full title 8½ (original: Otto e mezzo)
director Federico Fellini
leading actors/actresses Marcello Mastroianni, Anouk Aimée, Sandra Milo, Mario Pisu
supporting actors/actresses Claudia Cardinale, Barbara Steele, Rossella Falk, Madeline LeBeau
type of work Feature film
genre Auteur; drama; comedy
language Italian (with occasional French and English)
time and place produced May–October 1962 in Rome and Ostia, Italy
dates of release February 1963 (Italy), June 1963 (United States)
producer Angelo Rizzoli
setting (time) Early 1960s
setting (place) A small spa town in Italy, near the coast
protagonist Guido Anselmi
major conflict Guido must decide what he wants his next movie to say and whether he can save his marriage.
rising action Guido’s cowriter despises his script, the leading actresses seem wrong for their roles, Guido’s wife Luisa is fed up with his indecision, and as the shooting dates approach Guido is overwhelmed by pressure and wants to quit.
climax Guido realizes that his original ideas were wrong, fires his leading actress, and quits the film.
falling action Guido begins a new, more truthful film and asks Luisa to forgive him.
themes The fear of aging; the tyranny of the mind; the frivolity of society
motifs Female sensuality; Catholicism; professional stress
symbols Guido’s nose; the rocket launch pad; the rope; the spring
foreshadowing The construction of the absurd rocket launch set foreshadows the ultimate collapse and disintegration of the film Guido is working on.