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Life is Beautiful Characters

by Roberto Benigni

Character List

Guido Orefice

A Jewish-Italian bookstore owner and the protagonist of the film. After he marries Dora, they have a son, Giosue. He has a way of making seemingly magical things happen by manipulating his surroundings. When he is taken to a concentration camp with Dora and Giosue, he tries to encourage them with his antics and machinations, and he eventually sacrifices his life to save his son.

Dora Orefice

Guido's wife. She leaves her boorish fiancé for Guido because she is charmed by the enchanted situations that seem to find him wherever he goes. When Guido and Giosue are taken to a concentration camp, she insists on going, too, even though she is not Jewish. She survives the ordeal and is ultimately reunited with her son.

Giosue Orefice

Guido and Dora's son. After Guido and Giosue are taken to the concentration camp, Guido convinces Giosue that they are both participants in a giant game and that the winner will receive a real tank. Giosue is occasionally skeptical of his father's fantastic ideas, but he generally takes great joy in the magical world that Guido creates for him.

Eliseo Orefice

Guido's uncle. Eliseo finds Guido a job as a waiter when he first arrives in the city. He is the target of Nazi aggression throughout the film, and he eventually is gassed in the concentration camp.

Ferruccio Papini

Guido's friend. Ferruccio moves to the city with Guido, teaches him the Schopenhauer Method, and accompanies Guido on many of his adventures.

Dora's Mother

A staid woman, Dora's mother does not want her to marry Guido, and the two fall out of touch for many years. Finally, Dora's mother approaches Giosue in the bookstore, and mother and daughter are reunited.

Doctor Lessing

One of Guido's regular patrons at the restaurant. Doctor Lessing is a lover of riddles, and he finds Guido's particular facility with them astonishing. He becomes a doctor in the concentration camp but does not help Guido's family escape despite his longstanding friendship with Guido.

School Principal

An uptight woman who is shocked when Guido arrives to lecture her charges on the superiority of the Aryan race. She later reveals her racism at Dora's engagement dinner.

Amico Rodolfo

Dora's fiancé when she first meets Guido. He is insensitive and caught up in Italian high society, and he makes Dora unhappy. He also denies Guido a loan to open a bookstore.

Bartolomeo

One of Guido's bunkmates in the concentration camp.

Vittorino

A fellow prisoner at the concentration camp.

Oreste

the man who employs Ferruccio as an upholsterer.

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