Il Bidone (The Swindle) (The Swindlers) (1955)

Il Bidone (The Swindle) (The Swindlers) (1955)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Il Bidone (The Swindle) (The Swindlers) Photos

Movie Info

Fellini's wry study of three con men (Broderick Crawford, Richard Basehart, Franco Fabrizi) and their exploits. Giulietta Masina, Lorella De Luca, Giacomo Gabrelli. Originally titled "Il Bidone."
Art House & International , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Prima Film


Franco Fabrizi
as Roberto
Lorella De Luca
as Patrizia
Irene Cefaro
as Marisa
Xenia Valderi
as Luciana
Mara Werlen
as Maggie
Maria Zanoli
as Stella Florina
Ettore Bevilaqua
as Swindled Man
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Il Bidone (The Swindle) (The Swindlers)

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (2)

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | February 22, 2012
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

No excerpt available.

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

An obvious cheap-crime picture, very much on the sentimental side, and therefore thematically inferior to the two films it fell between. But it contains some very strong Fellini phases and accumulations of moods that make it well worth seeing.

Full Review… | June 14, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

The most obscure film of the highly visible Federico Fellini.

Full Review… | February 15, 2004
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The progression from comedy to tragedy signals Fellini's most religious work

Full Review… | November 15, 2009

Audience Reviews for Il Bidone (The Swindle) (The Swindlers)

This forgotten Fellini classic - which was initially a flop in Italy and also in the USA - is a poignant, heartbreaking character study that manages to make us feel pity and sympathy towards the worst kind of swindler, the one that deceives and takes money from the poor.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

One of Fellini's least remembered films, "Il Bidone" is a wobbly tale about three con men who pursue some truly appalling schemes to bilk peasants out of their slim savings. Augusto (Broderick Crawford) feels uneasy about still scrambling for small-time games at his advanced age, and has a soft spot for a teen daughter whom he rarely sees. "Picasso" (Richard Basehart) has a good wife (the always wonderful Giulietta Masina) and dreams of becoming a painter, but is not as talented as he thinks. And Roberto (Franco Fabrizi) hopes to become a singer like his idol Johnny Ray. Their shenanigans include selling phony apartment reservations to slum-dwellers, exchanging shoddy coats for gas and an elaborate scheme which involves posing as priests and planting a worthless buried treasure on someone's property. Essentially, they pull the typical move of exploiting others' greed, and getting them to hand over money based on false promises of a bigger payoff later. The three are on shaky ground, however, and even their underworld peers don't always respect them. This is memorably shown in a scene at a richer criminal's posh party, where Roberto breaks rank to swipe a gold cigarette case and gets his whole group ostracized as a result. This incident somewhat foreshadows the film's depressing climax, where Augusto faces what could be his ultimate crisis of conscience. The script poorly wraps up its dangling threads, casually dropping Picasso and and Roberto from the story before the final act. And yes, Nino Rota composed the score as usual, but it's fairly humdrum beyond the opening theme. For an early Fellini film about regional seediness, you're better off choosing "Nights of Cabiria" or "I Vitelloni."

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

The Swindle (Il Bidone) 1955 I have lately been watching Fellini's older films some of which were not available even on vhs. My first Fellini film (1973) at the ripe age of 19 was Satryicon at the Texas Tech Student Center Movie Theater. I was shocked to say the least and understand the film more now than then. Though about a swindle the film is more about the swindler's (plural). This film introduces us to Fellini’s excesses and long interest in flamboyance and grotesque no matter if you are rich or poor. Also the film delves into his interests in the Rich their costumes and material possessions and how they flaunt themselves in public arenas. It was between "La Strada" (1954), and "Nights of Cabiria," (1957), "Il Bidone" (1955) is less known but powerful, humorous, heartbreaking, and poignant film. Broderick Crawford gives a compelling performance as Augusto, an aging con man, a leader of a trio of small time crooks who take advantage of poor and uneducated Italians in both country side and poor quarters of Rome. Augusto realizes at the age of 48 that his life of selfishness, greed, and wrongdoings only made his existence meaningless. Once in his life, he decided to con the con men in order to help his daughter whom he rarely sees but deeply loves with fulfilling her dreams of better life but a swindle gone wrong leads Augusto to the final scene of pain, both physical and mental, to loneliness and desperation. It is similar to Nights of Cabriria which is an even more powerful film. Here the movie is very spare, the cons not particularly interesting as cons, but very weighty in symbolism. Augusto’s meeting with his estranged daughter his working his way back towards humanity costs him dearly. Shows us the awakening and demise of Augusto - not as a lesson in morals, but as one in storytelling. Guilietta Masina (Mrs. Fellini) as Iris, appears as a devoted wife of Carlos. This DVD from a complete restoration Criterion DVD release a few years back. Very interesting and powerful neo-realistic film. . Really I have grown to prefer his earlier films.

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