I Vitelloni

1953

I Vitelloni

Critics Consensus

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100%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 23

90%

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User Ratings: 6,299
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Movie Info

Italian maestro Federico Fellini's first international success is a nakedly autobiographical film that bears many of the formal and thematic concerns that recur throughout his work. Set in the director's hometown of Rimini, I Vitelloni follows the lives of five young vitelloni, or layabouts, who while away their listless days in their small seaside village. Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), the leader of the pack, marries his sweetheart, but finds himself constantly distracted by other women. Meanwhile, would-be playwright Leopoldo (Leopoldo Trieste) continues work on his dreary plays, dreaming of staging them one day. Clownish Alberto (Alberto Sordi) still lives at home with his mother and sister, Olga (Claude Farell), while boasting of preserving the family honor by watching over her. While the movie seems to pay little attention to Riccardo (Riccardo Fellini) and Moraldo (Franco Interlenghi), the latter eventually emerges as its key character, plainly serving as Fellini's alter ego. Stuck in adolescence, the five friends stumble into various misadventures, as they seek to spice up their uneventful provincial lives. Ultimately, one of them breaks free from their self-imposed paralysis and moves on, leading to one of the most poignant farewell sequences in film history. A hit in Italy upon its release, I Vitelloni secured Fellini's reputation as an up-and-coming talent, while also introducing its title into Italian vernacular.

Cast

Franco Fabrizi
as Fausto Moretti
Leonora Ruffo
as Sandra Rubini
Franco Interlenghi
as Moraldo Rubini
Arlette Sauvage
as Woman in the Cinema
Maja Nipora
as Actress
Jean Brochard
as Father of Fausto
Claude Farere
as Sister of Alberto
Carlo Romano
as Michele
Enrico Viarisio
as Sandra's Father
Paola Borboni
as Sandra's Mother
Achille Majerone
as Head of a Theatre Troup
Vira Silenti
as Leopoldo's "Chinese" Date
View All

News & Interviews for I Vitelloni

Critic Reviews for I Vitelloni

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (11) | Fresh (23)

  • Proof of Fellini's early genius as a storyteller.

    Aug 3, 2004 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Jamie Russell

    BBC.com
    Top Critic
  • Offers us the rare chance to witness a filmmaker becoming a master filmmaker, as well as the birth of an important relationship with composer Nino Rota.

    Jun 10, 2004 | Rating: A
  • What stays fresh (and enhanced by the beautifully restored black- and-white print) is how so many of Fellini's gifts and obsessions are already apparent in this early work.

    Apr 23, 2004 | Rating: 3/4
  • It was this ineffably poignant semiautobiographical reverie that unleashed fully Fellini's shimmering, flowing poetic style.

    Mar 25, 2004 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • One of the screen's great portrayals of the hell-raising and malaise of young men in their 20s.

    Feb 19, 2004 | Rating: 4/4
  • A must-see for Fellini enthusiasts and a worthwhile investment for everyone else.

    Dec 12, 2003 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for I Vitelloni

  • Dec 27, 2017
    'I Vitelloni' has that post-war existential feel to it, and effectively transports us to a small town in Italy where five young men dream of escaping someday, but have no clear plans. There are some wonderful scenes that are easy to identify with - carousing in the street at night, walking along the beach, and dancing the night away at a party. The friends all feel a sense of bleak malaise, facing a future in a small town with nothing much to look forward to. While the older characters are hard-working models of virtue who have lives that really don't seem all that bad, the scene when Fausto (Franco Fabrizi) is put to work is priceless. His face beautifully expresses that moment when one has to face the realities of the world. The character of Fausto dominates the story, at first as he's forced by his father into marrying the girl he's gotten pregnant (Leonora Ruffo), and then as he can't keep himself from hitting on other women. He's incorrigible and a hard guy to like; we cheer when his father (Jean Brochard) breaks out a can of whoop-ass and he's the recipient. There is something missing to the movie though. The characters are developed unevenly, most of all Riccardo the singer (played by Fellini's own brother), and sometimes the events feel a little disconnected. Perhaps that's the point though. And we really feel something for Leopoldo (Leopoldo Trieste) as he reads an aging actor (Achille Majeroni) his screenplay, only to be horrified by the latter's response. How sad that Vittorio De Sica turned down the role because he was afraid of being identified as actually gay. Lastly, we also identify with Moraldo (Franco Interlenghi), who wanders the streets at night alone, befriends a young boy, and eventually makes it out; a feeling which is amplified knowing he represents Fellini himself. Not a perfect film, but it works.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 15, 2015
    Having refined his directing skills, Fellini delivered this lyrical autobiographical story with a great cinematography and a breathtaking circus-like carnival scene, but its quasi-episodic structure makes it feel a bit unfocused, with unequal screen time devoted to each of the "vitelloni."
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 15, 2013
    Fellini's autobiographical film is another result of the great "human" films coming out of Italy in the 50s. There is often not too much glitter in the lives of these individuals but their humanity and trials and tribulations makes you want to watch them closely.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Jan 09, 2010
    A lovely film, though it's definitely a creature of another era. This is early Fellini back in his neo-realist period, and only an isolated carnival sequence hints at the matured director's trademark sense of spectacle. I'm hardly the first to say so, but "I Vitelloni" sure reminds me of Barry Levinson's "Diner" (one of my favorite films ever). Yes, it's another close-knit circle of likable, well-dressed, slick-haired young men who somehow just can't find a solid path in life, despite approaching the problem from a variety of angles. The main criticism I have of "I Vitelloni" is that the screenplay doesn't give the five lads equal time, and thus the story of the womanizing Fausto somewhat overwhelm the others' sketchier tales.
    Eric B Super Reviewer

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