The Man with a Cross

The Man with a Cross (Italian: L'uomo dalla croce) is a 1943 Italian war film directed by Roberto Rossellini and starring Alberto Tavazzi, Roswita Schmidt and Attilio Dottesio. It was the final part of Rossellini's "Fascist trilogy" following The White Ship (1941) and A Pilot Returns (1942). It is loosely inspired by Reginaldo Giuliani, an Italian military chaplain who had been killed on active service.[1]

The Man with a Cross
Directed byRoberto Rossellini
Written byAsvero Gravelli
Alberto Consiglio
Giovanni D'Alicandro
Roberto Rossellini
StarringAlberto Tavazzi
Roswita Schmidt
Attilio Dottesio
Doris Hild
Music byRenzo Rossellini
CinematographyGuglielmo Lombardi
Edited byEraldo Da Roma
Distributed byENIC
Release date
3 February 1943
Running time
72 minutes

The film was made at Cinecittà with location shooting in the countryside around Ladispoli standing in for the Eastern Front. Although the film incorporates elements of neorealism such as the use of amateur actors in some parts, stylistically it is closer to a more conventional war film.[2] Rossellini cast his friend, the art director Alberto Tavazzi in the title role, while his girlfriend Roswita Schmidt played the female lead.[3]


The film is set in the summer of 1942 in Ukraine where Italian troops are fighting those of the Soviet Union. A military chaplain volunteers to stay behind with a badly wounded Italian soldier, even though this means certain capture.


  • Alberto Tavazzi as Il cappellano militare
  • Roswita Schmidt as Irina, la miliziana
  • Attilio Dottesio as Il carrista ferito
  • Doris Hild as Una contadina russa
  • Zoia Weneda as Un'altra contadina russa
  • Antonio Marietti as Serghej, il commissario del popolo
  • Piero Pastore as Beyrov
  • Aldo Capacci as Lo studente soldato
  • Franco Castellani as Un soldato russo ferito
  • Gualtiero Isnenghi as Il ferito antibolscevico
  • Antonio Suriano as Il soldato napoletano
  • Marcello Tanzi as Diego


  1. Bondanella. A History of Italian Cinema. p.35
  2. Bondanella. A History of Italian Cinema. p.35
  3. Bondanella. The Films of Roberto Rossellini. p.37


  • Bondanella, Peter. A History of Italian Cinema. Continuum, 2009.
  • Bondanella, Peter. The Films of Roberto Rossellini. Cambridge University Press, 1993.
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