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Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and His Brothers) Reviews

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Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

April 7, 2008
Beautiful, brilliant, and brutal! A universal tale of man and his environment. This film can be viewed as a social commentary of Southern versus Northern Italy and five different adaptations to modernization. The five brothers are compared to the five fingers on a hand ~ joined, yet each posits alternatives to existence. Structurally, this is shown in the films chapters devoted to each son. Vincenzo elects the petit-bourgeouis mileu; Simone, the brother with initial promise, maladapts, descending to animalism; Rocco chooses sacrifice, holding steadfast to the family clan and nostalgia; Ciro reveals integration within Milan society; and, finally, Luca offers promise. Visconti masterfully builds tension and characterization with the cinematic details of lighting, music, and montage.

Super Reviewer

October 4, 2009
the melodramatic tale of a close-knit family's move from the rural south to the big northern city of milan, where everything gets complicated. once again visconti managed to suck me into a 3 hour epic. the film has two things i generally enjoy, boxing and a young alain delon. delon is beautifully restrained right up until the final scene as the too-good-to-be-true rocco, who sacrifices everything, including the woman he loves, in an attempt to hold his family together. this is quite a different role for him, best known for his supercool criminal characters of the 60's. even better is renato salvatori as his amoral brother simone, and annie girardot as the prostitute who comes between them, leading ultimately to their destruction. there are a couple of really brutal scenes and the climax is overwrought to the point of opera. it's been said visconti cast the film with his dick but he draws gritty performances from his gorgeous actors and they are certainly lovely to watch :)

Super Reviewer

May 14, 2007
Rocco and his Brothers probably has some sort of socialist hidden meaning, I'm sure of it. But since I didn't see it, I'm writing from my point of view -I am warning you that there's much more to look for in here than what I might have found-. Rocco ei suoi fratelli centers on a family of five brothers and a widowed mother. They move up to Milan from middle Italy, leaving their homeland behind. At first they struggle to adapt to the conditions of the city, all the while maintaining themselves a close-knit traditional family. But as the second oldest son begins to develop a successful boxing career, the vices inherent to a citadin life begin to get in the way of their harmony, embodied by the callgirl (Annie Girardot) he takes as girlfriend. She brings dischord between brothers by falling later for Rocco, the second to youngest. He is all goodness, forgiveness, and fanatical about his family and his traditions, played very movingly by Alain Delon.
As the story unfolds, Simone -the boxer brother- begins to grow fatter and weary, whereas Rocco begins to shine in the same sport... this stirs up jealousy and fear, respectively. When Simone loses the prostitute's love, Rocco wins it, and a dangerous rivalry is thus born. Simone, the decrepit figure -the citadin, corrupted by Milan- becomes Rocco's -the saintly, the countryman- worst enemy. He beats Rocco unconscious after finding him with the girl one evening, and then proceeds to humiliate her in his presence... yet his little brother insists that he should give her up, send her back to Simone, and forgive his brutality. The forces of extreme evil and extreme goodness seem to collide in a series of dramatic sequences, and it is self-evident that neither is ideal. Rocco's irrational good nature harms, instead of protects, him and his loved ones; the same can be said, of course, of Simone's over-the-top machismo.
The real issue that Rocco and his Brothers touches on, to me, is finding the correct balance, the correct place to be, the correct sense of justice. Country or city? Whichever you choose, don't allow you environment to be stronger than your individuality, and so on. The film is thought-provoking but only on one hand, because it is also outstadingly raw, visceral, and earthy in the way that the best Neo-realist films are. So far, this is the highlight of Luchino Visconti's cinematography in my book.
Eric B

Super Reviewer

August 30, 2010
Luchino Visconti's "Rocco and His Brothers" is classified as neo-realism but, given a director known for opulent period epics like "The Leopard" and "Senso," the film is much more cinematic than gritty works like "Open City" and "The Bicycle Thief." It also features actors with movie-star glamour rather than amateurs who just seem plucked off the street.

"Rocco" lasts almost three hours, but its central theme is simple: a family losing its innocence. The Parondi clan -- a mother plus sons Simone (Renato Salvatori), Rocco (Alain Delon), Ciro and Luca -- leaves a rural town in southern Italy and moves to Milan. They reunite with eldest son Vincenzo (Spiros Focas), who is engaged to ravishing Ginetta (a pre-stardom Claudia Cardinale, woefully underused).

The families of Vincenzo and Ginetta do not get along, but this is just the start of the Parondis' troubles. They have little money and squeeze themselves into a squalid flat, knowing they soon will be evicted when they can't afford the rent. We learn this is standard procedure for peasants entering the city -- the eviction is actually desirable because it qualifies them for government housing.

Once the family moves to a new apartment, the plot focuses on the brothers' struggles to get ahead. The film has explicitly titled sections for each of the brothers but, really, the story is about Rocco and Simone. The two mirror each other. Simone aspires to be a boxer, and falls in love with a charming prostitute named Nadia (Annie Girardot). Rocco follows his lead, both professionally and romantically. Simone broods and loses his way, while the more poetic, innocent Rocco finds ambivalent success. But tragedy lurks around the corner.

Visconti's direction is always stately and elegant, even when his settings are obviously decrepit. Content to let his characters carry the action, he's not a filmmaker like Fellini or Bertolucci whose roaming camerawork calls attention to itself. He does borrow Fellini stalwart Nino Rota to compose the score, however. Meanwhile, the young Delon and Girardot are especially affecting in their roles -- it's easy to see why both of them had lengthy careers (even if Delon's romantic turn is miles removed from the icy criminals that were his later signature).

Often cited as an influence on "The Godfather" for its operatic depiction of rival brothers, "Rocco and His Brothers" is a landmark saga that should not be missed.
Laura C

Super Reviewer

September 8, 2009
This film examines family loyalties, industrialization of cities and the struggle to better one's self amid this economic surge.
Rocco has 3 other brothers and his anxious mother to care for since the death of his father. The decision is made to move them from a quiet country existence into Milan, Italy, with the hope that more money can be made in the city.
I thought this film was absorbing as Rocco earnestly struggles to provide a good life for his family. He puts all the weight on his shoulders despite the fact that his brothers are quite capable of helping out as well.
I became frustrated as Rocco plays the martyr for his womanizing, alcoholic older brother who keeps messing up while Rocco takes the fall.
To make matters worse they fall in love with the same woman. She is a prostitute who genuinely loves one brother, but becomes more like a pawn in their game than an object of affection. Tragically, this adds to her feelings of self-hatred.
Rocco does not seem to fit in this new world and the film captures how he is torn between loyalty to his family and being true to himself.
Don't worry I didn't give away the entire film, there's much to see in this 3 hour saga. It is a solid narrative. Beautiful actors and beautifully shot, I also found the film to be very satisfying on a visual level.
Lauren D

Super Reviewer

September 24, 2010
For the most part, I found it boring. As Alain Delon has made his way from not existing one day, to my favourite actor the next, I loved him in it. It was quite weird actually, when he cried, I actually had to hold back tears; despite me not caring at all about the events of the movie or the characters (and me being an unemotional robot in RL). He is just that awesome.
January 20, 2013
A tale of Italian human tragedy. Set in post WWII, where a mother moves her family of five boys from the impoverished South to the big city of Milan for better opportunity. They then struggle maintaining their dignity in compromising to keep up appearances.

It is realist in its telling, and the tragedy came when they did not make Simone pay for his crimes. It also shows the Italian culture that wears their emotions on their sleeves. It was a bit long winded, despite this it was filled with truths, tragedy and beauty.
December 26, 2010
Excellent acting but tale of misguided filial obligation doesn't ring true

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

'Rocco and his Brothers' begins as the Parondi clan move from their rustic life in Lucania, in the southern part of Italy, to the bustling northern metropolis of Milan. Head of the clan is the mother, Rosaria, a loud, obnoxious woman who can be best described as a worry wart. She brings her four sons, Rocco and Simone (in their early 20s), Ciro, a teenager, and Luca (about eight), to visit Vincenzo, the older brother who is engaged to Ginetta (played by Claudia Cardinale before she became famous). The expectation is that Vincenzo has arranged for his in-laws to put his mother and siblings up until they can obtain permanent lodging. Unfortunately, Rosaria and Ginetta's mother don't get along and Vincenzo is forced to find other quarters for them. Vincenzo consults a maintenance man who advises him that the family can move into an expensive apartment, stop paying the rent after a month and have the City of Milan then put them into decent housing since anyone who has officially been evicted, must be provided with social services by the City.

'Rocco' is divided into five segments, focusing on each of the brothers. The first segment involves Vincenzo whose character appears in stark contrast to his younger siblings. Whereas the newly arrived Parondi's are very unsophisticated (they've never seen snow before) and regarded as country bumpkins by the residents of Milan, Vincenzo is a virtual cosmopolitan. While he has a small part in the film, Vincenzo serves two important purposes: 1) He is held up as less stable than the the younger and more together domestic pillar, Ciro, in that he is never able to facilitate a reconciliation between his mother and in-laws and ends up marrying Ginetta, more out of obligation than complete love, after she accidentally becomes pregnant; and 2) He ends up bumping into Nadia, the prostitute, in the hallway of the family's apartment building, introducing her to his other brothers.

The next segment focuses on Simone who is the film's evil antagonist. All good melodramas need a good villain and Simone fits the bill to a tee. He dates Nadia for only a short time before she becomes sick of him; despite dumping him, in Simone's mind, Nadia has become his possession. Despite his professed love for Nadia, Simone has no guilt feelings about seducing the cleaning store manager where Rocco works. This is after he borrows (without permission) an expensive shirt from the cleaners to go on his date with Nadia. What's more he steals a broach from the store manager and gives it to Nadia as a gift; only to have it returned by Nadia to Rocco with a message to Simone that she doesn't want to see him ever again. For a short time, Simone has some success as a local boxer but soon falls from grace.

The next segment focuses on Rocco who can best be described as an 'enabler'. At the end of the film, Ciro describes Rocco as a 'saint' but criticizes him for forgiving everyone for their transgressions. Rocco's character is the linchpin of the film and he's not a convincing character at all. At first, he wants nothing to do with boxing as he regards it as sleazy. Rocco eventually wants to return to the South where his kind-hearted nature might flourish. After joining the Army, he runs into Nadia and they develop a hot and heavy relationship. This leads to the most dramatic moment in the film, when Simone rapes Nadia in front of Rocco out of jealousy and Rocco in turn orders Nadia to 'go back' to Simone out of some kind of misguided filial obligation. If you believe anyone would have been so attached to his brother after spending so much time trying to show a downtrodden prostitute a new life (and actually ending up transforming her), then perhaps I can sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. I know it's supposed to be an example of a 'family tragedy', but I just don't believe anyone would have done such a thing, especially after he's a direct witness to his girlfriend being raped. Equally unbelievable is the subsequent scene where Nadia is about to spit in Simone's face and tells him she'll never go back to him--and then ends up kissing him and agrees to be his concubine.

The next to last segment focuses on Ciro who is held up as the only well-adjusted brother in the clan. He is in effect, Rocco's better half. After Simone steals thousands of dollars from his former manager, Rocco (now a successful boxer himself), has his manager guarantee money to pay Simone's debts in exchange for a contract which will obligate him to fight for another 10 years. After Simone kills Nadia, Rocco keeps playing the part of the enabler by insisting that everyone in the family keep quiet. But Ciro wisely informs the police who pick Simone up for Nadia's murder. Ciro serves to restore order to the out of kilter Parondi clan. It's Ciro who also wisely tells Luca, in the final segment, that even returning to the south, the supposed fount of innocence, is not a panacea to life's problems since things are constantly changing and no one can predict the outcome of what life has in store for us.

'Rocco and his Brothers' is very well-acted coupled with excellent cinematography. It should have all the ingredients of a masterpiece but doesn't. That's because its main character is not believable. Sure there are plenty of people like Rocco who would bail their brothers out financially even with the knowledge they had done something wrong; but to order their true love back into a destructive relationship with their brother after he just raped her, that's something I couldn't believe.

One sad addendum: Annie Giardot (Nadia) who was married to Renato Salvatori (Simone) in real life, is still alive but has Alzheimer's and has no memory of her former life.
October 4, 2008
I only heard of this movie when reading of director Luchino Visconti. How in this film he finally found the love of male beauty in the face of Alain Delon who plays Rocco in the film. Absolutely mavelous movie with so many different aspects of society change, cultural change, and even family change. I will not go so far as to say that this is one of my favorite films, I can say that you will be hard pressed to find a better all round film. GREAT!
July 25, 2014
Alain Delon Masterpiece
April 26, 2014
Such a despicable movie! I really hated the character Simone in this movie because of his actions.
November 24, 2013
So tragic that you'll want to hate it, but too moving to allow you to.
Ivan Spain
January 15, 2013
The first movie I saw from Luchino Visconti, I was trilled about the italian neorealism i've heard about.

The film defines perfectly the italian personality, passionate and impulsive. The roles of the traditional Italian family are also well depicted. It's a sad drama, touching and and profoundly moving but some parts of the story are overacted and it may make the spectator unworried about the details.
September 29, 2012
Certainly one of the best movies ever made. It is utterly heartbreaking and exquisite. Alain Delon gets his start with this one. Renato Salvatorri plays Simone, the absolutely neanderthal-like brother of Delon's Rocco. Must see. Worth the long runtime.
Jason Derfuss
Jason Derfuss

Super Reviewer

September 28, 2012
Heartbreaking and moving, Rocco and His Brothers paints a brilliant picture of a young man trying against all odds to keep his family together. Amid growing debt, scorned lovers, the bias against southerners in Northern Italy, and physical restraints, Rocco manages to keep his family together through personal sacrifice and compromise. This Neorealistic representation of life as a southerner in northern Italy grips the heart and ultimately forces you to feel compassion for Simone even as he murders Nadia.
Dave J
July 6, 2012
Friday, July 6, 2012

(1960) Rocco And His Brothers
(In Italian with English subtitles)

It's basically the story about Rocco(Alain Deloin), the eldest one of five brothers sacrificing his marriage and many positive opportunities/ outlook just to make his mother happy. At a running time of almost 3 hours, the movie starts out promising because it displays Italian customs but turns to predictable/ soap opera mode as one of the brothers exposes himself as the 'black sheep' amongst the five brothers who not only steals, lies, and cheats, but will also kill because of his selfishness. There's apparently no lessons to be learned here just an interesting slice of Italian life, at least at the beginning. Don't expect to find a resolution on here either for it's already possess a somewhat familiar set up.

3 out of 4
Adrian B.
May 31, 2012
Excellent Luschino Visconti movie about young man named Rocco (Alain Deloin), his three brothers, and mother (Katina Paxinou) who move from the countryside to the city after the father passes away. Another brother (Spiros Focas) just becomes engaged to an attractive woman (Claudia Cardinale) and helps his siblings and mother get an apartment, rather than stay with him in his cramped place. He even assists on them in getting jobs, but what really intrigues several of the brothers is boxing, particularly Rocco. This makes another one of the brothers, Simone (Renato Salvatori), quite jealous because he is also a boxer and it cause a stir between them. To make matters worse, a prostitute (Annie Garardot), intervenes in the brothers' lives, which eventually leads to tragedy. The movie is told in episode like form, with five sections split among the five brothers. Superbly shot and acted, with the set pieces making the movie almost real life to the viewer. One of the great films of Italy and another great film from 1960!
April 17, 2012
In 1960 the Italians showed the world why they are the undisputed masters of cinema. Here is a prime example of their dominance.
Michael H.
March 25, 2012
There is a lot of great filmmaking in "Rocco and His Brothers" and some great acting but I remained unconvinced of the core principle of the film; that Rocco would sacrifice love, happiness, and the woman he loves for a brother who is selfish, brutal, hateful, destructive, and ungrateful. The movie asserts the primacy of family above all in the most despicable way.
September 22, 2011
What can i say ? may be i'm speechless now !! time of ds film is 2:49:38 could't stop watching it till the end credits ...GREAT FILM ever made in history of CINEMA ...i feel Michel corleone's of GODFATHER is just RACOO'S cold version saving the family ....ciao.!!!
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