Directed by Federico Fellini • 1954 • Italy
Starring Giulietta Masina, Anthony Quinn, Richard Basehart
With this breakthrough film, Federico Fellini launched both himself and his wife and collaborator Giulietta Masina to international stardom, breaking with the neorealism of his early career in favor of a personal, poetic vision of life as a bittersweet carnival. The infinitely expressive Masina registers both childlike wonder and heartbreaking despair as Gelsomina, loyal companion to the traveling strongman Zampanò (Anthony Quinn, in a toweringly physical performance), whose callousness and brutality gradually wear down her gentle spirit. Winner of the very first Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film, LA STRADA (“The Road”) possesses the purity and timeless resonance of a fable and remains one of cinema’s most exquisitely moving visions of humanity struggling to survive in the face of life’s cruelties.