From Federico Fellini’s, Roberto Rossellini’s, and Vittorio De Sica’s directorial masterpieces to great actors like Marcello Mastroianni and Sophia Loren, Italian cinema is truly the most gifted of all cinemas, producing some of the finest works of all time. Here, we have picked some of the most amazing Italian cinema works, whose influence has spread worldwide. If you are not much familiar with Italian movies, have a look at the following list of the Top 15 best italian movies and see yourself get transported to the beautiful Tuscan countryside, dramatic coastlines all the while getting to know its rich historical and cultural heritage. With some of the most exemplary works on Neo-realism, Italian movies are sure to give you a life-changing experience through unique cinematic techniques, socially relevant storylines, and artistic direction. This compiled list contains some of the most essential works of Italian cinema till now.
#1 – Cinema Paradiso (1988)
Told through a series of flashbacks, a famous movie director comes back to his war-torn village and reminisces of his childhood memories at Cinema Paradise. One of the best italian films, this Guiseppe Tornatore’s directed movie, is going to melt your heart. Available on Vudu, Fandango, Prime Video.
#2 – Amarcord (1973)
Directed by the great Federico Fellini, semi-autobiographical ‘Amarcord’ is a nostalgic, funny, and heart-warming film of all time. Set in 1930’s seaside town of Italy, it offers a satirical commentary on its inhabitants’ everyday lives. Available on Vudu, Prime, iTunes.
#3 – Umberto D (1952)
De Sica’s classic follows the story of a destitute old man, trying to make ends meet in post-war Rome with only his beloved dog for company. You’ll love the performance of Carlo Battisti in this best italian movies of all time. Available to watch on iTunes or Prime Video.
#4 – Life is Beautiful (1997)
This powerful heart-breaking film is a story of a Jewish family sent to a concentration camp and how the jovial-natured father uses humor as a shield to create a beautiful world for his son even amidst Nazi horrors. Available to watch on Prime Video, Vudu, Fandango.
#5 – La dolce vita (1960)
In a visually-stunning iconic film by Fellini, often regarded his greatest, a disillusioned and restless tabloid journalist (Marcello Mastroianni) spends days and nights exploring the glitzy glamour life in Rome, in search for love and happiness. Watch this famous Italian movies on Amazon Prime, Prime Video.
#6 – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Directed by Sergio Leone, this movie is a must-watch for all Italian-movie lovers. Starring Clint Eastwood, Wallach, and Lee Van Cleef- it’s a story of three bounty hunters in search of Confederate Gold during the American Civil War. Available on Netflix, Prime Video, Vudu, Fandango.
#7 – 8 ½ (1963)
Starring Marcello Mastroianni, 8 ½ is an Italian surrealist magnum opus directed by the great Fellini. An overwhelmed, troubled filmmaker retreats into his world of thoughts as he tries to pull off his new movie. Available on Prime, Vudu.
#8 – Bicycle Thieves (1948)
Set in post-war Italy, a poor man sets out with his son in search of his stolen bicycle-only source of livelihood. With its emotional critique on the unfairness of life, Vittorio De Sica’s masterpiece on Neorealism is sure to become your favorite. Available on Prime, Vudu, iTunes.
#9 – The Great Beauty (2013)
After his 65th birthday, an aging writer who has lived an exquisite lavish life in Rome finds himself looking at it with all new glory, past its nightlife and parties. Directed by Sorrentino, its beautiful cinematography will give you an enthralling experience. Available on Prime, Vudu.
#10 – Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
Luchino Visconti’s greatest film is a balance of family saga, melodrama, and Neorealism. Shot in black-and-white, the plot revolves around Rocco and his four brothers as they attempt to find a new life in Milan. Available on Prime, Vudu, iTunes.
#11 – L’Avventura (1960)
Following Anna’s mysterious disappearance, her friend and fiancée get involved in a romantic relationship, quickly forgetting her existence. This first film of a trilogy by Antonioni’s has become one of the most popular Italian films. Available on Prime, Vudu, iTunes.
#12 – The Conformist (1970)
A fascist man travels to Paris to assassinate his former teacher- now forthright anti-fascist. Directed by Bertolucci, it is a political commentary on fascism and beauty. Based on a novel, this expressionist masterpiece is famous for its baroque cinematography. Available on Netflix and Prime Video.
#13 – Il Postino (1995)
A shy young postman develops a friendship with the famous exiled Pablo Neruda, while hand-delivering mails to him and soon uses his love for poetry to woo the beautiful local girl. Co-written and starred by Massimo Troisi. Rent/buy at iTunes and available on Prime Video.
#14 – La Strada (1954)
Another masterpiece by Fellini, it offers a poetic look on love and cruelty. After being bought by a circus strongman from her mother, a carefree girl loyally endures him along the journey until she no longer can. Available on Amazon Prime.
#15 – The Leopard (1963)
Luchino Visconti’s epic drama film portrays the downfall of an aristocratic family amid social upheavals of ‘Risorgimento’ in 1860’s Sicily and how the noble Prince of Salina tries to prevent it. Watch this cinematic masterpiece available on Prime, Vudu, Fandango.
After watching these movies, you’ll see yourself loving Italy, not just for the beauty of its place but also for the beauty in the pioneering films they have produced.
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