The Pigeon That Took Rome is a 1962 film directed and written by Melville Shavelson and starring Charlton Heston. The film was based on the 1961 novel The Easter Dinner by Donald Downes.


The Pigeon That Took Rome

In 1944, during the last stages of the war in Europe, American officers Paul MacDougall (Heston) and Joseph Contini (Guardino) are sent to Italy to act as spies for the Allies, even though they have no experience in espionage. Working with Partisan resistance soldier Ciccio Massimo (Baccaloni), MacDougall and Contini send regular reports to their superiors by carrier pigeon. Contini also finds himself falling in love with Massimo's pregnant daughter Rosalba (Pallotta), while her sister Antonella (Martinelli) has her eye on MacDougall. Contini proposes to Rosalba, and Ciccio prepares a feast to celebrate his daughter's upcoming wedding. However, Ciccio prepares squab for the occasion, killing all but one of the carrier pigeons. Ciccio scrambles to replace them, but the new pigeons he finds are German, and they deliver MacDougall and Contini's messages directly into enemy hands.


  • Charlton Heston - Captain Paul MacDougall, Benny the Snatch and Narrator
  • Elsa Martinelli - Antonella Massimo
  • Harry Guardino - Sgt. Joseph Contini
  • Salvatore Baccaloni - Ciccio Massimo
  • Marietto - Livio Massimo
  • Gabriella Pallotta - Rosalba Massimo
  • Brian Donlevy - Col. Sherman Harrington
  • Arthur Shields - Monsignor O'Toole
  • Rudolph Anders - Col. Wilhelm Krafft
  • Vadim Wolkowsky - Conte Danesi

Awards and nominations

Academy Awards

  • Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White (Hal Pereira, Roland Anderson, Samuel M. Comer, Frank R. McKelvy) (nominated)

Golden Globe Awards

  • Best Motion Picture Actor - Musical/Comedy (Charlton Heston, nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Harry Guardino, nominated)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Gabriella Pallotta, nominated)

Writers Guild of America

  • Best Written American Comedy (Melville Shavelson, nominated)

See also

The Pigeon That Took Rome
  • War pigeon


The Pigeon That Took Rome

External links

  • The Pigeon That Took Rome at the Internet Movie Database

The Pigeon That Took Rome

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