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Three Brothers (1981)

Tre fratelli (original title)
PG | | Drama | 19 March 1981 (Italy)
Three men face their mother's death.


Francesco Rosi


Tonino Guerra (story and screenplay), Francesco Rosi (story and screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Philippe Noiret ... Raffaele Giuranna
Michele Placido ... Nicola Giuranna
Vittorio Mezzogiorno ... Rocco Giuranna / Young Donato
Andréa Ferréol ... Raffaele's Wife
Maddalena Crippa Maddalena Crippa ... Giovanna
Rosaria Tafuri Rosaria Tafuri ... Rosaria (as Sara Tafuri)
Marta Zoffoli ... Marta
Tino Schirinzi Tino Schirinzi ... Raffaeles's Friend
Simonetta Stefanelli ... Young Donato's Wife
Pietro Biondi Pietro Biondi ... 1st Judge
Charles Vanel ... Donato Giuranna
Accursio Di Leo Accursio Di Leo ... 1st Friend at Bar
Luigi Infantino Luigi Infantino ... 2nd Friend at Bar
Girolamo Marzano Girolamo Marzano ... Nicola's Friend
Gina Pontrelli Gina Pontrelli ... The Brother's Mother


In a farmhouse in southern Italy, an old woman dies. Her husband summons their sons: from Rome, Raffaele, a judge facing a political case for which he risks assassination; from Naples, the religious and ideological Rocco, a counselor at a correctional institute for boys; from Turin, Nicola, a factory worker involved in labor disputes. Once home, each encounters the past and engages in reveries of what may come: Raffaele imagines his death, Rocco dreams of lifting the youth of Naples out of violence, drugs, and corruption, Nicola pictures embracing his estranged wife. Meanwhile, the old man and his young granddaughter explore the rhythms of the farm and grieve together. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Selected as the opening film at the 34th Cannes Film Festival in 1981 (out of competition). See more »


Nicola Giuranna: You talk like this because you don't have a boss who can fire you.
Raffaele Giuranna: I have to accept the risk of getting killed any day if I wanna keep doing my work, which is to administrate law, and not to become a hero.
See more »


Featured in The Filmmaker and the Labyrinth (2004) See more »


Je so' pazzo
by Pino Daniele
Edizioni musicali "BELRIVER" s.r.l.
per gentile concessione della EMI ITALIANA
See more »

User Reviews

One of those movies that deserves a much larger audience...
31 July 2005 | by philip_vandervekenSee all my reviews

I've always been very interested in Italy, its culture, its architecture, its cinema,... and that's why I will not let a chance go by to watch an Italian movie, because most of the time you'll see a fine combination of all these factors in it. So far I've already seen several Italian films, including some fine award winners like "La Meglio gioventù" and "La Stanza del figlio", and I can't remember that I've seen many that I really didn't like.

"Tre fratelli" tells the story of three brothers who return to the farmhouse in southern Italy where they grew up after the death of their mother. Except for their family ties, the three adult men don't really seem to have anything in common. Raffaele is a happily married judge in Rome who risks to be assassinated for a political case he hasn't even accepted yet, Rocco is a single social worker who works at a correctional institute for boys in Naples and Nicola is a radical factory worker from Turin who lives separated from his wife and who is involved in labor disputes and therefor risks to be fired. Together they have several discussions about the meaning of life, marriage terrorism, the mafia,... while their father grieves over the loss of his wife with his young granddaughter, who he also teaches something about life in the countryside.

Perhaps not everybody agrees with me, but this movie reminded me a lot of "La Meglio gioventù". And you can definitely see that as a compliment, because I really loved that movie a lot. This movie too showed how several family members, who don't seem to have much in common at first, make the best of their lives together, with the current social and political situation in Italy on the background. The main difference is that this movie only focuses on the 1980's, while the story of the other movie started in 1966 and ended in 2000.

Philippe Noiret, Michele Placido and Vittorio Mezzogiorno are very nice to watch as the brothers and Charles Vanel was very good as their father, but if I have to chose one actor who really surprised me, then it must be the young Marta Zoffoli. Despite her young age, she gave away a very fine performance and in my opinion she was the true star of the movie.

Overall this is a very nice drama that certainly should get a lot more attention than what it has received so far. When I see that it has only received 130 votes until now, I truly believe that this movie doesn't get the audience that it deserves. It has a good story and some very fine acting to offer, the decors are nice and thanks to Francesco Rosi, the director and co-writer of this movie, everything has been brought together into one solid movie. I give this movie at least a 7.5/10 and hope that many more will see it.

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Official Sites:

Gaumont DVD [France]


Italy | France



Release Date:

19 March 1981 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Three Brothers See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Iter Film, Gaumont See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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