Sold by her impoverished mother to Zampano (Anthony Quinn), a brutish fairground wrestler, waif-like Gelsomina (Giulietta Masina) lives a life of drudgery as his assistant. After taking to the road with a travelling circus, a budding relationship with II Matto/The Fool (Richard Basehart), a gentle-natured, tightrope walking clown, offers a potential refuge from her master's clutches. Trapped by her own servile nature, Gelsomina waivers, and Zampano's volcanic temper erupts with tragic consequences. Characteristically mingling elements of biography with metaphor and symbolism, La Strada also combines an easygoing charm with a far harder edged realism in the form of domestic violence and decaying, desolate towns. Masina -Fellini's wife - is astonishing in the central role and what with the evocative Nino Rota score and Otello Martelli's ravishing photography, it's little wonder that La Strada was the winner of the first official Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.