Life Is Beautiful (1997)

Partial Plot Summary:
The first third of the movie is about a man named Guido who's come to work for his uncle. Things are happy and Guido is always joking and having fun. While in the city, he meets a woman named Dora who he's run into several times.

"Buongiorno, Principessa!"

Eventually, Guido and Dora spend a joyful evening together and seem to get along well, but Dora is with someone already. In fact, she's engaged to an official whom Guido angered earlier in the story. In any case, eventually Dora and Guido are united and end up having a son, who's portrayed as being quite intelligent.

The dilemma comes at the onset of World War II, as the Jews are rounded up and sent to concentration camps. Among those rounded up include Guido, his son Joshua, and Guido's uncle. While Dora is not a Jew, she immediately comes to the train station upon learning what has happened and requests to get on the train along with her family. Again, while she is not a Jew, she is allowed to board the train and is placed in the camp.

Unfortunately, the women and men are placed in separate quarters, and Guido doesn't get to see her during the duration of the camp. He, however, makes his presence known through two separate gestures.

In any case, while the first part of the plot was about Guido and Dora, the arrival at the concentration camp dominantly becomes a story between father and son. Much like using predictable events in order to court Dora, Guido uses the dangers of the camp to turn the situation into a game and keep his son Joshua alive.

For example, due to their lack of labor production, the elderly and the children were among the first to be killed. Consequently, Guido tells Joshua that in order to get points in the game, he must stay hidden and keep quiet.

While the game is a great idea, will it be enough to keep Joshua alive? And what of Guido and Dora, will the find themselves in each other's arms once more? You'll have to watch the movie to find out.

"Buongiorno, Principessa!"

While the theme of the movie is naturally heavy, the movie as a whole is generally positive and happy. In fact, I find the movie, in some sense, to be quite magical and it's a delight to watch the character Guido and his imagination and humor bring joy to those around him.

When you're in the mood for a heavier movie, then you should definitely check this one out.


Instant Comments:
This movie, at least about thirty minutes into the film, is hilarious.
"I can only hear out of one ear."
Oh wow, it comes together.
"Buongiorno, Principessa!"
Very cute... the entire evening sequence between him and her.
The plot becomes more serious at the 37 minute mark with the horse. At this point, it becomes evident that the violence earlier in the film was intentional. Our protagonist, however, remains lighthearted.
Dora's the only one startled by the topic of the problem as opposed to the difficulty.
How cute: the kid hiccups like his mom.
So powerful a love: "I want to get on that train!"

Watched 20130728 (Netflix, Instant)* (Italian audio, English subtitles)
*HD available, but never loaded
Life Is Beautiful (1997) Roberto Benigni. 116 min
also known as La vita è bella (original title)

Relevant Links:
Life Is Beautiful (
Life Is Beautiful (
Life Is Beautiful (La Vita è bella) (

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