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8 1/2 (The Criterion Collection) (1963)

Bruno Agostini , Anouk Aimée , Federico Fellini  |  NR |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Bruno Agostini, Anouk Aimée, Guido Alberti, Caterina Boratto, Claudia Cardinale
  • Directors: Federico Fellini
  • Format: Anamorphic, Black & White, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: December 4, 2001
  • Run Time: 138 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (157 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005QAPH
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,398 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "8 1/2 (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features

  • 2 Disc Set
  • Disc 1:
  • Feature Film with new & improved subtitles and a new digital transfer of restored film elements
  • Introduction by director Terry Gilliam
  • Disc 2:
  • Fellini: A Director's Notebook - a television film made for NBC in 1969 (52 minutes)
  • Nino Rota: Between Cinema and Concert a 48-minute documentary about the maestro behind the music of Fellini's films
  • Interviews with actress Sandra Milo ("Carla"), director Lina Wertmuller, and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, who discusses the revolutionary art of Gianni di Venanzo
  • Extensive stills gallery including rare photographs from the collection of Gideon Bachmann
  • 22-page booklet featuring essays by Fellini, longtime Fellini collaborator and critic Tullio Kezich, and film professor Alexander Sesonske

Editorial Reviews

Additional Features

Criterion truly out did themselves with Fellini's masterpiece 8 1/2. Not only is the digital transfer stunning, but it's also loaded with extras. The anamorphic widescreen (aspect ratio 1.85:1) has few noticeable artifacts and looks extremely vibrant. The Mono Italian audio track is crystal clear and Nino Rota score sounds wonderful. 8 1/2 is incredibly autobiographical and unless you are a Fellini scholar a lot of the innuendos may be missed. Luckily, there is an amazing duel commentary, which provides many historical and metaphorical interpretations putting the surrealistic images into perspective. The second disc includes two documentaries and candid interviews with those who worked closely with Fellini providing an interesting 'inside' perspective. If there is one Fellini film to own, it is 8 1/2, and this Criterion DVD is the one to get. It is absolutely flawless. --Rob Bracco

Product Description

One of the greatest films about film ever made, Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (Otto e Mezzo) turns one man's artistic crisis into a grand epic of the cinema. Guido Anselmi (Marcello Mastroianni) is a director whose film-and life-is collapsing around him. An early working title for the film was La Bella Confusione (The Beautiful Confusion), and Fellini's masterpiece is exactly that: a shimmering dream, a circus, and a magic act. The Criterion Collection is proud to present the 1963 Academy Award® winner for Best Foreign-Language Film-one of the most written about, talked about, and imitated movies of all time-in a beautifully restored new digital transfer. Disc two features Fellini's rarely seen first film for television, Fellini: A Director's Notebook (1969). Produced by Peter Goldfarb, this imagined documentary of Fellini is a kaleidoscope of unfinished projects, all of which provide a fascinating and candid window into the director's unique and creative process.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
210 of 220 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fellini's Masterwork June 29, 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Frederico Fellini's masterwork 8 ½ is difficult to approach largely because of its reputation. Many critics also state that the film is so complex that it requires multiple viewings to understand, and this is likely to intimidate many viewers. But the truth is that, in spite of its surrealistic flourishes, 8 ½ is more straight-forward than its reputation might lead you to believe.
The storyline itself is very simple. A famous director is preparing a new film, but finds himself suffering from creative block: he is obsessed by, loves, and feels unending frustration with both art and women, and his attention and ambition flies in so many different directions that he is suddenly incapable of focusing on one possibility lest he negate all others. With deadlines approaching the cast and crew descend upon him demanding information about the film-information that the director does not have because he finds himself incapable of making an artistic choice.
What makes the film interesting is the way in which Fellini ultimately transforms the film as a whole into a commentary on the nature of creativity, art, mid-life crisis, and the battle of the sexes. Throughout the film, the director dreams dreams, has fantasies, and recalls his childhood-and this internal life is presented on the screen with the same sense of reality as reality itself. The staging of the various shots is unique; one is seldom aware that the characters have slipped into a dream, fantasy, or memory until one is well into the scene, and as the film progresses the lines between external life and internal thought become increasingly blurred, with Fellini giving as much (if not more) importance to fantasy as to fact.
The performances and the cinematography are key to the film's success.
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49 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of 2009 Criterion Blu-ray, 2001 Criterion DVD December 5, 2001
Format:DVD
**EDIT 10/4/11: ADDED REVIEW OF 2009 CRITERION BLU-RAY**

The most obvious achievement in 8 1/2, Fellini's mind-boggling piece of self-examination, is its audacious mixture of dreams and reality in order to show the protagonist Guido's whimsical mind state. Dream sequences come and go without warning, depicting Guido's pain, yearning, frustration, guilt that can pop up at any instant. The first time we see Guido's face, it is his mirror image, hinting to us the unreality we are about to face. Some of the dream sequences have a Bunuel-like surrealism. Some of them, however, blend almost seamlessly into scenes of reality, intentionally confounding us. Some are nightmarish, yet some are warm and hopeful. Some are brief flights of fancy, and some are lengthy, elaborate, wild visions that reflect Guido's heightened sense of confusion and anxiety. Although the film is often called the best film ever made about a filmmaker, its theme is universal in that it is a vivid picturization of a person's (and by extension, any person's) mind, which is often haunted by the past, tormented by the present, and apprehensive about the future and the unknown...

The Criterion Blu-ray edition duplicates all the content in the bonus features and booklet of the DVD edition, but offers a high-def picture and lossless uncompressed mono track. The 1080p video transfer seems to come from the same high-def source that created the DVD edition (which looks very good itself), so you get the inherent advantage of high-def over standard-def, which is 2-3 times higher resolution horizontally and vertically. The uncompressed audio track is encoded at a bit rate of 1152 kbps, which is 6 times higher than that of the DVD's Dolby Digital mono track.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Director Dreams of a Masterpiece October 4, 1999
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Federico Fellini masterpiece hasn't faded a bit but is as sweeping and lush as it was in the early 60s. Commonly seen as an autobiographical effort, it is more a self-commentary on his own style of filmmaking. Fellini loves caricatures and he clearly paints his women Anouk Aimee as the plain unhappy wife, Sandra Milo as the voluptuous shallow girlfriend, Edra Gale as the monstrous Saraghina, and Claudia Cardinale as the ideal dream girl -- not unlike Dante Aligheri's Beatrice. As a finale, he gathers all he knows into one big circus ring, another caricature on life's meaning. Or take the childhood phrase "asa nisi masa" which refers to the feminine soul (anima). Many of his characters appear almost as clowns/caricatures. Guido, like Fellini, does not work from a script, but looks to the changing relationship between his characters as his inspiration for the development of the script and plot. Hence, Guido (Marcello Mastroianni) receives constant criticism and pressure from past figures (priests and his father) and his film colleagues and producers. Only when he actually meets his star (Claudia Cardinale) does idealism turn to realism as the dream girl becomes a material person who tell Guido that he is a "cheat" since he has no script and part for her. Fellini is such a master of the the dream sequences from which he moves so smoothly and effortlessly to reality. Only after being told there is no role (for Claudia) does Guido begin to face reality. This last scene actually approaches the Fellini-Cardinale relationship during shooting. When one realizes this parallel between filmmaking and personal life, it is not surprising that Fellini chooses his wife, Guilietta Masini, (although not in this film) to often be his leading lady. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than La Grande Bellezza!
Much better than La Grande Bellezza, maybe Federico Fellini's best work.

Notice the religious symbolism when Claudia Cardinale appears at the spa and runs forward... Read more
Published 28 days ago by Gilbert DiMattia
2.0 out of 5 stars Fellini molto bene, Amazon not so much
There's really nothing more to say about Fellini's classic masterpiece that hasn't been said before so my comments (and SCORE) are on Amazon's delivery of it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Peter L. Nelson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece Reswtored!
So many extras! The updated restoration was brilliant, and as always, the Criterion Collection stands by itself. Excellent job!!
Gary Hollis
Published 2 months ago by Gary Hollis
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic
I've seen this movie while I was in film school back in 1997. One of the best Fellini film. I fell in love with it because it captured a moment in my life that it was too abstract... Read more
Published 2 months ago by matthew c.
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this film.
Anyone looking to delve into the world of artisitic film-making should definitely see this movie. Slow down, set yourself for a surreal ride into Fellini's self-exploration. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Chad R. Barrow
3.0 out of 5 stars not the best fellini
its like a woody allen movie, but everyone looks like a model and there arent any jokes. watch La Strada or Amarcord.
Published 6 months ago by N. Certa
1.0 out of 5 stars NOT MUCH
i was told this was a FANTASTIC film. went ahead and bought it. not what i expected. wheres rourke? wheres bassinger? after 3 loooong hours. nothing happens. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gregory J. Belcastro
4.0 out of 5 stars What is real, and what is imagined?
"8 1/2" is Frederico Fellini's powerful statement about the desires we have and how they affect our lives. Read more
Published 6 months ago by B. Adducchio
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT COPY OF A GREAT FILM
ONE OF FELLINI'S MASTERPIECES. IN IT BESIDES MARCELLO MASTROIANNI I FOUND EUGENE WALTER, AMERICAN,
SPEAKING FLUENT ITALIAN AND BEING HIS USUAL CHARMING SELF.
Published 7 months ago by Arthur Homer
5.0 out of 5 stars What's in a Dream? Great example of the Italian "neo-realism" genre.
A Fellini Masterpiece. Simple story, incredible dream sequences. You'll probably need to watch it a few times to figure out what is real and what is dream.... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Deanna J Nelson
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