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Life Is Beautiful [DVD] [1999]


Price: £4.49 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano, Sergio Bini Bustric
  • Directors: Roberto Benigni
  • Writers: Roberto Benigni, Vincenzo Cerami
  • Producers: Agnès Mentre, Elda Ferri, Gianluigi Braschi, John M. Davis, John Rogers
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Italian
  • Subtitles: English, Swedish, Finnish, Danish
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Disney
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Jan. 2001
  • Run Time: 111 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (262 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004D0DU
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,664 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

In 1939, young Italian Jew Guido Orefice (Roberto Benigni) travels with his friend Ferruccio to Arezzo, where his uncle has promised to help set him up with a bookshop. Guido immediately falls in love with beautiful gentile Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), and eventually woos her away from local fascist official Rodolfo. Guido and Dora marry, have a son, Giosué, and are very happy. However, when war breaks out a few years later, Guido and Giosué are moved to a Nazi concentration camp. Determined to protect his son from the horrors of war, Guido tells him that the camp is all part of a game, and that Giosué's prize will be a life-size version of the toy tank he loves to play with. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor for Roberto Benigni.

From Amazon.co.uk

Italy's rubber-faced funnyman Roberto Benigni accomplishes the impossible in his World War II comedy Life Is Beautiful: he shapes a simultaneously hilarious and haunting comedy out of the tragedy of the Holocaust. An international sensation and the most successful foreign language film in US history, the picture also earned director-cowriter-star Benigni Oscars for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor. He plays the Jewish country boy Guido, a madcap romantic in Mussolini's Italy who wins the heart of his sweetheart (Benigni's real-life sweetie, Nicoletta Braschi) and raises a darling son (the adorable Giorgio Cantarini) in the shadow of fascism. When the Nazis ship the men off to a concentration camp in the waning days of the war, Guido is determined to shelter his son from the evils around them and convinces him they're in an elaborate contest to win (of all things) a tank. Guido tirelessly maintains the ruse with comic ingenuity, even as the horrors escalate and the camp's population continues to dwindle--all the more impetus to keep his son safe, secure and, most of all, hidden. Benigni walks a fine line mining comedy from tragedy and his efforts are pure fantasy--he accomplishes feats no man could realistically pull off--both of which have drawn fire from a few critics. Yet for all its wacky humour and inventive gags, Life Is Beautiful is a moving and poignant tale of one father's sacrifice to save not just his young son's life but his innocence in the face of one of the most evil acts ever perpetrated by the human race. --Sean Axmaker

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

156 of 167 people found the following review helpful By gary.saunderson@btinternet.com on 27 Nov. 2001
Format: VHS Tape
What a great shame that foreign films do not get the acclaim that they truly deserve. The problem with us Brits is that we are brainwashed into thinking that should a film not come out of Hollywood, then it surely can't be worth watching....can it? Roberto Benigni's masterpiece (which I truly believe in years to come will go down in film history as one of the all-time greats) is set in Italy against the back-drop of WWII, the Holocaust and a fathers determination to shield his naive and simplistic young son from the horrors of it all. The film is a roller coaster of emotions and in the space of 5 minutes it can make you laugh out loud, cry in despair and then cry for joy. Any film that can do that is a film worth watching. The dialogue is stunning as is the acting and forget the fact that it is in Italian with subtitles, it was the way the film was meant to be. If you love good films and belive in life outside the Hollywood glitz, go on....treat yourself to a true classic.
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56 of 60 people found the following review helpful By "blacksbooks" on 27 Aug. 2004
Format: DVD
Magical.
I spent a long time trying to think of an adequate word to describe this film after I had watched it and that was the only one that came close to doing it justice. Put quite simply this film is a masterpiece. The menagerie of emotions it evokes is unlike anything I have ever witnessed. You'll laugh until tears stream down your cheeks, you will try your hardest to bite back tears and when the film is over you will sit in abject silence, merely thinking about what you have just witnessed. Whether you adore it or not it cannot be denied that Life Is Beautiful is a film you simply cannot forget as quickly as you turn it off.
Roberto Benigni slides into the role of Guido easily, a role that he puts his stamp on and makes unforgettable almost immediately. I will refrain from writing a synopsis as this is already provided although the story itself is fantastically written, dividing the film into two halves. One light and humorous the other dark and poignant yet still retaining a few laughs ('...because I just had to have a jam sandwich!').
The only recommendation I can make to those watching it for the first time is to forget about the dubbing. Watch it through in the original Italian with english subtitles and it makes for a much more enjoyable watch. The emotion given to Guido by Benigni is portrayed through his words as well as actions and the effect is all but lost in the dubbing.
I was surprised to hear from a friend recently that a lot of people considered this film controversial. Apparently it is insensitive to the topic and approaches it in a manner that lacks the proper respect. Never have I heard such contrived nonsense.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By loolae on 30 July 2008
Format: DVD
Although i understand the viewpoints of those people who have only rated this as a 1 star, i would have to disagree. the common dislike seems to be that it is inappropriate to make a 'comedy' with the central theme being the holocaust. i however do not think that that is what this film is supposed to be. The comic beginning of the film is intended to make the viewer find the irrepressible main character impossible not to love. this in turn serves only to heighten the incredible sadness and feelings of loss that the rest of the film conveys. it is a dark, beautiful and moving film. The use of comedy, in my opinion is that which makes the holocaust theme hit home more than any amount of pathos ever could. I can't help but find this to be one of the most moving films i have ever seen. i entirely recommend it, so long as you are not looking for a comedy, but rather a unique look at the terrible happenings of this period of history.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By BookJumper on 4 Oct. 2009
Format: DVD
This film is as beautiful as life according to the title. Undoubtedly, it will have added to my overall appreciation and understanding that I am Italian and did not need to see this subtitled, but even so, I am frankly staggered to find that so many people were outraged by this sweet, tender little gem of a film. La Vita E' Bella does not minimise the crimes of Nazism, and the suffering of thousands of innocents during WWII.

What it does is tell the story, heart-warming and -wrenching at the same time, of a man who so dearly loves his son that he will not have him tainted by the horrors of the concentration camp, and thus does every thing he can think of to make the little boy believe that the corpses around him are just pretending, just taking part in a complex game where people only look like they get shot and hurt.

Why would Benigni, I wonder, go to such pains to invent a whole new reality for his child, if he did not fully comprehend and condemn the terrible events as they really happened? The film is not trying to re-write history. It is simply showing how, through the force of fatherly love, an innocent may be taught to smile, and hope, and never to despair. If that's not a message worthy of the big screen I don't know what is.

If you haven't watched this film, please approach it without prejudice. Approach it not as a slanderous lie, but as the story of how imagination may save a human soul.
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