Bombolini is a fairly-worthless drunk in the small Italian town of Santa Vittoria in the closing days of World War II. When word comes that the Fascist government has surrendered, he climbs a water tower to tear down the flag. He can’t get down and someone gets the crowd to chant his name to give him confidence. The Fascist town council hears this and believes that he is the town’s new leader. They surrender to him and make him the new mayor. He rises to the occasion and when he finds that the Germans plan to occupy his town and take their wine (over a million bottles), he works out a plan to hide it.