Rocco and His Brothers (Rocco e i suoi fratelli) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

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

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Antonius Block
Super Reviewer
January 4, 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.
October 10, 2017
Grandiose Italian masterpiece of biblical themes and proportions about 5 brothers and their relationships as they all come to Milan from the rural South with their mother and endure harsh life ever after trying to make ends meet. In their past life in the country they were close with each other in spite of hard life working the land but as they came to city and got more citified problems commenced. City life with all its vices rudely and unceremoniously intruded their life and innocent souls, tried them and ultimately corrupted them. The film follows each brother as every one of them differently got affected by the city life and observes all the good and bad that happens in the way. It's a mesmerizing experience. Biblical parallels could easily be made especially of loving and caring Rocco, played by Alain Delon, and Simone, the family's prodigal son.
July 27, 2017
Rocco and His Brothers, one of the greatest emotional experiences of all time, is a film of overwhelming furocity and love. Luchino Visconti, the Italian director who helmed this masterwork, lays down the most naked essentials of the family drama, and stretches the potentially stagy narrative to a sprawling 3 hours of visceral understanding. The movie follows the silent rivalry of siblings in their transition to adulthood, taking time to carefully dissect the moral crises of each. Innocence is counterweighted by passion and love by jealousy. Visconti moves his camera in numerous long takes to, without monologue or melodramatic whines, detail the tragedy of a family fighting poverty, repression, and a loyalty to each other enforced by their protective and religious mother. The soundtrack by Nino Rota, which evokes his later masterwork The Godfather, underscores each moment of heartwrenching sincerity with organic passion and Italian prominence. The music never excesses and always excels, and never does it interrupt powerful moments; silence is used on numerous occasions to great impact. The actors Delon and Salvatori, at their undeniable best, are completely believable in their respective roles and are totally effective. Overall, this film is essentially every aspect of film extended to its highest possible quality. See it, prepare for a 3 hour runtime but don't expect to be disappointed.
½ January 8, 2017
Rocco e i suoi fratelli Ŕ sicuramente un pilastro del neorealismo italiano ed un capolavoro del cinema in generale. Personalmente sento che gli manca un qualcosina per arrivare alla perfezione, ma parliamo di inezie e gusti personali. La storia che lega i fratelli varia in mille sfaccettature e visioni della vita diverse e spesso contrastanti. La visione della pellicola crea una genuina empatia tra lo spettatore e le storie raccontate ed Ŕ questa la vera forza del film, questo avviene senza facili ammiccamenti e storie strappalacrime.
Super Reviewer
November 30, 2015
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.
November 14, 2015
Luchino Visconti is such an admirable figure who can depict the life of the oppressed vividly and timelessly, despite being an aristocratic heir. The story of Rocco, which constitutes elements of exploitation, migration, nostalgia, poverty, boxing, family, love, sexuality, betrayal and alcoholism, as well as Nino Rota's score, is indeed an aspiration for Coppola's The Godfather. But the film can never achieve the success without Annie Giradot, who exhibits a complicated personality and gives a great performance as a tragic character beyond her own control; whilst Renato Salvadori's devilish yet pathetic role develops a sensation for audience. Those who are fascinated by the realism delivered in David O. Russell's The Fighter should have felt idiotic if they have ever come across this stunning classic.
October 12, 2015
Luchino Visconti's powerful family drama is a watermark for post-war Italian cinema, and the newly restored version includes previously deleted scenes that only makes the movie more intense. Telling a story that relates both to Italian society and family dynamics, Visconti's film is very rich thematically, and as joyous as it is sad. It's plethora of characters are all fully realized, and the morality tale in the film probably lent a lot to future cinematic storytellers (not least of which, Fellini). Rarely does a film's three-hour running length go as justified as in this case.
September 7, 2015
Looking for a brighter economic future for her family after her husband dies, Rosaria Parondi moves herself and her five sons to Milan from rural southern Italy. There, they face difficulties finding and keeping work, some discrimination, and the different social opportunities and temptations of the city. Director Luchino Visconti begins in neo-realist mode (more or less) but the drama soon shifts into a more literary novelistic style, with tension between the bad son (Renato Salvatori) and the good son (Alain Delon). Salvatori starts out on a boxing career but soon falls in with the wrong crowd, including a prostitute (Annie Girardot) who leads him further astray into petty crime and debauchery. Delon keeps his nose clean, gets drafted into the military and returns to find his bad brother abandoned by his fling, kicked out of boxing, and deep in debt - he subsequently seeks to reform the prostitute, becomes a boxing champion himself, and tries to hold his family together. The other brothers play more minor roles but the escalating melodrama envelops them as well. Indeed, things get very extreme and take this family drama into much darker territory. As Rocco (Delon) suggests, it might have been better if they'd stayed put and not moved to Milan at all. Thus, the film is a lament for the passing of community, family, and tradition in favour of more alienated, individualistic, and industrialized pursuits, although Visconti keeps the story on a small scale.
June 19, 2015
Rocco and His Brothers is pregnant with historical imageries and rich emotions. Full of pathos, the story has such powerful complexity and intensity that stays with you for a long time. Truly, it is a timeless classic.
July 25, 2014
Alain Delon Masterpiece
½ April 26, 2014
Such a despicable movie! I really hated the character Simone in this movie because of his actions.
½ November 24, 2013
So tragic that you'll want to hate it, but too moving to allow you to.
May 9, 2013
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.
February 4, 2013
A tale of Italian human tragedy. Set in post WWII, where a mother moves her family of five boys from the impoverished South to the big city of Milan for better opportunity. They then struggle maintaining their dignity in compromising to keep up appearances.

It is realist in its telling, and the tragedy came when they did not make Simone pay for his crimes. It also shows the Italian culture that wears their emotions on their sleeves. It was a bit long winded, despite this it was filled with truths, tragedy and beauty.
February 2, 2013
The story of a poor, humble and very tight knit Italian family of 5 brothers and their widowed mom, but one of the brothers is a bad seed, and all the mayhem, chaos, suffering and destruction that ensues.
½ January 15, 2013
The first movie I saw from Luchino Visconti, I was trilled about the italian neorealism i've heard about.

The film defines perfectly the italian personality, passionate and impulsive. The roles of the traditional Italian family are also well depicted. It's a sad drama, touching and and profoundly moving but some parts of the story are overacted and it may make the spectator unworried about the details.
November 16, 2012
Capolavoro del tardo neorealismo di stile, sostanza e riflessione sociale sulla condizione degli immigrati meridionali nel settentrione italiano. Ottimi Delon, Salvatori, Girardot e Paxinou che interpretano al meglio il lavoro di un'ottima squadra di sceneggiatori. Ma al di sopra di ogni cosa prevale la regia di Visconti sempre incisiva e capace di cogliere l'incisivitÓ dei protagonisti, con una emozionante scena del montaggio che alterna i pugni sferrati da Rocco all'avversario con le pugnalate letali di Simone a Nadia. Una pellicola molto cruda e violenta per i tempi, non a caso tagliato qua e lÓ nel corso degli anni.
½ October 23, 2012
Incredible performance by Alain Delon and everyone else for that matter.
September 29, 2012
Certainly one of the best movies ever made. It is utterly heartbreaking and exquisite. Alain Delon gets his start with this one. Renato Salvatorri plays Simone, the absolutely neanderthal-like brother of Delon's Rocco. Must see. Worth the long runtime.
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