This is a Franco and Ciccio film, a duo generally associated with low production values. Yet never in the history of Italian cinema has there been such an array of stars in one film. They were called upon to help the production company out during a low period. 88 actors in a zany farce that takes a fresh look at the First World War. The list of stars who appear alongside the Sicilian duo includes: Walter Chiari in the role of a defence lawyer who escapes from a mental institution, Raimondo Vianello as a strict Austrian army officer who turns out to be gay, Aldo Fabrizi who has just one line (the memorable: “Next stop: Caporetto!”), Ugo Tognazzi as a Sicilian shepherd who speaks in Venetian dialect, Virna Lisi as a woman who tries many disguises in her desperate attempts to enrol, Totò as a soldier monk. Not to mention Franca Valeri, the De Filippo brothers, Amedeo Nazzari, Macario, Renato Salvatori, Giuliano Gemma, Gino Cervi, Jean-Paul Belmondo… It’s a miracle how the film stands up under the weight of such a stellar cast.
Two penniless Sicilians are being tried for treason. We follow their tragicomic adventures over the course of the First World War. They enrol by mistake and end up being used to fill out the ranks, continuously getting into trouble but unwittingly helping to defeat the enemy.