March on Rome (film)

March on Rome (Italian: La marcia su Roma) is a 1962 comedy film by Dino Risi with Vittorio Gassman and Ugo Tognazzi, aimed at describing the March on Rome of Benito Mussolini's blackshirts from the point of view of two newly recruited, naïve blackshirts.

March on Rome
(La marcia su Roma)
Directed byDino Risi
Produced byMario Cecchi Gori
Written byAge & Scarpelli, Sandro Continenza, Dino Risi, Ghigo De Chiara, Ruggero Maccari
StarringUgo Tognazzi
Vittorio Gassman
Music byMarcello Giombini
CinematographyAlfio Contini
Edited byAlberto Gallitti
Distributed byLux Film (Dino de Laurentiis)
Release date
Running time
94 min

The movie's main theme is the gradual betrayal of all the promises of the National Fascist Party: the two gradually tick all the main points of the fascist program as described on a propaganda flyer every time they are contradicted by practice. In its early stages fascism was a radical republican movement, suspicious of large businesses, nobility and the Catholic Church (Mussolini himself had been a socialist earlier in his career, being cast out of the Italian Socialist Party when his nationalism grew more and more pronounced). When arriving in Rome, and having ticked them all off, they leave the fascist party in the moment of its victory.

Plot summary

The film is set in Italy in 1922. Two friends returning from the First World War, Rocchetti and Gavazza, join the Fascist Party in Milan. While the latter is an opportunist, the former is a Roman Catholic who is persuaded by his friend to join the party, and is convinced by the revolutionary program issued in Piazza San Sepolcro. In October, the two friends join a group of Fascists marching to Rome to take, but during the trip Rocchetti, seeing the behaviour of the fascist officials and the forces which help the party, gradually gives up his hopes about the fascist revolutionary program. When Rocchetti finally tries to escape, he is beaten almost to death. Gavazza saves him, and runs away with his friend. However, the March on Rome is made, and the two friends cannot help but watch in silence as the political change happens. The last scene of the movie shows King Victor Emmanuel III watching from the balcony of the Quirinal Palace the fascists. He then turns to Grand Admiral Paolo Thaon di Revel and tells him that he is willing to "test the fascists for some months".



  • The expedition is burning down a building of the Communist Party. One of the two recruits asks why they are contradicting their declared principles of freedom of speech. The fascist gang leader replies that "They have freedom of speech, we have the freedom of beating them up. If they do not want to speak because they are afraid, so..."
  • The fascists are victoriously parading in the streets of Rome. A counselor reminds King Victor Emmanuel III that they are still in time to send them away. The King replies "Nah, let's keep them for a few months".
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