8.6/10
545,971
1,182 user 160 critic

Life Is Beautiful (1997)

La vita è bella (original title)
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1:33 | Trailer

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When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor, and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director:

Roberto Benigni

Writers:

Vincenzo Cerami (story and screenplay by), Roberto Benigni (story and screenplay by)
Popularity
885 ( 7)
Top Rated Movies #25 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 67 wins & 51 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Roberto Benigni ... Guido
Nicoletta Braschi ... Dora
Giorgio Cantarini ... Giosué
Giustino Durano Giustino Durano ... Zio
Sergio Bini Bustric Sergio Bini Bustric ... Ferruccio (as Sergio Bustric)
Marisa Paredes ... Madre di Dora
Horst Buchholz ... Dottor Lessing (as Horst Bucholz)
Lidia Alfonsi Lidia Alfonsi ... Guicciardini (as Lydia Alfonsi)
Giuliana Lojodice Giuliana Lojodice ... Direttrice Didattica
Amerigo Fontani ... Rodolfo
Pietro De Silva Pietro De Silva ... Bartolomeo
Francesco Guzzo Francesco Guzzo ... Vittorino
Raffaella Lebboroni Raffaella Lebboroni ... Elena
Claudio Alfonsi Claudio Alfonsi ... Amico Rodolfo
Gil Baroni Gil Baroni ... Prefetto
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Storyline

In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish book keeper named Guido starts a fairy tale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank. Written by Anthony Hughes <husnock31@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An unforgettable fable that proves love, family and imagination conquer all. (Canadian one sheet) See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for holocaust-related thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian | German | English

Release Date:

12 February 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Life Is Beautiful See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$118,920, 25 October 1998, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$57,598,247, 3 October 1999

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$229,163,264, 30 June 2012
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (first release)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After Z (1969), this is the second film to be nominated by the Academy for both Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. See more »

Goofs

The champagne bottle changes position when Guido is describing how to serve lobster (first it's tilted towards the right, then centered, then tilted again, etc.). Also, the bottle is first completely sealed (with all the labels and stuff) and then we can see it without all those labels, to appear completely sealed again in a backward-to-forward take, and then opened again. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Giosué Orefice: [narrating as an adult] This is a simple story... but not an easy one to tell.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The version shown at the Cannes festival in 1998 is slightly different from the original Italian theatrical release: some scenes have been slightly re-edited and a panel has been added at the beginning of the film, showing the phrase "This is a fairy tale", supposedly to avoid controversy over the subject matter. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Belle nuit (Barcarolle)
(1881)
from the opera "Les contes d'Hoffmann"
Music by Jacques Offenbach
Libretto by Jules Barbier (uncredited)
Performed by Montserrat Caballé (as M. Caballé), soprano and Shirley Verrett (as S. Verret), mezzo-soprano
Recorded by RCA Victor
New Philharmonia Orchestra (uncredited)
Conducted by Anton Guadagno (uncredited)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Funny, entertaining, and amazingly intense and dramatic.
27 March 2000 | by Anonymous_MaxineSee all my reviews

I find it sad that so many people are so narrow-minded that they will not watch a movie that is black and white or, in this case, is subtitled. I feel sorry for people who refuse to watch a movie like Life Is Beautiful just because it is a foreign film. They have no idea what a beautifully acted and directed film this is, and they'll never know what an amazing experience they are missing.

Life Is Beautiful manages to walk the extremely thin line between humor, fantasy, and tragedy. Sure, the film is clearly comedic, but nevertheless it manages to very effectively communicate the tremendous losses suffered in the Nazi concentration camps and has scenes at least as intense as any scene in Schindler's List.

This is one of the best films that I have ever seen. It manages to be so encompassing that you hardly notice the subtitles are even there. I proudly cast my vote of 10.


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