Study Guide

Life Is Beautiful Summary

Life Is Beautiful Summary

  

A man carries a child through a shroud of fog.

We don't now what's happening, but it doesn't look very good for either of them. Before we can even start wondering about it, a narrator tells us that this story is a simple fable...but not an easy one to tell.

(Oh, and don't get too attached the narrator. It'll be a while before we hear from him again.)

Quick cut to Italy in 1939 and a total change of mood and scenery. Guido and his buddy Ferruccio are heading to the Italian city of…some city, when their car's brakes give way. While Ferruccio fixes the car, Guido visits a nearby farm and happens to (literally) catch a beautiful woman named Dora as she falls from the barn. It's boy meets girl, girl meets gravity, as we kick off this love story.

The whole first rom-com half has a madcap, slapstick quality, complete with falls, eggings, silly costumes, crazy car scenes, shocked schoolmarms, and a rather manic hero.

In the city, Guido works as a waiter for his Uncle Eliseo and learns that Dora's a teacher. He's smitten. Bad. So Guido creates situations where the two just happen to bump into each other.

During all these shenanigans, Guido and his uncle also suffer conspicuous acts of persecution because they're Jewish. Reminder: 1939 was not a good time to be Jewish in Europe (more on this when World War II breaks out).

One night, Guido tricks Dora into his car by pretending to be her boyfriend. Huh, when you write it out like that, it sounds super creepy, but let's remember that we're in Rom-Com Land here, a territory of Movieville where the line between creepy and charming blurs something bad.

Anyway, Guido and Dora decide to make the most of her kidnapping and turn it into a date. Guido's wit, humor, and extraordinary luck charms Dora, and she begins to fall for him.

So do we.

Sometime later, Dora and her boyfriend, Rodolfo—who's a total jerk, by the way—celebrate their engagement party at the same hotel where Guido works. Learning that Dora's going to marry the jerk, Guido hatches a plan to whisk her away. Riding in on his uncle's horse, Guido sweeps Dora into his arms, and they ride off into the night together.

The end…of part one.

And Now for Something Completely Different…

Five or so years later, Guido and Dora are married and have a son, Joshua (Giosué in Italian). Guido now owns a bookstore, but the situation for Jews has only grown more dangerous in the intervening years.

The film kind of assumes that the viewer more or less knows what was going on during that time: The Jews of Europe were systematically being rounded up and exterminated by the Nazi regime.

On Joshua's birthday, Dora comes home to discover that Guido, Eliseo and Joshua have been taken by the government and scheduled to be sent to a concentration camp. At the train depot, the three are crowded onto the train like cattle with the other victims. Dora arrives to argue there's been a mistake, and when it's clear the soldiers won't release her family, Dora chooses to join them so they won't be separated.

At the concentration camp, Guido and Joshua are taken to the men's side of the camp, while Dora's taken to the women's side. Uncle Eliseo is determined too old to work and is taken to the gas chamber with other elderly citizens and children.

To hide their terrifying circumstances from his little son, Guido pretends that the whole affair is an elaborate game. What could possibly get a young boy to play such a horrible game? Well, says Guido, if they score 1,000 points, they win a tank. A real-life tank.

Relying on his playful nature and quick wit again, Guido manages to convince his son that every situation is part of the game. The kids who told Joshua there is no game? That's just their strategy to win. The Nazi guards who shout orders? That's so the game will be difficult. The children and men who leave and never return? That just means they're out.

Guido's pushed to his physical and mental limits keeping up the charade, but he gets a lucky break when one of the attending physicians in the camp turns out to be Dr. Lessing, a friend from his days as a waiter. Dr. Lessing arranges for Guido to be a waiter for an upcoming dinner.

Guido hopes the doctor will help him and his family escape, but Lessing's true motive is to have Guido assist him in solving a perplexing riddle. Yep, Dr. Lessing the riddle-fiend is so self-absorbed that he can't see Guido's suffering and plight when it's so plainly obvious.

One night, Guido awakens to gunfire. Bartolomeo, a fellow prisoner, thinks maybe the war is over and the Nazis are busy hiding the evidence of their crimes. Guido decides to flee. He gathers up Joshua and has him hide in a box, um, thingy. He tells his son that the game's almost over, and if he can hide until everyone else is gone, they'll win.

Joshua's faith in his father is… heartbreaking.

Guido dresses up as a woman and goes over to the women's side of the camp looking to warn Dora not to get on the train that's evacuating the inmates to certain death. Given the success of Guido's crazy schemes up until now, the viewer thinks this plan might work.

It doesn't work.

He gets caught.

A guard grabs Guido and marches him past the box where Joshua is hiding. Winking at his son (and knowing what's about to happen), Guido does a silly goose step march to give his son one last laugh. The Nazi soldier takes Guido around a corner and shoots him.

The next morning, once everyone's gone, Joshua emerges from his hiding place. As he comes out, an American tank rolls into view. Joshua thinks it's his prize for winning the game. The Americans hoist Joshua into the tank and he's overjoyed. His father was right all along.

As they come upon the prisoners of the liberated camp, Joshua spies his mother in the crowd and calls out to her from high up in the tank. Serious hugs and tears all around.

The narrator makes his grand return, revealing himself to be the adult Joshua. Joshua informs us that this is his story, a story about his father's gift to him.

The end…for reals this time.

[All of the tears.]

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • A narrator introduces us to the story, saying it's a simple fable but not an easy one to tell.
    • We time-warp to Italy in 1939. Ferruccio drives a country road while reciting a poem about giving into chaos and loving life.
    • The brakes go out, and in a panic, Ferruccio wakes up his passenger, Guido.
    • Ferruccio careens off the road and into a forest. The car emerges in the middle of a motorcade, now garlanded in branches from the trees.
    • They drive through a parade meant for the king. Guido shouts and motions for everyone to get out of the way, but the crowd mistakes it for a Nazi salute and salutes him back.
    • As they drive away, Guido—who's Jewish by the way—is flabbergasted at what just happened.
    • The king rides up after Guido, his warm welcome already taken by another.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • Ferruccio's under the car fixing the brakes. He gets frustrated with Guido's attempts to help and requests ten minutes alone to fix it.
    • Guido goes to the nearby farm to wash his hands. There, he runs into a girl and jokes that he's a prince off to meet a princess.
    • A woman falls out of a nearby barn, and Guido rushes to catch her. Jokingly, he welcomes her into his arms, saying, "Good morning, Princess!" It's even more charming in Italian.
    • Ferruccio honks for Guido. Dora asks how she can repay him, and Guido takes six eggs, you know, to make a nice frittata for his squire in the car.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • Guido and Ferruccio arrive at a house late at night. Guido explains that his Uncle Eliseo lives at the hotel where he's the head maître. He uses his house for storage and is letting Guido and Ferruccio stay there.
    • As they approach the door, they hear the sound of breaking glass, and three young men run out.
    • Guido and Ferruccio rush inside and see Eliseo lying on the ground. They help him up and ask who they were. Eliseo mutters "barbarians."
    • Brushing off the attack, Eliseo gives them the grand tour of the house. The house looks like a freeform museum, and Eliseo speaks with the speed of a caffeine-hyped docent.
    • After a tour that would leave the Flash a few steps behind, Eliseo sees himself out.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Guido and Ferruccio take in the city sights and bump into a guy who yells at a gal named Mary to throw down a key. Trust us, this'll be important later.
    • They go to Oreste's shop, where Ferruccio has a job as an upholsterer.
    • Guido and Oreste chat a bit, and Guido keeps trying on Oreste's hat. It's a pure slapstick shtick.
    • When Oreste turns his back to yell at/help Ferruccio (yelp?), Guido grabs Oreste's hat and bolts out the door.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • At town hall, Guido asks a secretary what it'll take to open a bookstore. The secretary says he'll need the department head to sign an application.
    • Guido realizes he still has the eggs in his pocket and removes them while dictating his application to the secretary.
    • The department head, one Rodolfo by name, comes out. Guido asks for his signature, but Rodolfo tells him no and leaves the office.
    • Guido complains about the man's nasty demeanor. While doing so, he leans against the window sill and knocks a flower pot out.
    • The flower pot, of course, falls with perfect comedic timing to nail Rodolfo on the noggin. The impact even comes with that classic pot crash sound effect.
    • Guido rushes downstairs to see if Rodolfo's okay. He puts the eggs in the man's hat and helps him up.
    • Rodolfo angrily says Guido can forget about the bookstore and reaches for his hat. Guido tries to warn him, but Rodolfo gets egged anyway.
    • Guido runs and, um, borrows a passerby's bike. Pedaling down the street, he loses control and bumps into Dora, who's teaching a class.
    • He only has time to give her a quick "Good morning, Princess" before he continues running from Rodolfo.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • Guido is training to be a waiter at the hotel. Eliseo gives him a situation, and Guido explains how he'll prepare a dish, help a customer, etc. In true Guido fashion, he makes it more complicated and energetic than it needs to be.
    • When it comes to bowing, Guido bows too low, and Eliseo reminds him that he's there to serve, not to be a servant. Serving is a supreme art.
    • Guido and Ferruccio are in bed in Eliseo's house, and Guido's amazed at Ferruccio's ability to fall asleep on command.
    • Ferruccio explains that he uses a trick he learned from the philosopher Schopenhauer. Using willpower, he thinks about being asleep, and then he's asleep.
    • (Do not try to use this an example of Schopenhauer in Phil 101.)
    • Guido tries it himself, and his loud version of willpower is able to instantly wake up Ferruccio. Amazing.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • Guido and Ferruccio are walking down the street when they see Dora. She's talking to Rodolfo, who rolls up in a car coincidentally just like Ferruccio's.
    • As Dora walks by, Guido jumps out from behind Ferruccio with his trademark, "Good morning, Princess!"
    • Guido tries to set up a date, but Dora jokes that she likes it better when they meet suddenly. We like this gal's spunk.
    • At the hotel restaurant, Guido serves a meal of salmon, salad, and white wine to Dr. Lessing and says, "Obscurity." Dr. Lessing's astounded that Guido solved a riddle in five minutes. It took him eight days.
    • Guido offers his own riddle: "The dwarves and Snow White sit down for a bite. How fast can you guess what she serves her guests next?"
    • Dr. Lessing is so excited by the new riddle that he can't eat his dinner.
    • The concierge asks Guido if the kitchen is closed. A man from the ministry has arrived late and wants to eat. Guido says everyone's gone home, but the concierge convinces him to serve the man with the promise of a big tip.
    • Using his quick wit, Guido convinces the man that he wants the salmon and a salad with a white wine.
    • Guido grabs the meal Dr. Lessing refused to eat and serves the man in record time. The guy's amazed at the quick service.
    • Speaking with the man, Guido learns he's a government inspector and he has to go to Dora's school tomorrow. Guido starts hatching a plan.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • Guido arrives at the school before the hour he knows the inspector is due to get there. Wearing a ridiculous sash and walking his most self-important walk, he claims to be the inspector.
    • He asks the other teachers simple questions about being teachers, but when he comes to Dora, he asks he what she's doing this Sunday. She says she's going to see Offenbach at the theater.
    • The principal tells the students that Guido will now teach them about Italy's new race manifesto—a document stating why the Aryan race is super awesome compared to all others.
    • Guido jumps up on the table and gives the speech. He uses his "handsome" body as an example of the superiority of Italians. Of course, he's Jewish, so he doesn't believe a word of it. It's dramatic irony for the win.
    • As the teachers look on, aghast, Guido starts to undress. The actual inspector shows up right when Guido is using his belly button to prove how awesome he is as a specimen of race.
    • Realizing the gig is up, Guido exits out the window like an underwear-clad ninja.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • At the theater, Guido sits in the orchestra, watching Dora in the box with Rodolfo.
    • Using the willpower technique Ferruccio taught him, he wills her to look down at him. She does. So does the woman sitting next to him. Yeah, that one was awkward.
    • After the play, Dora asks Rodolfo if they can get some ice cream. He says they can, but it'll have to be quick because they're going to the Prefect's house for dinner.
    • Dora sarcastically prays that she be spared another night with the Prefect.
    • Rodolfo initially says he'll cancel, but then they bump into the Prefect. Rodolfo caves and says they'll meet him at dinner.
    • Guido and Ferruccio meet Oreste in the lobby. Guido asks Oreste if the theater curtains were made by him. When Oreste turns to look, Guido snatches his hat and bolts.
    • It's raining outside. Dora tells Rodolfo to go and get the car.
    • Awhile later, a black car rolls up front and honks. Dora gets in.
    • She lays into Rodolfo for a bit before looking over at him. It's not Rodolfo; it's Guido, who borrowed Ferruccio's car to trick Dora.
    • She demands an explanation, but Guido's like, "No, you owe me one; you got in my car. You must be crushing on me pretty hard."
    • Guido realizes he doesn't know how to turn on the windshield wipers and crashes the car.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • Guido helps Dora by creating a makeshift umbrella with a cushion and the steering rod. Then creates a dry path for her to walk on using a roll of expensive red fabric Ferruccio has in the backseat. Fabric that Oreste warned Ferruccio not to ruin.
    • Guido does a little waltz for Dora—'cause when it's raining, you gotta dance.
    • After the rain stops, they walk back to the theater. Guido asks Dora how to get her to open up to him. She says he'll need the key. Guido looks up to the sky and yells to the Virgin Mary to throw down the key.
    • Wouldn't you know it? A key comes down. Dora's pretty astonished at that. (Told you it'd pay off later.)
    • Guido asks her if she'd like to go out for chocolate ice cream. Dora says maybe some other time.
    • Guido asks the Virgin Mary to send someone to tell them when they should get ice cream. Dr. Lessing walks up to them and proudly announces, "Seven seconds!" Dora is, again, astonished.
    • Fun fact: Dr. Lessing is answering Guido's riddle from earlier. It doesn't make much sense in English, but it works in Italian. Seven minuti is a play on words between "minutes" and "dwarves." The subtitles saying "seconds" appears to be a mistake (Source).
    • Back to our story: Guido and Dora are eating ice cream in front of her house mansion.
    • Guido professes his love for her. Dora jumps when she hears thunder in the distance and says he'll get wet again if he stays.
    • Guido says his suit is no big deal but the wet hat bothers him. Dora tries his trick and shouts to the heavens for him to have a dry hat.
    • Oreste comes up to Guido, grabs his hat that Guido had taken, and gives him back his own—and dry—hat and swaps out their hats.
    • That third time's gotta be a charm for Dora.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • Guido bumps into Rodolfo at the hotel but hides behind the ostrich egg he is carrying. It actually works. Rodolfo must be egg-blind or something.
    • Elsewhere, Dora's mother is telling her to get out of bed and go to the party. Dora does so reluctantly.
    • Guido and Ferruccio have a laugh that the guy getting married is the jerk the eggs fell on. They wonder who's actually marrying that guy. (You see where this is going, right?)
    • A waiter comes to get Guido, saying something is wrong with Eliseo.
    • Guido runs outside to see that Robin Hood, Eliseo's horse, has been painted green with anti-Semitic statements.
    • Eliseo says it is the usual barbarians. He warns Guido that they'll start with him soon. Guido laughs it off, saying he didn't even know the horse was Jewish.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • Dora arrives at the party. Guido sees her and realizes she's the poor woman marrying Rodolfo.
    • Guido runs into Dr. Lessing checking out of the hotel. The two say goodbye, complementing each other on their wit and culture. Dr. Lessing gives Guido a riddle as a parting gift: "If you say my name, I'm not there anymore. Who am I?"
    • Guido solves it soon after Dr. Lessing leaves: "Silence."
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • The principal tells Dora and Rodolfo about a math problem they teach children in Germany. It involves figuring out how much the state would save if it euthanized the society's "undesirables."
    • Dora's shocked at how horrible it is. The principal's shocked, too, but only because the math is too difficult for seventh graders. Rodolfo simply laughs that the math is easy.
    • Welcome to Nazi-occupied Italy.
    • A cake is delivered to Dora's table with the phrase "Good morning, Princess" written on it. Dora starts looking around for Guido.
    • Rodolfo gives a speech about how he and Dora are childhood sweethearts, and that they're going to be married in April. Guido is paying so much attention to the Dora's sad face that he flips over a chair and spills his tray of éclairs. No, no, not the éclairs.
    • Guido spills another plate near Dora's table. He goes under the table to clean up the mess, and Dora meets him there.
    • She kisses him and asks him to take her away.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • The hotel presents Dora and Rodolfo with their specialty, the Ethiopian cake. Yep, that's a cake with a stuffed ostrich carrying an ostrich egg in its mouth.
    • Guido rides in on Robin Hood, who's still painted green. He offers Rodolfo a bottle of champagne as congratulations, then whisks Dora onto the horse and rides off with her.
    • At the same moment, Rodolfo recognizes him, the cork of the champagne goes off, and hits the ostrich egg. The egg falls onto Rodolfo's head.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • Guido rides with Dora to his house, but Ferruccio's locked the door. As Guido tries to jimmy the lock, Dora walks calmly into the greenhouse. Guido stops messing with the lock and follows her.
    • Soft cut to five-or-so years later and their son, Joshua, runs out of the greenhouse complaining that he can't find his tank. We guess one thing just led to another…
    • The family goes for a bike ride to drop Dora off at work. As they travel through the city, you'll notice the military presence everywhere they go.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • Guido and Joshua are walking by a store with a sign reading, "No Jews or dogs allowed."
    • Joshua asks why Jews aren't allowed, and Guido, unwilling to tell his son the real answer, makes up stories about shops he's visited who won't let in certain people/animal combinations.
    • Joshua points out they let everyone into their bookstore. Guido decides that starting tomorrow they won't let spiders and Visigoths into their place. He's tired of Visigoths, anyway.
    • At the bookstore, some men in suits show and tell Guido he has to come to the Prefect's office. Guido asks why he has to go again, but they give him the silent treatment.
    • Guido puts Joshua in charge of the store. Joshua watches him leave, and Guido performs a comedic goose step march for his son's amusement.
    • Dora's mother comes into the store and looks around.
    • She hands Joshua a letter to give to Dora, telling him to say it's from Grandma. Joshua says he's never met his grandmother before.
    • She says you'll meet her tomorrow at your birthday. For the record, Joshua totally knows this is his grandma.
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • Guido closes his shop. When he lowers the rolling door, we see graffiti painted across it, saying "Jewish business."
    • At home, Dora is fighting with Joshua to take a bath, but the kid really, really, really doesn't want to. The adults leave to do birthday party things, and Joshua takes the opportunity to hide inside a nightstand.
    • Guido finds him but agrees to keep the secret.
    • Dora returns and asks for the flowers. Using his powers of willpower, Guido commands the nightstand to walk over to them. Joshua bursts out of the night stand and says, "Good morning, Princess!"
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • On Joshua's birthday, Dora brings her mother to the house, and they discover that the place has been ransacked. Guido, Joshua, and Eliseo are missing.
    • The three are in the back of a military truck with other Jews who've been rounded up. Joshua asks them where they're going, and Guido says it's a surprise trip for his birthday.
    • When an exhausted Joshua falls asleep, Guido looks at Eliseo and asks where they're being taken.
  • Scene 19

    Scene 19

    • The Jews are loaded onto trains heading to the concentration camp. To protect his son, Guido continues to pretend this is part of the trip he's planned.
    • Dora arrives at the train station and talks with the officer in charge, claiming there must have been a mistake.
    • The officer checks the manifest and says, nope, no mistake.
    • Dora tells him to stop the train so she can get on, and the officer complies.
    • Guido and Joshua watch Dora get on the train. Joshua is excited his mother made it, Guido not so much.
  • Scene 20

    Scene 20

    • The train arrives at the concentration camp at night, but the Nazis don't begin letting people off until the next morning.
    • Guido calls to Dora but he's quickly pushed back into line by an officer.
    • As they're shuffled into the camp, Guido pretends that the whole thing is a game. He tells Joshua that if they win, they get a tank. A real one.
    • Eliseo is pulled aside with another elderly gentleman and sent to another line.
  • Scene 21

    Scene 21

    • They're sent to the sleeping quarters, and even Guido's stunned at the conditions in the barracks. People are filthy and starving. He quickly gathers his composure and pretends it's exactly what he planned for the game.
    • Joshua complains about the lack of food and crowded barracks, but Guido lies that they have to be tough because everyone wants to win that tank.
    • Joshua asks when it'll be over. Guido thinks fast and says it's over when someone gets to 1,000 points.
    • A German guard walks in and shouts something in German.
    • Guido asks Bartolomeo, a fellow prisoner, what he said. Bartolomeo says he's asking for someone who can speak German. Guido volunteers, and no, he doesn't speak German.
    • The solider starts shouting the camp rules at the prisoners. Guido "translates" the rules of the game for Joshua. Don't worry too much about it; we're sure Bartolomeo will fill everyone in later.
  • Scene 22

    Scene 22

    • Guido's put to work in the factory. All day, he carries anvils and other heavy pieces of metal to be melted down to make weapons.
    • Bartolomeo hurts his arm and gets taken to the hospital.
    • Guido arrives at the sleeping quarters exhausted. He pretends that he's tired because of the games they played all day.
    • Joshua tells him that the other kids say it isn't a game, but Guido tells him that's just their strategy to win.
    • Bartolomeo returns to the room. He mentioned he got 20 (stitches, that is); Joshua thinks he means points.
  • Scene 23

    Scene 23

    • Dora and the other women are sent to work. A Nazi guard tells an old woman she won't be working.
    • Dora thinks the guard must be kind to not send the children and elderly to work, but a fellow prisoner informs her that the Nazis kill them. They tell them it's time for a shower, but in reality, they are brought to the gas chambers.
    • We see the anguish on Dora's face as she thinks about her son.
    • Guido's working in the factory when Joshua comes running in.
    • Joshua says the other kids were told to go take a shower, but he doesn't want to take one. Guido tells him to go shower, but Joshua stubbornly refuses.
    • In the end, Guido relents as long as Joshua finds a place to hide until his work is over.
  • Scene 24

    Scene 24

    • Eliseo's with a group of children and the elderly. They're commanded to undress and hang up their clothes.
    • As Eliseo undresses, a Nazi guard trips in front of him. He helps her up, but she merely looks at him with contempt.
    • Eliseo continues to undress.
  • Scene 25

    Scene 25

    • Guido, presumably having learned what the "showers" really are, tells Joshua that the rules have changed. He must now stay hidden all day, every day.
    • We see Dora and the other women separating a giant pile of clothes taken from the victim of the gas chamber.
    • Guido marches to work with Joshua hidden in the wheelbarrow.
    • He sneaks off when he sees an empty communications room. He and Joshua get on the intercom and send their love to Dora.
    • Dora hears their message and some hope returns.
  • Scene 26

    Scene 26

    • A Nazi guard comes in and orders a group of prisoners to come with him. Guido's in the group, but Joshua stays hidden in the bunk bed.
    • They're sent to a room where a doctor inspects their health. Guido recognizes the man as Dr. Lessing.
    • Guido whispers the answer to Lessing's farewell riddle. Dr. Lessing recognizes him and says something to the guard.
    • Bartolomeo's relieved when Guido returns. Guido tells him that they're having a dinner at the camp with all the officials, and Dr. Lessing got him a gig as a waiter. Guido's hopeful his old friend will help them out.
    • He checks on Joshua and is scared to find him missing. He hears hiccups coming from under the bunk and pulls Joshua out.
    • Joshua explains that he heard a man crying that they make buttons and soap out of people in the camp and burn them in ovens.
    • Guido laughs off the notion as ridiculous, but he's visibly strained under the weight of the lie.
    • Joshua says he's done with this game. He wants to go home.
    • Guido promises they'll leave. As he walks to the door, he points out that they were so close to winning that tank.
    • Joshua decides to stay.
  • Scene 27

    Scene 27

    • Guido prepares the tables for dinner when he sees some German kids playing hide-and-seek.
    • He goes and gets Joshua—who's crazy bored hiding all day—and brings him to the yard. He shows him a young man hiding in a…box thingy.
    • Guido lies that they're the other children in the game, the runners-up. Joshua's in first place.
    • A woman guard rounds up the children. She spies Joshua and, mistaking him for a German child, rounds him up too.
    • Guido makes him promise to not say a word (as part of the game).
  • Scene 28

    Scene 28

    • At the dinner, Guido serves the Nazi officials while trying to have a word in private with Dr. Lessing. Meanwhile, Joshua quietly eats his dinner with the other children.
    • Joshua accidently thanks the waiter in Italian. The waiter goes to get the woman guard, but when they return, Guido's teaching all the children how to say thank you in Italian.
    • His quick thinking saves the day again, and the guard chastises him for speaking to the children.
    • Later in the dinner, Dr. Lessing signals Guido over by spilling his drink.
    • He asks Guido for help solving a riddle; he's lost days of sleep over it. He begs for Guido's help. Guido's too shocked to respond.
    • As the party winds down, Guido puts an opera on the phonograph and points the horn toward the women's side of the camp.
    • Dora stands at an open window and listens to the opera. (Meanwhile, in the neighboring Shawshank Prison, Morgan Freeman is still wondering what those Italian women are singing about.)
  • Scene 29

    Scene 29

    • Guido carries a sleeping Joshua through the fog and gets lost. He wonders aloud if this is a dream.
    • Turning a dark corner, Guido comes upon a mass of dead bodies.
    • He slowly backs away from the sight.
  • Scene 30

    Scene 30

    • Guido wakes up to find the camp in chaos.
    • Bartolomeo explains that the war must be over and the Nazis are running away. He believes they're destroying the evidence of their atrocities.
    • Guido grabs Joshua and tells him the game is over as long as he isn't found tonight. He has the boy hide in that box thingy and tells him not to come out until no one's around.
    • Guido goes to the women's side of the camp. Disguised as a woman, vaguely, he searches the rooms for Dora but can't find her.
    • Seeing a truck driving away with women loaded in the back, he runs behind it shouting for Dora. A woman comes forward, but it isn't his wife.
    • He warns them all to jump out of the truck and flee.
  • Scene 31

    Scene 31

    • A Nazi guard sees Guido and blows the whistle. Guido runs and tries to hide, but a spotlight catches him.
    • The soldier catches him and is ordered to take him somewhere.
    • They walk by Joshua's hiding place on the way. Knowing what's about to happen, Guido winks at Joshua and does his silly goose step as they walk by. Joshua laughs.
    • The Nazi soldier takes Guido around a corner. We hear gunshots. Only the solider emerges.
    • You'll have to give us a minute here…
  • Scene 32

    Scene 32

    • The next day, Joshua emerges from his hiding spot after everyone's left.
    • A tank rolls around the corner, and Joshua's stunned at his awesome prize.
    • An American solider opens the hatch and offers him a lift. Joshua's like, sure (it's his tank, after all).
    • The American soldiers catch up with the camp survivors on the road. Joshua sees his mother, and they reunite.
    • As Dora and Joshua embrace, the narrator pipes in. He tells us that this is his story and how this was his father's gift to him.
    • Joshua, the younger, tells his mother all about how he won the game with 1,000 points and that they'll have plenty to laugh about.