Set in the tiny seaside town of Rimini, this film observes the day-to-day lives of five mischievous youths — including leader Fausto (Fabrizi), wanna-be writer Leopoldo (Trieste), and Moraldo (Interlenghi) — all of whom are on the cusp of manhood but live aimlessly, preferring the security of group drift to the responsibilities of a grown-up existence. Ultimately, each must decide for himself whether to stay in a stifling but familiar birthplace, or strike out into the larger world.
Fellini's touching and semi-autobiographical first feature (the title translates to "wastrels" or "layabouts") is the quintessential recounting of a now-clichéd tale, so it's no surprise that Coppola borrowed the premise for his "American Graffiti." Drawing on his own beginnings, Fellini creates one of the crowning coming-of-age stories, a meditation on the bonds of loyalty, friendship, and home that features early glimpses of the maestro's fascination with all things carnivalesque, and a memorably bittersweet farewell. This, Fellini’s breakthrough film, is one of the director's more human and accessible works.