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Film / Fantozzi

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Long-running Italian movie saga based on the eponymous books by Paolo Villaggio. It's the tragically comical story of the clumsy and unlucky accountant Ugo Fantozzi, played by Villaggio himself. The movies have no real plot. The endless disgraces and misfortunes of the main character are shown in a variety of sketches and sequences full of slapstick and Black Comedy.

Ugo Fantozzi is a grotesque parody of the Italian White Collar Worker of the 1970s. A mediocre man who is extremely apathetic and frustrated with his life, both at work and at home. Married to a plain and homely housewife, father of a monstrously ugly little girl, Fantozzi works for a huge company known as "Megaditta" (literally, "Megacompany") where he's endlessly abused and humiliated by his co-workers and bosses (in-universe known as mega-directors), rejected by his "dream woman" Miss Silvani (a shallow, opportunistic, and rather ugly Manipulative Bitch) and gets into every sort of catastrophic situation.


The first movie aired in 1975. It has 9 sequels but, depending on whom you ask, only the first few movies are worth watching (though there are also people who enjoy later movies). In Italy, much of the dialogue, especially in the first 3 films, is still source of Memetic Mutation, and the term "fantozziano" has become an adjective to describe a hapless, unlucky person.

The series provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The trio of thugs who manhandles Fantozzi during his date with Silvani in the first movie: in the book, they unprovokedly call them both ugly, even getting close just to insult them more, and when Fantozzi tries to confront them they call him a coward and beat him up. In the movie they only come after Fantozzi after he accidentally bumps her car and stops him when Silvani calls them "assholes". When Fantozzi tries to cover himself by blaming Silvani, they call him out with disgust for betraying his woman.
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  • Aesop Amnesia: Fantozzi and his wife Pina have a Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moment in most of the movies... and the next movie he will be back ignoring Pina and chasing after Miss Silvani, only to realize at the end that Pina is important to him, over and over again.
  • Angry Guard Dog: The second movie has Ivan the Terrible the 32nd, descendant of Chzar Nicholas' own guard dog Ivan the Terrible the 1st, a dog so mean he was gunned down on the Red Square as Enemy of the People. This great dane tries to bury Fantozzi alive in the garden and is so ferocious he chases after Fantozzi all the way home, besieging his car for a week.
  • Annual Title: The tenth and final film, Fantozzi 2000 - la clonazione ("The Cloning"), which was released in 1999.
  • Ascended Extra: Fantozzi's wife Pina is a minor character in the first two movies, because the story focuses more on Fantozzi’s life at his workplace. After the actress change, she has a more active role in the plot and in later movies she pretty much becomes the Deuteragonist.
  • Ass Shove: A gag popping up in a few movies has Fantozzi (or another character) preparing to jump on a bycicle on the move... only to accidentally knock off the seat right before they jump on.
  • Bad Boss: Fantozzi has several different bosses over the years and all of them are evil tyrannical Corrupt Corporate Executive like Mr. Burns.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The opening of Fantozzi in Paradiso makes it sounds like Filini's reading the eulogy for Fantozzi's funeral... until it's finally revealed that Fantozzi is attending and the deceased one is a certain Fonelli.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Calboni, Filini, and Fantozzi, respectively. Calboni is by far the tallest (Big), Filini is skinny and slightly taller than Fantozzi (thin), and Fantozzi is small and chubby (short). Since Calboni and Filini don't interact in the first film, the trio is mostly seen in the first few sequels.
  • Bloodless Carnage: No matter what horrific thing happens to Fantozzi, he never bleeds.
  • Born Unlucky: The Trope Codifier in Italy. His entire life is a big Humiliation Conga and his bad luck is exaggerated to cartoonish and unbelievable levels.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • The title character may be the most abused and unlucky character in history. In the Italian version of this wiki, The Chew Toy is named Il Fantozzi.
    • A close second is his daughter Mariangela who is treated like an animal by everyone except her mother. She's less of a Butt-Monkey than her father only because she's largely kept Out of Focus, except for a few gags.
  • Characterization Marches On:
    • While always an unlikable character, in early movies Miss Silvani acts more like a classy, elegant, and polite Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, very different from the vulgar, foul-mouthed, and obnoxious woman she becomes in later movies.
    • In the first two films, Pina, as portrayed by Liù Bosisio, was an awkward, sweet, and submissive wife who genuinely loved her husband. When Milena Vukotic takes over the role (at least in the third and fourth films), she's more apathetic towards Fantozzi and even willing to flirt with other men. From the sixth film onwards, Pina (still played by Vukotic) is a rather sweet and loyal wife, although still more independent and assertive than Bosisio's Pina.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Fantozzi's slimy rival Calboni disappears after the fourth film. Since his original actor passed away after the airing of the third film, they hired another actor for the fourth one but he wasn't memorable like the original and in the other sequels the character is completely eliminated.
  • Cross-Cast Role: Plinio Fernando as Mariangela Fantozzi. In three of the later movies, he also plays Uga, the granddaughter.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The voice over who serves as the narrator throughout the movies, and introduces all the characters and Fantozzi's adventures in a sarcastic, derisive way. While the narrator is played by Paolo Villaggio himself, it sounds different from Fantozzi's voice.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: All of Fantozzi's attempts to win over Miss Silvani end up in Epic Fail. Averted in the eighth movie when they have Their First Time but it doesn't go anywhere because Fantozzi realizes how much his wife is important to him.
  • Disaster Dominoes: When Fantozzi misses the bus for work, he chases after it and grabs the hand of a passenger standing by the door. Unfortunately, he yanks the passenger out of the bus, and since everyone on the bus was holding hands, everyone sequentially falls onto the street.
  • Dominance Through Furniture: The mega-directors have chairs made of "human leather". When he has a chance to touch one of the chairs, Fantozzi even recognized the specific colleague that was used. Overlaps with a Black Comedy version of the Human Doorstop; see also Genuine Human Hide below.
  • The Dog Bites Back:
    • During a billiards match with his boss Catellani, Fantozzi initially underperforms on purpose to please his boss. However, after being repeatedly insulted and derided by his boss and the colleagues, he finally decides to play to his real ability and defeats Catellani.
    • When Fantozzi and his colleagues are forced to watch The Battleship Kotiomkin (a parody of The Battleship Potemkin) for the umpteenth time, thus missing an important football match, Fantozzi finally reacts, openly denouncing the film as "an awful pile of crap", punching his manager who has bullied him many times before, and causing an uproar among his colleagues.
  • Downer Ending: Almost all the movies, especially the first five. Arguably averted with the 7th movie, Fantozzi alla riscossa.
  • Driven to Suicide: Fantozzi tries to kill himself a few times in different movies.
  • Enemy Mine: There are moments where Fantozzi and his rival Calboni get along when it comes to being mean to someone else, usually along with all their other co-workers (Filini included):
    • In Il Secondo Tragico Fantozzi, Calboni gleefully joins Fantozzi's revolt against their Bad Boss Riccardelli.
    • In Fantozzi Contro Tutti, they both start making fun of their Bad Boss Cobram behind his back in the "Pinerolo" scene... until Cobram catches them.
    • In Fantozzi Subisce Ancora, they bully the seemingly harmless Fonelli, along with a group of other mean-spirited co-workers.
  • Expository Pronoun: These movies are known for the infamous overuse of the "lei" form. It only makes the characters hypocrites, since this apparent politeness is clearly fake.
    • Fantozzi and his co-workers use the formal "lei" to address each other. This is odd, because in real life, you are not supposed to use "lei" with a regular co-worker, unless he's a superior or a stranger in formal situations.
    • It's especially odd with Fantozzi and his inseparable companion/sidekick Filini. The fact that they use "lei" to address each other instead of the personal "tu" makes it clear that they are not friends.
    • Ironically, arch-rivals Fantozzi and Calboni are the only co-workers who use the personal "tu" form to address each other. This is only because they hate each other and don't even bother using the polite "lei" form.
  • Extreme Doormat: Fantozzi, when he's around his bosses and co-workers, is a complete pushover to the point that people literally walk all over him. On the other hand, with his family he's much more bossy, especially with his wife who is an Extreme Doormat to him.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: When Riccardelli is taken hostage, he is forced to watch a few Italian B movies like Giovannona Long-Thigh, The Exorciccio (a parody of The Exorcist), and La polizia s'incazza ("The Police Get Mad"). The first two are actual movies, but there's no movie named La polizia s'incazza and that title was only useful for a gag of the next scene.
  • Gag Boobs: As part of Miss Silvani's cosmetic surgery in the ninth movie, she gets two ludicrously large breasts. The next movie has a nurse extra with comically big breasts who catches a recently-cloned Fantozzi's attention.
  • Genuine Human Hide: The mega-director's chair is made of the skin of his employees, though it looks like nothing more than a flimsy leather director's chair.
  • Gonk:
    • Fantozzi's daughter Mariangela is so hideous that she is compared to/mistaken for a monkey in all of her appearances. She is a little girl played by a very unattractive man. In later movies there's also granddaughter Uga, played by the same actor of Mariangela.
    • Fantozzi's wife Pina is also considered ugly, although to a less dramatic extent than her daughter and granddaughter.
  • Historical In-Joke: The entire point of the fifth movie, Superfantozzi, which chronicles the misadventures of the Fantozzi family through history. We get to see Fantozzi Inventing the Wheel, being forced to run the first marathon, hiding from World War II in the uneventful city of Hiroshima, and so on.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Despite being married, Fantozzi has a hopeless crush on his female co-worker, Miss Silvani.
  • Human Doorstop:
    • The scene from the end of the second movie, where an unemployed Fantozzi is hired back.. as the building's lightning rod. This is implied to be the company's standard entry-level position.
    • The "human leather" chairs, as mentioned under Dominance Through Furniture and Genuine Human Hide, may also qualify.
  • Humiliation Conga:
    • Fantozzi's entire life is one humiliation after another. He simply can't catch a break, ever.
    • Professor Riccardelli, a powerful CEO, is utterly humiliated by all his employees during a rebellion started by Fantozzi. He gets better, unfortunately.
  • Informed Attractiveness: An intentional example. Miss Silvani is not supposed to be pretty and the book explicitly states she is not, but since she's the only woman in the office, she has her male co-workers (mainly Fantozzi and Calboni) fighting over her.
  • Interspecies Romance: The ugly daughter Mariangela (who is always compared to a monkey) eventually marries a gorilla.
  • Iron Butt Monkey: Fantozzi is subjected to all kinds of cartoonish abuse (even some that would be pretty horrific if these films weren't Black Comedy), but he's more or less indestructible, again like a cartoon character. He seemingly can't even die, being either reincarnated, cloned or sent back to Earth since Heaven was full.
  • Jacob Marley Apparel: A curious example. In Fantozzi in paradiso, when Fantozzi dies and goes to the afterlife he's dressed with a pure white version of his usual clothes; he's also surrounded by people with every kind of costumes such as a circus strongman, soldiers, friars etc. all dressed in white. One of these, who sits besides him on the plane that gets the souls to Heaven, is an almost completely naked woman, for some reason.
  • Jerkass:
    • Fantozzi is an abusive father, an uncaring Lazy Husband who always hits on another woman, and generally a miserable human being who rarely shows any positive qualities.
    • Nearly all the characters in the saga are just as bad. Fantozzi is endlessly abused by other characters who are jerks to him. The only decent person is Pina, Fantozzi's wife, despite some Not so Above It All moments in the third and fourth movie when she's briefly attracted to other men.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Fantozzi usually has one Pet the Dog moment in almost every movie. A notable example is when he comforts his daughter after she was insulted by his Jerkass superiors in the first movie.
  • Jerkass Realization: Miss Silvani has one in the ninth movie, after tricking Fantozzi into believing that he got her pregnant to get money from him for a full-body surgery. When a genuinely sad Fantozzi doesn't even get angry at her and even compliment her, Silvani has a moment of silence before apologizing for the trick.
  • Jesus Was Way Cool:
    • In the first movie Fantozzi, lost in a boat at sea without water, hallucinates Jesus walking up to the boat and asking for some bread or fish to multiply.
    • In Superfantozzi we see him wait for Lazarus' heir to show up and make an ass of himself before reviving him just so Lazarus could realize what kind of jerk his heir is. The heir is of course that era's Fantozzi.
  • Kavorka Man: Cecco, Franchino, and Loris Batacchi are unattractive and disgusting creeps, but they all have women attracted to them, though it's an Informed Attribute in Batacchi's case. Cecco is even described as "hideous" by the narrator, despite Pina's unexplainable attraction to him.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In the third movie, the first scene featuring Fantozzi's wife has Fantozzi mistaking her for a beggar ("I'm your wife, Ugo"). This is a reference to Milena Vukotic replacing Liù Bosisio, who played Pina Fantozzi in the first two movies.
  • Last-Name Basis: Fantozzi and his co-workers (even with his close friend Filini) always refer to each other this way. If not the surname, they use the job title.
  • Made of Iron: How Fantozzi manages to survive with all the horribly painful things that happen to him. At some point he's even literally used as a human lightning rod. He eventually dies in the eighth movie... After being ran over by a steamroller.
  • Malaproper: Incorrect verb forms are very common. It seems no one in these movies can speak properly, except the Galactic Mega Director and Fantozzi's wife.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Fantozzi's bosses never get his name right, usually calling him "Fantocci" ("fantoccio" is a derogatory way to say "puppet"). This is to show how much they are dismissive of him.
  • Mythology Gag: When confronted by the Angry Guard Dog Ivan the Terrible the 32nd, Fantozzi calls him "Friedmann" while trying to guess his name, with Filini commenting that's not a dog's name. Friedmann was the dog's name in the book.
  • One-Steve Limit: Fantozzi has two co-workers named Fonelli. The first one is a recurring character in the first three movies, is played by Pietro Zardini, and is an elderly Lazy Bum who gets along with his equally lazy co-workers. The second one appears in the fourth movie, is played by Michele Mirabella, and is a wannabe athlete who is bullied by everyone until his Start of Darkness.
  • Overly-Long Name:
    • Many of Fantozzi's bosses. Sometimes they are also Punny Names.
    • Countess Serbelloni Mazzanti Vien Dal Mare. "Vien dal mare" literally means "Comes from the Sea".
    • The full name of the company Fantozzi works for is "ItalPetrolCemeTermoTessilFarmoMetalChimica", a parody of Italian conglomerates from the 70s.
  • Personal Raincloud:
    • Not only Fantozzi is unlucky enough to have one that appears at the most inappropriate moments, he takes it up to eleven when, the one time he needed water to drink (he was being stranded at sea), the cloud appeared and started to rain... on a spot that he couldn't reach. On the other hand, the cloud provided the appropriate weather for his funeral.
    • One gag reveals that they're a characteristic of being a salaryman, and they don't shy from joining forces when necessary.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Everyone in the company acts like this to the current Bad Boss.
  • Rerouted from Heaven: Even in death Fantozzi is incredibly unlucky. He dies at the end of eighth film Fantozzi in paradiso ("Fantozzi in Heaven" appropriately enough), but when he embarks on the airplane that brings the souls to Heaven, the plane gets hijacked by angelic terrorists, getting him to enter the Buddhist afterlife... where Buddha (who is a Malaproper like everyone else) forces him to be reincarnated in a newborn Fantozzi, complete with his trademark hat, to start everything all over again.
  • Running Gag: Several.
    • Pina telling Ugo "I appreciate you very much", because she's unable to say "I love you" to her husband. It becomes a Borrowed Catchphrase in the fifth film, when Ugo tells everyone that he appreciates Pina very much in one scene.
    • Mariangela being compared to (or mistaken for) an ape.
    • People calling Ugo "Fantocci" — both his superiors and those who are supposed to be his equals.
  • Sequel Non-Entity: Miss Silvani doesn't appear in the third movie Fantozzi Contro tutti and nobody acknowledges her existence, despite her important role in the first two movies where her actress even got second billing. She will later appear in the other sequels, except Superfantozzi (this one is justified because it's not set in Fantozzi's workplace).
  • Serious Business: Association Football. In the second movie, being forced to miss a match causes an employee revolt, and in the fifth an exhibition match between Italy and Scotland's national teams causes repeated battles between supporters of the two teams.
  • Slapstick Knows no Gender: While Fantozzi gets the most of it, nobody in these films is safe from Amusing Injuries, especially Fantozzi's daughter Mariangela, who is often victim of physical comedy. Even a nun gets the short end of the stick in a fight, eventually falling down the stairs, and it's Played for Laughs.
  • This Loser Is You: Fantozzi is a parody of the Italian salaryman of the 70s.
  • What Does She See in Him?:
    • Pina is usually an apathetic wife who doesn't really love her husband. Considering that Ugo is a loser and a terrible husband it's understandable. But when she has a crush on another man, the man is usually disgusting, ugly, and obnoxious, like Cecco or Franchino, who are not really much better than Fantozzi. Pina is the Only Sane Woman in a Crapsack World but she has horrible taste in men.
    • Gender-inverted when it comes to Fantozzi himself and his love for Miss Silvani. She's not pretty at all and is generally a complete bitch with no redeeming qualities. Made worse by the fact that he's already married to an endlessly patient woman who is much better than her. Lampshaded in one of the later movies by Pina, when she says that she has never understood why Ugo likes Miss Silvani.
  • World of Jerkass: An Exaggerated Trope, given the dark comedy nature of the movies. All the characters are complete jerks and completely insane as well. While Fantozzi is usually a victim and Extreme Doormat, he's often shown to be as vile and petty as everyone else when he gets a chance (though he's still more sympathetic than the others). The only non-jerk character is Pina, since even Mariangela Took a Level in Jerkass in later movies.