June 2022 / LA STRADA

The Film Foundation Restoration Screening Room Resource Guide for

LA STRADA (dir. Federico Fellini, 1954)

Presented in The Film Foundation Restoration Screening Room in June 2022 in partnership with Cineteca di Bologna, Beta Film, Janus Films, The Criterion Collection, and Park Circus

Table of Contents

1) Film Description 

2) Special Features

-Introduction by Martin Scorsese

-Alice Rohrwacher Interview

-Gian Luca Farinelli Interview

3) EXPLORE Page Materials

-Video Extras

-Reading List (Books)

-Reading List (Online)

-Criterion Collection Top 10 Lists Featuring LA STRADA

-The Film Foundation on Letterboxd

-Federico Fellini's 10 Favorite Films

4) Live Screening Commentary Script

Federico Fellini's LA STRADA (1954) follows a circus performer, the strongman Zampano (Anthony Quinn), and his assistant Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina), whom he buys from her poor widowed mother. Together they embark on a journey and end up joining an itinerant circus. There, Gelsomina meets a high-wire artist known as the “Fool.” The two develop feelings for each other, but Zampano becomes enraged and filled with jealousy. LA STRADA is considered to be the film where Fellini developed his signature style that would continue to grow and lead to his future masterpieces. It is here that Fellini first introduced audiences to his tragic hero, one who cannot accept the love of another, turning away from the warmth and safety they provide to instead face the world alone.

The 4K restoration of LA STRADA was completed using a 35mm dupe negative preserved by Beta Film GmbH.

Restored by the Criterion Collection and The Film Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna's L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. Restoration funding provided by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Introduction by Martin Scorsese

Alice Rohrwacher Interview

Gian Luca Farinelli Interview

Giulietta Masina as Gelsomina in LA STRADA

Video Extras

Federico Fellini receiving an Honorary Academy Award® from Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni at the 65th Annual Academy Awards® in 1993. Watch on YouTube.

LA STRADA wins Foreign Language Film at the 1957 Oscars. Watch on YouTube.

Laura Dern discusses watching LA STRADA with her mother Diane Ladd and their mutual love of Giulietta Masina’s performance while presenting Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Oscars. Watch on YouTube.

David Lynch discusses his first and last meeting with Federico Fellini. You can watch a clip on YouTube.

Joanna Hogg discusses her love of LA STRADA in the Criterion Collection Closet. Watch on the Criterion Collection Website.

John Sayles discusses his love of LA STRADA in the Criterion Collection Closet. Watch on the Criterion Collection Website.

Peter Sarsgaard discusses his love of LA STRADA in the Criterion Collection Closet. Watch on the Criterion Collection Website.

Watch the trailer for FELLINI: I'M A BORN LIAR on YouTube


Anthony Quinn as Zampanò and Giulietta Masina as Gelsomina in LA STRADA

Reading List (Books)

Fellini on Fellini, Federico Fellini, Trans. Isabel Quigley, 1976

La Strada: Federico Fellini, Director. Eds. Peter Bondanella and Manuela Gieri, 1987

Fellini's Early Screenplays, Federico Fellini, 1971

Federico Fellini: Essays in Criticism, Peter Bondanella, 1978

Federico Fellini – The Complete Films, Christopher Wiegand, 2003

Masters of Cinema: Federico Fellini, Angel Quintana, 2011

Reading List (Online)

Martin Scorsese writing on Federico Fellini and the lost magic of cinema in Harpers.

An extensive Federico Fellini overview is available on Senses of Cinema.

All the filmmakers and critics that voted for LA STRADA in Sight and Sound's 2012 poll of "The Greatest Films of All Time." Read at Sight and Sound.

Listening to Fellini: Music and Meaning in Black and White, M. Thomas Van Order, 1961. Read at Archive.org.

"Screen: A Truthful Italian Journey; La Strada Is Tender, Realistic Parable" A.h. Weiler's 1956 New York Times review.

Christina Newland writes about LA STRADA for The Criterion Collection.


Richard Basehart as The Fool and Director Federico Fellini on the set of LA STRADA

Criterion Collection Top 10 Lists Featuring LA STRADA

Ali Abbasi

Jane Campion

Jonas Carpignano

Iron and Wine

Mary Ellen Mark

D.A. Pennebaker

Tom Schnabel

Anthony Quinn as Zampanò

 The Film Foundation on Letterboxd

Learn more about the filmographies of some of the cast and crew of LA STRADA

Starring Giulietta Masina

Starring Anthony Quinn

Starring Richard Basehart

Music By Nino Rota

Shot by Otello Martelli

Edited by Leo Catozzo

Federico Fellini's 10 Favorite Films: 

1. The Circus (1928) / City Lights (1931) / Monsieur Verdoux (1947) – Director, Charlie Chaplin.
2. Any Marx Brothers or Laurel and Hardy
3. Stagecoach – John Ford, 1939.
4. Rashomon – Akira Kurosawa, 1950.
5. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie – Luis Bunuel, 1972.
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Stanley Kubrick, 1968.
7. Paisan – Roberto Rossellini, 1946.
8. The Birds – Alfred Hitchcock, 1963.
9. Wild Strawberries – Ingmar Bergman, 1957. 
10. – Federico Fellini, 1963.

LA STRADA - Live Screening Commentary Script


Welcome to The Film Foundation Restoration Screening Room! Tonight we’re screening LA STRADA (dir. Federico Fellini, 1954). 

You can stay with us here in the chat to learn more about the film as you watch or you can view the films full screen on-demand at 7pm. 

In this chat mode the screening is live and picture controls (rewind/fast forward/pause) will not be available. If you miss anything or need to take a break, that functionality is available when watching on-demand.

Thanks for being here and we encourage you to share your thoughts on the movies as we go, making this a communal virtual viewing experience!


00:00:00 - 00:10:00

Actress Giulietta Masina met Federico Fellini while they were both working for the radio and they married in 1943. In 1946 they worked on Roberto Rossellini’s PAISA together and from there they collaborated on more than ten films. 

 You can also learn more about Masina’s film career via our Letterboxd list below: 



00:10:00 - 00:20:00

The sound in LA STRADA was all recorded after the movie was filmed and added after the fact. Creating a new soundtrack for the images. This was a common practice in Italian Cinema. Martin Scorsese wrote about Fellini’s use of sound in a recent article for Harper’s. He writes:

Fellini knew how to use that disorientation as an expressive tool. The sounds and the images in his pictures play off and enhance one another in such a way that the entire cinematic experience moves like music, or like a great unfurling scroll.”

You can find the entire piece linked to below:



00:20:00 - 00:30:00

Actor Anthony Quinn met Giulietta Masina on the set of Giuseppe Amato’s ANGELS OF DARKNESS (1954) where she introduced him to Fellini, who got the idea to cast him as Zampano in LA STRADA.

You can learn more about Quinn’s extensive filmography via our Letterboxd list below:



00:30:00 - 00:40:00 

Cinematographer Otello Martelli shot seven of Fellini’s films, including NIGHTS OF CABIRIA (1975) and LA DOLCE VITA (1960).  

To learn about Martelli’s storied career, visit the link below:



00:40:00 - 01:00:00 

The Fool is played by the American actor Richard Basehart. Beyond a prolific on-screen career, Basehart was known for narrating documentaries like FOUR DAYS IN NOVEMBER (1964).  He even read a poem during the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Olympics! To learn more about Basehart’s career, head to the link below to check out our Letterboxd list:



Many of Federico Fellini’s collaborators worked together throughout their careers. For example, King Vidor’s WAR AND PEACE (1956) was edited by Leo Catozzo and featured a score from Nino Rota. They also both worked on LA STRADA. 

To learn more about Rota and Catozzo’s careers, visit the following links:




01:00:00 - 01:20:00

LA STRADA has long been an important film for many filmmakers, with Andrey Konchalovsky, Ann Hui, Krzysztof Zanussi, Stanley Kwan, Kazuhiro Soda, Jiri Menzel, and more all listing the film as one of their top ten in Sight and Sound’s The Greatest Film of All Time poll in 2012.


01:20:00 - 01:40:00

 Filmmaker Jane Campion is a big Fellini fan, she talked to the Criterion Collection about her love of him: 

Fellini is the most fluent filmmaker of them all. His shots and storytelling are so at ease and elegant, it’s as if he’s thinking his shots through a camera in his mind and straight onto a screen. I went to his funeral in Rome in 1993, where people in the crammed huge Piazza Republica gathered to salute farewell."

Read Campion’s entire Criterion Top Ten list at the following link:



In 1957, LA STRADA won the first official Best Foreign Film Oscar at the Academy Awards. Watch producer Dino De Laurentiis accept the award on YouTube, linked to below:



01:40:00 - The End 

Musician and actor Kris Kristofferson was so inspired by LA STRADA that he wrote a song—“Me and Bobby McGee”—after seeing the movie.  According to Kristofferson:

“That night, Quinn goes to a bar and gets in a fight. He’s drunk and ends up howling at the stars on the beach. To me, that was the feeling at the end of ‘Bobby McGee.’ The two-edged sword that freedom is. He was free when he left the girl, but it destroyed him. That’s where the line ‘Freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose’ came from."