Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Miracle (1948)
(aka Il Miracolo)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Miracle (1948, It.) (aka Il Miracolo) (short) (part of L'Amore (1948, It.) (aka Ways of Love))

In director Roberto Rossellini's neo-realist short drama - after the release of the film, it caused considerable controversy when it was censored and banned; soon, it became a landmark film in the fight against film censorship after a unanimous Supreme Court decision in 1952 stated that the New York Board of Regents could not ban the film - it declared movies a form of free speech. The Court ruled that "sacrilege" was too vague a censorship standard to be permitted under the First Amendment:

  • in the second episode (scripted by Federico Fellini) in the anthology film L'Amore, naive, dim-witted, unwed and homeless young Italian peasant goat-herder Nannina (Anna Magnani) met a bearded vagabond stranger (with a bottle of wine) on a hillside where she was shepherding, believing that he was the incarnation of Saint Joseph (screenwriter Fellini himself) - and delusionally believing that she was the Virgin Mary
  • in the afternoon, the drunken Nannina spent time with the man - and then seemingly passed out - there was a significant fade to black (an off-screen rape?); she awakened shortly later with a goat licking her face, and found that the stranger was gone

Drinking Wine Before Passing Out

Awakened by Goat
  • the pregnant devout woman was mocked, ridiculed, ostracized and derided as transgressive by the townsfolk with her belief that her pregnancy was an immaculate conception; she was driven from town with people throwing vegetables at her, in a mock 'walk-to-Calvary' scene; at one point, the mob forced her to wear an empty bowl on her head (a crown of thorns)
  • in the concluding scene, she gave birth, all alone, to her 'miracle' or 'special' child in an empty church located on a rocky hill outcropping

Italian Peasant Girl Nannina (Anna Magnani)

Vagabond Stranger: "My dear St. Joseph!"

Mocked by Townsfolk for Believing in Immaculate Conception Pregnancy


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