8 1/2 (1963)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Inventive, thought-provoking, and funny, 8 1/2 represents the arguable peak of Federico Fellini's many towering feats of cinema.

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Movie Info

Exhausted from the success of his latest blockbuster film, already feeling pressured to come up with another smash hit, and suffering from a massive creative block, filmmaker Guido Anselmi (Marc Mastroianni) heads off for a mountain resort to recharge and come up with a new idea. His search for inspiration leads him down many strange, twisted paths and these journeys provide the basis of the rollicking, at times riotous, long and mesmerizing 8 1/2, simultaneously one of Fellini's best loved and most deeply personal films. Anselmi's mental journey begins with thoughts of the past. He remembers his parents and a strange scene in which he sees an overweight prostitute dancing on a beach. Boyhood memories are gradually supplanted by those of adolescence and eventually lead him to his current romantic travails as he tries to service a wife and mistress. Increasingly the line between his musing and his real-life activities begins to fade, making it difficult for viewers to discern. In one scene he gives a press conference on the set of his unmade film. Still exhausted and empty, he cannot answer the many questions asked by the media about the production. Ultimately, he abandons the film and begins dreaming of death and longing for the freedom it could bring. As the fantasy progresses, every major figure in his life appears. He himself becomes a flute-playing child and together he and the people begin to dance in a circle as the story comes to a close. The title represents the number of films Fellini had made at that time.
Rating:
NR
Genre:
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Runtime:
Studio:
Cinerez

Cast

Marcello Mastroianni
as Guido Anselmi
Anouk Aimée
as Luisa Anselmi
Sandra Milo
as Carla
Rossella Falk
as Rossella
Barbara Steele
as Gloria Morin
Mario Pisu
as Mezzabotta
Guido Alberti
as Pace, the Producer
Madeleine LeBeau
as French Actress
Jean Rougeul
as Daumier, the Writer/Critic
Caterina Boratto
as Fashionable Unidentified Woman at the Spa
Annibale Ninchi
as Anselmi's Father
Giuditta Rissone
as Anselmi's Mother
Ian Dallas
as Mindreader
Eddra Gale
as La Saraghina
Yvonne Casadei
as Aging Dancer
Annie Gorassini
as Producer's Girl Friend
Tito Masini
as the Cardinal
Eugene Walter
as the American Journalist
Gilda Dahlberg
as American Journalist's Wife and Magazine Writer
Edy Vessel
as Model
Nadine Sanders
as Airline Hostess
Georgia Simmons
as Anselmi's grandmother
Hazel Rogers
as Negro Dancer
Rosellin Como
as Friend
Riccardo Guglielmi
as Guido as a Farm Boy
Marco Gemini
as Guido as a Schoolboy
Neil Robinson
as Agent for French actor
Mino Doro
as Claudia's agent
Mario Tarchetti
as Claudia's Press Agent
Mary Indovino
as Maurice's Partner, Telepathist
Mario Conocchia
as Director
Cesarino Miceli Picardi
as Production Inspector
Bruno Agostini
as Production Secretary
Alberto Conocchia
as Production Manager
John Stacy
as Accountant
Mark Herron
as Enrico, Luisa's Admirer
Elisabeta Catalano
as Luisa's Sister
Matilda Calnan
as Older Journalist
Alfredo de Lafeld
as Cardinal's Secretary
Sebastiano De Leandro
as Cardinal's Secretary
Frazier Rippy
as Lay Secretary for the Cardinal
Maria Tedeschi
as College Dean
Tito Massini
as The Cardinal
Maria Raimondi
as Guido Anselmi's Aunt
Marisa Colomber
as Guido Anselmi's Aunt
Roberto Nicolisi
as Doctor at the Spa
Palma Mangini
as Aging Relative from the Country
Roberta Valli
as Annoying Little Niece
Eva Gioia
as Two Young Girls in Bed
Dina DeSantis
as Two Young Girls in Bed
Olimpia Cavalli
as Miss Olympia
Maria Antonietta Beluzzi
as Screen-Test Candidate for La Saraghina
Jérôme Polidor
as Clown in the Parade
Anna Caramini
as Friend
Rossella Como
as Friend
Dina De Santis
as Two Young Girls in Bed
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Critic Reviews for 8 1/2

All Critics (46) | Top Critics (11)

In terms of execution I cannot remember a more brilliant film.

Full Review… | January 6, 2014
The New Republic
Top Critic

Unless Fellini's problem has been preying on the mind of the viewer, he may not care to take on the director's doubts and confusions.

Full Review… | April 27, 2009
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

It's Fellini's last black-and-white picture and conceivably the most gorgeous and inventive thing he ever did.

Full Review… | July 9, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Here is the author-director picture par excellence, an exciting, stimulating, monumental creation.

Full Review… | July 9, 2007
Variety
Top Critic

Amiably spiking all criticism through a gloomy scriptwriter mouthpiece, Fellini pulls a multitude of rabbits out of the showman's hat.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Here is a piece of entertainment that will really make you sit up straight and think, a movie endowed with the challenge of a fascinating intellectual game.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 8 1/2

½

Fellini takes his existential musings from La Dolce Vita to a radical level with this fascinatingly intimate and gorgeous exercise in self-reflection (the title couldn't be more perfect), shaping it as a stylish anti-comedy and building it upon a surprising anti-structural narrative skeleton.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

½

Finely executed picture 8 1/2 is a splendid film experience that boasts a great cast, brilliant direction and a wonderful story. Shot in gorgeous Black &White, I felt that it added so much atmosphere to the film and in retrospect gave a much more in depth atmosphere that elevated the simple story quite well. This is a great film, one that should be seen by cinema fans, and if you enjoy classic, foreign dramas, then you're in for a real treat. I really enjoyed the film, and its premise, for what it is it's definitely of the top films that has ever been committed to film, and it's well worth your time. The story is simple, yet engaging, and it's a smartly crafted picture that delivers something truly special. 8 1/2 is a fine picture that manages to be captivating and enthralling from the first frame right up to the final shot due to the simplest of plots. Under the direction of Frederico Fellini, it is a standout feature, a film that is near perfect, and like I said, is well worth your time if you enjoy the genre. 8 1/2 works very well due to powerful performances, effective storytelling and great direction, and for what it is, it's a finely executed drama that does something quite wonderful with its story. This is a stunning picture that is enthralling from start to finish, and is one of cinemas finest films. Although at times a little long, you end up not caring because the story and performances are so rich in character that the make the weaker moments seem insignificant compared to the entire film. 8 1/2 is a stunning piece of filmmaking that will delight anyone looking for powerful, engaging storytelling, and it's a movie that is accomplished in the way it handles its subject.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

An author trying to find his story. I saw this movie in an art house when I was a kid and didn't get it. I didn't understand the imagery. I certainly didn't understand his problem. Now I do.

Bathsheba Monk
Bathsheba Monk

Super Reviewer

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