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La Strada (1954)

4.7 out of 5 stars 131 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Federico Fellini had been making films for a few years, but with the 1954 release of La strada, the Italian director set himself on his way to becoming one of international cinema's household names. A delicate, immensely moving tale of love and loss between strongman Zampanò (Anthony Quinn) and his silent long-suffering charge, Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), La strada introduced many viewers to two of the filmmaker's lasting passions the circus and Masina, his wife.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Anthony Quinn, Guilietta Masina
  • Directors: Federico Fellini
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Black & White, NTSC
  • Language: Italian
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: June 1, 2010
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001LMU1C8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,504 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Loren D. Morrison on June 14, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I first saw LA STRADA within a few years of its original release. I still remember how I felt when I saw Gelsomina's face and heard her play her few melancholy notes on the violin. Almost fifty years later I can still see that face and hear those notes. I have to admit that I'd never heard of Federico Felini or his wife, Giulietta Masina. I didn't know that, in time, LA STRADA would be labeled a work of genius. I did know, by the way that it affected me, that I had been exposed to something exceptional. I pictured myself as a pretty macho guy back then, and I wasn't supposed to walk out of a movie theater with tears in my eyes. Luckily, no one saw me when I did.
For most of the movie, I wanted to take Gelsomina in my arms and protect her. I wanted to wrap a piece of Zampano's chain around his neck and strangle him with it. I wanted to grab "The Fool" by the shoulders and shake him and tell him, "If you keep taunting that bully he's going to make you pay for it."
Poor Gelsomina, I couldn't do a thing for her. "The Fool" was really a fool for not heeding my silent warnings and it cost him his life. As for Zampano, he would have been better off if I could have strangled him. His pain, a result of the pain he had caused, was worse than any punishment I could have dealt out.
My criteria as to what makes a movie great is a very personal one. It's also a very simple one. I don't look for multiple layers of symbolism or any other intellectual gobbledygook. It's how I react emotionally. On that score, LA STRADA is right up there at the top of my list.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In a previous review, I was concerned about two sections on the "English" dubbed audio track, in which the sound completely dropped out. I just received an email from Jon Mulvaney (who represents Criterion). Here is an excerpt of that email: [The English language dubbed track on Criterion's LA STRADA is derived from a print of the American version of the film. Several minor cuts were made for the American release, and the disparities between the complete Italian cut of LA STRADA and its shorter American counterpart have resulted in a number of unavoidable audio dropouts on the English-dubbed track on the DVD. This is not a flaw in the DVD of La Strada but an accurate reflection of the Italian and American versions and an indication of the cuts that were made for the American release.] Many thanks to Mr. Mulvaney for looking further into the problem and getting right back to me. In short, we have the definitive version of La Strada (compliments of Criterion), and there is no need to return the DVD to Amazon or Criterion.
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Federico Fellini, a cinematic artist, experimented with what was within the frame of the scene and how it would come across to the audience. Throughout his life, Fellini, made several films and every single film had at least one moment of genius where what was within the frame touched the very soul of the viewer. Initially influenced by the Italian neorealism, however, throughout his career Fellini moved to a visual expressive depiction of the world that frequently seemed dreamlike or artistically expressive.

La Strada was strongly influenced by neorealism, but there is also evidence of hints of what's to come from Fellini's later cinematic creations. Fellini argued that neorealism should not merely emphasize on the characters social status, but also the spiritual and philosophical portion. For example, Fellini has several themes intermingled in La Strade such as the circus, a character in midair (performing a tightrope act), a lusty man, and the sea among other themes. These themes have strong spiritual and philosophical connotation in the manner in which Fellini visually expresses the themes. Thus, it seems as if Fellini began his cinematic experimentation in La Strada, as he continued to develop his calling.

The opening scene depicts Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina) standing on an empty and untouched beach along the Mediterranean. Gelsomina is the films heroine, a feeble and dimwitted character, yet she has the heart in the right place as she innocently explores what confronts her. The scene by the sea intriguingly grabs the audience's attention as it does Gelsomina as if she expects an answer from the seemingly endless sea.
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One of the finest films ever made; `La Strada' is a magnificent feat in cinema. I have been a fan of Federico Fellini ever since seeing the magnificent `8 ½', but I must confess that `La Strada' is the best film I've seen from him and the one that will continue to shake me for years to come. A beautiful, yet tragic tale of love and ignorance, and love IN ignorance, `La Strada' is a priceless portrayal of ones inability to transcend their own ingrained survival instincts and embrace what is right in front of their face; love.

The film seems like a simple tale. Gelsomina is the eldest child in a poor single parent family who is sold to Zampano, a muscle-bound sideshow act who had previously purchased Gelsomina's sister (who is now deceased). Gelsomina is a simple girl, not too intelligent and completely naïve to the way of the world. Zampano is not much different though, even if he seems it. He too is a simple man, but he is less ignorant when it comes to the world and more ignorant when it comes to human relationships. He seems on the outset to be cruel and demanding, but he is merely acting in the only way he understands, most likely the way he was treated as a child. He thus treats Gelsomina, not as a lover or a wife but as a child, disciplining her with beatings and putting her down, constantly controlling her. When one really dissects his actions though, they are clearly expressions of love gone terribly wrong.

Unlike the `monsters' created in cinema today to express the severity of spousal abuse, Zampano is far from a monster. He is a confused and conditioned man, lacking the ability to break his shell and better himself.

Gelsomina is your typical victim, but her stunted comprehension of society's workings makes her almost a victim of herself.
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