The ten best Italian film posters illustrate many cinema masterpieces. Many of the films won awards thanks to the work of some of Italy’s greatest directors.  Graphically artistic, these posters feature a colorful range of Italian movies

  1. “Farinelli.” The movie about a castrated opera singer won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 1995. A head shot of opera singer Farinelli regaled in full costume is on the poster.

  2. “Boccaccio 70.” This feature film, consisting of four short films directed by four well known directors, is about the themes of morality and love based on the style of the fourteenth century poet Boccaccio. The 1962 Italian film poster displays four of the actresses on top of the poster with the four directors sitting in their chairs along the bottom. 

  3. “Roma.” Federico Fellini directed this Italian film in a semi-autobiographical depiction of the move from his native Remini to the city of Rome. The black and orange poster pictures a strong portrait of a woman, presumably Rome herself, the only well defined character in the movie. 

  4. “Malèna.” Set in WWII Sicily, Malèna is poor woman who resorts to prostitution in order to stay alive. A nude portrait of Malèna is revealed in the poster, with her back facing the camera and an outline of her voluptuous body displayed.    

  5.  “The Bicycle Thief.”  A poor man in Rome searches for his bicycle in the movie filmmakers and critics called the greatest movie of all time in a 1952 “Sight and Sound” magazine poll. The poster is a black and white shot of the poor man, Antonio Ricci (Lamberto Maggiorani) and Bruno Ricci (Enzo Staiola), his son. 

  6. “La Dolce Vita.” A classic Italian film directed by the illustrious Federico Fellini, the movie depicts the life of a journalist torn between decadence and domesticity as he strives to become a writer of substance. A dancing socialite is in the forefront of the scene while the journalist views her from the background in this painted, classic film poster.    

  7. “La Strada.” A young woman, Gelsomina (Giuletta Masina), goes on the road as a clown with a cruel, itinerant street performer named Zampanò (Antony Quinn). The poster displays head shots of the main characters of the movie in a characteristic, film poster style. 

  8. “Per Qualche Dollaro in Piu.” This breakout1965 spaghetti western stars Clint Eastwood, who is a bounty hunter in search of a fugitive. A portrait of Eastwood smoking his character’s signature small cigar is displayed in the Italian film poster. 

  9. “Henry IV.” This Italian film about an actor who believes he is a king is based on the Pirandello play with the same name. Henry IV is on a rocking horse in this black and white film poster.

  10. “Riso Amaro.” This pastoral movie title is a play on words, as riso means rice and also laughter in Italian. The movie was produced by Dino de Laurentiis, grandfather of Giada de Laurentiss, the successful food show host of “Everyday Italian.” The poster is of buxom Francesca (Doris Dowling) in a bright red outfit surrounded by other characters from the movie.

- Ellen Wilson