Bombolini (Anthony Quinn) is Santa Vittoria's resident fool, drunk, and lazy good-for-nothing, but everybody in town loves him. He becomes the new mayor just as the Germans are coming to occupy the village and confiscate over a million bottles of wine. Bombolini comes up with a plan to hide most of it, but will everyone keep the secret?
This drama with comedic elements has a lot going for it, especially Anthony Quinn in a happy-to-lucky role similar to his in Zorba The Greek
with the wonderful Anna Magnani playing his long-suffering wife. Their scenes are full of earthy charm and raucous energy. Handsome Hardy Kruger plays the German captain who tries to find the wine; he's quite charming but his playfulness and non-violent approach to war are a bit hard to believe. Virna Lisi gives a solid performance as a troubled, snooty Countess who catches the captain's eye.
The movie, unfortunately, is too long by half, with the first hour moving at a snail's pace, and the energy fades when Quinn isn't on the screen. Still, I liked it a lot because the characters are real and endearing and the message of solidarity is a good one. Nicely photographed in Italy.