The Tiger and the Snow

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La tigre e la neve
Directed byRoberto Benigni
Produced byNicoletta Braschi
Written byRoberto Benigni
Vincenzo Cerami
StarringRoberto Benigni
Jean Reno
Nicoletta Braschi
Emilia Fox
CinematographyFabio Cianchetti
Release date
  • 2005 (2005)
Running time
118 minutes

The Tiger and the Snow (Italian: La tigre e la neve) is a 2005 Italian movie starring and directed by Roberto Benigni. The film is a romantic comedy inspired by the fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty." It is set in contemporary Rome and in occupied Baghdad during the Iraq War, and follows the protagonist Attilio as he desperately journeys to Baghdad to save the love of his life, Vittoria, from her death.


Attilio de Giovanni, a comical and impassioned poetry professor and the divorced father of two teenage girls, is hopelessly in love with Vittoria, a coworker and writer. Vittoria is the subject of Attilio's many dreams that center around a wedding between him and Vittoria. Attilio's strenuous courtship is unsuccessful, yet he does not lose hope, despite the fact that Vittoria obviously does not share the same feelings. She tells him that she will agree to marry him only when she sees a tiger walking on the snow.

Vittoria leaves for Iraq to write the biography of the poet Fuad, Attilio's close friend who is returning to his country after 18 years living in France. In Baghdad, she is wounded as collateral damage in the Iraq War. By impersonating a Red Cross surgeon, and Attilio sneaks onto a flight to Baghdad in a desperate attempt to save her life. He finds Vittoria in an Iraqi hospital lying in a coma, and like thousands of Iraqis caught in the crossfire, she is will inevitably die due to low medicine supplies. Fuad directs Attilio to an old Iraqi pharmacist, who suggests ancient treatments that manage to keep her alive, temporarily. Attilio locates scuba gear to provide Vittoria with oxygen and a flyswatter, which he jokingly calls the "weapon of mass destruction" the US is looking for in Iraq.[1][2]

Still needing more medicinal supplies to revive Vittoria, Attilio journeys to the Italian Red Cross headquarters and returns with more comprehensive supplies that will nurse Vittoria back to health.

Attilio then goes to Fuad's house to report his success, but finds that Fuad has hanged himself. Attilio had not picked up on Fuad's behavior and speech earlier in the film indicating his suicidal plans, for he had been too preoccupied with trying to save Vittoria. Just before Vittoria emerges from her coma, Attilio is mistaken for an Iraqi insurgent and is captured by the U.S. Military, but is soon freed and allowed to return to Italy.

In the final scenes it is revealed that Vittoria is actually Attilio's ex-wife. They were likely separated because of Attilio's excitability and insane diversions, along with his earlier involvements with another woman. Attilio awkwardly visits Vittoria and their children several times, clearly showing his infatuation in her. On the same day Attilio returns to his country, there is an animal breakout at the Rome zoo. Vittoria, driving her car, stops to see an escaped tiger in the middle of the road under falling pollen from the jasmine trees that resembles snowfall.

Though Attilio refuses to admit he is the "wonderful stranger who saved her," Vittoria suddenly recognizes his familiar way of kissing her forehead in the same manner that the stranger had kissed her when she was comatose in the hospital, as well as how Vittoria's necklace Attilio took to protect earlier in the film dangles in her face when he kisses her.


  • Roberto Benigni as Attilio de Giovanni, a poetry professor who travels to Baghdad to save Vittoria.
  • Jean Reno as Fuad, Attilio's friend and fellow poet who also travels to Baghdad.
  • Nicoletta Braschi as Vittoria, Attilio's love interest who consistently evades his approaches and is comatose for most of the film due to being badly hurt in Baghdad.
  • Emilia Fox as Nancy.
  • Giuseppe Battiston as Ermanno.
  • Tom Waits as himself.
  • Andrea Renzi as Doctor Guazzelli.
  • Gianfranco Varetto as Attorney Scuotilancia.
  • Chiara Pirri as Emilia, one of Attilio's daughters.
  • Anna Pirri as Rosa, another of Attilio's daughters.
  • Martin Sherman as an American soldier.


The Tiger and the Snow was widely disliked by critics, receiving a 21% "rotten" score from Rotten Tomatoes with an average rating of 3.7 out of 10.[3] The film also has a score of 22 from Metacritic.[4]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ La tigre e la neve (The Tiger and the Snow), retrieved 2018-10-13
  4. ^ The Tiger and the Snow, retrieved 2018-10-13

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