Originally developed as a miniseries for television. It was then released in cinemas in June 2003 as two three-hour films after the uncut six-hour version had been screened to great acclaim at the Cannes Film Festival. It was eventually aired on Italian TV as originally intended, in 4 parts, in November 2003.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
At 2:25, the poem that Luigi reads to Matteo while their are walking in the park is called "Dei Sepolcri", from the italian poet Ugo Foscolo.
Main actors Luigi Lo Cascio, Alessio Boni and Fabrizio Gifuni used to live together before making it big.
The flood that makes Giulia and Nicola go to Florence as helpers (where they get to meet for the first time) is a real catastrophe that struck the city on November 4, 1966. The many young people who went to work there as volunteers were called the "mud angels".
At a certain point, Nicola shows a book from the psychiatrist he takes as his model: the man is Franco Basaglia, who inspired the Italian Mental Health Act of 1978 which led to a large reform of the Italian psychiatric system. The law was named after Basaglia.
Actress Maya Sansa took part in another film about the Italian period of political turmoil, which is Marco Bellocchio's "Buongiorno, notte" (Good morning, night)
Near the beginning, Matteo reads an Italian translation of "Tom Beatty" from Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology. It is an imaginary epitaph of a lawyer who spent his life gambling. The gist of the poem is that you have 70 years to do something with your life, don't waste it.
Second collaboration between director Marco Tullio Giordana and actor Luigi Lo Cascio. They also worked together in "I cento passi" (One hundred Steps) and "Romanzo di una strage".