1900 chronicles the lives of illegitimate farmer's son Olmo Dalco (Gerard Depardieu) and rich landowner's son Alfredo Berlinghieri (Robert De Niro), both born January 27, 1901. Olmo and his family struggle daily for survival whereas Alfredo lives a wealthy, protected life on the Berlinghieri Estate. The two boys grow up side by side but, eventually, their different status drives them apart with their friendship inevitably conforming to the political changes that span from the beginning of the century until after the end of WWII. Alfredo's family hire Attila Mellanchini (Donald Sutherland) as a foreman who plunges himself in lustful and violent acts against the farmers, a man who abuses his authority in the most despicable ways imaginable while remaining oblivious to the brewing social revolution. Alfredo's reluctance to fire him combined with the fall of Italian fascism will cause him to pay the price for the crimes against, not only the tortured plantation workers, but Olmo himself.