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L'Odissea/The Odyssey (TV-series)
Odissea Bekim Fehmiu.jpg
GenreMythology, Adventure
Created byMario Bava, Franco Rossi
Written bybased on
Homer's epic poem
Directed byFranco Rossi, Mario Bava
Presented byGiuseppe Ungaretti
StarringBekim Fehmiu
Irene Papas
Composer(s)Carlo Rustichelli
Country of originItaly
No. of episodes4-8
Executive producer(s)Vittorio Bonicelli
Producer(s)Dino de Laurentiis
Production location(s)Italy
Running time446 min.
(110 min. cut edition)
Picture formatColor
Original release24 March 1968 (RAI)

L'Odissea was a European TV miniseries broadcast on RAI (Italian state TV) in 1968 and based on Homer's Odyssey. An Italian, Yugoslavian, German and French (Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française) coproduction, it was directed by Franco Rossi,[1] assisted by Piero Schivazappa and Mario Bava; the cast included Bekim Fehmiu as Ulysses and Irene Papas as Penelope, Samson Burke as the Cyclops, as well as Barbara Bach as Nausicaa, and Gerard Herter (of Caltiki fame). The movie is considered by several critics a masterpiece representation of the ancient world.[2]


The movie was produced principally for broadcasting on the state televisions of Italy, Germany and France.[3] There were 8 episodes in the original version, running a total of 446 minutes. Each episode was preceded by an introduction in which poet Giuseppe Ungaretti read some verses of the original poem.[4]

The adaptation is considered to be the most faithful rendering of Homer's epic on screen,[5] by including most of the characters and events, as well as by attempting to fill with graphic details.[6]

Special effects were designed by Mario Bava (who outright directed the Polyphemus episode)[7] and Carlo Rambaldi.[1]

The outdoors were shot entirely in Yugoslavia, which offered a scenery that was very similar to the lands of Ancient Greece.[8]

The show ran on television in Europe between 1968 and 1970. In Italy alone, the episodes had an audience of over 16 million viewers. The entire television series was dubbed into English, ran several times on the TVO network in Ontario, Canada, and was broadcast in the USA by CBS years later in 1978. An abridged theatrical version (running only 110 minutes) was released to European theatres as well, also available in English. However, the English dub was later lost. There are DVD editions however still available in Italian and German.


After the Trojan War, Odysseus has disappeared for ten years in the Mediterranean Sea. On the island of Ithaca his wife Penelope is overrun at the palace by suitors who try in every way to woo her,and force her to marry again. His son Telemachus decides to go searching for him. Odysseus, however, is not dead: he was captured by the nymph Calypso, who after an intervention of the Gods, releases Odysseus. The hero sets sail for the sea, but is shipwrecked on an island. There, he is rescued by the princess Nausicaa, daughter of King Alcinous. The king welcomes Odysseus, who tries to conceal his identity. Finally revealed, he begins to tell about the adventures and travels he had on his way back from the Trojan War. One segment involves his encounter with Polyphemus, the Cyclops.



  1. ^ a b Milly Buonanno (2012). Italian TV Drama and Beyond: Stories from the Soil, Stories from the Sea. Intellect Books. pp. 37–. ISBN 978-1-84150-459-9.
  2. ^ Arthur J. Pomeroy (1 June 2017). A Companion to Ancient Greece and Rome on Screen. Wiley. pp. 341–. ISBN 978-1-118-74144-3.
  3. ^ Eleonora Cavallini (2007). Omero mediatico: aspetti della ricezione omerica nella civiltà contemporanea : atti delle giornate di studio, Ravenna, 18-19 gennaio 2006. D. U. Press. ISBN 978-88-95451-05-3.
  4. ^ Emerico Giachery (2012). Ungaretti e il mito. Edizioni Nuova Cultura. pp. 26–. ISBN 978-88-6134-973-5.
  5. ^ Helen Lovatt; Caroline Vout (15 August 2013). Epic Visions: Visuality in Greek and Latin Epic and its Reception. Cambridge University Press. pp. 170–. ISBN 978-1-316-26499-7.
  6. ^ Almut-Barbara Renger; Jon Solomon (13 November 2012). Ancient Worlds in Film and Television: Gender and Politics. BRILL. pp. 205–. ISBN 978-90-04-24192-3.
  7. ^ Troy Howarth (2002). The Haunted World of Mario Bava. BearManor Media. pp. 325–. GGKEY:X5Q62N9EWKC.
  8. ^ Lupi, Giordano (16 October 2016). "Odissea – Le avventure di Ulisse (Film Tv, 1969)". Futuro Europa. Retrieved 26 December 2018.

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