Set in 1944 occupied Rome, a resistance leader (Marcello Pagliero) wanted by the Nazi Gestapo hides in a rooming house while waiting to get counterfeit papers to get out of the city. Directed by Roberto Rossellini, this was the first entry in his so called war trilogy. A critically lauded neorealist drama (it won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival), it must have felt like a punch in the gut to U.S. audiences fed on jingoistic war films like SERGEANT YORK and BATAAN. Rossellini doesn't hold back on the brutality and suffering of a people living under a fascist siege. There's no denying the film's power even if much of it feels a bit manipulative. It's certainly the best acted of the three films because Rossellini uses professional actors rather than the non professional actors of the other two films (PAISAN, GERMANY YEAR ZERO) yet it still feels raw enough that it seems we're watching real people, not actors. The two exceptions are Harry Feist as the Gestapo leader and Giovanna Galletti as a predatory lesbian who are too obvious in their performances. With Anna Magnani, Francesco Grandjacquet, Maria Michi and in the film's best performance, Aldo Fabrizi as the priest.