Il Bidone

Watch Il Bidone

  • PG-13
  • 1970
  • 1 hr 48 min
  • 7.5  (6,823)

Il Bidone is an Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini and released in 1955. Starring Broderick Crawford, Richard Basehart, and Giulietta Masina, the film tells the story of three small-time con men who travel across Italy, scamming people out of their money. The film begins with Augusto (played by Broderick Crawford), a middle-aged and overweight con man, who cons people into buying fake religious artifacts. Augusto is the leader of the group and is described by his two partners as a "maestro". His partners include Roberto (played by Richard Basehart) and Picasso (played by Giulietta Masina), who are also great con artists themselves. They have different specialties, with Roberto a master of duplicity involving gambling and Picasso a cunning pickpocket. The trio works well together, and they have an easy camaraderie that is both entertaining and unnerving.

As the film progresses, the three con men are shown traveling to different parts of Italy, preying on unsuspecting and gullible people. The film provides a broad view of the Italian countryside while showing that the con game is not limited to the cities. Il Bidone sheds light on how people from different social classes are targeted by the con men. Augusto and his associates target wealthy people who are drawn to their smooth-talking charm and oily-tongued flattery. They manage to convince people to part with their money by using a combination of lies, deception, and a false sense of trustworthiness.

As the narrative unfolds, the film's characters become more complex as their true motivations are revealed. Amidst the scams and lies, the film delves into the underlying psychology of the con man. It explores not only the thief's artifice and deception but also the guilt that is often associated with their behavior. Through the character of Augusto, the film drives home a hard realization that the big time can be cold and that there is often an unfulfilled longing to be loved and accepted by society.

Although the film is dark, Fellini infuses some light moments and even humor in it. Giulietta Masina, who is married to the Fellini and was his frequent collaborator, delivered a captivating performance as Picasso, the female member of the team. Her performance is lively, captivating, and draws the viewer into her story. There is a scene that stands out where Masina captures the essence of the film in a scene at an old people’s home where she starts a dance made for ages hence delights the audience.

The film's cinematography is also a standout feature, showcasing Fellini's gift for capturing the essence of the Italian landscape. The film's attention to detail is impressive, evident from the way the camera captures the vivid and colorful market places, the streets, the fields, the people, and their ethnic backgrounds. The director also used great background scores that blends perfectly with the scenes, such as the carnival music in the opening sequence, classical pieces and upbeat jazz numbers.

Il Bidone is a film that seems timeless. The themes addressed in the film have continued to resonate until today. Its appeal also lies in the way the movie illuminates the darker side of human nature, exploring the psychological makeup of those who are drawn to the world of deception to survive. The film makes one truly introspect and recognize that the line between victims and perpetrators is often a thin one in life.

In conclusion, Il Bidone is an excellent work of art that showcases the brilliance of Federico Fellini as a cinematic artist. It tells a compelling story that is thoughtful, insightful, and introspective, with superb acting and cinematography that is both beautiful and immersive. The film’s themes of regret, conscience, and redemption are masterfully woven into the narrative and will leave a lasting impression on the viewer. Il Bidone is a must-watch for movie lovers, definitely an Italian masterpiece worth experiencing.

Il Bidone
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 48 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.5  (6,823)