Three Brothers (1981): Italian Francesco Rossi’s Oscar Nominated Tale

From the Archives:

Set in a farmhouse in southern Italy, the story begins when an old woman, the matriarch of an Italian family, dies.

Her husband, Donato, summons their three adult sons, each of whom burdened by personal problems, back to their farmhouse from their respective cities.

One son, Raffaele, a judge living in Rome, is about to preside over a terrorism case, risking assassination.

Another son, Rocco, who lives in Naples, is religious and works as counselor at boys’ correctional institute, fulfilling his dream of helping troubled teenagers.

The third son, Nicola, who lives in Turin, is a militant factory worker involved in a labor dispute, and is dealing with a failed marriage.

Each of the men grieves in his own way, while also wrestling with other emotional issues.

The sons recall the past and engage in reveries of what may come: Raffaele imagines his death, Rocco dreams of lifting the youth of Naples out of violence, drugs, and corruption, Nicola thinks of embracing his estranged wife.

Meanwhile, the old man finds solace while grieving with his young granddaughter, Nicola’s child.


Philippe Noiret – Raffaele Giuranna
Michele Placido – Nicola Giuranna
Vittorio Mezzogiorno – Rocco Giuranna and young Donato
Andréa Ferréol – Raffaele’s wife
Maddalena Crippa – Giovanna
Rosaria Tafuri – Rosaria
Marta Zoffoli [it] – Marta
Tino Schirinzi – Raffaele’s friend
Simonetta Stefanelli – young Donato’s wife
Pietro Biondi – first judge
Charles Vanel – Donato Giuranna
Gina Pontrelli – the brothers’ mother

Oscar Context: