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 by), Roberto Benigni (story by) | 2 more credits »
Popularity
628 ( 52)
Top Rated Movies #24 | Won 3 Oscars. Another 69 wins & 52 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 ... 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. 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Roberto Benigni is the eighth person to receive Oscar nominations in directing and acting categories for the same film, after Orson Welles (Citizen Kane (1941)), Sir Laurence Olivier (Hamlet (1948)), Woody Allen (Annie Hall (1977)), Warren Beatty (Heaven Can Wait (1978) and Reds (1981)), Sir Kenneth Branagh (Henry V (1989)), Kevin Costner (Dances with Wolves (1990)), and Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven (1992) and Million Dollar Baby (2004)). 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]
Narrator: This is a simple story; but, not an easy one to tell. Like a fable, there is sorrow and, like a fable, it is full of wonder and happiness.
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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

Featured in The 100 Greatest War Films (2005) 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
The Philharmonia Orchestra (as New Philharmonia Orchestra) (uncredited)
Conducted by Anton Guadagno (uncredited)
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User Reviews

 
One of the Best Movies I've Ever Seen
30 January 2006 | by farkas419See all my reviews

The first time I saw the movie was when I was about seventeen or so, and I never forgot it. The incredibly human characters (such as the doctor who loved riddles), the fantastic script-writing, the amazing acting, and of course the heartwarming story. This movie proves once and for all how strong we are, as humans, that in the face of adversity we can make the best of things. There is so much love in the characters; Dora's love for her husband Guido is boundless, as well as Guido's love for his son. Sure, it's a slightly unrealistic movie, but hey, aren't they all a little unrealistic? I've also seen people review this movie and say that it made light of the Holocaust, which was of course a dark point in history. I don't think so; I think that it's only delicately handled, and because of that, the movie is one that a person can watch in one sitting without being thoroughly disgusted by mankind. I would say that those who think this movie is too "light" are cynical and bitter. The whole point to the movie is to show what love is capable of, and to provide encouragement and perhaps guidance. This movie changed my life from the first time I watched it. I came away with this feeling that no matter what I have to face in life, that I can overcome it. This is a movie that I would recommend to anyone over the age of eleven. The acting is superb (though Roberto Benigni is a little over-the-top, LOL), the story heartwarming and easy to understand. It's excellent!


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Italy

Language:

Italian | German | English

Release Date:

20 December 1997 (Italy) 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

Gross USA:

$57,563,264

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$230,098,753
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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