Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli) (1961)

Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli) (1961)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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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.
Art House & International , Classics , Drama
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Written By:
In Theaters:
Titanus Produzione

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Alain Delon
as Rocco Parondi
Renato Salvatori
as Simone Parondi
Katina Paxinou
as Rosaria Parondi
Roger Hanin
as Morini
Paolo Stoppa
as Boxing Impresario
Suzy Delair
as Luisa
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
Franca Valeri
as Vedova
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Critic Reviews for Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli)

All Critics (23) | 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.

Full Review… | October 22, 2015
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | October 8, 2015
New Yorker
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | October 7, 2015
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.

Full Review… | October 6, 2015
Village Voice
Top Critic

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.

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

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.

July 2, 2002
Village Voice
Top Critic

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

Though unnecessarily overlong for the kind of story it wants to tell and tending at times more towards 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 Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Beautiful, brilliant, and brutal! A universal tale of man and his environment. This film can be viewed as a social commentary of Southern versus Northern Italy and five different adaptations to modernization. The five brothers are compared to the five fingers on a hand ~ joined, yet each posits alternatives to existence. Structurally, this is shown in the films chapters devoted to each son. Vincenzo elects the petit-bourgeouis mileu; Simone, the brother with initial promise, maladapts, descending to animalism; Rocco chooses sacrifice, holding steadfast to the family clan and nostalgia; Ciro reveals integration within Milan society; and, finally, Luca offers promise. Visconti masterfully builds tension and characterization with the cinematic details of lighting, music, and montage.

Stefanie C
Stefanie C

Super Reviewer

the melodramatic tale of a close-knit family's move from the rural south to the big northern city of milan, where everything gets complicated. once again visconti managed to suck me into a 3 hour epic. the film has two things i generally enjoy, boxing and a young alain delon. delon is beautifully restrained right up until the final scene as the too-good-to-be-true rocco, who sacrifices everything, including the woman he loves, in an attempt to hold his family together. this is quite a different role for him, best known for his supercool criminal characters of the 60's. even better is renato salvatori as his amoral brother simone, and annie girardot as the prostitute who comes between them, leading ultimately to their destruction. there are a couple of really brutal scenes and the climax is overwrought to the point of opera. it's been said visconti cast the film with his dick but he draws gritty performances from his gorgeous actors and they are certainly lovely to watch :)

Stella Dallas
Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

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