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The Legal Death

Silvia Giulietti, Giotto Barbieri

Italy, 2018, 52'


Boston, Massachusetts, 1920. Two Italians, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, were sentenced to death, the only crime they were guilty of was of being anarchists. The whole world stood up, the people crowded into the town squares, not just the lives of two men were at stake but also the beliefs which they represented. Millions of voices in many languages were raised in protest. They sought justice for Sacco and Vanzetti, but nothing could save their lives.

In August 23rd, 1927 Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed by electric chair, becoming martyrs and icons of freedom. Almost fifty years later, in 1971, the Italian director Giuliano Montaldo made a film about their unbelievable story. “Sacco e Vanzetti”  immediately became a manifesto against intolerance, injustice and the death penalty. It was a huge international success. 

The soundtrack “Here’s to you” by Ennio Morricone and Joan Baez became an anthem of freedom and the defence of human rights, raising awareness among young people all over the world. 

Because of the film, a Committee was created, and in 1977, Michael Dukakis, governor of Massachusetts, declared the rehabilitation of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti and their complete innocence to the world.

The restoration of this movie, in 2017,  has been the opportunity to recount, through the documentary The Legal Death, the extraordinary work of Giuliano Montaldo; retracing the motivations of a courageous choice, the entire artistic  production path and revealing the background of a film that has become fundamental for the history of Italian cinema and international.

Original Title
La morte legale. Giuliano Montaldo racconta la genesi di Sacco e Vanzetti
Original language
English, French, Spanish
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