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Life Is Beautiful (1997)

La vita è bella (original title)
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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
703 ( 49)
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

Mel Brooks greatly disliked this film, claiming it made jokes out of the concentration camps. Brooks frequently satirizes Nazis themselves, but never makes jokes about their actions, considering the latter to be in bad taste even for him. See more »

Goofs

After Dora told Guido that her father could make her do whatever he wanted and Guido makes an analogy with the jewel box, we see him with his right arm extended as he starts the sentence, but the scene suddenly changes as he continues, but his hand is near his chest. 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

An English dubbed version of the film has been released in the USA by Miramax on August 28, 1999. 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

 
The best foreign language film I have ever seen.
25 June 1999 | by baumerSee all my reviews

I typically don't care much for sub-titled movies. Foreign films to me are slow and about nothing. So I naturally went to see Life is Beautiful with a chip on my shoulder. I wanted to hate it. I wanted it to be just another movie that Hollywood was praising to show that they were an intelligent bunch of people. Oh boy was I in for the surprise of my life. Not only is this film good, I honestly believe that it was the second best film of 98, next to Saving Private Ryan. The mere fact that Shakespeare in Love won best picture over not only Ryan but over this, is a joke. It's actually funny.

Benigni did everything in this film. He wrote, produced, directed and probably swept the floors at night. There is that much raw energy in this film. There really is. For someone to have that kind of vision is truly incredible. And not only is the film a terrific cinematic experience because of the importance and seriousness of the subject matter, but it is one of the funnier films I've ever seen. When Roberto is translating the German soldiers insructions to his son so that he isn't scared, it is at that moment that you realize you are under his spell. He's got you and no matter how much sceptisism you may have about the film you know you're witnessing a classic in every sense of the word.

I loved this film. Loved everything about it and I am so glad that I got to see it and cheer Benigni at the Oscars. He certainly deserved his best actor award and he should have gotten more.


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