La Strada

1954 film directed by Federico Fellini

La Strada (The Road) is a 1954 Italian drama film about a carefree girl who is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way.

La Strada film poster
Directed by Federico Fellini. Written by Federico Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, and Ennio Flaiano.
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  • Quiet flame, bright flame, quiet flame, night cries.
  • Do you remember how beautiful it was, Zampanò? Watching the rain from the window that day?


  • Come here. There should be something here to fit you. I want you to look elegant. I don't want to see you in rags. My women have always looked smart.
  • Do only what I tell you to.
  • [reciting his act by rote before a crowd] Here we have a piece of chain that is a quarter of an inch thick. It is made of crude iron, stronger than steel. With the simple expansion of my pectoral muscles, or chest, that is, I'll break the hook. [collecting money from the crowd] Thank you, thank you. Now, to do this feat, I must fill myself up like a tire. If a blood vessel should break, I would spit blood. For instance, in Milan a man weighing 240 pounds lost his eyesight doing this trick. That is because the optical nerves take a beating, and once you lose your eyes, you are finished. If there's any delicate person in the audience, I would advise him to look away 'cause there could be blood. [with seemingly great effort, he breaks the chain]

The Fool

  • What a funny face! Are you a woman, really? Or an artichoke?
  • What if I asked you to come with me? I'll teach you to walk the tightrope, way up in the air, with all the lights on you. I have a car. We'd be traveling all the time. We'd have a world of fun. Would you like that? But no. "Nothing." You have to stay with Zampanò and perform his ridiculous stunts and let him beat you like a donkey. Such is life.

Gelsomina's Mother

  • She's not like Rosa. But she's a good girl, poor thing. She'll do what she's told. She just came out a little strange. But, if she eats every day, maybe she'll get better.
  • You want to go with Zampanò and take Rosa's place? He'll teach you a trade. You'll earn some money. And one less mouth to feed around here wouldn't be bad.
  • Gelsomina, Zampanò's a good man. He'll treat you well. You'll travel the world. You'll sing and dance. And look what he gave me: 10,000 lire! I have it here, 10,000 lire! We can fix the roof and these poor things can eat. Why did your father ever leave us?


  • Widow: For three nights I've been up at 1:00am to cook. Think I'm tired? If I felt like it, I could dance all night long. Us older women are better than young girls.


Gelsomina: Where are you from?
Zampanò: My hometown.
Gelsomina: You don't talk like us. Where were you born?
Zampanò: My father's house.

Gelsomina: You're one of those men who runs around with women.
Zampanò: What?
Gelsomina: Who runs around with women.
Zampanò: If you want to stay with me, you've got to learn one thing - to keep your mouth shut!

The Fool: If you won't stay with him, who will? I'm an ignorant man, but I've read a book or two. You may not believe it, but everything in this world has a purpose. Even this pebble, for example.
Gelsomina: Which one?
The Fool: This one. Any one. But even this one has a purpose.
Gelsomina: What's its purpose?
The Fool: Its purpose is - how should I know? If I knew, I'd be...
Gelsomina: Who?
The Fool: The Almighty, who knows everything. When you're born. When you die. Who knows? No, I don't know what this pebble's purpose is, but it must have one, because if this pebble has no purpose, then everything is pointless. Even the stars! At least, I think so. And you too. You have a purpose too.

The Fool: Maybe he likes you?
Gelsomina: Zampanò... likes me?
The Fool: Why not? He's like a dog. Ever see those dogs who look like they want to speak, but all they do is bark?

Nun: Do you like traveling from one place to the next all the time?
Gelsomina: That's how his work is.
Nun: We travel around too. We change convents every two years. This is my second.
Gelsomina: Why?
Nun: So we don't get too attached to the things of this world. You grow fond of where you live, even of a a plant. You risk forgetting your most important attachment, which is to God. So you see, we both travel. You follow your husband and I follow mine.

Zampanò: Get in.
Prostitute: Is this piece of junk your car?
Zampanò: Don't you like it?
Prostitute: Are you crazy?
Zampanò: It's American. Hasn't broken down once in seven years.

Prostitute: What line of work are you in?
Zampanò: I'm a traveling artist. This is my sidekick. I taught her everything. When I took her on, she couldn't even quack.

Zampanò: You always eat standing up like a horse?
Widow: I always eat on my feet. Who's going to keep the house going if not me?

Zampanò: Why don't you remarry?
Widow: What? Another husband? I'm the only one who gives orders around here.
Zampanò: Is that all a husband is good for? Giving orders?
Widow: Think I'm not made of flesh and blood? Everybody likes sweets after a good meal.


  • This is the picture YOU'VE HEARD about!
  • Already, word has come from the world's film centers - a great picture is coming...unique in its elemental story and setting...rare in the earthy, human magnificence of its portrayals.


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