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I Vitelloni (The Criterion Collection)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Alberto Sordi, Franco Fabrizi, Vittorio Boarini, Franco Interlenghi, Tullio Kezich
  • Directors: Federico Fellini
  • Writers: Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli
  • Producers: Enrico Sirianni, Issa Clubb, Jacques Bar, Kim Hendrickson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: August 24, 2004
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0002DB4YQ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,149 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "I Vitelloni (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • New digital transfer with restored image and sound plus new subtitle translation
  • Vitellonismo: an exclusive documentary on the making of the film
  • Collection of stills, posters, and memorabilia
  • Original Theatrical trailer and movie newsreels from the time of the film's release
  • New essay by Grammy Award-winning writer Tom Piazza

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Five young men linger in post-adolescent limbo dreaming of adventure and escape from their small seacoast town. They while away their time spending the lira doled out by their indulgent families on drink, women, and nights at the local pool hall. Federico Fellini’s second solo directorial effort (originally released in the U.S. as The Young and the Passionate) is a semi-autobiographical masterpiece of sharply drawn character sketches: Skirt-chaser Fausto, forced to marry a girl he has impregnated; Alberto, the perpetual child; Leopoldo, a writer, thirsting for fame; and Moraldo, the only member of the group troubled by a moral conscience. An international success and recipient of an Academy Award® nomination for Best Original Screenplay, I Vitelloni compassionately details a year in the life of small-town layabouts struggling to find meaning in their lives.


Federico Fellini's breakthrough film, the 1953 I Vitelloni, is one of the cinema's seminal stories about slacker males, and a highly entertaining one at that. Following the unfortunate failure of his comedy The White Sheik, Fellini prepared to shoot La Strada (he would release that early masterpiece in 1954), but decided at the last minute to make an autobiographical feature about mischievous, drifting, 30-ish losers in a small, seaside town. I Vitelloni clicked with international audiences and remains an obvious influence on such later classics as Breaking Away and Diner. But there's nothing like Fellini's almost self-mocking fusion of gritty neo-realism with the audacious, illusionary style he would later be entirely linked. The ensemble comedy follows the ever-diminishing fortunes of five young men who can't define, let alone jump-start, their dreams, particularly the caddish Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), who thinks nothing of molesting the wife of his father-in-law's best friend. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

We all know guys like this or are/were these guys ourselves.
Michael Krell
Unlike many of Fellini's later films I Vitelloni displays some of the Italian neo-realistic cinematic qualities that were common in the period when the film was shot.
A Customer
The film focuses on a group of very real fully-rounded young men emoting real feelings that audiences even today can identify with.
Film Buff

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Trapped in a timeless sphere without pressure of accomplishment, maternal love nurses five men way past their adolescence in a small tourist town by the Adriatic Sea in post-war Italy. These five men drift around dreaming of an escape from the town, but a lack of motivation keeps them prisoners at the seaside location. The mutual motivations for the five men that keeps them adrift are women, wine, and the stories they tell each other. However, each character has his own motivating factor that drives him forward in daily life.

The group of the five men consists of Fausto (Franco Fabrizi), Alberto (Alberto Sordi), Leopoldo (Leopoldo Trieste), Riccardo (Riccardo Fellini), and Moraldo. The group's leader Fausto, a perpetual flirter, has gotten a young beautiful woman pregnant. Fausto's father insists that he do the right thing and marry the girl before she is disgraced in public. The lazy Alberto is the groups clown who is dependent on his mother whom he will never leave. Alberto frequently pleads for money from his sister as he is continuously broke. Eventually Alberto finds out that his sister has a married lover and it angers him. Leopold an aspiring writer and the intellectual of the group dreams of fame and success. The singer Riccardo follows the group on its nightly adventures. Moraldo is a philosophical moralist that wanders the streets at night deep in thought as he sees faults in the way they all live life. However, Moraldo has not yet found the courage to leave the small seaside town.

I Vitelloni is the second film that Fellini directed by himself which he also co-wrote with his talented brother, Riccardo Fellini.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Russell Fanelli TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 19, 2004
Format: DVD
I Vitelloni, released in 1953, is Federico Fellini's first commercially successful film and we are fortunate that the Criterion Collection decided to make it available on DVD in August of this year.

Moraldo, who looks to be in his mid-thirties, represents Fellini. Moraldo and four of his friends hang around a seaside town in northern Italy looking for anything interesting to do to distract them from the boredom of their wasted lives. The young men are Vitelloni, slang in Italian for loafers. All of the young men have dreams, but not much ambition. Only Moraldo will find the courage to break free of the paralysis that traps the young men in surroundings too comfortable to leave but with no sense of accomplishment or satisfaction.

Fellini gives us the story of each of the five men, but more attention is paid to Fausto, a womanizer who impregnates Moraldo's sister and then is forced to marry her. Marriage is hardly an inconvenience to Fausto, who immediately cheats on his wife every chance he gets. Moraldo knows that Fausto is unfaithful, but his allegiance to his friend is greater than to his sister. Like Fellini, Moraldo is a careful observer of his surroundings, but does not criticize or judge what he sees. He appears to be somewhat detached and thoughtful. He is a good friend to have if not a protective brother to his sister.

I Vitelloni is a slice of Italian life that resonates deeply with the viewer. Fellini organizes carefully each scene and then allows his actors the freedom to bring to life the characters they represent. His confidence in his actors is repaid by superb performances from each member of his cast. For the first time we see and experience his enormous talent as a director.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Heavy Theta on December 18, 2004
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A group of middle class "yoots" hang out together, bonded by common roots and experience, but also by the process of self-discovery as the onset of adulthood face them with the coming of responsibility and the isolation of individuality. The focus of this fracturing process falls on one guy who discovers that his girlfriend is pregnant. If the plot sounds familiar, well it's because coming of age is a universal experience that crosses generations and cultures, and rarely fails to to produce an intense sense of nostalgia.

What differentiates Fellini's film (beyond the fact that it pre-dates similar fair from the French New Wave, British 60's, Graffiti-Flatbush-Diner, etc. whose original accessibility make them more familiar) is simply the sheer talent of the story-teller. The man could present characters and situations that still move and enlighten us. His later, more famous epics of excess were well grounded in this same exquisite sense of humanity. This is the first excellent film by one of film's most excellent directors.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Hank n Tennessee on July 29, 2008
Format: DVD
A `vitello' is a veal calf, one year of age or less and not yet weaned. A `vitellone' is an overaged or overgrown unweaned calf - and also is slang for a young man who remains sheltered and inactive and has yet to create a real life of his own. This 1953 film is an obvious source for every subsequent movie about young men who stay in the shelter of family and neighborhood, failing to live really autonomous lives despite their pretensions, `Diner' and `Breaking Away' among them.

This film also tells us a lot about how far Italian society has come in just 8 years since Italy served as a major battlefield in World War II. Earlier Italian films like The Bicycle Thief (1948) Germania Anno Zero (1948) and La Terra Trema (1948) were about the brutal struggle for barest survival. But this film is very different: it is about the problem of options and choice, problems that do not become paramount until the society has, for many of its members, already solved the survival issue.

In La Strada (1954) Fellini returns to look at those for whom survival remains a brutal struggle. But by La Dolce Vita (1960) he is looking at the problems of alienation and anomie for a society that now creates a newly wealthy upper middle class, as did Antonioni's l'Avventura of that same year. The growing prosperity and change in Italian society can be seen in the progression from the films of 1948 to the films of 1960.

Fellini's look at Italians and Italian society is, as always, laceratingly satiric. But it is also clear that this satirist enjoys and feels a great fondness for that which he is satirizing. Like Nights of Cabiria (1957), I Vitelloni has worn very well over the years. Both of those films stand up well beside the more reknowned La Strada and La Dolce Vita. The first great Fellini film, this is a beautiful, warm and funny classic.
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