CANCELED: Il bidone

(The Swindlers)

All film screenings and public programs at BAMPFA have been temporarily canceled. Learn more

Digital Restoration

The screening of Il bidone listed in the BAMPFA Program Guide on February 16 has been rescheduled for Friday, April 24, at 7 PM. We regret any inconvenience.


Broderick Crawford, Richard Basehart, Franco Fabrizi, Giulietta Masina,

A film about the underworld that is the closest Fellini would come to film noir, Il bidone is closer still to La strada and Nights of Cabiria—a sadly ironic study of the misuse of the human ability to relate. Augusto (Broderick Crawford) and two cronies, Picasso (Richard Basehart) and Roberto (Franco Fabrizi), practice a desperate if wickedly humorous kind of con, posing convincingly as men of the cloth in order to trick credulous peasants with a “buried treasure” scheme. Another favorite ruse is collecting down payments from slum dwellers on nonexistent housing. But like the saps they swindle, the threesome sees a more prosperous life of crime all around them, one that is quite out of reach. American tough guy Crawford is in his element as the spent criminal who is more comfortable in a costume cassock than in the fast-paced gaiety of a Roman New Year’s Eve. Fellini took the far view to emphasize the aridity of the physical and the social worlds, in a film that despite some sly comedy recalls early Michelangelo Antonioni.

Judy Bloch
  • Federico Fellini
  • Tullio Pinelli
  • Ennio Flaiano
  • Otello Martelli
  • Italian
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • 104 mins
  • Cinecittà
  • Janus Films
Additional Info
  • Restored by Cineteca di Bologna