Critics score:
98 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: It's Fellini's last black-and-white picture and conceivably the most gorgeous and inventive thing he ever did. Read more

Stanley Kauffmann, The New Republic: In terms of execution I cannot remember a more brilliant film. Read more

Peter Rainer, New York Magazine/Vulture: Its opening [has] perhaps the greatest dream scene of all: Marcello Mastroianni's Guido stifled in a silent traffic jam, onlookers gazing blankly at him as he rises through the sunroof of his car, high into the sky. The rest of the film isn't too shabby. Read more

Bosley Crowther, New York Times: Here is a piece of entertainment that will really make you sit up straight and think, a movie endowed with the challenge of a fascinating intellectual game. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: 8 1/2 is the best film ever made about filmmaking. Read more

TIME Magazine: Unless Fellini's problem has been preying on the mind of the viewer, he may not care to take on the director's doubts and confusions. Read more

Brian Case, Time Out: Amiably spiking all criticism through a gloomy scriptwriter mouthpiece, Fellini pulls a multitude of rabbits out of the showman's hat. Read more

Variety Staff, Variety: Here is the author-director picture par excellence, an exciting, stimulating, monumental creation. Read more

J. Hoberman, Village Voice: The ensuing decades have brought forth a deluge of bogus masterpieces, and Fellini's, by comparison, holds up rather well. Read more

Hal Hinson, Washington Post: [Fellini] is that rare sort of artist who can be loved, revered and just barely tolerated, all at the same time. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Somehow, the movie is more than the dated crisis of a naval-contemplating artist. It's about the inability in all of us to make sense of our lives, put it all together and come up with something meaningful. Read more