Vittorio De Sica

07.07.1901, Sora, Italy - 13.11.1974, Paris, France


Vitttorio De Sica was born on July, 7th 1901 in Sora, Italy, in a low middle class family, and died on November, 13th 1974 in Paris. He spent his childhood in Naples. He went to school to be an accountant. Even before coming of age, he helped support his family by working as a clerk. In the 20’s he joined the traveling theatre group of Almiranta Manzini, a famous diva of Italian silent film. He achieved success in theatre after 1923 when he became a member of Tatjana Pavlova’s theatre. Towards the end of the 20’s his popularity grew and in 1933 he founded his own theater group in which he is the biggest star. From1931 regularly played in films (made his film debut at the age of 16), usually in salon comedies, well-mannered melodramas and so-called white telephone films playing Don Juan characters. He began his directing career during WW 2. In the beginning he directed comical and sentimental films, and one costumed film - Un Garibaldino al convento (1942). The crucial event in his directing career was a collaboration with the screenwriter Cesare Zavattini – in his fifth film I Bambini ci guardano (1943). Already in this first phase his thematic preoccupations are clear: sympathy for the little man, love for children, balancing between the tragic and the humorous as well as a
feeling for small life details. Apart from that, in his works he collaborated with nonprofessional actors and often shot in natural ambiences (in real locations). All that fits perfectly into the neorealist tendencies that dominated the Italian film after the WW 2. With his four masterpieces - Sciuscia (1946), Ladri di biciclette (1948), Miracolo a Milano (1951), Umberto D (1952) – he became the main representative of neorealism. Cesare Zavattini was in all the aforementioned films, the co-screenwriter. It is important to say
that Umberto D is often called the transitive film between the classical neorealism and the so called neorealism of the soul. Slowly neorealism started to fade away (beginning of 50’s) and De Sica’s directing
career is in crisis, so once again he returns to acting. He had a few impressive roles in films such as Madame de... (1953) and General Della Rovere(1959). Also, he wins back the audience by a series of films Pane, amore
e fantasia
(1953) and Pane, amore e gelosia (1954). In 1954 he shot a
commercially successful film L'Oro di Napoli (1954) and a year later Il tetto, his last neorealist film. In his later phase the most significant titles include: La Ciociara (1960), Il giudizio univerzale (1961), Matrimonio all'italiana (1964), Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini (1970), Una breve vacanza (1973). In 1974 he made his last film Il
. In his directing career De Sica won four Oscars.


Il Viaggio (1974)
Una Breve vacanza (1973)
Lo chiameremo Andrea (1972)
Le Coppie (omnibus; part: Il Leone) (1970)
Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini (1970)
I Girasoli (1970)
Amanti (1968)
Sept fois femme (1967)
Le Streghe - Una Sera come le altre (1966)
Caccia alla volpe (1966)
Un monde nouveau (1966)
Matrimonio all'italiana (1964)
Ieri, oggi, domani (1963)
Il Boom (1963)
I Sequestrati di Altona (1962)
Boccaccio '70 (omnibus; part:La riffa) (1962)
Il Giudizio universale (1961)
La Ciociara (1960)
Anna di Brooklyn (1958)
Il Tetto (1956)
L' Oro di Napoli, (1954)
Stazione Termini (1953)
Umberto D. (1952)
Miracolo a Milano (1951)
Ladri di biciclette (1948)
Porta del cielo, La (1946)
Sciuscia (1946)
I Bambini ci guardano (1944)
Un Garibaldino al convento (1942)
Teresa Venerdě (1941)
Maddalena, zero in condotta (1940)
Rose scarlatte (1939)

Films by this director

Miracle in Milan

(Miracolo a Milano, 1951)

Directed by: Vittorio De Sica
PHOTOGRAPHY: Aldo Graziati

An old lady finds a baby in a field of cabbage. She adopts him and raises as her son. After the old lady dies, the boy, Toto, goes into an orphanage. As a happy young man he leaves the orphanage and sets off to find work in post war Milan. Soon he joins the homeless and together they build a small community in a waste land. There they discover oil, and the old lady’s ghost appears to Toto…This comedy was influenced by Charlie Chaplin and René Clair. It is also the only stylized film of the neore...

digital, b/w, 95 min

L'Oro di Napoli


Directed by: Vittorio De Sica
PHOTOGRAPHY: Carlo Montuori

The film has six stories set in Naples: a clown is used by a gangster; a pizza seller loses her wedding ring; a boy’s funeral; a professional gambler is defeated by a boy; an unexpected and unusual wedding of a prostitute, Therese; "professor" Ersilio Micci, "seller of wisdom. This film is De Sica’s homage to the city of Naples where he lived five years.

b/w, 107 min

Il tetto


Directed by: Vittorio De Sica

The comedy about a young and poor married couple that tries to build a home over night and in that way escape the law (according to Italian law of that time, when a roof has been built the inhabitants of that house cannot be forcefully thrown out)… Il tetto is De Sica’s last neorealist film.

b/w, 91 min

La Ciociara


Directed by: Vittorio De Sica

WW 2. Cesaria and her thirteen year old daughter Rosetta flee Rome which is under constant bombing. They decide to go to Cesaria’s village. When they arrive there, they find people who live in poverty barely surviving. There they meet an intellectual Michele, a young antifascist whom everybody calls Professor. Both mother and daughter have romantic feelings for him. But soon, Germans take Michele away. Cesaria later learns that he was killed. As the liberation forces progressed, moth...

color, 99 min

Marriage Italian-Style

(Matrimonio all'italiana, 1964)

Directed by: Vittorio De Sica
PHOTOGRAPHY: Roberto Gerardi

Domenico and Filumena first met during the WW 2 in a bordello. Since that time they have been iseparable. Filumena wants to marry Domenico. He will always pay for her rent and food, let her take care of his business, but marriage is out of the question. He just wants her to be his employee during the day and lover during the night. Filumena pretends to be dying and on her death bed tries to convince Domenico into marrying her. And all of this happens when Domenico plans to marry his other youn...

digital, color, 102 min

Il Giardino dei Finzi-Contini


Directed by: Vittorio De Sica
PHOTOGRAPHY: Ennio Guarnieri

The story is about an old aristocratic Jewish family Finzi-Contini and their decay in the time of Mussolini and the WW 2. The members of the family live isolated on their estate and are not very much interested in political events. However, they will soon affect them… A powerful film by De Sica, based on the novel by Giorgio Bassani (who cowrote the script but later withdrew from the project). The film won an Oscar as the best foreign film in 1972.

color, 95 min

Il Viaggio


Directed by: Vittorio De Sica

Sicily, a young aristocrat Adriana and Cesare have been in love for years. However, Adriana consents to Cesare’s father’s wish and marries his brother Antonio. When Antonio dies, all are relieved, and there don’t seem to be any obstacles to Cesare’s marriage with the love of his life. However, fate is not on their side because Adriana is seriously ill… Il Viaggois De Sica’s last film

color, 95 min


(Sciuscià, Italy, 1946)

Directed by: Vittorio De Sica
PHOTOGRAPHY: Anchise Brizzi

Jedno od najznačajnijih ostvarenja talijanskog neorealizma, nagrađeno s nekoliko prestižnih nagrada, a protagonisti su Pasquale i Giuseppe, dvojica dječaka koji zarađuju za život radeći kao čistači cipela u poslijeratnoj Italiji. Zarađeni novac štede nadajući se kupnji vlastitog konja. Giuseppeov stariji brat Attilio jednog im dana ponudi sumnjiv posao koji im donese dovoljnu zaradu, te oni kupe željenog konja. Vrlo brzo padaju u ruke policiji. U nadi da će pomoći Giuseppeu, Pasquale oda Attilij...

b/w, 90'

Umberto D

(Italy, 1952)

Directed by: Vittorio De Sica

Umirovljeni činovnik Umberto Domenico Ferrari čovjek je bez obitelji i s malo prijatelja, kojemu je jedini drug psić Flaik. Umberto već trideset godina živi kao podstanar u istoj sobi, prima vrlo skromnu mirovinu a gazdarici duguje petnaest tisuća lira, zbog čega se nalazi pred izbacivanjem na ulicu. Želeći zaraditi minimalan novac kojim bi zadržao krov nad glavom, ali istodobno želeći i pod svaku cijenu sačuvati dostojanstvo, Umberto će početi Flaika bezuspješno uvježbavati za pro&scaron...

b/w, 89'
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