Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli)

Critics Consensus

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89%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 27

94%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 4,737
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Movie Info

Luchino Visconti's operatic masterpiece tells the story of the Parondis, a poor family from a village in southern Italy who come to Milan seeking a better life. Following the death of her husband, proud Rosaria (Katina Paxinou) picks up stakes and moves to the city with four of her sons: Simone (Renato Salvatori), Rocco (Alain Delon), Ciro (Max Cartier), and Luca (Rocco Vidolazzi). Awaiting them in Milan is her oldest son, Vincenzo (Spiros Focas), who himself is preoccupied with his impending nuptials to the beautiful Ginetta (Claudia Cardinale). Divided into chapters focused loosely on each brother, the movie chronicles the Parondis' struggle to get by, as the brothers take odd jobs and the family endures life in a cramped tenement. Much of the movie's second half deals largely with Simone and Rocco. The loutish Simone eventually finds success as a boxer, and the family soon moves to a better neighborhood. Meanwhile, Rocco gets drafted by the military, and becomes a successful boxer himself upon his return. Complications arise when Nadia (Annie Girardot), a prostitute, enters their lives. Simone falls in love with Nadia first; however, Rocco eventually becomes the object of her affection. Simone's obsession with Nadia and his rapidly deteriorating behavior ultimately threaten to bring the family to ruin, even as the saintly Rocco tries to save his brother. At the peak of Rocco's success, Simone commits a crime that cruelly dashes Rocco's hopes of keeping the family together.

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Cast

Alain Delon
as Rocco Parondi
Renato Salvatori
as Simone Parondi
Katina Paxinou
as Rosaria Parondi
Paolo Stoppa
as Boxing Impresario
Spiros Focás
as Vincenzo Parondi
Max Cartier
as Ciro Parondi
Rocco Vidolazzi
as Luca Parondi
Alessandra Panaro
as Ciro's Fiancee
Claudia Mori
as Laundry Worker
Adriana Asti
as Laundry Worker
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Critic Reviews for Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli)

All Critics (27) | Top Critics (8)

  • "Rocco and His Brothers" is a film both authentic and ambitious, a classic that is as adept at telling individual stories as it is in drawing larger parallels from them.

    Oct 22, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Visconti's methods are still partly neorealist, but the scale of the film is huge and operatic, and it loses the intimacy of the best neorealist films, and their breath of life.

    Oct 8, 2015 | Full Review…
  • Today, distanced from ridiculous controversy and dislocated from the provincial politics that drive its story, this immaculately restored classic of post-WWII Italian cinema often feels like a new experience altogether.

    Oct 7, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

    David Ehrlich

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • The Parondis' lives are difficult but gorgeous; boxing is terrible but riveting; the city offers everything even as it takes everything away.

    Oct 6, 2015 | Full Review…
  • There is in this strong and surging drama of an Italian peasant family's shattering fate in the face of the brutalizing forces of unfamiliar modern city life a kind of emotional fullness and revelation that one finds in the great tragedies of the Greeks.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…
  • Neither neo-realist nor particularly artsy, Rocco might make for a fat, satisfying beach-read of a movie if only it weren't so convinced of its own magnitude.

    Jul 2, 2002

Audience Reviews for Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli)

  • Jan 04, 2018
    Often lauded as a landmark film of Italian neorealism with great influence on filmmakers to come, 'Rocco and His Brothers' tells the tale of four brothers who move with their widowed mother to Milan, joining their eldest brother who is already there, and now getting engaged. They are impoverished and just getting by, and the subtext of the film is the move from southern Italy. While their hometown is never shown, its poor economic conditions are mentioned a few times, and remembering its traditions and keeping alive the idea of someday moving back there is important to them. One of the issues with the film is in the disconnection of all this to the main story, which is a highly melodramatic love triangle between two of the brothers and a feisty woman who turned to prostitution after her own difficult upbringing. Another issue is the film's length - it's far too long, feeling both ponderous and pretentious. Lastly, the film is misogynistic and therefore tough to watch, particularly in the second half. I hated not just the character of Simone (Renato Salvatori), but how director Luchino Visconti shows women succumbing to him after he forces himself on them - the old 'no means yes' - and not just with the prostitute/girlfriend (Annie Girardot), but with the laundress before her. While he is the 'bad guy' of the movie, the fact that his brothers accept his increasing violence towards women, and the film is essentially sympathetic to it, left a bad taste in my mouth. You could say it's all realistic in the way Zola's depictions of the lower classes were, not shying away from how cruel people can be, but Rocco's reaction seems especially ludicrous. His enabling of Simone is immoral if you think about it, yet he's held up by the movie to be a Christ-like figure. Girardot plays tough, sassy, provocative, and yet vulnerable well, and was the highlight of the movie for me. There are several nice scenes, including one in which a group of young men stand in a field at night silently in shame, but the reason they're ashamed is very unpleasant to watch. The scenes with Girardot and Rocco (Alain Delon) on a streetcar and later on top of the cathedral in Milan are both beautiful. Seeing the 'common people' celebrating, with all of that energy and the silly toasts the brothers come up, is one that felt truly authentic. It also ended on a thoughtful note and nice final shot. The five brothers seem to represent a family man, saint, sinner, pragmatist, and hope for the future, but they seemed a little like caricatures to me. The older brother's part is superfluous (though because of it we do get to see Claudia Cardinale in the small role of his wife), and the many boxing scenes are silly. Paring these down considerably would have helped with the three hour run time, which feels like sprawling excess. It obviously has its place in film history, but there are better and more enjoyable ones to watch.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 30, 2015
    Although unnecessarily overlong for the kind of story it wants to tell and sometimes tending more toward soap opera melodrama than neorealism, especially in a cathartic scene in the end, this is a spellbinding, moving and brutal film with a great score and a powerful social commentary.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 28, 2012
    Heartbreaking and moving, Rocco and His Brothers paints a brilliant picture of a young man trying against all odds to keep his family together. Amid growing debt, scorned lovers, the bias against southerners in Northern Italy, and physical restraints, Rocco manages to keep his family together through personal sacrifice and compromise. This Neorealistic representation of life as a southerner in northern Italy grips the heart and ultimately forces you to feel compassion for Simone even as he murders Nadia.
    Jason 123 D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 21, 2011
    The varied personalities of the brothers are no coincidence since Visconti's episodic structure has the specific purpose of displaying those social stratums that form part of everyday's conflicts under the smart pretext of "we are all brothers; our society is a massive family". Its roots can be appreciated in the new wave of American directors of the 70s, most predominantly Scorsese, yet this powerful epic has not quite been surpassed in both its intentions and its honest, tragic nature. A powerful statement even for today's standards. 99/100 P.S. Hunt down the three-hour version. There is a reason for that.
    Edgar C Super Reviewer

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