La Strada (The Road) (1954) - Rotten Tomatoes

La Strada (The Road) (1954)

La Strada (The Road) (1954)

La Strada (The Road)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Acclaimed Italian filmmaker Federico Fellini drew on his own circus background for the 1954 classic La Strada. Set in a seedy travelling carnival, this symbolism-laden drama revolves around brutish strongman Zampano (Anthony Quinn), his simple and servile girlfriend Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina, Fellini's wife), and clown/aerialist Matto (Richard Basehart). Appalled at Zampano's insensitive treatment of Gelsomina, the gentle-natured Matto invites her to run off with him; but Gelsomina, like a faithful pet, refuses to leave the strong man's side. Eventually Zampano's volcanic temper erupts once too often, leading to tragic consequences. Written by Fellini and Tullio Pinelli and scored by Nino Rota, La Strada was the winner of the first official Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, awarded in 1956.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 18, 2003
Criterion Collection


Aldo Silvani
as Colombiani
Marcella Rovere
as La Vedore
Livia Venturini
as La Suorina
Gustavo Giorgi
as (uncredited)
Kamadeva Yami
as (uncredited)
Mario Passante
as Waiter (uncredited)
Anna Primula
as (uncredited)
Al Silvani
as Mr. Giraffa
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for La Strada (The Road)

Critic Reviews for La Strada (The Road)

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (6)

Early mush from the master, Federico Fellini.

Full Review… | April 27, 2009
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Memories of Griffith, Vigo and Harry Langdon abound in Fellini's famed tragicommedia

Full Review… | April 10, 2015

The two lead performers...are marvelous and the imagery is gorgeous, with Fellini's precision cutting and dramatic lighting pointing the way to 8 1/2

Full Review… | August 17, 2010
Cinema Writer

It's the film that first brought international acclaim to Fellini.

Full Review… | August 7, 2008
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for La Strada (The Road)


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

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.

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

Super Reviewer

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