General Della Rovere

General della Rovere (Italian: Il generale Della Rovere) is a 1959 Italian film directed by Roberto Rossellini. The film is based on a novel by Indro Montanelli which was in turn based on a true story.

General della Rovere
Directed byRoberto Rossellini
Written bySergio Amidei
Release date
  • September 1959 (1959-09) (VIFF)
  • 7 October 1959 (1959-10-07)
Running time
138 minutes
  • Italy
  • France
  • Italian
  • German
  • Hebrew


The film tells the story of a petty thief Emmanuele Bardone (played by Vittorio De Sica) who is hired by the Third Reich to impersonate an Italian resistance leader, General della Rovere, and infiltrate a group of resistance prisoners in a Milan prison. Gradually, Bardone loses himself in his role and not merely pretends to be a hero of the resistance but actually becomes one, first encouraging his fellow prisoners to show courage and eventually accepting death by firing squad rather than betraying another imprisoned resistance leader.



The film won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Cultural influences

The transformation of Emmanuele Bardone, the film's protagonist, from an Axis collaborator into a hero of the anti-national socialist resistance, has been compared by Spanish political commentators to the life story of Adolfo Suárez, the Spanish prime minister who oversaw the transition to democracy in the late 1970s. In particular, Javier Cercas devotes the last chapter of The Anatomy of a Moment[1] to exploring the parallels between Bardone and Suarez.


  1. Cercas, Javier (2011). The Anatomy of a Moment: Thirty-five Minutes in History and Imagination (1st U.S. ed.). New York: Bloomsbury. pp. 310–314. ISBN 978-1-60819-491-9.
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