Italian Neorealism | Italian with English subtitles | 115 minutes


Maddalena is an overbearing, working-class mother in Rome. She once tried to be a movie star but failed. She now tries to live vicariously through her daughter, Maria. Maria has zero talent, but Maddalena will not hear any negative talk. Maddalena drags  Maria to an audition.  Maria is rejected and  Maddalena goes ballistic. She  yells at the studio execs until they relent and give Maria a back-office job. But in time, Maddalena faces reality:  her no-talent Maria will not become a movie star. She returns to her husband where he has been patiently waiting for his wife to get these dreams out of her system.

Anna Magnani (Maddalena) / Tina Apicella (Maria)
Why Stream This Film?

 It’s always upsetting to see that ruthless and obsessed mother pushing her son or daughter to become an acting star. But when this kind of mother is played by someone like Anna Magnani, we just enjoy sitting back and marveling at this ultimate actress giving such a memorable performance.

  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 80%
  • Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: Winner, Best Actress Anna Magnani
Perhaps the most unjustly and neglected of Luchino Visconti’s early films is this hilarious comedy.
Jonathan Rosenbaum

Chicago Reader

It is quite in order to find Anna Magnani, the reigning queen of the burgeoning Roman film colony, in BELLISSIMA. It justifiably serves as a tour de force for its magnetic star.

The New York Times

A great introduction to the work of Anna Magnani and Italian neorealist director Luchino Visconti.
James Plath

Movie Metropolis

Nights of Cabiria

Nights of Cabiria

A happy, laughing Cabiria, a prostitute, is standing by a river bank with her live-in boyfriend Giorgio when he snatches her purse filled with money and pushes her into the river…

read more
Open City

Open City

The film takes place in Nazi-occupied Rome in 1944. The Nazis are searching for Giorgio Manfredi, a Resistance fighter. He is warned of the danger and he hides in the home of another Resistance fighter Francesco and his fiancee Pina…

read more


Paisan is about the liberation of Italy starting with the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943 to the end of World War II in 1945…

read more

If you found this site helpful, please recommend it to a friend. We also welcome your comments. / call 917-439-3364

P.O. Box 20038
New York, N.Y. 10075


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Tired of searching for what to stream?

Join our free email newsletter! A curated selection of the best TV shows and movies available, focusing on a different subject, genre, or theme every Friday.

You have Successfully Subscribed!