An aging pensioner struggling to make ends meet in inflationary post-war Italy, Umberto D. (Battisti) is a despairing man who faces an uncertain future. Receiving threats of eviction from his cold, uncaring landlady and desperately seeking to raise the needed rent money to no avail, he can only rely on his one remaining friend, a small dog named Flike.
Why we love it
Portraying the plight of the elderly dispossessed in an acknowledged masterpiece of the neorealist style, De Sica's "Umberto D." may surpass his own "Bicycle Thieves" for heartbreaking poignancy. What in less skillful hands could have been syrupy melodrama becomes instead a wrenchingly honest tale about a forgotten human being, searching in vain for some shred of human kindness. Half a century later, "Umberto D." remains a monumental achievement of simple, eloquent storytelling.