Critics Consensus

Ribald, sweet, and sentimental, Amarcord is a larger-than-life journey through a seaside village and its colorful citizens.



Total Count: 42


Audience Score

User Ratings: 18,153
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Movie Info

Federico Fellini's warmly nostalgic memory piece examines daily life in the Italian village of Rimini during the reign of Mussolini, and won the 1974 Academy Award as Best Foreign Film. The film's greatest asset is its ability to be sweet without being cloying, due in great part to Danilo Donati's surrealistic art direction and to the frequently bawdy injections of sex and politics by screenwriters Fellini and Tonino Guerra. Fellini clearly has deep affection for the people of this seaside village, warts and all, and communicates it through episodic visual anecdotes which are seen as if through the mists of a favorite dream, playfully scored by Nino Rota and lovingly photographed by Giuseppe Rotunno. ~ Robert Firsching, Rovi


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Critic Reviews for Amarcord

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (38) | Rotten (4)

  • Continues to resemble something a lewd, grouchy, fitfully indecent silent-movie director might have made for his first time using color and sound. That, at least, would explain the shouting.

    Dec 22, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Fellini is so bountiful with incident and observation that he makes most other film makers seem stingy.

    Apr 27, 2009 | Full Review…
  • Orthodox Fellini lovers will give primacy to La Strada or La Dolce Vita, but Amarcord has its fans, and it's easy to see why.

    Mar 13, 2009 | Full Review…
  • He [Director Fellini] leaves us with the hope that the human comedy just may be able to survive everything.

    Feb 13, 2009 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • This Fellini opus is his most accessible to mass audiences since La Dolce Vita.

    Dec 3, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Uneven, loosely structured, and at times pretty vulgar as well as sentimental, but with some touching and lovely episodes.

    Dec 3, 2008 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Amarcord

  • Jun 29, 2018
    Fellini gives us a series of memories, fantasies, and dreams in the vignettes which make up his semi-autobiographical film 'Amarcord' ('I Remember'). The message which comes through is loving, and about the gaiety of life, embracing its madcap characters and moments - moments which will someday live in our memories, hazy though they grow, as little diamonds of light. I loved the scenes satirizing the Fascists and the Catholic Church, and they're all the more powerful in this context, where they are reduced in significance, and just another zany thing Italians dealt with (or deal with) in life. The film doesn't strike any major philosophical chords, briefly coming close as men peer up into the heavens, but the lines uttered as a poem by a construction worker are powerful ("My grandfather made bricks / My father made bricks / I make bricks, too / but where's my house?"). I may be in the minority here, but the film didn't strike me as particularly beautiful, though it was a pleasure to see Magali Noël (Rififi, La Dolce Vita, and many others). It held my interest, but lacked a big punch, even in its sentimentality, though I was always pulling for it, and loved the many references to Hollywood actors from the 1930's. Unfortunately, there is not enough depth here to consider it a great film, and Fellini too often indulged in caricatures and juvenile humor. Net, a mixed bag.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 06, 2014
    "Lord, amarcord, Lord, amarcord; Night movies!" ...Amarcord means, "I remember", my fellow Bob Seager fans, and if you think that was perhaps a little forced, then just see how this film treats major government issues, because never has Fascism been presented so colorfully. With "8 1/2", then "Roma", and now this, I'd say that Federico Fellini just loved talking about himself, but these semi-autobiographical films are so trippy that I have a little trouble seeing where reality sets in. Shoot, as trippy as any sort of Italian cinema is, maybe it is this surrealistic over there, which is good, because, like I said, this is a colorful portrait on Fascism, and I prefer that to the sort of fascism portrayed in "Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom". It's all pretty extreme, but it's never quite as exciting as you hope it might be, because, again, we're talking about Italian cinema here. Actually, this film is pretty decidedly more entertaining than, say, "8 1/2", probably because, with all of my joking about how this film portrays Fascism, this project noted for not being all that politically charged for a Federico Fellini, being mostly about some guy using some kid he made up to talk about what it was like for him to grow up in the '30s. Yeah, I know that doesn't sound particularly captivating, but there are certain things here so interesting that you kind of have to see them to believe it, and don't worry about that too much, because this film is plenty decent, even though intrigue is shaken by the film's getting to be either too Italian, or too lighthearted. A portrait of Fascist Italy as seen through the eyes of a lad coming of age, this film's basic subject matter has plenty of potential, but the story concept itself is actually fairly lacking in bite, because rather than getting too deeply into its dramatic and political value, Federico Fellini chooses to mold a satirical, or at least comedic narrative of limited consequence, and plenty of surrealism. The fluffy attitude of the film, alone, is enough to hold back the potential of this narrative, but a sense of real humanity is further diluted by all of the surrealism in this film, which isn't as trippy as "8 1/2", but paints bizarre characters and set pieces with thin layers for the sake of supplementation to the colorful satire. In addition to taking you out of this world through surrealism, the overwroughtness of the narrative building begets too many layers or branches in plot focus for the film to keep consistent, wearing you down with focal inconsistencies, especially with the final product's runtime. Running over two hours, this film is too long to be so light, and such a structure not only tries your patience, but allows all of the surrealism and unevenness to thrive until the film becomes rather convoluted, frustrating you with its structure, just as it tends to frustrate with a lot of its humor. I can't help but feel as though the overt European style of the film prominently factors into the critics' boasts that this is a sophisticated comedy, because, really, as funny as this film is, all too often, it's surprisingly and thoroughly juvenile in its sense of humor at times, and all but frequently frantic and noisy in an attempt to prevent slow spells that are indeed absent, but substituted by obnoxiousness. You get used to the film pretty quickly, largely because it is so entertaining to be so European, but all of this getting carried away with juvenility and freneticism joins a convoluted and overdrawn structure in shining a light on how inconsequential this story concept is. I can't even promise that the film will prove to be all that memorable, but what I can say is that, with patience, it's hard to not be entertained while the film runs its course, and does so with some undeniable taste in certain places. Returning to Federico Fellini following their collaboration with him on "Roma", the duo of Nino Rota - undoubtedly still on the high from working on "The Godfather" - and Carlo Savina turn in a score that I don't find is especially worthy of the hype that it's receiving, - what with its limited prominence and originality - yet is still pretty solid, with perk and taste whose color goes matched, if not outweighed by that of Giorgio Giovannini's art direction. Sure, Giovanni doesn't too much to play up either the distinguished setting of this film, or the colorful world that Fellini thinks up, but there are subtle, yet ultimately major touches of colorful production value which help in complimenting a sense of immersion and color in this surreal period piece. The cast further helps, as just about every single member of it is thoroughly charming, - whether it be subtly, or explosively - to where you get a certain investment in the characters, at least as vehicles for satire and other forms of humor, despite their being so thinly written. Thin in depth and essentially overwrought in structure and humor, the script by Fellini and Tonino Guerra (Tony Guerrero? Co-Host 3000! I miss, outside of natural shortcomings, holds this film back about as much as anything, but it's still such an important factor in this project which is so reliant on humor and set pieces, thus, when Fellini and Guerra deliver, they really do hit pretty hard, with tight and colorful, if overblown, surrealist set pieces, as well as humor that, while juvenile, has some seriously solid highlights. Oftentimes the film is a little flat, and about as many times, I'm telling you, even to those facing a language barrier, it's funny as all get-out, with well-structured comedic dialogue and well-drawn comedic visuals that, in order to really deliver comically, has to be brought to life by colorful direction. The usual route taken by European filmmakers as respected as Fellini is a dryness that Fellini has indeed been guilty of sustaining in the past, but here, although he often overcorrects and simply gets on your nerves with freneticism, he really never lets momentum slip too far, with scene structuring that is tighter than it is in the script, and with an orchestration of the flashy style and charming cast so colorful that entertainment value is held through and through. The last thing I was expecting to have in this film is a lot of fun the whole way through, and although this film isn't too much more than that, - seeing as how it wears down on you after a while of trotting along an already thin path - it is plenty entertaining to those able to take this effort for what it is. In conclusion, natural shortcomings derive from a surprisingly very lighthearted attitude that ends up leading to surrealism about as overblown as the unevenly, if not convolutedly overdrawn narrative, and plenty of obnoxious lowlights in juvenile humor and tonal freneticism, thus, the final product underwhelms, but through tasteful score work and art direction, across-the-board delightful performances, colorful writing, and lively direction, Federico Fellini's "Amarcord" ultimately stands as a generally thoroughly entertaining, if messy satire. 2.5/5 - Fair
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • Jul 25, 2012
    Perhaps Fellini's most personal film, Amarcord explores the traditions and day to day lives of member of Fellini's town. The boy who portrayed Fellini had just as much screen time as another character, even though the center of focus was on him you explored the lives of everyone in the city during the fascist era. Whether it was the large breasted cashier or the blind man you got a sense of everyone. There wasn't a story line just lives of Italians young and old. Featuring many scenes of Insanity and family conflict though it wasn't as bland as the similar American film Nashville. You didn't explore just the fantasies of Fellini but you saw other characters dreams, what other characters were dreaming of. This is because Fellini understood he wasn't the only person in that town.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 13, 2011
    I admit I've never been a huge Fellini fan, but I found Amarcord to be quite engaging. If anything, it's a portrait of humanity at its most interesting. The movie is funny, strange and surreal, but all at the same time being grounded in the reality of the story. The only minor problem that I had with it is its leisurely pace during portions of the film when you just want to move on to the next adventure. I may be alone in that, but I felt it watching it. Otherwise, the film is a wonderful look at growing up in Italy through the eyes of Frederico Fellini.
    Tim S Super Reviewer

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