Kerrill Mosqueda

Written by Kerrill Mosqueda

Modified & Updated: 19 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


Divorce Italian Style is an iconic film that has captivated audiences since its release in 1961. Directed by Pietro Germi and starring Marcello Mastroianni, this black comedy is set in 1960s Sicily and follows the story of an unhappily married nobleman, Ferdinando Cefalù, who becomes infatuated with his beautiful teenage cousin, Angela. In order to pursue a relationship with Angela, Ferdinando hatches a flamboyant and outrageous plan to murder his wife, hoping to take advantage of a provision in the Italian law that grants leniency for crimes of passion. What unfolds is a clever and hilarious portrayal of the absurd lengths one man will go to for his desires.

Key Takeaways:

  • Divorce Italian Style is a classic Italian comedy that won an Oscar and sparked controversy with its dark humor and societal critique, making it a must-watch for fans of Italian cinema.
  • This film’s satirical take on marriage and societal norms influenced filmmakers worldwide and even led to a surge in divorce rates in Italy, showcasing its lasting impact on both cinema and society.
Table of Contents

Divorce Italian Style is based on a novel.

The movie is based on the novel “Un delitto d’onore” by Giovanni Arpino.

It won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

The film won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1963.

It was highly controversial at the time of its release.

Divorce Italian Style was considered provocative due to its portrayal of marital affairs and murder.

Marcello Mastroianni plays the lead role.

The renowned Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni portrays Ferdinando Cefalù in the movie.

The film was a commercial success.

Divorce Italian Style was a box office hit in Italy and gained international recognition.

It was nominated for two additional Academy Awards.

The movie received nominations for Best Director and Best Actor at the 36th Academy Awards.

Divorce Italian Style is known for its dark humor.

The film combines satire and comedy to tackle serious themes like love, marriage, and societal norms.

The screenplay was co-written by Ennio De Concini.

Ennio De Concini collaborated with Pietro Germi and Alfredo Giannetti to write the screenplay for the film.

It was shot in Sicily, Italy.

The majority of the movie was filmed on location in Sicily, capturing the essence of the Italian landscape.

Divorce Italian Style received critical acclaim.

The movie was praised for its unique storytelling and its satirical commentary on Italian society.

It was the first Italian film to win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Divorce Italian Style marked a milestone in Italian cinema by capturing the prestigious award.

The film explores the concept of honor killing.

Ferdinando’s plan to kill his wife is driven by his notion of restoring honor to his family name.

Divorce Italian Style was remade in several languages.

The success of the film led to remakes in different languages, including French, Spanish, and Hindi.

It became a defining film of the Commedia all’italiana genre.

Divorce Italian Style exemplifies the Commedia all’italiana style, a genre that combines comedy with social commentary.

The film’s soundtrack was composed by Carlo Rustichelli.

Carlo Rustichelli provided the musical score for Divorce Italian Style, enhancing the comedic and dramatic moments.

It was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Divorce Italian Style competed for the Palme d’Or at the 1962 Cannes Film Festival.

The movie was a commercial success in the United States.

Divorce Italian Style gained popularity among American audiences, further contributing to its global success.

It explores the traditional values of Sicilian culture.

The film delves into the deeply ingrained traditions and social expectations of Sicilian society.

Divorce Italian Style is renowned for its sharp dialogue.

The witty and clever dialogue adds another layer of entertainment to the film.

It received widespread critical acclaim in Italy.

The movie was celebrated by Italian critics for its boldness and creativity.

Divorce Italian Style is a satire of the legal system.

The film humorously critiques the loopholes and absurdities of the Italian legal system, particularly regarding divorce.

It was instrumental in revitalizing Italian cinema.

Divorce Italian Style played a significant role in the resurgence of Italian film in the early 1960s.

The film explores themes of desire and passion.

Ferdinando’s infatuation with his younger cousin brings to the forefront the themes of desire and forbidden love.

Divorce Italian Style was honored with a special tribute at the Venice Film Festival.

In 2011, during the 68th Venice Film Festival, the movie was recognized with a special tribute for its cultural impact.

The film has been preserved by the National Film Registry.

Divorce Italian Style was added to the U.S. National Film Registry in 1995, ensuring its preservation for future generations.

It influenced many filmmakers.

The film’s innovative style and narrative approach inspired filmmakers around the world.

Divorce Italian Style is a quintessential example of Italian cinema.

It epitomizes the charm, elegance, and wit often associated with Italian filmmaking.

The movie has a runtime of approximately 105 minutes.

Divorce Italian Style offers a concise and engaging viewing experience.

It was released in both black and white and color versions.

The film exists in both black and white and color formats, offering audiences different visual experiences.

Divorce Italian Style inspired other satirical comedies.

Several movies and TV shows have drawn inspiration from the film’s satirical storytelling.

The movie was a commercial success in Europe as well.

Divorce Italian Style found success across European markets, further solidifying its international appeal.

It tackles the rigid social norms of 1960s Italy.

The film challenges the traditional gender roles and expectations imposed by Italian society at the time.

Divorce Italian Style remains a classic of Italian cinema.

The movie continues to be celebrated as one of the greatest Italian films ever made.

It showcases the talent and versatility of the Italian film industry.

Divorce Italian Style demonstrates the craftsmanship and storytelling prowess of Italian filmmakers.

The movie explores the complexities of love and marriage.

Divorce Italian Style delves into the intricate dynamics of relationships and the challenges of maintaining love and happiness.

It was nominated for a BAFTA Award.

The film received a nomination for Best Film from Any Source at the British Academy Film Awards.

Divorce Italian Style was a turning point in Pietro Germi’s career.

The movie brought international recognition to Pietro Germi, establishing him as a master filmmaker.

It has a rating of 8.1/10 on IMDb.

Divorce Italian Style is highly regarded by audiences and critics alike, earning a strong rating on IMDb.

The movie explores the consequences of societal expectations.

The film highlights the detrimental impact that conforming to societal norms can have on individuals’ lives.

Divorce Italian Style was a groundbreaking film for its time.

The movie pushed boundaries and challenged societal taboos, paving the way for future cinematic explorations.

It’s a satirical take on the institution of marriage.

Divorce Italian Style uses humor and satire to critique the expectations and limitations of marriage.

The movie’s success led to an increase in divorce rates in Italy.

Following the release of Divorce Italian Style, the number of divorce applications in Italy surged significantly.

Divorce Italian Style remains a timeless classic that combines social commentary, dark humor, and stellar performances. Its influence on Italian and international cinema is still felt today. Whether you’re a fan of Italian cinema or simply looking for a brilliant comedic experience, this film is a must-watch. Explore the complex world of marriage, desire, and societal expectations in this iconic masterpiece.


In conclusion, “Divorce Italian Style” is a classic Italian film that explores the topic of divorce with a satirical and comedic approach. The movie showcases the brilliant performances of Marcello Mastroianni and the direction of Pietro Germi. It not only entertains viewers with its witty dialogue and humorous situations, but also provides a deeper commentary on societal norms and gender roles in 1960s Italy. The film’s critical acclaim and numerous accolades solidify its status as a must-watch for movie enthusiasts. Whether you are a fan of foreign cinema or simply enjoy a well-crafted comedy, “Divorce Italian Style” is a film that is sure to captivate and entertain.


1. What is the plot of “Divorce Italian Style”?

Divorce Italian Style” tells the story of a Sicilian nobleman, Ferdinando Cefalù, who wants to divorce his dull, unfaithful wife Rosalia in order to marry his young cousin Angela. However, divorce in Italy at the time was a lengthy and complicated process. Desperate to find a way out of his unhappy marriage, Ferdinando hatches a plan to murder his wife, hoping to plead temporary insanity and get away with it.

2. Is “Divorce Italian Style” a comedy or a drama?

The movie is primarily a comedy with satirical elements. It uses humor to highlight the absurdity of the societal norms surrounding divorce and the portrayal of relationships in 1960s Italy. However, the film also delves into serious themes such as love, desire, and the constraints of social conventions.

3. What makes “Divorce Italian Style” a significant film?

“Divorce Italian Style” is considered significant for its groundbreaking approach to the topic of divorce and its satirical critique of Italian society. The film’s success paved the way for a new wave of Italian cinema, attracting international attention to the country’s filmmakers and igniting a cinematic movement known as the “commedia all’italiana.

4. Who are the main actors in “Divorce Italian Style”?

The film stars Marcello Mastroianni as Ferdinando Cefalù, Daniela Rocca as Rosalia, and Stefania Sandrelli as Angela. Marcello Mastroianni’s performance in this film is considered one of his best, earning him critical acclaim and establishing him as a prominent actor in Italian cinema.

5. Did “Divorce Italian Style” receive any awards?

Yes, the film received widespread acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 1963. It was also nominated for Best Director and Best Actor, further cementing its place in cinematic history.

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