Before the Revolution (Prima della rivoluzione) (1965)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Fabrizio is passionate, idealistic, influenced by Cesare, a teacher and Marxist, engaged to the lovely but bourgeois Clelia, and stung by the drowning of his mercurial friend Agostino, a possible suicide. Gina is herself a bundle of nervous energy, alternately sweet, seductive, poetic, distracted, and unhinged. They begin a love affair after Agostino's funeral, then Gina confuses Fabrizio by sleeping with a stranger. Their visits to Cesare and then to Puck, one of Gina's older friends, a landowner losing his land, dramatize contrasting images of Italy's future.
Art House & International , Drama , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
New Yorker Films


Allen Midgette
as Agostino
Morando Morandini
as Cesare--Teacher
Domenico Alpi
as Fabrizio's Father
Giuseppe Maghenzani
as Fabrizio's Brother
Emilia Borghi
as Fabrizio's Mother
Iole Lunardi
as Fabrizio's Grandmother
Gianni Amico
as Friend
Goliardo Padova
as The Painter
Guido Fanti
as Enore
Salvatore Enrico
as Sacristan
Ida Pellegri
as Clelia's Mother
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Critic Reviews for Before the Revolution (Prima della rivoluzione)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3)

In all of Bertolucci's movies, there's a central conflict between the 'radical' impulses and a pessimistic (and/or willing) capitulation to the mainstream of bourgeois society and culture.

Full Review… | December 7, 2007
Time Out
Top Critic

Here is a new talent of outstanding promise.

Full Review… | December 7, 2007
New York Times
Top Critic

The contrary attractions of sensuality and politics have been the subject of many of Bertolucci's films, but the conflict is presented most passionately and personally here.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A brilliant, crammed, allusive work.

Full Review… | April 25, 2016
The Spectator

Altogether a dazzling film, both continually vital and something of a time capsule.

Full Review… | April 9, 2011

Both the vices and virtues of youthful confidence are apparent in its muddied complexity and fluid brilliance.

April 8, 2011
London Evening Standard

Audience Reviews for Before the Revolution (Prima della rivoluzione)


Bertolucci was still developing his technique when he made this flawed, imperfect attempt at an Italian Nouvelle Vague film that is in fact more about style than substance, made by someone full of ideas but who would still need time to mature his vision of things.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


This is Bertolucci at his most cine-literate, dropping references to at least a dozen other movies and directors, but in my mind it seems primarily a combination of the stylistic flourishes of Truffaut and the political ambitions of Godard (albeit, this was before Godard got ridiculously didactic). In either case, he has mixed success. The film is awash with cinematic flourishes, some of which are exciting and fresh, but some just seem like indulgent showing off. His political commentary is less scattershot and in-your-face than Godard, but still seems muddled at times. I also found the lead characters (Fabrizio and Gina) to be annoyingly manic, which I guess is a weird complaint coming from a Bergman fan, but they did get on my nerves sometimes. Overall, Bertolucci hits more than he misses and it's one of his most interesting works, although definitely flawed.

Martin Teller
Martin Teller

true poetry (with some added incest as a bonus), and all from someone who made it who's a true visionary at such a young age.

Jack Gattanella
Jack Gattanella

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