La Strada (lit. "The Road") is a 1954 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini from his own screenplay co-written with Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano. The film tells the story of Gelsomina, a simple-minded young woman (Giulietta Masina) bought from her mother by Zampanò (Anthony Quinn), a brutish strongman who takes her with him on the road.
Fellini has called La Strada "a complete catalogue of my entire mythological world, a dangerous representation of my identity that was undertaken with no precedent whatsoever." As a result, the film demanded more time and effort than any of his other works, before or since. The development process was long and tortuous; there were various problems during production, including insecure financial backing, problematic casting, and numerous delays. Finally, just before the production completed shooting, Fellini suffered a nervous breakdown that required medical treatment so he could complete principal photography. Initial critical reaction was harsh, and the film's screening at the Venice Film Festival was the occasion of a bitter controversy that escalated into a public brawl between Fellini's supporters and detractors.
Subsequently, however, La Strada has become "...one of the most influential films ever made," according to the American Film Institute. It won the inaugural Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1957. It was placed fourth in the 1992 British Film Institute directors' list of cinema's top 10 films.