich and poor, gentry and peasant, they will pay with money and land and bread and cows and cheese and blood and shit!
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Original Italian version is 311 minutes long and was released as two separate films (Novecento, part 1 & 2). US R-rated version is 243 minutes long and deletes several scenes, including an explicit one in which a prostitute masturbates Robert De Niro and Gérard Depardieu. A restored integral version was re-released in the USA in 1993 with a NC-17 rating. See more »
Despite many memorable scenes, overall far too long and unsatisfying
Having heard about this film as having a decent cast and its fairly good rating here on IMDb, I greatly anticipated seeing it despite its colossal running time. I am capable of sitting through long films and have done so with The Green Mile, Once Upon a Time in America, THe Godfather Trilogy and Titanic. However, 5 hours simply seemed too long. Having watched both Acts of the film (running about 2 1/2 hours each) separately to ensure I wouldn't get hasty, I still ended up being disappointed.
I won't get into the plot too deeply purely because that is not what the films problem is. Simplified, it is about fascism and socialism. The biggest problem is the film runs far too long. As mentioned before, I am able to sit and watch a film if it holds my attention and constantly keeps me engaged as those mentioned films did brilliantly. This film doesn't and in my opinion runs at least 2 hours too long. The problem is there are so many pointless scenes and subplots that are often forgotten and add virtually nothing to the story that they really could and should have been cut out. In particular, I found the scenes of the leads at a younger age outstayed their welcome and should have been greatly shortened. Many others throughout follow a similar trend. Another reason the film should have been shortened is that it really is telling a simple story that doesn't require such a huge length of time to tell it. In the final hour I was getting incredibly agitated and felt the story was deliberately dragging on for the sake of it. When the credits finally rolled I felt cheated and very unsatisfied.
Despite these heavy flaws, there are things that make the film slightly worth watching. First of all are the decent performances turned in by most of the cast. DeNiro, Deprardieu, Sutherland and most of the others are fine with Sutherland making his character an incredibly evil and unlikable person. DeNiro was the main actor who attracted me to this film and it seems to be a largely forgotten role of his. Although its not one of his best performances he really is brave and committed here as he features in two pornographic sequences that I can't imagine too many well-known actors are willing to engage in.
The best aspect of the film is the Vittorio Stanto's wonderful Cinematography that makes the most of the Italian countryside and many other wonderful landscapes. Ennio Morricone's score is fairly good also.
Several scenes work well, but unfortunately I was put off by the sheer amount of pointless ones that made the film as long as it was.
I would recommend seeing this film only for the performances and cinematography. I would also recommend finding a much shorter cut because I believe it may be much better if it was between 2 and 3 hours or even less.
Overall I give the film a generous 6/10
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