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The Great War (1959)

La grande guerra (original title)
Not Rated | | Comedy, Drama, War | 28 October 1959 (Italy)
The Italian Army fought against the Austrians during World War I.

Director:

Mario Monicelli

Writers:

Agenore Incrocci (story and screenplay) (as Age), Furio Scarpelli (story and screenplay) (as Scarpelli) | 4 more credits »
Reviews
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Alberto Sordi ... Oreste Jacovacci
Vittorio Gassman ... Giovanni Busacca
Bernard Blier ... Capitano Castelli
Folco Lulli ... Bordin
Vittorio Sanipoli ... Maggiore Venturi
Romolo Valli ... Tenente Gallina
Mario Valdemarin Mario Valdemarin ... Sottotenente Lorenzi
Nicola Arigliano Nicola Arigliano ... Giardino
Livio Lorenzon Livio Lorenzon ... Sergente Barriferri
Tiberio Mitri Tiberio Mitri ... Mandich
Carlo D'Angelo Carlo D'Angelo ... Capitano Ferri
Tiberio Murgia Tiberio Murgia ... Rosario Nicotra
Marcello Giorda Marcello Giorda ... Generale
Achille Compagnoni Achille Compagnoni ... Il cappellano
Geronimo Meynier Geronimo Meynier ... Il portaordini
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Storyline

Italy, 1916. Oreste Jacovacci and Giovanni Busacca are conscripted, as all the Italian youths, to serve the army in the WWI. They meet at the recruiting office where Giovanni bribes Oreste in the hope of securing a medical deferment, however the joke is on him when Oreste pulls off a hilarious double cross. Destine to serve as comrades in the same unit, they meet again on the train to the front. Despite the rocky beginning and the stolen money, they become friends and the comedic duo experience everything from blustery sergeants to bureaucratic requisition officers to the war weary lieutenant Hen. While in the village of Tigliano they spend some months in relative peace, and Giovanni attempts to gain the graces (and favors) of overworked prostitute Costantina, who also turns the tables to lighten his wallet. But war also brings with it gruesome sights and harrowing dangers. During the most important battle among Italians and Austro-Hungarians, as the Italians in retreat, Giovanni and ... Written by 1felco

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Captured with raging realism...filmed on a breathtaking scale! The monumental story of the giant men who fought the Great War...and the women who followed them into hell! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | War

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian | German

Release Date:

28 October 1959 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

La gran guerra See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Italian censorship visa # 30261 delivered on 16-9-1959. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Il falso bugiardo (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

 
La grande guerra (1959)
4 January 2012 | by MartinTellerSee all my reviews

A comedy (or perhaps more accurately a dramedy) about two lazy, cowardly Italian soldiers in the first World War. Sordi and Gassman are both terrific, there's some funny bits and touching commentary, and the film is very well shot with realistic battlefields. It's a sharp, humorous anti-war sentiment. I'm a bit at a loss to explain why I wasn't more taken with it. Maybe it was too scattershot, too episodic. While this does sort of mimic the chaos and randomness of war, I never felt like I could settle into the movie. Some event would start to develop and then be over a few minutes later. Then again, I can think of other movies I enjoy that do something similar (M. HULOT'S HOLIDAY) so maybe that's not it. For whatever reason, I didn't get fully engaged with this film, although I do recognize its assets. One of them being the fantastic, and very appropriate, ending.


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