The Easy Life (Il sorpasso) (1962)
The Easy Life (Il sorpasso) (1962)
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as Roberto Mariani
as Bruno Cortona
as Lilly Cortona
as Bruno's Wife
as Aunt Lidia
as Commander's Wife
as Aunt Enrica
as Lost Suitcase Girl
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Critic Reviews for The Easy Life (Il sorpasso)
When I first saw it 25 years ago, I couldn't wait to see it again right away. I've been waiting ever since.
It's a sunny, lazy day in early-1960s Rome - the city is "like a graveyard," with everyone away on holiday.
Yes, the frame is filled with the era's bikini-clad pulchritude, but the fuel here is primo neurosis.
An influential road movie, that set a tone for the genre about unlikely buddies pairing off.
Risi proves to have a deft sense of managing the intertwined humor and drama of his incredibly complex characters
Audience Reviews for The Easy Life (Il sorpasso)
"Il Sorpasso" is a classic road film, accessible and easy to like even for English-speaking audiences. Vittorio Gassman is Bruno, a tall, handsome, charismatic wag who's the life of the party wherever he goes. He's immediately likable, yet too wrapped up in his dazzling persona to ever connect with someone on a deeper level. Bruno happens to encounter a shy law student (Jean-Louis Trintignant, near the beginning of his remarkable career) and spontaneously takes him on a wild two-day ride through the Italian countryside. The title comes from Bruno's penchant for playing reckless driving games with his beloved convertible (and its obnoxious horn, which is steadily pumped throughout the film). There is no real plot -- the action is entirely episodic as the pair stop here and there to flirt with a girl, bum a cigarette, join a dance or enjoy a café. The weather is beautifully sunny, and the landscapes are always pleasing. But Bruno is devil-may-care to a fault, and as Trintignant's character lets his guard down, he loses awareness that he is being used. Note: There's an interesting moment where Bruno flashes the "devil horns" hand sign, years before heavy metal (and, in particular, Italian singer Ronnie James Dio) changed its meaning forever.
I first saw this film in the 1990's. It wasn't that I disliked it as much as I felt indifferent toward it. There is such a dramatic shift in tone by the time the movie reaches its end. Upon my second viewing, via the newly remastered Criterion release, I realized that there was much more going on throughout this movie than I noticed in my early twenties. Dino Risi's film has psychological and cultural depth. And, though it is hardly the first road movie --- it has the feel of many firsts in cinema. This is most certainly a film of joy, tragedy, hope and note. However, Bruno's car horn still drives me up the wall.
"Il Sorpasso" starts with Bruno(Vittorio Gassman) driving into a nearly deserted Rome from Amalfi. While there, he asks to use the phone of Roberto(Jean-Louis Trintignant), a law student, who hesitatingly agrees. It is then that Bruno remembers that he is already an hour late for a date. So, he takes his new friend away from his studies to find lunch somewhere which is a tricky business, considering this is the August holiday. So, they head to to the city outskirts where instead of food, they discover a couple of cute German women heading in the same direction and accidentally follow them into a graveyard... I had always suspected the buddy road comedy had been around a good long time, considering how stale it has grown. Well, in 1962, the idea was still fresh and "Il Sorpasso" is definitely an entertaining take on that idea.(And, oh my, that ending!) Or maybe it's not quite the plot that really matters, as decently executed as it is, with its share of unpredictability especially concerning Bruno's back story, but rather what it has to say about postwar Italy and not only in the obvious comments about Italian drivers.(A record player as an optional extra?) What we have here is a country torn in two different directions, going forwards so quickly that it forgets what happens two seconds in the past. And it's funny to see how wrong Bruno is about the future. Plus, contrary to him and "Back to the Future 2," we are always going to need lawyers and people like Roberto to do the thinking.
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