Five young men dream of adventure and getting away from their small town everyday life. They waste their time by spending money on alcohol, women and the evening in the local billiard hall. It is the skirt hunter Fausto who is forced to marry the woman he has made pregnant, the grown child Alberto, the famed author Leopoldo, the baritone Riccardo with unrealistic dreams of singing on stage and finally Moraldo, the group's moral conscience.
For an autobiographical reason, I vitelloni tells with great compassion about a year in the life of a group of daydreamers who are in search of meaning in life. This early Fellini film has been hailed by critics as one of the director's finest works, and it was the first of many for which Fellini was nominated for an Oscar - in addition to giving him the Silver Lion in Venice.