The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini) (1971)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Vittori DeSica's Garden of the Finzi-Continis is a moving film about an aristocratic Jewish family living in Italy during World War II who don't comprehend the threat of the Nazis until its too late. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, and boasts terrific performances by Helmut Berger and Dominique Sanda.
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Titanus Produzione

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Helmut Berger
as Alberto
Fabio Testi
as Malnate
Romolo Valli
as Giorgio's Father
Raffaele Curi
as Ernesto
Camillo Angelini-Rota
as Micol's Father
Inna Alexeiff
as Micol's Grandmother
Katina Viglietti
as Micol's Mother
Barbara Pilavin Gelber
as Giorgio's Mother
Katina Morisani
as Micol's Mother
Cinzia Bruno
as Young Micol
Camillo Cesarei
as Micol's Father
Alessandro D'Alatri
as Young Giorgio
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini)

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (3)

For its story moment before the gathering storm broke, this film is a garden wall held up, a finger in the dyke, just before the deluge and fall into darkness.

Full Review… | February 5, 2011
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Splendidly recreated, Vittorio De Sica's elegantly painful and eloquently tragic tribute to the demise of the Jewish aristocracy in Italy in WWII deservedly won the best foreign-language Oscar in 1971.

Full Review… | June 17, 2005

a highly effective piece of work by an always interesting and thoughtful filmmaker

December 31, 1999

Quote not available.

August 7, 2005

Quote not available.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Quote not available.

October 2, 2004
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Audience Reviews for The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini)


The movie is a little to cold for me to engage with the characters, and I didn't find it that interesting overall. I must admit I had trouble keeping track of who some of the characters were. I'm usually pretty good about that sort of thing, I suppose I could have been in the wrong frame of mind while watching this.

Matt Heiser
Matt Heiser

There's so much going on in this film, from the symbolism of the garden to the relationship between Micol and Giorgio. It definitely deserves more than one viewing and just goes to demonstrate how great Italian cinema is.

Wildaly M
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

The garden is IDYLLIC. Giorgio (Capolicchio) is from a middle class Jewish Italian family. He has the pleasure of spending some leisurely time inside the gates of an upper class Jewish family's property. Micol (Sanda) and Alberto (Berger) Finzi Contini, sister and brother, play tennis, ride bikes and talk about politics with their young friends. Bruno (Testi) is also there though he is not Jewish. It is the late 1930's. Giorgio observes as Italian laws in his town begin restricting the rights of Jews. His father (Valli) doesn't think that the Fascists in Italy will let the treatment of the Jews get as bad as the Nazis in Germany have. But Giorgio sees things spiraling out of control, the situation getting ready to fall like the seasonal fall leaves captured in the opening credits. Giorgio and his younger brother may not be able to finish their college education. Meanwhile Alberto gets sick with pneumonia, or is it some other mysterious disease. Micol flirts with and teases Giorgio and Bruno. Giorgio falls in love, but Micol keeps him at a distance. Perhaps it is their class difference or the fact that because the Finzi-Continis have lived such a privileged life they hardly consider themselves Jewish anymore. Maybe Micol's attraction to Bruno is an effort to blend in with the Aryan, non-Jewish, population. Sadly, very few escape history. The movie starts with lots of sunshine and the pristine white preppy clothes of the young adults as well as the spotless condition of the interior of the Finzi-Contini mansion. By the end we see many more drab grays. Yet the movie keeps reminding the audience to look up toward the tree tops and the sun in hope.

Byron Brubaker
Byron Brubaker

Super Reviewer

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