Although originally a stage actor, Gassman has worked regularly in films since the end of the war: Preluclio d'Amore (46); La Figlia del Capitano (47, Mario Camerini): Daniele Cortis (47, Mario Soldati); Bitter Rice (49, Giuseppe De Santis); Anna (51, Alberto Lattuada); Cny of the Hunted (53, Joseph H. Lewis); Sombrero (53, Norman Foster); Mambo (54, Robert Rossen); Rhapsody (54, Charles Vidor); La Donna Piu Bella del Mondo (55, Robert Z. Leonard); War and Peace (56, King Vidor); Tempest (57. Lattuada); I Soliti Ignoti (57, Mario Monicelli); Audiace Colpi dei Soliti Ignoti (59. Nanni Loy); II Mattatore (59, Dino Risi); La Grande Guerra (60, Monicelli); II Giudizio Universale (61, Vittorio de Sica); La Marcia su Roma (62, Risi); Barabbas (62, Richard Fleischer); II Sorpasso (62, Risi); Frenesia dell Estate (63, Luigi Zampa); I Mostri (63, Risi); II Gaucho (64, Risi); L'Annata Brancaleone (65, Monicelli); Questi Fantasmi (67, Renato Castellani); II Tigre (67, Risi); // Profeta (67, Risi); Woman Times Seven (67, de Sica); Contestazione Generale (70, Zampa); In Nome del Popolo Italiano (71, Risi); Brancaleone alle Croziate (71, Monicelli); Che c’Entriamo noi con la Rivoluzione? (73, Sergio Corbucei); Tosca (73, Luigi Magni); Profumo di Donna (74, Risi); Riva Italia (78, Risi); excellent as the waiter in high places in A Wedding (78, Robert Altman); and Quintet (79, Altman).
Gassman remained very active in fields not easv to observe: The Immortal Bachelor (79, Marcello Fondato); The Nude Bomb (79, Clive Donner); Sono Fotogenico (80, Risi); La Terrazza (80, Ettore Scola); Sharktj’s Machine (81, Burt Reynolds); Camera DAlbergo (81, Monicelli); Tempest (82, Paul Mazursky); De Padre in Figlio (82, which he directed with his son Alessandro); II Conte Tacchia (81, Corbucei); La Vie est un Roman (83, Alain Resnais); Benvenuto (83, Andre Delvaux); Le Pouvoir du Mai (85, Krvzstof Zanussi); I Soliti a Ignoti—20 Anni Doppo (86, Amanzio Todini); La Famiglia (87, Scola); I Picari (87, Monicelli); Di Merit icare Palermo (90, Francesco Rosi); and Sheherezade (90, Philippe de Broca).
Any Italian will tell you that to appreciate Gassman you had to behold him on stage. But, till the end, he gave his presence to the movies, too: I Divertimenti della Vita Privata (90, Cristina Comencini); Rossini! Rossini! (91, Monicelli); El Largo Invierno (91, Jaime Camino); Tolgo il Disturbo (92, Risi); Quando Eravamo Repressi (92, Dino Quartullo); Abraham (94. Joseph Sargent); Tutti gli Anni una Volta VAnno (94, Gianfrancesco Lazotti); splendid and saturnine in Sleepers (96, Barry Levinson); Deseiio di Fuoco (97, Enzo G. Castellari); La Cena (98, Scola); La Bomba (99, Giulio Base).
In the early 1950s, Gassman's conceited beauty brought him a Hollywood contract and marriage to Shelley Winters. Neither association lasted long. Indeed, any director might have shied away from pairing those two, anticipating the juicy smack of colliding hams. For Gassman has always been an outrageous monopolizer of films. To call him an overactor is to suggest a willful stepping on the gas. Whereas the swamping effusion seems quite natural and innocent. In drama, or in parts that exploited his posturing handsomeness, he was persistently overpowering. But in 1957, he acted in and directed with Francesco Rosi Kean, based on Sartres study of the great English actor. The dissection in that play of histrionic manipulation may have taught Gassman to see the humor in acting, for afterwards he concentrated on comedy as well as his own stage company, the Teatro Popolare Italiano.
Vittorio Gassman married only actresses: Nora Ricci (daughter Renzo Ricci), and they had the first daughter Paola. Shelley Winters, with whom he had a second daughter, Victoria, Dorothy D'Andrea, of whom was born James. Widely known as an actor, Gassman is sometimes criticized because of his private life, especially because of his divorce (which caused outrage in the fifties and sixties), and his atheism.