10 Best Italian Film Directors

Friday, March 25 by Shawn Lealos

The 10 best Italian film directors are recognized as men who paved the road for all filmmakers both in Italy as well as worldwide. Current directors like Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola have publicly stated how they own a debt of gratitude to the works of these amazing Italian filmmakers.

  1. Federico Fellini. Fellini is easily one of the greatest filmmakers in cinema history and possibly the best Italian film director of all time. Some of his best films include “Amarcord,” “La Dolce Vita” and “La Strada.” His film “8 1/2” was remade as a musical for the stage and later an movie remake re-titled “Nine.”
  2. Michelangelo Antonioni. While not a director that everyone can enjoy, Antonioni remains one of the best Italian film directors and most influential men in the realm of independent cinema. Antonioni implement an art sensibility to his movies, often choosing style over substance. His most popular film was “L’avventura.”
  3. Vittorio De Sica. De Sica created one of the greatest, and saddest, movies of all time in 1948 with “The Bicycle Thief.” The movie helped him achieve worldwide acclaim and he did not disappoint when four years later he created the amazing, a quite depressing “Umberto D.”
  4. Sergio Leone. While America’s most popular films at the advent of cinema were westerns, it was Italian film director Sergio Leone who popularized the fun spaghetti western. He helped make Clint Eastwood a star in the “Dollars Trilogy” and was also the man behind “Once Upon a Time in the West.”
  5. Bernardo Bertolucci. Bertolucci created one of the most visually beautiful movies in cinema history with “The Last Emperor.” The movie became one of the most successful movies made by an Italian film director, winning nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.
  6. Giuseppe Tornatore. Tornatore is one of the younger directors on this list and retains a spot as one of the best Italian film directors based on his amazing “Cinema Paradiso.” The movie is a love letter to anyone who enjoys movies. He also made “Everybody’s Fine,” which was remade starring Robert De Niro in 2009.
  7. Dario Argento. This horror film director has been directing movies since 1970, creating gory and disturbing visions of terror. One of the best Italian film directors, Argento created horror masterpieces such as “Suspiria,” “Inferno” and “Trauma.”
  8. Roberto Rossellini. Rossellini made films during the Italian neorealist phase, remaining one of the best Italian film directors of his era. Rossellini made many movies with one of that era’s greatest actresses, Ingrid Bergman. He helped usher in what would become known in France as the New Wave.
  9. Luchino Visconti. Visconti was responsible for one of the best films dealing with social classes in the 1963 movie “The Leopard.” One of the best Italian film directors, Visconti created movies that were seen as neorealist and he earned an Oscar nomination for his 1969 film, “The Damned.”
  10. Roberto Benigni. Roberto Benigni will always be known for his reaction when he won an Oscar for his film, “Life is Beautiful.” Despite his crazed acceptance speech, this film remains one of the most beautiful and touching comedies ever made.