''The Best of Youth'' is a six-hour-long Italian epic that crosses from the 1960s to the 2000s. It is about two brothers, Matteo and Nicola, who break a young girl out of a mental ward, only for her to be recaptured. This affects the rest of the boys' lives, as Matteo joins the army and Nicola becomes a hippie, then gets married and has a daughter. But his wife leaves him, and becomes an extremist.

Despite having a girlfriend of his own, Matteo becomes increasingly depressed and things get worse from there. The film ends on a redemptive note.
!! This film provides examples of:
* AloofOlderBrother: Matteo.
* BrotherChuck: Nicola and Carlo have another friend who goes on the trip with them after college, and Nicola has two TrueCompanions (outside his regular family) at the end of the movie, one of which is Carlo. There is never any mention of the other friend who accompanied Nicola and Carlo.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: The first scene, where Matteo and Nicola's father asks them for help moving a television set. Matteo refuses, on the basis that he's swamped with homework, but Nicola immediately agrees, saying he needs a break. This moment makes both characters' personalities very clear.
* GenerationXerox: Surprisingly well done; [[spoiler:Matteo's]] son looks just like him, but is clearly played by a different actor.
* TheOphelia: Giorgia.
* RedOniBlueOni: Nicola is red to Matteo's blue.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Carlo and Vitale.