• Italy
  • 1945
  • 103 minutes
  • Black and White
  • 1.37:1
  • German, Italian
  • Spine #497

This was Roberto Rossellini’s revelation, a harrowing drama about the Nazi occupation of Rome and the brave few who struggled against it. Though told with more melodramatic flair than the films that would follow it to form The War Trilogy and starring some well-known actors—Aldo Fabrizi as a priest helping the partisan cause and Anna Magnani in her breakthrough role as the fiancée of a resistance member—Rome Open City is a shockingly authentic experience, conceived and directed amid the ruin of World War II, with immediacy in every frame. Marking a watershed moment in Italian cinema, this galvanic work garnered awards around the globe and left the beginnings of a new film movement in its wake.


Don Pietro PellegriniAldo Fabrizi
PinaAnna Magnani
Giorgio ManfrediMarcello Pagliero
MarcelloVito Annicchiarico
AgostinoNando Bruno
Major BergmannHarry Feist
IngridGiovanna Galletti
FrancescoFrancesco Grandjacquet
Marina MariMaria Michi
LaurettaCarla Rovere


DirectorRoberto Rossellini
Script bySergio Amidei
with the participation ofFederico Fellini
Photographed byUbaldo Arata
Art directorRosario Megna
Music byRenzo Rossellini
EditorEraldo Da Roma
Assistant editorJolanda Benvenuti
Assistant directorSergio Amidei

Disc Features

  • New 4K digital restoration, with uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Introduction by director Roberto Rossellini from 1963
  • Audio commentary featuring film scholar Peter Bondanella
  • Once Upon a Time . . . “Rome Open City,” a 2006 documentary on the making of this historic film, featuring rare archival material and footage of Anna Magnani, Federico Fellini, Ingrid Bergman, and many others
  • Interview from 2009 with Rossellini scholar Adriano Aprà
  • Rossellini and the City, a 2009 video essay by film scholar Mark Shiel (Italian Neorealism: Rebuilding the Cinematic City) on Rossellini’s use of the urban landscape in The War Trilogy
  • Interview from 2009 with film critic and Rossellini friend Father Virgilio Fantuzzi, who discusses the filmmaker and the role of religion in Rome Open City

Film Essays

Rome Open City: A Star Is Born

By Irene Bignardi January 26, 2010

"All roads lead to Rome Open City,” Jean-Luc Godard once said, playing on the old Italian proverb—and meaning, we can assume, that when thinking about modern cinema, one always has to come to . . . Read more »



What Roberto Rossellini Taught the Taviani Brothers

July 12, 2017

In this interview from our box-set edition of Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy, Paolo and Vittorio Taviani recount their experience discovering these masterful depictions of World War II. Read more »



From the Rossellini Archives

May 08, 2017

With his mix of documentary-like immediacy and profound moral inquiry, Roberto Rossellini became a pioneer of Italian neorealism, a movement that transformed the way filmmakers captured the . . . Read more »



The Magnificent Anna Magnani

May 16, 2016

Almost from the moment she made her breakthrough performance in Roberto Rossellini’s Rome Open City, Anna Magnani became an icon of Italian cinema. Her ferocious presence and multifaceted talent . . . Read more »

Chef du Cinema


Chef du Cinema: Rome Open City

By Ron Deutsch April 20, 2012

Cabbage soup for the soul. Read more »

The Art of War

October 19, 2011

For designer Jason Hardy, the box set Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy was a daunting assignment. As he tells us in an engrossing and in-depth blog post, creating the covers for these three . . . Read more »

Press Notes

Press Notes: 2010—One Last Look

January 03, 2011

Before we put 2010 to bed, we thought we’d catch up with all the year-end lists that have sprung up over the past week or so. A good place to start is DVD Beaver’s annual poll, which ranks the . . . Read more »

On Five

Criterion in Bologna

July 07, 2010

Two of Criterion’s 2010 releases were honored at last week’s Il Cinema Ritrovato festival, organized by the Cineteca di Bologna: By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volume Two won the top prize for DVD . . . Read more »


The Trilogy According to John Bailey

June 07, 2010

We’ve drawn your attention before to award-winning DP John Bailey’s informative, entertaining blog on the American Society of Cinematographers website, in particularhis in-depth introduction to . . . Read more »

Press Notes

Press Notes: Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy

February 01, 2010

The critics agree that Criterion’s release of Roberto Rossellini’s War Trilogy, featuring major restorations of the unassailable landmarks of Italian cinema Rome Open City, Paisan, and Germany . . . Read more »

Film Essays

Rome Open City: A Star Is Born

By Irene Bignardi January 26, 2010

"All roads lead to Rome Open City,” Jean-Luc Godard once said, playing on the old Italian proverb—and meaning, we can assume, that when thinking about modern cinema, one always has to come to . . . Read more »



Updated 04/23/2018


Updated 04/20/2018



Updated 04/08/2018


Tony Soprano

Updated 04/15/2018



Updated 04/14/2018


Tim Spencer

Updated 04/18/2018


Oscar Lau

Updated 04/17/2018


Updated 03/08/2018



Updated 04/17/2018

Donald S.

Updated 02/16/2018


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