La Dolce Vita (1960)

la dolce vita poster 1960 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great looking, classic film

More of a ride than a story, largely interpretational which some will not like

Movie Info

Movie Name:  La Dolce Vita

Studio:  Riama Film/ Cinecittà/Pathé Consortium Cinéma

Genre(s):  Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  February 3, 1960 (Premiere)/February 4, 1960 (Italy)/December 8, 1960 (UK)/April 19, 1961 (US)

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

la dolce vita marcello rubini writer marcello mastroianni

How cool am I? This damn cool…

Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) lives a swinging life among the elite due to his job as a writer for the paper.  As he and his pal Paparazzo (Walter Santesso) chase around stories in Rome, Marcello spends much of his time chasing women and partying…despite being in a relationship with Emma (Yvonne Furneaux) who wishes Marcello would settle down.  Rome is a city full of life, and Marcello intends to live it to the fullest!

Directed by Federico Fellini (who wrote the film with Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli, Brunello Rondi, and an uncredited Pier Paolo Pasolini), La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life or The Good Life) is an Italian comedy drama.  Following Fellini’s Nights of Cabiria in 1957, the film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and won an Academy Award for Best Costume Design—Black & White with nomination for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration—Black & White.  The Criterion Collection released a remastered version of the film (Criterion #733) and the film was also included as part of the Essential Fellini boxset.

la dolce vita children see virgin mary

We play hide-and-seek with Mary!

La Dolce Vita is a movie that has posters adorning the walls of Italian wannabes and art-film lovers, but I’m guessing a lot of them have never seen it.  At three hours long, the film is an intimidating film to approach…and it is the type of film that you can’t expect to get completely.

The movie is more idea based and theme based than story based.  It is divided into segments and despite being wildly different, the segments do all mesh to form the type of wild life Marcello is living.  As he tries to decide how he wants to live, he floats around aimlessly…almost a precursor to The Graduate and Benjamin Braddock.  He admires only one person…and that person leaves his doubting everything again.

The cast is good.  Marcello Mastroianni has the hard role of being a jerky womanizer, but he also has to carry a three hour movie…while trying to be likeable to audience.  Yvonne Furneaux is his frustrated girlfriend willing to do anything to try to keep Marcello with her.  Walter Santesso plays his photographer friend and his name Paparazzo led to the term paparazzi for invasive media.  The movie is dotted with celebrities through the course of the film, but Mastroianni is the star.

la dolce vita marcello rubini sylvia rank trevi fountain marcello mastroianni anita ekberg

Take a dip in the magic of the Trevi Fountain

The movie looks fantastic with the Trevi Fountain sequence often as a standout.  In general, the film is a beautifully shot film that not only makes the most of its locations (when it uses them), but it also has fantastic but simple sets that Fellini uses to the max.  The picture is clear and crisp and feels very modern…it is also a film that is improved by new clean HD transfers.

La Dolce Vita is a must for film fanatics who want to see some of the foundations of film.  The movie isn’t for everyone, but if you watch and let yourself not think too deeply, it is a ride worth taking.  The movie is a classic…actually watch it and don’t just let it be a poster on the wall.  Fellini followed La Dolce Vita with a segment in Boccaccio ’70 in 1962 and the feature in 1963.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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