The Working Class Goes to Heaven

The Working Class Goes to Heaven (La classe operaia va in paradiso

original movie poster
Directed by Elio Petri
Produced by Ugo Tucci
Written by Ugo Pirro
Elio Petri
Starring Gian Maria Volontè
Mariangela Melato
Gino Pernice
Music by Ennio Morricone
Cinematography Luigi Kuveiller
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release dates
17 September 1971 (Italy)
11 May 1975 (New York City only)
Running time
125 min
Country Italy

The Working Class Goes to Heaven (Italian: La classe operaia va in paradiso) is a 1971 film directed by Elio Petri. It depicts a factory worker's realisation of his own condition as a simple "tool" in the process of production and, implicitly, his struggle with the trade unions. The worker in question, Lulu, is described in the first part of the film as a Stakhanovite.


Lulu Massa is a reliable and dedicated factory worker but then he loses a finger due to a work accident. He lets himself get agitated by communistic students and becomes an agitator himself. His employer fires him for supporting those students but they refuse to acknowledge responsibility. The trade union, although having resented his previous aggressivity, achieves to get him back into his old job. At night Lulu has a dream where he breaks through a wall and there's nothing behind it.



The film shared the Grand Prix with The Mattei Affair (with also Gian Maria Volontè as leading actor) at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival.[1]


  1. "Festival de Cannes: The Working Class Goes to Heaven". Retrieved 2009-04-13.

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