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Young Toscanini (1988)

Il giovane Toscanini (original title)
A fanciful biopic of legendary conductor Arturo Toscanini as a young man.


Franco Zeffirelli


William Stadiem (scenario) (as William H. Stadiem), Franco Zeffirelli (original idea) | 1 more credit »




Cast overview, first billed only:
C. Thomas Howell ... Arturo
Elizabeth Taylor ... Nadina
Sophie Ward ... Margherita
John Rhys-Davies ... Rossi
Pat Heywood Pat Heywood ... Madre Allegri
Philippe Noiret ... Dom Pedro
Franco Nero ... Claudio Toscanini
Carlo Bergonzi ... Bertini
Irma Capece Minutolo Irma Capece Minutolo ... Signora Mantelli
Nicolas Chagrin Nicolas Chagrin ... M° Miguez
Simon Gregor Simon Gregor ... Carlino
Leon Lissek ... M° Superti
Elsa Agalbato Elsa Agalbato ... Paola Toscanini
Andrea Aureli ... Comparsa
Luciano Bacchielli Luciano Bacchielli ... Comparsa


In Rio de Janeiro in 1886, eighteen-year-old conductor Arturo Toscanini (C. Thomas Howell), in Brazil on an orchestra tour, is torn between an aging soprano attempting a comeback and a mistress his own age. Opera diva Nadina Bulichoff (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) has interrupted her stage career for Emperor Dom Pedro II (Philippe Noiret), the of Brazil. When Toscanini begins to coach his childhood idol for a return to the stage in "Aida", Nadina has fallen into deep depression. Toscanini is instrumental in her transformation as her performance proves to be an ultimate triumph and she is back the top of her art. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Biography | Drama


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Did You Know?


Not theatrically released in the U.S. See more »


Ninna nanna
Music by Johannes Brahms
Performed by Aprile Millo
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User Reviews

Really immerses you in the time period
19 July 2017 | by HotToastyRagSee all my reviews

It's really tricky to make a musical biopic interesting. Movies about singers are easy, but audiences often struggle to keep up with the life of a classical musician. Young Toscanini focuses on a brief period of time in Arturo Toscanini's life, when he was, well, young. He starts out as a cello player, and when he visits Brazil during an orchestral tour, his life changes.

Franco Zeffirelli directed the film, and he certainly knows how to make a realistic period piece! Everything, from the lighting to the costumes, from the sets to the colors and textures of Elizabeth Taylor's makeup looks authentically late-1800s. I really felt immersed in the time period. The only part of the movie that wasn't realistic was the idea of Liz Taylor being an opera singer. Anyone who saw her in A Little Night Music knows that's ridiculous.

But, besides that, it's a really interesting and well-made film. It's not just a movie full of classical music. There's romance, friendship, and a moral argument. Toscanini and his sweetie-pie take a public stand against slavery, and the movie shows this without any graphic upsets for the audience.

If you don't like music at all, you probably won't like Young Toscanini, but if you are interested in this time period, or the musician himself, give it a try. I liked this movie far better than Amadeus. You might, too.

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Italy | France



Release Date:

7 October 1988 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

El joven Toscanini See more »

Filming Locations:

Italy See more »


Box Office


$14,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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