The Road (La Strada)


The Road (La Strada) (1954)


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Movie Info

Acclaimed Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini drew on his own circus background for this classic film. Set in a seedy travelling carnival, this symbolism-laden drama revolves around brutish strongman Zampano, his simple and servile girlfriend Gelsomina, and clown/aerialist Matto.


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Critic Reviews for The Road (La Strada)

All Critics (36) | Top Critics (6)

Early mush from the master, Federico Fellini.

Apr 27, 2009 | Full Review…

Symbols, metaphors, and larger-than-life performances hold sway, and moments of bizarre if inconsequential charm abound.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Signor Fellini has used his small cast, and, equally important, his camera, with the unmistakable touch of an artist. His vignettes fill his movie with beauty, sadness, humor and understanding.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

As French critic Andre Bazin pointed out, 'The Fellini character does not evolve; he ripens.' And so do his movies.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

La Strada is the first film that can be called entirely 'Felliniesque.'

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

La Strada, Federico Fellini's fine, heartbreaking film, returns to the harsh realism of Italy's first post-war achievements.

Jun 12, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Road (La Strada)


Giulietta Masina lends a captivating innocence - almost impossible not to love - to a Chaplin-like waif while Fellini breaks away from neorealism with this magical and whimsical circus fable/road movie that has a beautiful score by Nino Rota and an unforgettable ending.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Fellini created a mélange of beauty with this mystical, fantastical story, that is more about the human condition, love, and suffering, than about entertainment, or more importantly, whimsy. It's really about a life wasted, and the extent of human suffering. What's worse is that the film continually shows uplifting, thoughtful scenes that you as the viewer believe will lead to a happy resolution for Gelsomina (Masina). It starts with her being sold to a strongman named Zampano (Quinn) (which of course bodes well for our heroine). She follows him around the country in a motorcycle traveling barrage, and works with him to be the comedic relief in his act. His solemn advances and possession over her amounts to Stockholm syndrome. She runs away and meets a clown (Basehart) who is poised to be the romantic lead. In reality he's only a red herring, and Gelsomina is stuck with Zampano as a companion, though neither likes nor tolerates the other. Gelsomina is also emotional, crying a lot of the time at her internment and the strongman's abuse. These two people should break apart, because neither is happy, and yet Zampano actually holds dominion over her, and won't let her go because he has monetary claim. It's a film of false starts and romantic tragedy, which makes it all the more horrific when the ending presents itself. Mythology and general lore definitely play a part in how the film is put together, and the whimsical tone and influences are obviously apparent in the tone and the way events are reflected in the narrative voice. The best thing about this film is that it looks and sounds like a quirky comedy about someone who deserves better, but really it's all about Zampano. He's the one who has command, he keeps Gelsomina hostage emotionally and physically, and he's the one we end on. It's his story to reflect on, and his to toil over in his mind. Though Gelsomina commands the screen most of the time, and is the person we feel for, it's not her end that we eventually see.

Spencer S.
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer


If you can ignore a few major plot-holes herein, I guess you'll enjoy the tragic journey (which hardly leads anywhere) of a girl in this classic movie.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

My first Fellini movie, but definitely not my last. La Strada is an amazing film. At times it is very fun to watch and at others it is almost painful. It brings about an array of emotions that change throughout the entire movie.

Melvin White
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

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