I ragazzi della via Pál (TV Movie 2003) Poster

(2003 TV Movie)

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5/10
Why ?!?
youwine16 March 2004
What a waste of money and talent ...

It is not a bad film as a film, but most - I must repeat, the most - of the film deals with events and characters that are not in the book and were added to the script by some mediocre Italian writers who know nothing about Hungary, where the story takes place. Some of dialogue seem to be simply cut and pasted from a brasil soap opera.

Why ? What is it good for ? Ferenc Molnar's classic novel is a masterpiece on its own. Why to ruin it?

To say something positive, the child actors and the cinematography was good and it was nice to see Virna Lisi again.

The novel has already been adapted to film back in 1968. That film is a lot better than this remake.
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unworthy spoof of a real classic
ltarex21 March 2004
This film is good only by the concepts of acting, directing, sets and photography. But the story and the entire picture is unworthy to the original classic which it was loosely "based on". It maybe enjoyable for Italians who aren't read the original Ferenc Molnar novel, but for Hungarian whom read in in childhood and enjoyed it for decades it is really a disappointment.

First, they changed the age of the main characters, but the question is that how the hell can 11-12 year old characters make the same adventures, actions, etc. as 14-15 year old kids (originally portraid in the novel)? Second they made some very big mistakes which are really the forges even history. Feri Ács wearing a Beatles-style haircut in 1905? Divorce in a family like Nemecsek's? Ridiculous! Third, the characters are really not like themselves in the original story. The kids, like Csónakos (who was a tall and humorous kid in the novel) or Ács (who was enemy to the Pál Street Boys, but totally a loyal young man) are two-dimensional cliche characters. They even made an adventurer from Janó, the keeper of the ground!

The film is like a spoof of the original classic, it isn't even have got the same storyline somewhere! I don't say anything for the crew, but this isn't a fair thing for Italians to go to Hungary and ruin a classic, generation's favorite book into this. Gave it another title, another characters, but as "Pal Street Boys" it is simply not fair.

If you want to enjoy the real classic of adventure, loyalty and beautiful story, go and see the original, 1966 Hungarian-English film version of it. But for this "piece of art": watch it if you really want a disappointment from good filmmakers.
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10/10
A masterpiece of poetry and sensitivity, an evergreen story.
rjporter9 December 2003
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER!!! "I Ragazzi della Via Pàl", an absolute masterpiece of poetry and sensitivity by talented Italian director Maurizio Zaccaro, is based upon a novel by Ferenc Molnar, inspired to a true story, and is set in the suburbs of Budapest, Hungary, at the beginning of XX century. Janos (Mario Adorf), a former artist gone downhill, lives with his dog in a shack in his last property, an old saw-mill in Pàl Street; Janos makes friends with little Nemecsek (Gàspar Mèses), who reminds him of his own son, dead at the age of ten; Nemecsek is the youngest member of a sort of gang of kids; Janos offers them his saw-mill as headquarters and playground, and he meets again Edith (Virna Lisi), the grandmother of one of the kids, whom he had loved some forty years before; unfortunately the friendship between the old man and the Kids of Pàl Street is threatened: a rival gang, the Kids of the Botanical Garden, tries to take over the saw-mill with the help of scheming traitor Gerèb, and a greedy real-estate dealer, Julia Gal, ex-wife of Janoks, starts a lawsuit to dispossess Janos of the saw-mill and have a building constructed in its place; the deeds of the gangs, preparing themselves for the final fight, are strictly entwined with the family troubles of some of the kids, Boka, leader of the Kids of Pàl Street, and his father facing bankruptcy, and little Nemecsek, whose parents are going to split; the story has a tragical epilogue: after being pushed in the pond of the Botanical Garden, little Nemecsek falls ill, and dies of pneumonia, and at last the leaders of the two gangs make peace, as Julia wins her battle in the court and takes possession of the saw-mill in Pal Street. This beautiful, timeless, evergreen story, exalting positive values such as courage, honour, loyalty and friendship has been masterly adapted for the screen, and was shot with a perfect reconstruction of the atmosphere of the Old Budapest; all the players are excellent, but the main strength of the movie is in the extraordinary group of Hungarian children cast to play the Kids; they act like true professionals, and all of them are terrific, but the best of them all is Gàspar Mèses as Nemecsek: his superlative performance gives him the status of a real child actor, and I hope to see him again on the screen. I strongly recommend this movie to anybody!
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not the expected
Kirpianuscus27 April 2017
the basic sin of this film is the manner to ignore the book. the good thing remains the presence of Virna Lisi and the performances of boys. because it is a decent film if you do not read the novel. in rest, the desire to create an universal story about childhood, too Italian to be Hungary, to soft to impress, to conventional to not define it as one of films in which the presence of actors and the costumes are more important than the story. and, if in other cases this vision works, in this case exactly the story must be essential. maybe, because it is one of the most generous in artistic suggestions from the children literature genre.
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4/10
Bad interpretation of a great story
zuzmara1 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I agree with those who say this film is unworthy to the original novel. Everybody who found "Il Ragazzi della via Pál" good should read the book of Ferenc Molnar or watch the 1969 US interpretation of it (The Boys of Pal Street) which was quiet faithful to the book. I found it utterly disturbing how the parents of Boka or Nemecsek were portrayed (Boka's father as as alcohol-addict and Nemecsek's mother cheating on his husband) while there's absolutely no basis of that in the book! Janó in "Il Ragazzi" is totally out of the original character too. I have no problem with films changing the original story of a book on that the film is based on IF that makes the film better. But it's not the case here - on the contrary! These added stories only weaken the original message of the story. And BTW, I found the casting and the acting lame too compared to the 1969 American version.
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thin shadow of a great book
Armand3 July 2012
Hungarian inscriptions. Italian dialogs. Virna Lisi. good performance of children - Gaspar Meses is brilliant -. and that is all. at first sigh, a nice film. games, dramas, moral lessons, only sin - it is not a Ferenc Molnar novel adaptation. the atmosphere of a movie for everybody is not the perfect way to present image of a time, faces of a memorable age and delicate atmosphere of an universe. sure, a lot of novel crumbs are present but difference is great. not for lost of accuracy lines. not for the ambition to create a touching drama. but for the fake recipes for easy success. The boys from Pal street is a real legend in East Europe literature for children . so, it is very difficult to change all for impose your version about a legendary book. sure, if you do not read the novel, the film is interesting, amusing, full of seduction pieces. but it is so Italian that can be considered adaptation of Edmondo de Amicis. and this fact is not OK.
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