With pounding fists and brutal charisma, the enigmatic journalist Benito Mussolini seized power through a potent combination of terror and persuasion. Promising glory while crushing his enemies, he held Italy in his grasp ... more »for more than two decades. This revealing BIOGRAPHY® presentation offers an unforgettable exploration into the life of the diminutive man known as Il Duce. Rare clips and photos narrate Mussolini's evolution, from his days as a class bully to the creation of the dreaded Black Shirt Brigades, and historians reveal how his alliance with Hitler ultimately destroyed his country and led to his execution and mutilation by Italian partisans. Contemporary observers explore his renewed popularity and the shocking renaissance of fascism in Italy today. MUSSOLINI: ITALY'S NIGHTMARE presents the life and legacy of Il Duce, one of the most ruthless leaders of the 20th century. DVD Features: Interactive Menus; Scene Selection« less
Charles Ashbacher | Marion, Iowa United States(firstname.lastname@example.org) | 09/01/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With the passage of so many years and the knowledge of the events of world war two, it is difficult to watch this tape and place yourself in the proper historical perspective. The exaggerated pout, pompous strut and other mannerisms of Mussolini seem so comical that it is hard to understand how he could have risen to power. And yet, he gave Italy the longest period of stable government that it has ever seen and he was wildly popular for nearly all of his time as Prime Minister. As I watched the tape, I had to keep reminding myself of this, as at times, he looks so ridiculous.
The years immediately after world war one was a time of near chaos in Europe and although her human losses were relatively small compared to those of the other countries, Italy was in worse shape than most. Mussolini promised, and delivered, what others could not do, a stable government and society. Albeit, a few people had to be killed, but the majority were willing to live with that. His "rise" to power was yet another of his overblown "achievements", and the description on the tape of the Fascist "march" on Rome is correct, as opposed to the absurd description given by the Fascists. In fact, the weak King of Italy appointed Mussolini Prime Minister, as he lacked the backbone to stand up to him.
Unfortunately for Italy, Mussolini seemed to commit the sin that so many of his kind do, they begin to believe their own absurd rhetoric. Fancying himself an heir to the Caesars, he launched a series of military adventures, the first few of which were foolish, but not disasters, His biggest and most incomprehensible mistake was to join with Hitler in his war on the remainder of the world. Had he remained neutral, Italy could possibly have emerged from the war the second strongest nation in Europe, behind the Soviet Union.
The creators of the tape spend some time on Mussolini's relationship with Hitler, pointing out many of the differences between them. Few alive today realize that it was Mussolini who prevented the German annexation of Austria when Dollfuss was assassinated by the Nazis. I would have preferred that the producers spend more time on this aspect of his life, as the German-Italian military alliance was not inevitable. One can only speculate on how things would have been different had Mussolini followed his true feelings towards Hitler and stayed out of the war as much as possible.
Mussolini and his actions were the role model followed by Adolph Hitler as he consolidated his hold on Germany. In fact, during the early years of Hitler's rule, Mussolini was the senior partner in their relationship. Although he appears to be a pompous ... on this tape, Mussolini was a masterful politician, manipulating public opinion by brazenly stating outlandish and contradictory stories in the media. He was the first to truly realize the power of the media and the very short memory of the masses. Mussolini also gave Italy a stable government, with many successes in building the nation's infrastructure, something commonly forgotten.
If you view this tape with the events of world war two foremost in your mind, then you will not be able to understand how Mussolini did what he did. However, if you can place yourself in the historical perspective of the years after world war one, then it is possible to realize that it is almost inevitable that such a man would be able to rise to power in a nation desperately looking for a savior."
Chris Johnson | 01/19/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"In the world of historical documentaries, Adolf Hitler probably leads the field as a subject. His inspiration, Mussolini, by contrast, has been almost completely neglected. There's only one other Mussolini documentary on the market that I know of(assuming it's still in print), and it's ludicrously old.This video, from the A&E Biography series, is probably about as good a life of the Italian dictator as we'll get in less than an hour. Mussolini's transition from socialism to fascism is awfully abrupt, as if he woke up one morning and decided, for no particular reason, to start the Fascist Party. One would like to have heard more about Fascism's roots in socialism and syndicalism. Nevertheless, this is the best video life of Mussolini currently available."
Chris Johnson | 02/06/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Maybe people should talk to people who lived under Mussolini, before giving there opinion on him. My family lived under Mussolini for several years and said he was a great leader and did more for the people then the leaders do today. Don't let the media distort the truth, like it usually does"
diane cavallaro | 01/20/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This biography on the Italian dictator not as long as desired and therefore not the most in-depth coverage to be found. Nonetheless, it is filled to the brim with spectacular video footage of Mussolini and Italy during WWII, which is almost by itself a reason enough to acquire this for a WWII library."
The documentary is controversial about Mussolini's character
Pork Chop | Lisbon, Portugal | 12/20/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"A&E Biography - Mussolini, Italy's Nightmare (1987) will draw those with a passion for history and real wartime images and news reels.
Over 50 minutes, a biographical expose of Mussolini is told, showing his rural origins, being the son of an intelligent school teacher mother and a maverick, outspoken and agitator or rebellious father.
The documentary is controversial, not for it's short playing time, but rather for a totally condescending and dismissive attitude towards the Italian leader, almost as a clown, a poseur, an opportunistic demagogue who by accident and disbelief became leader of perhaps the most prestigious and sophisticated country in the history of world.
At no time over the entire work, do the narrators refrain from discounting Mussolini's talents, hard work, love for his country, and belief (that he felt he was doing what was right). Indeed, the film suggests anyone among Italy's 60 million people could have replicated Mussolini's achievements... a big assumption.
Granted, the authors convincingly state their case that the leader had a definite theatrical element in him, mastering from an early age a passion for getting involved with current events in the community, vocalizing what too many people left unsaid publicly for fear of repercussions. He expressed the challenges faced by people either in person or through blistering editorials first in the leftist ideological papers, and then to the right. He had a populist approach, adhering to whatever direction the winds were blowing at any particular time, to score instant high approval numbers.
It is said that Mussolini was expelled from school, was a yard bully, draft-dodger in WW1, carried and used a knife, was a delinquent, often being found in local brothels. At one time, he also had tough words for the monarchy, the government and church. In sum, the film presents him as an agitator, stirring the pot to become the center of attention or the main attraction.
They say that Mussolini was totally clueless and lost when called to prepare and weigh various military options one against another, and disparages the Italian army as ineffective, disorganized, unequipped and demotivated.
A journalistic micro-manager, he abolished rival political parties, personally corresponded with newspapers in critiquing positively or negatively various news items and commentary about his government and policies, exerting pressure in one way or another on reporters.
It suggests Hitler was a fan of Mussolini a lot before the latter completed his 10 year term in power, and later adopted Italian theatrical displays of power, image manipulation and nationalism in Germany.
An open question is set in the minds of viewers, that Mussolini never intended to conquer or subjugate Europe with his troops, but merely went along for the ride with Hitler, for friendship and ideological likemindedness on the one hand, while hesitant, reluctant and repulsed by what he saw in the German dictator on the other. He could bring himself to rupturing the relation for fear of retaliation by a much more lethal nation - Germany - backed by a superb, modern, professionally managed and equipped Wehrmacht military institution and SS."