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Il sorpasso
Italian film poster
Directed byDino Risi
Written byRodolfo Sonego
Screenplay byDino Risi
Ettore Scola
Ruggero Maccari
Produced byMario Cecchi Gori
StarringVittorio Gassman
Jean-Louis Trintignant
Catherine Spaak
CinematographyAlfio Contini
Edited byMaurizio Lucidi
Music byRiz Ortolani
  • Fair Film
  • Incei Film
  • Sancro Film[1]
Distributed byIncei Film
Release dates
  • 6 December 1962 (1962-12-06) (Italy)
  • 22 December 1963 (1963-12-22) (U.S.)
Running time
105 minutes

Il sorpasso (lit.'"the overtaking"'), also titled The Easy Life in English, is a 1962 Italian comedy film co-written and directed by Dino Risi and starring Vittorio Gassman, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Catherine Spaak. It is considered Risi's masterpiece[according to whom?][citation needed] and one of the best examples of the commedia all'italiana film genre. In 2008, the film was included in the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage's 100 Italian films to be saved, a list of 100 films that "have changed the collective memory of the country between 1942 and 1978."[2]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • IL SORPASSO - U.S. Re-release Trailer
  • Alexander Payne on Il Sorpasso
  • Il Sorpasso THE EASY LIFE sub ENG (Dino Risi 1962) HD



The film starts in a sun-baked and seemingly empty Rome on an August morning during the Ferragosto national holiday. A young, timid law student, Roberto, gazing out his window, is asked by a 36-ish man named Bruno, who is passing on the street below at the wheel of a convertible Lancia Aurelia, to make a phone call for him. Roberto tells him to come up and make the call himself. After Bruno fails to contact his friends — he is running a full hour late for his meeting with them, something he apparently doesn't deem a good enough motive for them to have "abandoned" him — he insists on repaying Roberto's courtesy with an apéritif. Tired of studying for the day and falling prey to Bruno's enthusiasm, Roberto accepts.

Thus begins a cruise along the Via Aurelia, the Roman road that also gives the name to Bruno's beloved car. Roberto is unwilling or unable to part from this casual acquaintance despite having almost nothing in common with him. Bruno is loud, brash, risk taking, a bit coarse, and a braggart to boot. He drives recklessly, speeding and constantly attempting "il sorpasso" — the impatient and aggressive practice of serial tailgating and honking to overtake other cars on the road. He is also charming and likable, however, and Roberto feels drawn to Bruno's impulsive, devil-may-care attitude.

Over two days of highs and lows across the coasts of Lazio and Tuscany, the two men fall into various adventures while gradually learning more about each other. They spontaneously drop in on Roberto's relatives, and, as a result of some of Bruno's observations, Roberto realizes his childhood was not as golden as he had remembered it. Later, he finds out about Bruno's failed marriage and teenage daughter, which reveals a life not nearly as carefree as the one Bruno pretends to lead.

Firmly rejected by his wife, whom he had not divorced years ago as expected, Bruno wakes Roberto and suggests they sleep on the beach. The next morning, on a now-crowded beach, Bruno hits on some young women, and is surprised to find one is his daughter in disguise. Taking this as a suggestion to reconnect with his lost daughter, they swim and boat together, leaving Roberto to ingratiate drinks and food on his own. Later, Bruno wins some money at ping-pong, he and Roberto drink some, then decide to return to Rome before dark.

The bonding and emerging friendship between the two men is cut short when, spurred on by an enlivened Roberto, Bruno attempts to overtake another car on the blind curve of a cliffside road. He swerves to avoid an oncoming truck and is thrown from the car. Roberto goes over the cliff in the car, leaving a bloodied and shocked Bruno by the side of the road. When a police officer arrives and asks Bruno about the man who went over the edge, Bruno realizes he does not even know Roberto's last name.


Reception and legacy

The movie is considered one of the best examples of commedia all'italiana.[by whom?][citation needed]

Film critics[who?] frequently acknowledge that the story offers a poignant portrait of Italy in the early 1960s, when the "economic miracle" (dubbed the "boom" — using the actual English word — by the local media)[citation needed] was starting to transform the country from a traditionally agricultural and family-centered society into a shallower, individualistic and consumerist one.

It was one of two highest-grossing Italian films in Italy for the year ended 30 June 1963 along with Sodom and Gomorrah.[3]


The soundtrack includes original themes by Riz Ortolani, and Italian 1960s hits such as "Saint Tropez Twist" by Peppino di Capri, "Quando, quando, quando" performed by Emilio Pericoli, "Guarda come dondolo" and "Pinne fucile ed occhiali" by Edoardo Vianello and "Vecchio frac" by Domenico Modugno.



  1. ^ "Il sorpasso". Cinematografo (in Italian). Retrieved 3 March 2024.
  2. ^ "Ecco i cento film italiani da salvare Corriere della Sera". Retrieved 2021-03-11.
  3. ^ "'Longest', 'Bounty' Nab Exhib Prizes". Daily Variety. September 19, 1963. p. 1.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 May 2024, at 12:49
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