''Life Is Beautiful'' (or ''La vita è bella'' in the original Italian) is a 1997 Italian comedy-drama about UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust. Starring Roberto Benigni (who also wrote and directed it), the film won three Academy Awards: Best Original Dramatic Score, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor. Benigni went down in infamy for the middle one, being so excited by his win that he [[LargeHam climbed over the seats of the Academy members in front of him to claim his award]].

The first half of the film contains elements of the RomanticComedy, featuring a young Italian Jew named Guido Orefice planning to set up his own bookstore, working as a waiter, and trying his best to romance Dora (Nicoletta Braschi), a young Christian schoolteacher who comes from a much richer family, while living with his uncle. Several years pass, and the two have a son, but become estranged from the rich relatives: however, they begin to reconcile.

However, the [[HalfwayPlotSwitch second half of the film]] [[FirstLawOfTragicomedies takes a turn for the dark]]: Guido, his uncle Eliseo and his son Giosuè are taken to a concentration camp. His wife chooses to be deported with her family but is separated at a different part of the camp. Giosuè is hidden from the Nazis and Guido tries his very best to keep the actual darkness of the camp from his son.

!!''Life Is Beautiful'' provides examples of:

* AreWeThereYet: During the trip to the concentration camp, Giosuè asks this a number of times.
* BittersweetEnding: Guido's son ends up getting the tank [[spoiler:but Guido himself dies, but his wife survives and he shielded his child from the horrors of the Holocaust until he is old enough to understand.]].
* BrickJoke:
** [[spoiler:The tank.]]
** When he's romancing Dora, with the key, the seven seconds riddle, and the hat switch.
** "It's the eggs guy!"
* ChekhovsGag: Giosuè's attempts to avoid having a shower are quite amusing halfway through the film. His hatred of them ends up saving his life in the concentration camp when he escapes the women rounding the kids up.
* ChildrenAreInnocent: Guido believes this; he tries to pass UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust off as a game to avoid traumatizing his son. This is the "translation" of the camp's rules he gives his son:
--> "The game starts now. You have to score one thousand points. If you do that, you take home a tank with a big gun. Each day we will announce the scores from that loudspeaker. The one who has the fewest points will have to wear a sign that says 'Jackass' on his back. There are three ways to lose points. One, turning into a big crybaby. Two, telling us you want to see your mommy. Three, saying you're hungry and want something to eat."
* CloudCuckooLander: Guido, full stop. It's actually a subtle subversion of Benigni's usual over-the-top roles, in the sense that Guido is actually [[ObfuscatingStupidity saner than other people think]].
* CoincidentalAccidentalDisguise: Guido's car brakes go out and through a series of remarkable accidents they are somehow mistaken for [[ItMakesSenseInContext fascist officers parading through a nearby town.]]
* ConsummateLiar: Guido is a heroic example of this trope.
* CouldSayItBut: How Guido confesses his attraction to Dora.
-->'''Guido:''' You can't imagine how much I feel like making love to you. But I'll never tell anyone, especially not you. They'd have to torture me to make me say it.\\
'''Dora:''' Say what?\\
'''Guido:''' That I want to make love to you -- not just once, but over and over again! But I'll never tell you that. I'd have to be crazy to tell you.
* DoggedNiceGuy: Guido to Dora in the first part of the film.
* EvilAllAlong: Played with, Dr. Lessing is introduced as a humble visiting German doctor during the first half of the film and largely disappears after a couple of scenes. But not before befriending Guido. [[spoiler: Guido later meets him as a doctor at the Concentration Camp, and seeing Guido gives him an unfortunate reminder the "untermenschen" around him are human beings. He's clearly ashamed of himself, but seems in no hurry to quit]].
* FirstLawOfTragicomedies: Surprisingly averted or at least played with. While the second half of this film is darker than the first and much more serious it never truly loses the spirit of the humor involved - its handling of this is probably why it won many awards. Rare is the movie that can continue to make you laugh ''and'' keep up the seriousness of UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust.
* HalfwayPlotSwitch: The first half of the film is about Guido trying to make Dora fall in love with him. [[MoodWhiplash The second half is about him trying to keep his wife and child alive.]]
* HeroicBSOD: [[spoiler:Guido takes a sleeping Giosuè through the camp, only to find what appears to be a pile of bodies, partially concealed by darkness and mist.]]
* HideAndNoSeek: Done to save Giosuè's life as [[spoiler:the panicking Germans are executing every concentration camp prisoner they can get their hands on]].
* HotTeacher: Dora.
* HopeSpot: In the prison camp, Guido meets Doctor Lessing again, who looks visibly shaken seeing his friend there and asks to meet him later. Guido tries to find an opportunity to tell him about his wife and son in the hopes of somehow getting one or both out, but when they manage to talk properly, he finds out that the only reason Doctor Lessing tried to talk to him again was to consult in another riddle.
** It's actually a subversion, as the riddle in question is a colorful metaphor meant to covertly give Guido an idea of how to get his family out of the camp.
* KarmaHoudini: The Camp's guard staff all managed to escape just ''minutes'' before the U.S. Army arrives to liberate it.
* ManipulativeBastard: Guido is an inversion: he's manipulative, but he's the opposite of bastard. Some of his little tricks include fooling a customer at a restaurant into ordering exactly what Doctor Lessing had ordered, as Lessing was too preoccupied with his riddle to even touch his food, allowing the customer to immediately get his meal, and making Dora pray for Guido to get a new hat just as the man Guido stayed with came and switched his hat with Guido's, as Guido had switched them earlier.
* {{Narrator}}: An adult Giosuè, briefly, at the beginning and the end.
* NotMyDriver: One of the stunts Guido performs to attempt to win Dora's love.
* OhCrap: [[spoiler:Many German Nazi officers and their children are visiting the concentration camp, so Guido, who is working as a waiter for the dinner, smuggles Giosuè in with the kids so he can have a real meal. But then Giosuè lets slip a "Grazie": an Italian word that none of the German kids would say. This is the first time in the entire movie that Guido has shown actual terror.]]
* OscarBait: Well, despite it probably wasn't conceived as such, the movie's heavy and touchy themes made its awards much, much more predictable.
* ParentingTheHusband: Albeit for a very short while.
* RefugeInAudacity:
** In a real life example, Roberto Benigni made a nominal comedy about UsefulNotes/TheHolocaust, the supreme film artistic challenge that got him hailed as a master filmmaker for doing something even Creator/CharlieChaplin would never have dared.
** This is pretty much the reason Guido gets away with half the stuff he pulls, ranging from his repeated run-ins with Dora to announcing over the intercom system of a concentration camp.
* RichSuitorPoorSuitor: Dora has a [[UpperClassTwit very rich but obnoxious fiancé]]; at the beginning of the movie, whom she later breaks up with to be with Guido.
* SillyWalk: Guido mimics the goose stepping march of the guards to amuse his son. [[spoiler:It's the last thing he ever does.]]
* SomethingOnlyTheyWouldSay: "Buongiorno Principessa!" is the pickup line Guido uses several times to be noticed by Dora during the first half, and uses when he hijacks the concentration camp's speaker system to let her know that he and Giosuè are still alive in the second.
* SpiritualSuccessor: Often treated as this way in comparison to ''Film/TheDayTheClownCried''.
* TankGoodness: The tank the finally arrives at the camp as part of the liberation force is an American M4 Sherman.
* ThoseWackyNazis: As well as the real deal.
* YouAreWorthHell: Dora chooses to go to the concentration camp to be with her Jewish son and husband. Especially tragic since they're separated anyway.