A brutish travelling strongman (Anthony Quinn) acquires a waif-like young assistant (Giulietta Masina) before taking to the road in Federico Fellini’s acclaimed neo-realist fable.
“This uniquely bittersweet comedy-drama touched people’s hearts in a way few films have managed to do. And, there is no question that it will continue to do so for years to come.”
David Ehrenstein, The Criterion Collection
Federico Fellini’s first films as director demonstrated a gradual progression away from the 1940s neo-realist movement with which, as a screenwriter for Roberto Rossellini, he had become associated. His fourth feature, La strada, tells of a young innocent, Gelsomina, sold as a performing assistant to an itinerant circus strongman. Eagerly learning the ropes, Gelsomina is repeatedly beaten down by her thuggish master as they tour the towns of central Italy.
Fellini films this battle of wills with precise attention to the detail of downtrodden streets, bars and roadsides, capturing a pungent feel of travelling life. Yet the tragedy of this simple stray, played for Chaplinesque pathos by Fellini’s wife Giulietta Masina, goes beyond realism into the realms of parable – encouraged by a wistful score from Nino Rota.
Masina won the Best Actress award at the 1957 Cannes Film Festival playing the hapless but plucky prostitute in her husband’s Le notti di Cabiria.
Cast & credits
- Director Federico Fellini
- Artistic Collaboration Brunello Rondi
- Assistant Director Moraldo Rossi
- [2nd] Assistant [Director] Paolo Nuzzi
- Continuity Narciso Vicario
- ©/Production Company Ponti-De Laurentiis
- Produced by Dino De Laurentiis
- Produced by Carlo Ponti
- Unit Manager Danilo Fallani
- Unit Manager Giorgio Morra
- Unit Manager Gino Cittadini
- Production Supervisor Luigi Giacosi
- Made at Ponti-De Laurentiis Studios
- Story/Screenplay Federico Fellini
- Story/Screenplay Tullio Pinelli
- Screenplay Collaborator Ennio Flaiano
- Dialogue Tullio Pinelli
- Stills Photography A. Piatti
- Make-up Eligio Trani
- Sound Technician Aldo Calpini
- Sound R. Boggio
- Sound System Western Electric
- English Version Directed by Carolyn Vogel
- English Version Directed by Peter Riethof
- Negatives/Positives Stacofilm di Marcello Partini