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La Dolce Vita (1960)

tomatometer

89

Average Rating: 8.5/10
Critic Reviews: 18
Fresh: 16 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

91

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 32,803

My Rating

Movie Info

In one of the most widely seen and acclaimed European movies of the 1960s, Federico Fellini featured Marcello Mastrioanni as gossip columnist Marcello Rubini. Having left his dreary provincial existence behind, Marcello wanders through an ultra-modern, ultra-sophisticated, ultra-decadent Rome. He yearns to write seriously, but his inconsequential newspaper pieces bring in more money, and he's too lazy to argue with this setup. He attaches himself to a bored socialite (Anouk Aimée), whose search

Sep 21, 2004

American International Picture

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All Critics (57) | Top Critics (18) | Fresh (55) | Rotten (2) | DVD (15)

Fellini has set out to move us with the depravity of contemporary life and has chosen what seems to me a poor method: cataloging sins. Very soon we find ourselves thinking: Is that all?

May 1, 2013 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everything has changed, and nothing has changed. How sour it still is.

June 1, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Perhaps many spectators will squirm at the three-hour length of the film or of some of its sequences (though director Federico Fellini cut some 30 minutes from his final print), yet others will never notice they've sat that long.

May 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
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The film was hugely successful and widely praised in its time, though it's really nothing more than the old C.B. De Mille formula of titillation and moralizing.

Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

There are perhaps a couple of party scenes too many, and the peripheral characters can be unconvincing, but the stylish cinematography and Fellini's bizarre, extravagant visuals are absolutely riveting.

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[An] epic of anomie.

December 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A lovely Italian palette that questions if we can settle down to a life of struggle without having first lived life at its best.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

What is happiness within the film's world? Fellini offers no easy answers.

June 3, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Along with his later 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita is regarded as one of acclaimed Italian director Federico Fellini's best-loved and most influential films. The '60s-set tale of one man's struggle with the so-called "sweet life" stars Marcello Mastroi

February 17, 2010 Full Review Source: AskMen.com
AskMen.com

The satire on display is so simultaneously subtle yet blatant that the movie itself is intoxicating.

April 24, 2009 Full Review Source: Daily Radar
Daily Radar

In spite of its thematic ugliness, this is a stunning-looking trawl through the Italian capital, with Ekberg's impromptu paddle in the Trevi fountain still the films enduring image.

April 20, 2009 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Mágico e inesquecível, representa não apenas um fascinante estudo de personagem, mas também um mergulho dilacerante na fragilidade humana. E Ekberg tornou-se, para sempre, uma das maiores personificações de sensualidade oferecidas pelo Cinema.

April 10, 2009
Cinema em Cena

It's winsome because of the stylish cinematography, which fills the screen with mind-blowing bizarre visuals.

July 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

...experienced as a series of bizarre vignettes, a headlong rush into the heady air of Rome's Via Veneta , its swank nightclubs and seedy gigolos, the perfume of fame and the stink of money.

June 13, 2007 Full Review
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Films don't get more essential than this.

May 8, 2007 Full Review Source: Oregonian
Oregonian

Federico Fellini's "La Dolce Vita" operates on so many levels that it's tough to know where Fellini is coming from or where he's headed, regardless of how many times you've watched his film.

December 11, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

After what we've seen of decadence during the past three decades or so, La Dolce Vita now seems tame, but people wasting time in nightclubs, dancing in the fountains of Rome, and just generally hanging out seemed a bit of a shock in 1960.

August 29, 2006 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Made at the peak of Fellini's career, La Dolce Vita provided the first look into Rome's decadent cafe society, boasting superlative performances from Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimee, Anita Ekberg, and others.

June 29, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

My heart wants to tell you that it's a great film, but my head fights it. I can settle it by saying that it's important, and that its joys outnumber its missteps.

June 12, 2005 Full Review Source: F5 (Wichita, KS)

This remains a landmark movie that should be seen by every self-respecting movie buff.

March 5, 2005 Full Review Source: NYC Film Critic
NYC Film Critic

Primo Fellini!

January 4, 2005

Audience Reviews for La Dolce Vita

Italian Movie about a player that in 1960 must have raised eyebrows, I didnt enjoy it 1 star
January 13, 2013
bbcfloridabound
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

Essential surrealist film, La Dolce Vita is an early critique to press photography, bourgeois society, special attention to stars and social decadence.
August 3, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

This doesn't happen very often, but I must say, I'm rather baffled. I'm not sure how I truly feel about this movie. I don't know if I truly get it. I'm a smart guy, and I'd like to think I can 'get' artsy European cinema, but I am simultaneously aware of why this is called a classic but also baffled as to why it is so adored.

The film tells the story of a tabloid photographer in Rome in the 50s who discovers that the high society world isn't all that it seems, that trying to find a balance betwween the relics of the past and the ever-growing ways of the modern world is complicated, and that it can be quite a challenge to discover who one really is amidst all of this. That's pretty much it. That's the plot in it's most simplified way.

It doesn't take long to really get all of this, but the film is just under three hours. I really don't think it needed to be. However,the film is wall to wall with style and cinematic craft. The film has a neat structure (it takes place over the course of about a weeks worth of days and nights, though not consecutively), and there's all kinds of religious imagery and symbolism-allowing the viewer to either just read into it like there's no tomorrow, or just take it at face value. Normally I'm cool with this sort of thing, but again, the movie is just about 3 hours...and kinda slow at times.

The film could have had far more substance, especially given the theme and premise, but the slice of life stuff it quite nice too. It just all happens to ramble far too often. Maybe I'm being too hard on this though. Maybe I should have been really exhauted and had my mind on other things when I sat down to watch it. Or maybe (and I'm probably in the minority here) Fellini was more full of crap than people might like to admit. I loved 8 1/2 , but I was in a different mood and mindset when I saw that.

I do love the music and cinematography though. There's some really gorgeous (and sometiems surreal) images, and some sequences are just fantastic, but it's all just kinda hard to endure in one setting. Ther performances aren't bad, but it seems like Fellini was more interested in just letting everything just run wild instead of having a far tighter hold on things. Maybe the issues Im haivng with this can be attributed to the fact that, as a bunch of critics and scholars have said, this was a transitional film for Fellini between his neo-realistic stuff, and his whimsical art film. It has elements of both, and they are done well, but maybe they just don't blend all that wonderfully.

I'm rambling, much lke the movie. I didn't hate it, but I found it very hard to endure. Is it a really good movie? Yeah. Is it really all that influential? Sure. Does it deserve all the accolades and respect it gets? To an extent. You should see this, just to say you finally saw it, because it is worth it. As a cohesive masterpiece though, I didn't find it to be that exactly. 4 stars for the film overall, and an extra half star just for the style and technique.
August 11, 2011
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A gossip columnist has a raucous time of it in Rome with various starlets and high society types.
I dreaded seeing this film because I found most of Fellini's other work to be vapid and unimpressive, but La Dolce Vita was not that bad. It's not remarkably inaccessible like 8 1/2 or banal like Amaracord, but because it's a Fellini film, I can't be sure if what I got out of the film is similar to what the consensus view is. Here it goes regardless: I see this film as an exploration of hedonism. Marcello's relationship with Emma is grounded but ultimately not fulfilling and in some ways quite destructive; after all, she's introduced in a suicide scene. Marcello's relationships with his the starlets he covers is best summed up in a description of Sylvia: she's a hot mess, flighty, alluring in her unattainable nature - the very nature that makes him want to attain her all the more; she's unpredictable, vital, and very much alive. Yet as Marcello tries to enter this world and be worthy of her and people like her and live "the sweet life," so to speak, he descends into confusing pleasure for happiness and popularity for importance.
Of course, it's Fellini, so I could be way off base.
I can't say that I truly enjoyed the film, but because I was able to tease out a theme (the one I just articulated), it intellectually engaged me. The performances are all good, nothing too extraordinary.
Overall, this is the best Fellini film I've seen so far, but that's not saying much.
August 1, 2011
hunterjt13
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Movies Like La Dolce Vita

    1. Sylvia: Marcello, come here!
    – Submitted by Celeste B (2 years ago)
    1. Steiner: Sometimes at night the darkness and silence weigh upon me. Peace frightens me; perhaps I fear it most of all. I feel it is only a façade hiding the face of hell. I think, 'What is in store for my children tomorrow?' 'The world will be wonderful', they say. But from whose viewpoint? If one phone call could announce the end of everything? We need to live in a state of suspended animation like a work of art, in a state of enchantment. We have to succeed in loving so greatly that we live outside of time, detached.
    – Submitted by Lacey H (2 years ago)
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Foreign Titles

  • Das süße Leben (DE)
  • The Sweet Life (La Dolce Vita) (CA)
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