Roberto Remigio Benigni (born October 27, 1952 in Castiglion Fiorentino, Tuscany) is an Italian actor, comedian, screenwriter and director.
He is most famous internationally for directing, writing and starring in the comedy-drama picture Life Is Beautiful (1997). Celebrated for pulling off an artistic challenge that Charlie Chaplin would not have dared and Jerry Lewis chickened out of showing, it presented a sensitive Dramedy about The Holocaust. The film came home with three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Benigni, and numerous other awards.
Unfortunately, Benigni would later squander his artist reputation and Auteur License in 2002 with his pet project Pinocchio, with himself in the title role, becoming a critically derided Box Office Bomb. His directorial career still hasn't recovered since. Ironically, he would appear in a much better received 2019 production of the story, in a role most have said he should have played in his own film — Geppetto.
Benigni has also written and performed the stand-up comedy show Tutto Dante, inspired by Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comedy and the Tuscany tradition of improvisatory poetry, with much success in his native country.
- Berlinguer, I Love You (1977, also wrote) as Mario (debut film as actor and screenwriter)
- Tu mi turbi (1983, also wrote and directed) as Benigno (directoral debut)
- Non ci resta che piangere (1984, also wrote and directed) as Saverio
- Down by Law (1986) as Roberto
- The Little Devil (1988, also wrote and directed) as Giuditta, a playful and immature demon who annoys a priest played by Walter Matthau
- The Voice of the Moon (1990) as Ivo Salvini (the last film by Federico Fellini)
- Night on Earth (1991) as Gino the taxi driver
- Johnny Stecchino (1991, also wrote and directed) in a dual role as Dante Ceccarini, a school bus driver who falls in love with a gangster's moll, and Johnny Stecchino, the gangster in question, who the Mafia wants dead because he turned informant
- Son of the Pink Panther (1993) as Jacques Gambrelli (Inspector Clouseau's son)
- The Monster (1994, also wrote and directed) as Loris, a innocent man who is mistaken for a serial killer
- Life Is Beautiful (1997, also wrote and directed) as Guido
- Asterix & Obelix Take on Caesar (1999) as Lucius Detritus
- Pinocchio (2002, also wrote and directed) as Pinocchio
- Coffee and Cigarettes (2003) as Roberto
- The Tiger and the Snow (2005, also wrote and directed) as Attilio de Giovanni
- To Rome with Love (2012) as Leopoldo Pisanello
- Pinocchio (2019) as Geppetto
Tropes in his works:
- Creator Couple: He has cast his wife Nicoletta Braschi in seven of the eight films he directed (she did not appear in the time-warp comedy Nothing Left to Do But Cry).
- The Danza: He has appeared as a character named Roberto in two Jim Jarmusch films — Down by Law and Coffee and Cigarettes.
- Dramedy: Two films that he directed fit in the genre, being comedy-dramas set in really troubled historical settings — Life is Beautiful with The Holocaust and The Tiger and the Snow with the 2000s war in Iraq.