10 Great Italian Movies

Sunday, March 13 by Shawn Lealos

These ten great Italian movies, directed by some of cinema’s most renowned filmmakers, include movies from well known filmmakers like Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni, along with some titles you might not have seen yet.

  1. “8 1/2” – Federico Fellini directed one of the all-time great Italian movies with “8 1/2.” The movie follows the life of a famous director who gets writer’s block and can’t get his next movie off the ground. The film watches as he breaks down trying to figure out what kind of movie he wants to make.
  2. “La Dolce Vita” – One of the great Italian movies, Federico Fellini directs this film following the life of a journalist in Rome who tries, unsuccessfully to find love and happiness. The movie is structured as an art film, yet still received four Oscar nominations.
  3. “L’Avventura” – Michelangelo Antonioni created one of the great Italian movies with this film. As with many of Antonioni’s works, this is a strange art film that places visual compositions above story and allows the film to meander to different plot strands, never resolving any of them. It remains a visually stunning film.
  4. “The Leopard” – This great Italian movie by filmmaker Luchino Visconti, based on a novel by the same name. The movie is about the changes in social structure and class struggles in Sicily. The film follows a nobleman who is forced to deal with his loss of power and respectability.
  5. “Cinema Paradiso” – One of the most beautiful of the great Italian movies, “Cinema Paradiso” is told mainly in flashback following the life of a famous film director. The movie is a love letter to cinema, showing how the love of film can influence a person’s life over time.
  6. “Il Postino” – This movie follows a young postman who meets a famous post and discovers how to have love in his life.
  7. “La Strada” – Anthony Quinn stars in this, one of the great Italian movies in cinema history. Directed by Federico Fellini, Quinn plays a Gypsy who buys the rights to a young girl and travels the country putting on side shows. The two share a brutal and awkward relationship that ends up being the end of both of them.
  8. “Bicycle Thieves” – One of the most depressing of the great Italian movies, this Italian film follows a father who has his bicycle stolen. But when the man can’t recover it, he attempts to steal another bike to get to work to support his family.
  9. “Umberto D.” – This neorealist film remains one of the all-time great Italian movies. The film follows an old man who is trying to make ends meet on his small pension. When the man realizes there is nothing he can do to afford rent, he contemplates suicide with only his small dog as his companion.
  10. “Life is Beautiful” – Roberto Benigni won the Academy Award for Best Actor for this great Italian movie, which he also directed. He plays a father who, along with his son, in taken to a concentration came during World War II. He determines to pretend it is a game to protect his son’s innocence up until his own execution.