Roma (1972 film)

Roma, also known as Fellini's Roma or Federico Fellini's Roma, is a 1972 semi-autobiographical comedy-drama film depicting director Federico Fellini's move from his native Rimini to Rome as a youth. It is a homage to the city, shown in a series of loosely connected episodes set during both Rome's past and present. The plot is minimal, and the only "character" to develop significantly is Rome herself. Peter Gonzales plays the young Fellini, and the film features mainly newcomers in the cast.

Roma moviep.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFederico Fellini
Produced byTuri Vasile
Screenplay byFederico Fellini
Bernardino Zapponi
Story byFederico Fellini
Bernardino Zapponi
StarringPeter Gonzales
Music byNino Rota
CinematographyGiuseppe Rotunno
Edited byRuggero Mastroianni
Distributed byItal-Noleggio Cinematografico
Release date
  • 16 March 1972 (1972-03-16)
Running time
128 minutes
Box officeITL869.9 million


Federico Fellini recounts his youth in Rome. The film opens up with a long traffic jam to the city. Once there, scenes are shown depicting Rome during the Fascist regime in the 1930s as well as in the 1970s.

A young Fellini (Gonzales) moves into a vivacious guesthouse inhabited by unusual people (including a Benito Mussolini lookalike) and run by a sick obese woman. He visits two brothels - one being dilapitated and overcrowded and the other one more stylish and luxurious - and seemingly falls in love with a prostitute working in the latter one. Other attractions in Rome are shown, including a cheap vaudeville theatre, streets, tunnels, and an ancient catacomb with frescos that get ruined by fresh air soon after the excavators discover it.

The most famous scene depicts an elderly solitary noblewoman holding an extravagant liturgical fashion show for a Cardinal and other guests with priests and nuns parading in all kinds of bizarre costumes. The film eventually concludes with a group of young motorcyclists riding into the city and a melancholic shot of actress Anna Magnani, whom the film crew met in the street during shooting and who would die some months afterwards.

Alberto Sordi's performanceEdit

During editing, a scene with Alberto Sordi was cut because it was considered too immoral and cruel. Sordi played a rich man sitting at a bar watching some poor kids playing ball. A poor man, blind, sick and lame, comes to cross the street, preventing the rich man from viewing the scene. Alberto Sordi, annoyed, begins shouting insults at the blind man: "Get out of the way, you ugly old man! Get out!".[citation needed]


  • Peter Gonzales as Federico Fellini, age 18
  • Fiona Florence as Dolores - young prostitute
  • Pia De Doses as Princess Domitilla
  • Renato Giovannoli as Cardinal Ottaviani

Historical contrasts and modern alienationEdit

Fellini repeatedly contrasts Roman life during wartime Fascist Italy with life in the early 1970s. The wartime scenes emphasize the congregation of neighbors in Rome's public places, such as street restaurants, a variety show, and a bomb shelter. With the exception of hippies and a conversational scene with Fellini bemoaning the loss of Roman life with radical students, the analogous congregations of the 1970s are between automobiles and motorcycles. Fellini makes a comparison between the parade of prostitutes at wartime brothels and a fantasy runway fashion show featuring clerical garb and a papal audience.

Narrative devicesEdit

The plot (such as it is) centers on two journeys to Rome by the director. The first is as a young man in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The second is as the director of a film crew creating a movie about Rome. The film alternates between these two narratives.


The film was screened at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival but wasn't entered into the main competition.[1] The film was also selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 45th Academy Awards but was not accepted as a nominee.[2] The film is currently available on DVD and Blu-Ray through the Criterion Collection.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Roma". Retrieved 17 April 2009.
  2. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences[specify]
  3. ^ "Roma info". Retrieved 30 April 2019.

External linksEdit