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Il Bidone

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

In Fellini's sardonically humorous, yet powerfully dramatic IL BIDONE, three small-time crooks impersonate priests in Rome to con poor people out of their money. Academy Award winner Broderick Crawford is extraordinary as the group's world weary leader, whose chance meeting with his daughter opens his eyes to his wrongdoing. Too late, he suffers a crisis of conscience in this absorbing tale of hope, desperation and, finally, redemption. One of Fellini's most realistic films, IL BIDONE begins as an Italian comedy of errors, its swindles reminiscent of The Sting, yet there is true sting in its harsh portrayal of greed and squalor. The middle chapter in Fellini's "trilogy of loneliness" between La Strada and Nights of Cabiria, this classic film will tug at your heart and astonish you with its aching sense of compassion. Music by Nino Rota (The Godfather, Rocco and His Brothers).

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Broderick Crawford, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart, Franco Fabrizi, Irene Cefaro
  • Directors: Federico Fellini
  • Writers: Federico Fellini, Ennio Flaiano, Tullio Pinelli
  • Producers: Mario Derecchi
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English, Italian
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Image Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 2, 2012
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305908486
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,576 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Il Bidone" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Jarmick on January 9, 2001
Format: DVD
Il Bidone aka The Swindle is one of Fellini's least known films and part of his trilogy of loneliness (La Strada and Nights of Cabiria) Nights. .. recently received a complete restoration, limited theatrical release and Criterion DVD release. Il Bidone is available on DVD now, but without a single solitary extra. It's still worth getting though.
I recently revisted Il Bidone (The Swindle) and was mesmerized by it's restrained style, story, and acting. I had forgotten how Fellini had somehow managed to get a superb performance out of Broderick Crawford (who's raging alcoholism in real life caused Fellini to have to make script changes during it's filming -changes Fellini later believed helped the over-all film).
The film begins by introducing us to it's main trio of con men. They perform a masterful swindle where they dress up as priests, to swindle hardworking peasants and farmers. I won't spoil the mechanics of the con, since it's fascinating to watch it unfold and ponder how it will work.
We meet the three con men who work for 'The Baron Vargas'. Carlo ( nicknamed Picasso) played by a very youthful Richard Basehart, is a frustrated painter who cons to support his family and loves his wife deeply. Roberto (Franco Fabrizzi)is a devil-may-care hedonist who's addicted to the fast life-style but believes he will somehow leave it behind before he winds up like. . . Augusto. At 48, Augusto (Broderick Crawford) is constantly reminded of his age, how lonely the life of a con man truly is and how the life is taking its toll on him. He feels trapped by the con life and much older than his 48 years.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Newton Munnow on May 19, 2002
Format: DVD
Il Bidone is a stark, gritty, unyielding portrait of the life of small time con men in Rome. Augusto sees those who've escaped the rounds about him, at forty eight he is far past his prime and just beginning to realize that he has no idea to escape the rut. The movie is very spare, the cons not particularly interesting as cons, but very weighty in symbolism. The script is playful, sly and heartless, until Augusto bumps into his estranged daughter and begins to work his way back towards humanity. That it will cost him dearly is rarely in doubt, but the passage is fascinating to watch.
If you've heard comparisons to The Sting, forget about them. That would be like calling the South Pacific and Lord of the Flies similar since they're both set on islands. Il Bidone does not function as a story of revenge, or as an example of the grand old life of con men. As a piece of neorealism, we can expect a somber mood and only passing happiness, but it is well worth watching the awakening and demise of Augusto - not as a lesson in morals, but as one in storytelling. Il Bidone carries an emotional punch, half a century later and if you're an admirer of La Strada, here is a harsher, perhaps better, companion piece.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By chimni on June 28, 2002
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
My friends hassled me for starting off my Fellini collection with Il Bidone but I've seen the classics and have pretty easy access to seeing them any time. Something a little bit more obscure like this one is harder to track down, so I figured that I'd buy it based on the reviews here. I wasn't disappointed. people were pretty accurate in their impressions. The story is told well, the acting is good and it's something that I lok forward to watching many more times.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Galina on March 12, 2007
Format: DVD
The middle chapter in Fellini's "trilogy of loneliness", made by a master between "La Strada" (1954), and "Nights of Cabiria," (1957), "Il Bidone" (1955) is less known, for long time simply forgotten (and I can't imagine why) but powerful, humorous, heartbreaking, and poignant film. Broderick Crawford, Academy Award winner for playing Willie Stark, a corrupt politician and a charismatic man in "All the King's Men" (1949), gives a compelling performance as Augusto, an aging con man, a leader of a trio of small time crooks who take advantage of poor and uneducated Italians in both country side and poor quarters of Rome. Augusto realizes at the age of 48 that his life of selfishness, greed, and wrongdoings only made his existence meaningless. Once in his life, he decided to con the con men in order to help his daughter whom he rarely sees but deeply loves with fulfilling her dreams of better life but a swindle gone wrong leads Augusto to the final scene of pain, both physical and mental, to loneliness and desperation. It is very much like "Nights of Cabiria" final scene but without eternal hope of Cabiria's smile...

Technically, "Il Bidone" is a very strong film with memorable performances, including the smaller cameos. Fellini's directing is as satisfying as always and many scenes remind of his future triumphs (New Year party is a stunning sequence and brings to mind "La Dolce Vita", 1960 ). Nino Rota's music and Otello Martinelli's cinematography add to many pleasures of the film, one of them is Giulietta Masina who plays supporting role of Iris, the wife of Picasso (Richard Basehart), the younger con artist with a dream to become an Artist. Both, Masina and Basehart starred in Fellini's first chapter of "trilogy of loneliness", "La Strada" (1954).
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