“Open City was planned in secret by Rossellini and his colleagues while the Nazis still occupied Rome. In order to avoid conscription by the Fascist government Rossellini hid in a worker's apartment with Sergio Amidei and a communist leader of the resistance. In this way they were kept up to date with the activities and tragedies of the underground, many of which they incorporated into their script. The priest, Don Pietro, was modeled on Father Don Morosini who was executed by the Nazis in 1944.
“Rossellini said in 1956: ‘We began our film only two months after the liberation of Rome, despite the shortage of film stock. We shot it in the same settings in which the events we recreated had taken place. In order to pay for my film I sold my bed, then a chest of drawers and a mirrored wardrobe.... Rome, Open City was shot silent, not by choice but by necessity. Film stock cost 60 liras a meter on the black market and it would have involved us in additional expense if we had recorded the sound. Also the Allied authorities had only given us a permit to produce a documentary film. After the film was edited, the actors dubbed their own voices.'
“It was to some extent the warm performance by Anna Magnani as the ungainly, gesticulating, but proud and dignified Pina that made the film's international popularity. Audiences everywhere were astonished to see ordinary people in an Italian film instead of the endless parades of Black Shirts, or romantic frilly actors....
“Its realistic treatment of everyday Italian life heralded the postwar renaissance of the Italian Cinema and the development of neorealism.”