Bellissima (film)

Bellissima is a 1951 Italian neorealist drama film directed by Luchino Visconti and starring Anna Magnani, Walter Chiari and Tecla Scarano. The film is a satire of the postwar Italian film industry, and particularly the dreams of stardom encouraged by the neorealist movement which plucked out ordinary members of the public to appear in productions. Bellissima is the only feature film in Visconti's oeuvre with a predominantly comic tone. It was not a box office success.[1]

Theatrical release poster
Directed byLuchino Visconti
Produced bySalvo D'Angelo
Written byCesare Zavattini
Suso Cecchi d'Amico
Francesco Rosi
Luchino Visconti
StarringAnna Magnani
Walter Chiari
Tina Apicella
Gastone Renzelli
Tecla Scarano
Arturo Bragaglia
Alessandro Blasetti
Music byFranco Mannino, inspired by Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore
CinematographyPiero Portalupi
Edited byMario Serandrei
Film Bellissima
Distributed byCEI Incom
Release date
27 December 1951
Running time
115 minutes {release version}


Alessandro Blasetti, a contemporary film director, appears as himself. Keeping in with the tradition of neorealism a number of roles went to members of the public. Magnangi played a part in their selection, approving of Gastone Renzelli a butcher who was cast as her husband.[2]

The film's sets were designed by the art director Gianni Polidori. It was shot at the Cinecittà Studios, which appear prominently in the film.


Bellissima centers on a working-class mother in Rome, Maddalena (Anna Magnani), who drags her young daughter (Tina Apicella) to Cinecittà to attend an audition for a new film by Alessandro Blasetti. Maddalena is a stage mother who loves movies and whose efforts to promote her daughter grow increasingly frenzied.




  1. Gundle p.4
  2. Gundle p.3


  • Gundle, Stephen. Fame Amid the Ruins: Italian Film Stardom in the Age of Neorealism. Berghahn Books, 2019.
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