Born in Rome in 1922, Lizzani worked as a critic and essayist for the group CINEMA before becoming associated with La rivista, which formed the base for the "Neorealismo" movement in Italian filmmaking, collaborating with notable filmmakers Roberto Rossellini, Giuseppe De Santis, Michelangelo Antonioni, Luchino Visconti, Gianni Puccini and Antonio Pietrangeli. His collaboration as a screenwriter with Vittorio De Sica, Cesare Zavattini and Alessandro Blasetti was interrupted by World War II.
After WWII, he collaborated on such notable films as Germany Year Zero (1948) with Roberto Rossellini, The Mill on the Po (1949) with Alberto Lattuada, and Caccia tragica (1947) and Bitter Rice (1949) with De Santis; it was for Bitter Rice that Lizzani received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Story. Lizzani went on to direct his own films, including the internationally acclaimed crime thriller Banditi a Milano (Bandits in Milan), released in the United States as The Violent Four (1968). At the time film critic Pauline Kael wrote, "The Violent Four shows more understanding for visual movement and more talent for movie-making than anything that's been made in America this year."
From the guide to the Lizzani, Carlo mss., 1941-2010, (Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington))