Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 20 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 20
  2. Negative: 0 out of 20
Watch On
  1. 88
    Anyone who loves movies is likely to love Cinema Paradiso.
  2. 100
    This film is sometimes funny, sometimes joyful, and sometimes poignant, but it's always warm, wonderful, and satisfying. Cinema Paradiso affects us on many levels, but its strongest connection is with our memories.
  3. You leave Cinema Paradiso with that feeling that's kind of like getting kicked in the stomach, but nice. It's one of those breathless, swept-away-by-a-movie experiences that you might have once a year, if you're lucky. [16 February 1990, Daily Notebook, p.E-1]
  4. Just about everything you ever loved (or hated) about Italian films can be found.
  5. Originally a two-part film running about three hours, this treacle has been reduced by almost a third, though it still seems to run on forever -- a bit like life but much less interesting.
  6. It's a shining valentine to the movies--full of homages, collages and swooningly romantic Ennio Morricone music--and it gets right at the messy, impure, wondrous way they capture and enrapture us. [16 February 1990, Calendar, p.F-1]
  7. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    Lovely “memory'' film. [2 March 1990, Life, p.4D]
  8. 50
    A few moments of sly inspiration are not enough to carry an entire feature; along with the tears, it leaves behind an aftertaste of phoniness. [16 March 1990, Friday, p.H]
  9. 90
    There are films as lovely, but none lovelier.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    100
    Remain open to fantasies but not be consumed by them. These are good lessons for a would-be director. They are good lessons for everybody. And no recent movie has taught them with more patient sweetness. [Feb. 5, 1990]
  11. Tornatore has learned much from Fellini--especially in the long shots where someone suddenly appears close up. Let's hope he moves on to his own style. Meanwhile, he has given us a nice bask in Sicilian warmth. [Feb. 19, 1990]
  12. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    Dec 12, 2013
    80
    If ever a movie came from the heart, it was Giuseppe Tornatore's nostalgic Cinema Paradiso (1988) now getting a rerelease to celebrate its silver jubilee.
  13. Reviewed by: Tim Robey
    Dec 12, 2013
    80
    Tornatore may have hit a sticky wicket with his subsequent work, but he knew what he was doing here: warning us about the irrational lure of the filmed past, which is to say cinema itself, then ushering us grandly to our seats.
  14. Reviewed by: John Hartl
    70
    A sweet, funny exercise in nostalgia, though it's also self-congratulatory and awfully calculating.
  15. Cinema Paradiso converts you to the credo that art can indeed be holy.
  16. Reviewed by: Patrick Peters
    Dec 9, 2013
    100
    Every bit as enchanting as you remember. Molto, molto bene.
  17. Reviewed by: Jessica Mellor
    Dec 9, 2013
    100
    A 25th anniversary restoration of Giuseppe Tornatore’s ode to moving pictures and puppy love.
  18. Reviewed by: David Mermelstein
    100
    Unapologetically sentimental, this movie is certain to melt all but the hardest of hearts.
  19. Reviewed by: Staff (not credited)
    50
    They don't make movies like they used to, and this Oscar-winning Italian-French co-production spends the better part of three hours proving it.
  20. Reviewed by: Staff (Not credited)
    70
    Tornatore is an able storyteller who knows the value of cute kids and easy emotion.
User Score
8.9

Universal acclaim- based on 76 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 22
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 22
  3. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Apr 5, 2012
    10
    A beautiful movie! That is the word: Beautiful. Great storyline, performances, photography! WOW! At times, however, the pace is slow, but evenA beautiful movie! That is the word: Beautiful. Great storyline, performances, photography! WOW! At times, however, the pace is slow, but even then it makes sense! Just perfect! Ennio Morricone's music deserves special mention!. Cinema Paradiso is classic! One of my top 10 favourite movies!...and I have it here at home in my collection! A MASTERPIECE...back then, and now! yes, it certainly is and will always be! Full Review »
  2. CraigR.
    Jul 12, 2008
    10
    Truely one of the greatest films of all time. A magnificent script complemented my Ennio Morricone's soaring masterpiece - can it get Truely one of the greatest films of all time. A magnificent script complemented my Ennio Morricone's soaring masterpiece - can it get any better? Full Review »
  3. Sep 5, 2014
    10
    Finally got around too seeing the Italian classic that is Cinema Paradiso and I must say that I was completely blown away by how the filmFinally got around too seeing the Italian classic that is Cinema Paradiso and I must say that I was completely blown away by how the film traded a big and significant plot for a nostalgic and detailed portrayal of a man's life. The film starts with successful filmmaker, Salvatore Di Vita, receiving the news that his former hometown's old biograph-projectionist has passed away. After receiving the news, he takes a nostagic look back at his youth. Remebering his childhood in Sicilly, his early fascination with cinema, his bond with the projectionist Alfredo and his first love with a young woman named Elena.

    It's kind of difficult to decide what I should start praising this film for. The film is simply perfect and I can't wait to see the original directors cut which adds about an hour. The soundtrack contains some of Ennio Morricone's best work and the filming locations paint an even more beautiful picture of Sicilly than The Godfather films. Non-linear storytelling is quite common, but I can't think of any film that have utilized it in quite this fashion and jumps back and forth between different points of a man's life in this manner. We get to follow the character Salvatore in three different points of his life, as a child, as an adolescent and as an adult. Salvatore as a child is brought to life by Salvatore Cassio, I recently stated that I consider Judith Vittet's performance in City of Lost Children to be the best child actor's performance I've seen, but after watching Cinema Paradiso I'm torn between Cassio and Vittet. The adolescent Salvatore is played by Marco Leonardi and the adult Salvatore is played by Jacques Perrin. These three actors bring an incredible consistency to the character with some very fine acting and also brings the same consistency to the dynamic between them and the astonishingly gifted veteran actor, Philippe Noiret, who plays Alfredo the charismatic projectionist of Cinema Paradiso and Salvatore's only father figure.

    How director Guiseppe Tornatore is able to create the feeling of nostalgia when portraying a time I wasn't a part of and a place I never visited escapes me, but a big factor might be that he uses every movie-lover's nostalgia towards cinema and fascination with movies to create this heartfelt Italian masterpiece. Cinema Paradiso is an unforgettable feat which incorporates a broad variety of the emotions a person might go through in their life into the story and from Salvatore's perspective the viewer gets to experience joy, friendship, passion and love, but also sorrow, loneliness, longing and heartbreak. Undoubtedly this is one of the grandest and most sentimental coming of age films ever created.
    Full Review »