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The Missing Piece: Mona Lisa, Her Thief, the True Story (2012)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Crime, History | 20 October 2012 (USA)
1:28 | Trailer
A man steals the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911. His 84-year-old daughter thought he did it for patriotic reasons. A filmmaker spends more than 30 years trying to find the truth.


Joe Medeiros


Joe Medeiros
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Celestina Peruggia Celestina Peruggia ... Herself, 84 years, daughter of Vincenzo Peruggia
Joe Medeiros Joe Medeiros ... Himself
Benito Mussolini ... Himself (archive footage)
Robert K. Wittman ... Himself, FBI special agent, investigator in cases involving art theft and art fraud (as Robert Wittman)
Jérôme Coïgnard Jérôme Coïgnard ... Himself, art journalist
Aaron Freundschuh Aaron Freundschuh ... Himself, professor of history, Cuny Queens College
Charles Hill Charles Hill ... Himself, former Scotland Yard investigator in cases involving art theft and art fraud
Milton Esterow Milton Esterow ... Himself, editor and publisher, ARTnews magazine
Donald Sassoon Donald Sassoon ... Himself, professor of Comparative European History
Robert Noah Robert Noah ... Himself, author
Darian Leader Darian Leader ... Himself, psychoanalyst
Mary S. Gibson Mary S. Gibson ... Herself, professor, University of Glasgow
Paolo Sorbi Paolo Sorbi ... Himself
Sabena Sorbi Sabena Sorbi ... Herself
Fernando De Stefano Fernando De Stefano ... Himself, on-camera translator (as Nando De Stefano)


How did an unassuming house painter from Italy pull off "the greatest little known art heist in modern time?" Was his motivation more than money? Writer-director Joe Medeiros traces the path of Vincenzo Peruggia, charged with the 1911 theft of Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa from The Louvre, and finds the story of a daughter mourning the father she never knew and a country recovering from old wounds. Combining historical photographs, animation and interviews with Peruggia's descendants, Medeiros answers why and how the man called "Macaroni" by his French co-workers absconded with and kept the legendary painting for two years. This riveting, often humorous documentary portrays a man struggling to find his way in the world and make his family proud. Most touching are the scenes of Peruggia's 84-year-old daughter, Celestina, who grew up on stories about her father and longed for the truth. Written by Mill Valley Film Festival

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Not Rated | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site


USA | UK | Italy | France



Release Date:

20 October 2012 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Missing Piece: The Truth About the Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa See more »

Filming Locations:

Paris, Île-de-France, France See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (TV) (2015)


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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

No paintings were harmed in the making of this film. See more »

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User Reviews

Mona Lisa, Her Thief, the True Story
27 January 2015 | by econopoqSee all my reviews

What an enjoyable film! I came across this while looking for something interesting to watch last night. The mix of interviews, travel, graphic layout and story telling made this a film I would recommend to all of my art students and beyond. I think the interviews with family members, the peek into museums and archives (to see actual letters and documents) and interfacing today's France and Italy with 'yesterday's' France and Italy were the high points of the film. One needs to know historically what was happening when Mona Lisa was taken. This film reveals the climate of the era and the step-by-step background of why the Mona Lisa was stolen to the understanding of why she was returned. The music, and photo montage style of the video made this video super enjoyable. The tenacity of the creator (30 years in the making) is amazing. I am going to try to write him to thank him for his effort and success.

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