Life is Beautiful (1997)

 life is beautiful“Buon giorno, Principessa!” – Guido

Number of Times Seen – 2 (28 Dec 2002 and 5 Aug 2014)

Brief Synopsis – The story of an Italian Jewish man during WWII and the lengths he is willing to go to for the love of his wife and their 4 year old son.

My Take on it – This happens to be a very strange premise for a movie about the Holocaust, but Roberto Benigni proved that it’s possible to make a serious drama while adding in some moments that really make you laugh out loud, he is great as the leading actor, but also directed it expertly.

I’m quite sure that there are many people who were offended by the way this story was told, but I think he did this perfectly. This movie deserved its 3 Oscars in a very competitive year.

It was close to a shoe in to win best foreign film, but its wins for best actor (Benigni himself) and best score were surprise wins.

Best Picture was a very big longshot because it was up against Shakespeare in Love (1997) (which won) and Saving Private Ryan (1997) (which should have won).

Being a HUGE fan of the Oscars, I recall the chaos that Benigni caused when he won; jumping on the seats and screaming things like a maniac.

Here’s 3 clips from that Oscarcast


….and here are two interesting Oscar facts about this movie

  • Benigni became only the second Director to direct himself to an Oscar (the other being Laurence Olivier for Hamlet (1948)
  • The little boy who plays Benigni’s son only starred in 2 movies, this and Gladiator (2000) (as Maximus’ son).  Both of his cinematic fathers won Oscars for Lead Actor


Bottom Line -Benigni is perfect for this role. Movie is a pleasant mix of war torn drama with light humorous moments sprinkled throughout. Highly recommended!

Rating – Oscar Worthy


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17 thoughts on “Life is Beautiful (1997)

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