Umberto D

1955

Umberto D

Critics Consensus

Anchored by Carlo Battisti's moving performance as Umberto D, Vittorio de Sica's deeply empathetic character study is a bracing glimpse into the lives of the downtrodden.

97%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 30

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 6,777
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Movie Info

Produced, directed, and co-scripted by Vittorio de Sica, Umberto D is a disarmingly simple film about an alarmingly complicated social issue. Umberto (Carlo Battisti) is a retired civil servant, bereft of friends--save for his pet dog--and family. Unable to pay the rent on the shabby room where he has lived for three decades, Umberto is slated for eviction. His angered protests to the Italian government about the cavalier treatment afforded him and his fellow senior citizens fall upon deaf ears. Desperately trying to raise his rent money, Umberto discovers that no one really wants him around. He contemplates suicide, but decides not to go through with it out of concern for his dog's well-being. At film's end, Umberto is "doomed to live." Though the story has the potential for a heavy-handed approach, DeSica wisely follows the edict established by co-scenarist Cesar Zavattini: the camera does not comment, it merely observes. A box-office failure in Italy (where it ran into resistance from government officials who preferred that the senior-citizen dilemma be swept under the rug), Umberto D was the recipient of numerous industry and festival awards.

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Critic Reviews for Umberto D

All Critics (30) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (1)

  • Vittorio De Sica's memorable ''Umberto D'' seems more sentimental now, but as you stay with it, the small story grows to a most moving climax.

    Jan 9, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It's hard to think of a more remarkable tribute to the resilience of the human spirit than the one Umberto D. puts on the screen.

    Sep 5, 2002 | Rating: 5/5
  • One of the great humanist cinema works: a portrayal of age, poverty and simple lives in postwar Rome that is both luminous and heartbreaking.

    Jul 20, 2002 | Rating: 4/4
  • This simple, almost Chaplinesque story of a man fighting to preserve his dignity is even more moving for its firm grasp of everyday activities.

    Jun 24, 2002 | Full Review…
  • Heroes like Umberto D. are hard to find, and your life will be better for having met him.

    Jun 1, 2002
  • It is said that at one level or another, Chaplin's characters were always asking that we love them. Umberto doesn't care if we love him or not. That is why we love him.

    May 13, 2002 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Umberto D

  • Apr 10, 2013
    A beautiful heart tugging story of a retired bureaucrat who can't make ends meet. The sequence with his dog at the end is particularly poignant.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2012
    This neorealist masterpiece by master Vittorio de Sica is a deeply heartfelt and unforgettable portrait of a poverty-stricken life in postwar Italy, avoiding any sort of easy sentimentality and needing no effort to make us love and care about its struggling character.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 09, 2012
    I was totally not expecting to feel sad after I watched this movie, it's even better than The Bicycle Thief and the dog... that goddamn dog. Vittorio De Sica had a great talent in breaking people's heart.
    Cita W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2011
    Vittorio de Seca was a master of the neorealist style and Umberto D. is one of his many, some argue the greatest, masterpieces. The key to the neorealist movement was in utilizing real life locations and mostly ordinary people in the prominent roles. Umberto D. is played by Carlo Battisti, who was a professor and this is the only film he was featured in but yet what a wonderful performance! Battisti gives such a multifaceted portrayal of the character that you really feel for the down-and-out side but also cheer on the stubborn and prideful side too. The story itself isn't overly complex but rather tells a straight forward narrative following Umberto D. and his trusty companion, whom seems to be the only stability in his life. We see how Umberto's life has been going downward since his retirement and his surmounting back-rent forces his landlady to kick him out (in reality she simply wants to do some improvements to the house and needs his room). We then see him trying to catch a break and get the money in order to keep his room by selling his belongings, all of which the viewer knows is pointless as she wants him out, and thus setting him back all the more. Umberto after coming to this realization that he has lost his home and livelihood as well as any pride he once had, has two choices left. He can either end it all by committing suicide or carrying on into the unknown future with very little to his name, simply his dog for company. The ending can be bittersweet as there is hope but amongst a lot of hopelessness and gloom. The film is simply terrific in telling a profoundly moving story and one of the crowning jewels of the neorealist movement!
    Chris B Super Reviewer

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