1900 (film)

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U.S. theatrical release poster
Directed byBernardo Bertolucci
Screenplay by
Produced byAlberto Grimaldi
CinematographyVittorio Storaro
Edited byFranco Arcalli
Music byEnnio Morricone
Distributed by
Release dates
  • 21 May 1976 (1976-05-21) (Cannes)
  • 28 August 1976 (1976-08-28) (Venice)
  • 3 September 1976 (1976-09-03) (Part 1)
  • 24 September 1976 (1976-09-24) (Part 2)
Running time
  • 317 minutes
  • 162 minutes (Part 1)
  • 154 minutes (Part 2)
  • 247 minutes[1] (Edited version)
  • Italy
  • France
  • West Germany
  • Italian
  • French
  • German
  • English
Budget$9 million[2]

1900 (Italian: Novecento, "Twentieth Century") is a 1976 epic historical drama film directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and featuring an international ensemble cast including Robert De Niro, Gérard Depardieu, Dominique Sanda, Francesca Bertini, Laura Betti, Stefania Casini, Ellen Schwiers, Sterling Hayden, Alida Valli, Romolo Valli, Stefania Sandrelli, Donald Sutherland, and Burt Lancaster. Set in Bertolucci's ancestral region of Emilia, the film chronicles the lives and friendship of two men – the landowning Alfredo Berlinghieri (De Niro) and the peasant Olmo Dalcò (Depardieu) – as they witness and participate in the political conflicts between fascism and communism that took place in Italy in the first half of the 20th century. The film premiered out of competition at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival.[3]

With a runtime of 317 minutes in its original version, 1900 is known for being one of the longest commercially released films ever made. Its great length led to its being presented in two parts when originally released in many countries, including Italy, East and West Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Colombia, Pakistan and Japan. In other countries, such as the United States, a single edited-down version of the film was released.[4] 1900 has become widely regarded as a cult classic, and has received several special edition home video releases from a variety of distributors.[5][6] A restoration of the film premiered out of competition at the 74th Venice International Film Festival in 2017.[7]

In 2008, the film was included on 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."[8]


The initial credits are displayed over a zoom out of Giuseppe Pellizza da Volpedo's The Fourth Estate.

In 1945, Italy is liberated from the fascists. On an estate in Emilia-Romagna, the peasants seek to join the partisans and place the owner, Alfredo Berlinghieri, under arrest. Attempting to flee, a middle-aged man named Attila and a woman named Regina face an attack by women laborers wielding pitchforks.

Alfredo and Olmo Dalcò, born in 1901, come from opposite ends of the social spectrum. Alfredo, from a wealthy landowner family, grows up with his cousin Regina, while Olmo, an illegitimate peasant, is raised by his grandfather Leo, the foreman, and peasants' spokesman. Despite their differences, Alfredo, somewhat rebellious against his family's falseness, befriends Olmo, who is raised as a socialist. During their childhood, Leo leads strikes against unfair conditions on the farm, and the two friends spend much time together.

In 1917, Olmo enlists in the Royal Italian Army for World War I, while Alfredo learns to run the family's plantation. After Olmo's return, their friendship continues, but changes occur. Giovanni, Alfredo's father and the new padrone, hires Attila Mellanchini, a fascist foreman who treats estate employees cruelly.

In the 1920s, Olmo, in a relationship with Anita, leads protests for workers' rights. Giovanni's death leads to Alfredo becoming the new padrone, marrying Ada. During the 1930s, Alfredo proves a weak leader, bending to the ruling National Fascist Party. Ada's alcoholism reflects the emptiness of their marriage. Meanwhile, Olmo's wife Anita dies in childbirth, leaving a daughter, Anita the Younger, supportive of her father's socialist beliefs.

As Olmo becomes a leader among poor farmers, clashes with Attila intensify. Attila's psychopathic tendencies lead to atrocities, and the peasants retaliate, humiliating him. Alfredo fires Attila, but Ada has already left him. After World War II, the power shifts, and local nobility face repercussions.

Attila and Regina, apprehended, are imprisoned in the Berlinghieri pigsty, and Attila confesses to his murders before being executed. Olmo returns to witness Alfredo's trial before a workers' tribunal. Accused of letting workers suffer, Alfredo is sentenced to death but saved when Olmo declares the padrone dead, symbolizing the overthrow of the social system.

The new government's representatives and soldiers arrive, urging peasants to surrender arms. Olmo convinces them, but alone with Olmo, Alfredo suggests the class system will persist. The film concludes with a scene of the elderly Alfredo and Olmo playfully tackling each other, then jumping forward to them walking along a railway track. Alfredo lies down on the tracks, mimicking a childhood game, and as a train approaches, he appears to attempt suicide. The train passes over him, reminiscent of his childhood game.


Dub voices (Italian version)[edit]


The original director's cut of the film runs 317 minutes (5 hours, 17 minutes) and was released in two parts in Italy.[9] Alberto Grimaldi, the film's producer, was contractually obligated to deliver a 195-minute (3 hour, 15 minute) version to Paramount Pictures for release in the United States and Canada. Bertolucci originally wanted to release the film in two parts, but, on Grimaldi's refusal, 20th Century Fox picked up distribution in the United States, dropping out only when Bertolucci declined to shorten the film by 80 minutes.[9]

Grimaldi then locked Bertolucci out of the editing room and assembled a 180-minute cut. Bertolucci, horrified at Grimaldi's cut, decided to compromise.[10] His 247-minute (4 hour, 7 minute) version was the one initially released in the United States. In 1987, the Bravo channel broadcast the uncut version with English-dubbed dialogue. Later in 1991, the film was restored to its original length and shown in a limited release. The film has been shown uncut on Sky Movies and Film 4.

When Bertolucci released his 317-minute version to theaters, the Motion Picture Association of America re-classified the film with an NC-17 rating; the 245-minute American cut, the other version officially available on video in the United States, still retained its R rating. In 2006, Paramount surrendered the NC-17 rating of the uncut version, then released it as unrated on DVD on 5 December 2006. This same uncut version was released on Blu-ray Disc in the U.S. by Olive Films on 15 May 2012.


1900 won the 1977 Bodil Award for Best Non-American Film and received 2nd place in the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography.[11]

Paramount released the shorter version in America theatrically, and the version has received mixed reviews from American critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 52% rating based on 23 reviews, with a weighted average of 6.1/10.[12]

In the Chicago Sun-Times, film critic Roger Ebert wrote that the film "doesn't seem to go anywhere. It's an epic only by virtue of its length."[13]


Professional ratings
Review scores

The music for the movie was composed by Ennio Morricone, who included several melodies from Verdi operas.

  1. "Romanzo" – 4:05
  2. "Estate – 1908" – 5:01
  3. "Autunno" – 4:43
  4. "Regalo di Nozze" – 2:45
  5. "Testamento" – 2:25
  6. "Polenta" – 1:07
  7. "Il Primo Sciopero" – 2:48
  8. "Padre e Figlia" – 1:27
  9. "Tema di Ada" – 4:50
  10. "Apertura Della Caccia" – 5:44
  11. "Verdi E Morto" – 2:30
  12. "I Nuovi Crociati" – 3:32
  13. "Il Quarto Stato" – 1:33
  14. "Inverno – 1935" – 2:45
  15. "Primavera – 1945" – 2:06
  16. "Olmo E Alfredo" – 2:18

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "1900 (X)". British Board of Film Classification. 2 November 1977. Archived from the original on 5 January 2015. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  2. ^ 1900 at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: 1900". Festival-Cannes.com. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  4. ^ "1900 (1976) – Release Info". IMDb. Retrieved 4 January 2015.
  5. ^ "Rewind @ www.dvdcompare.net - 1900 AKA Novecento (1976)".
  6. ^ "Rewind @ www.dvdcompare.net - 1900 AKA Novecento (Blu-ray) (1976)".
  7. ^ "Biennale Cinema 2017 | Biennale Cinema 2017 - Venezia Classici". 10 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Ecco i cento film italiani da salvare Corriere della Sera". www.corriere.it. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Fox Out of '1900' For U.S.-Canada As Grimaldi Fails To Shorten". Variety. 24 November 1976. p. 3.
  10. ^ "Bernardo Bertolucci – 1900". GeraldPeary.com. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  11. ^ 1900 awards at IMDb
  12. ^ "1900 (1976)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved 17 January 2024.
  13. ^ Ebert, Roger (1 January 1977). "1900". Chicago Sun-Times – via RogerEbert.com.
  14. ^ Ankeny, Jason. Novecento (1900) > Review at AllMusic. Retrieved 7 March 2016.

Further reading[edit]

  • di Giovanni, Norman Thomas (1977). Novecent (in Italian). Milano: Euroclub.
  • Kline, T. Jefferson (1987). Bertolucci's Dream Loom: a Psychoanalytical Study in Cinema. Amherst, MA: University Press of Massachusetts.
  • Boswell, Laird (1990). "Reviewed Work: 1900 by Alberto Grimaldi, Bernardo Bertolucci". The American Historical Review. 25 (4): 1131–1133. doi:10.2307/2163489. JSTOR 2163489.
  • Tonetti, Claretta M. (1995). Bernardo Bertolucci: the Cinema of Ambiguity. London: Twayne. ISBN 9780805793369.
  • Gerard, Fabien S.; Kline, T. Jefferson (2000). Bernardo Bertolucci: Interviews. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
  • "1900". International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. Encyclopedia.com. 2001. Retrieved 25 July 2015.

External links[edit]