Il Sorpasso

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Il Sorpasso
Il sorpasso.jpg
Italian film poster
Directed by Dino Risi
Produced by Mario Cecchi Gori
Written by Dino Risi
Ettore Scola
Ruggero Maccari
Starring Vittorio Gassman: Bruno Cortona
Jean-Louis Trintignant: Roberto Mariani
Catherine Spaak: Lilly Cortona
Claudio Gora: Bibi
Luciana Angiolillo: Bruno's wife
Linda Sini: Aunt Lidia
Nando Angelini: Amedeo
Luigi Zerbinati: commendatore
Music by Riz Ortolani
Cinematography Alfio Contini
Edited by Maurizio Lucidi
Release dates 1962 (Italy)
22 December 1963 (U.S.)
Running time 105 Min
Country Italy
Language Italian

Il Sorpasso (English: The Easy Life) is a 1962 Italian cult movie directed by Dino Risi. It is considered Risi's masterpiece and one of the most famous examples of Commedia all'italiana film genre.


It's a hazy, dreamy, sun-baked and seemingly empty Rome on an August morning. A young, timid law student Roberto (Trintignant), looking out his window, is asked for trivial favor by a 40-ish man named Bruno (Gassman) who has passed under his window while at the wheel of a convertible Lancia Aurelia: Could he please make a phone call for him?
The young man tells him to come up and make the call himself. After Bruno fails to contact his friends--after all, he's a full hour late for the meeting they--he insists in repaying Roberto's courtesy by offering him a drink. Being tired of studying for the day, and falling prey to Bruno's enthusiasm, the young man accepts.
Thus begins a cruise along the Via Aurelia, the Roman road which also gives the name to Bruno's beloved car. Roberto is unwilling or unable to part from his casual acquaintance despite having nothing in common with him. After all, Bruno is loud, direct, a bit coarse and a braggart to boot. But he is also charming and likable. Roberto, being his complete opposite, feels drawn to his impulsive and devil-may-care attitude.
In two days of high and lows across the coasts of Lazio and Tuscany the two men fall into various adventures while managing to learn something from each other. Roberto, for example, discovers his childhood hasn't been as golden as he always imagined, and finds out about Bruno's failed marriage and young daughter, realizing Bruno is not nearly as carefree as he pretends.
Their friendship and male bonding are cut short when, urged by Roberto, Bruno speeds while attempting a risky maneuver, which results in an accident. The younger man goes over a rocky cliff in the car, leaving a bloodied and shocked Bruno on the curve's edge. When a motorway cop arrives and asks Bruno for Roberto's name the survivor realizes he can't even recall it.


The movie is considered one of the best Commedie all'Italiana, offering 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) was starting to transform the country from a traditionally agricultural and family-centered society into a shallower, individualistic and consumeristic one.


The soundtrack includes 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.


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