The celebration of and homage to the language of cinema unites not only the three central characters of this film, but is the character of the film itself. This is the story of a man whose entire life has been shaped and supported by the movies. Jordan (Marcello Mastroianni) grew up at his father's movie theater, and after World War Two, he took over as the theater's manager. In those halcyon days, the theater was so popular that police had to be hired to keep the crowds waiting to get in from rioting. Now, however, the theater is losing money and is in danger of being torn down, or sold to a department store. Jordan has long since concluded that the townspeople have forgotten their affection for the movies, but in a Capra-esque vision, he imagines them gathering as a body to prevent him from selling the theater. One highlight of this successful film about films is the glimpses it offers of over a dozen great works of Italian cinema.