Federico Fellini has called "La Strada," "a complete catalogue of my entire mythological world -- a dangerous representation of my identity that was undertaken with no precedent whatsoever." As a result, the film demanded more time and effort than any of his other works, before or since. The development process was long and tortuous -- there were various problems during production, including insecure financial backing, problematic casting, and numerous delays.
Finally, just before shooting was completed, Fellini suffered a nervous breakdown that necessitated medical treatment in order to complete principal photography. Initial critical reaction was harsh, and the film's screening at the Venice Film Festival was the occasion of a bitter controversy that escalated into a public brawl between Fellini's supporters and detractors.
Subsequently, however, "La Strada" has become "one of the most influential films ever made," according to the American Film Institute. It won the inaugural Academy Award for "Best Foreign Language Film" in 1954. It was placed fourth in the 1992 British Film Institute directors' list of "Cinema's Top 10 Films."