Best Movies by Farr
Divorce Italian Style Poster
Released Runtime Category
1962 104 Comedy, The Criterion Collection
Director Language
Pietro Germi Italian
Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli

Divorce Italian Style

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What's it About

Sicilian nobleman Ferdinand "Fefé" Cefalu (Mastroianni) desperately wants to desert his mewling, sex-crazed wife, Rosalia (Rocca), since he's burning to wed his innocent but luscious 16-year-old cousin Angela (Sandrelli). But divorce is out of the question, so the only way to rid himself of Rosalia is to murder her in a fit of jealous rage, which a wronged husband to get off for (then) in Italy. But how in the world can Fefé make Rosalia attractive to a potential cuckold?

Why we love it
Germi's wry, black-comedic satire on Italy's outmoded marital laws and culture of machismo was a triumph for the writer-director and his leading man, both of whom picked up Oscar nods. Mastroianni, delivering one of his finest comedic performances, carries the film from first frame to last, almost Keaton-esque in his deadpan mannerisms. Originally conceived as a hard-hitting drama (Germi's specialty at the time), "Divorce" delves right into the issue at hand — women — with a devilish, socially biting sense of humor, such as the farcical fantasy sequences where Fefé imagines offing Rosalia in inventive ways. If "Divorce" was always this much fun, who'd be married?

BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"