Director: Roberto Benigni
Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini
Plot: In 1930s Italy, a carefree Jewish book keeper named Guido starts a fairy tale life by courting and marrying a lovely woman from a nearby city. Guido and his wife have a son and live happily together until the occupation of Italy by German forces. In an attempt to hold his family together and help his son survive the horrors of a Jewish Concentration Camp, Guido imagines that the Holocaust is a game and that the grand prize for winning is a tank
Roberto Benigni says the title comes from a quote by Leon Trotsky. In exile in Mexico, knowing he was about to be killed by Joseph Stalin's assassins, he saw his wife in the garden and wrote that, in spite of everything, "life is beautiful".
Guido's wife, Dora, is played by Roberto Benigni's real-life wife, Nicoletta Braschi.
Roberto Benigni's Oscar for best actor marked only the second time that an actor had directed himself in an Academy Award winning performance. The other was Laurence Olivier for Hamlet (1948).
Roberto Benigni's Oscar win for Best Actor was the second time a performance completely in Italian had been awarded. The previous winner was Sophia Loren for Two Women (1960).
Roberto Benigni became only the fourth person to be nominated for Best Actor, Best Director and Best Screenplay. The other recipients of this accolade are Orson Welles for Citizen Kane (1941), Woody Allen for Annie Hall (1977) and Warren Beatty for Reds (1981).
In Italian, the answer to the "Snow White" riddle is seven "minuti" - a play on words between "minutes" and "dwarves".
Before they go to sleep Guido and Ferruccio have a few jokes about the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, a favorite writer of Adolf Hitler.
In an interview, Roberto Benigni said Dr. Lessing's final riddle has no solution - it was nonsensical to point up the ridiculousness of the situation.
The film was partially inspired by the book In the End, I Beat Hitler by Rubino Romeo Salmonė and by Benigni's father, who spent two years in a German labour camp during World War II and to avoid scaring his children, told about his experiences humorously, finding this helped him cope.
Benigni consulted with the Center for Documentation of Contemporary Judaism, based in Milan, throughout production