Well-known actor Gian Maria Volonte carries this Italian biographical film almost single-handedly in his role as the industrialist Enrico Mattei. Mattei gave Italian industry a much-needed shot in the arm in the postwar era and died under suspicious circumstances in 1962. However, like many larger-than-life figures, he is not without his flaws.
He created a giant monopolistic industry, which he is thought to have maintained free from interference by the government through the application of generous bribes. When he set out to make Italy a power in the petroleum world, however, he ran into serious difficulties.