10 Most Popular Italian Movies

Tuesday, March 15 by Mason Kaho

The list of the 10 most popular Italian movies includes some of the best films to ever come out of Europe. Italians are known for their passion and deep love for all things, and this is reflected in their cinema. Often deeply touching, always moving, and usually beautifully shot and crafted, Italian movies offer something for everyone.

  1. “La Strada.” This movie is directed by the legendary Federico Fellini and is one of the most popular Italian movies, winning the Oscar for best foreign language film. In fact, it won 50 international awards all told.
  2. "Cinema Paradiso." This touching and sweet film is certainly one of the most popular Italian movies ever. It is told in flashback, the reflections of a successful film director as he thinks back about his childhood in a small town and his friendship with the local cinema owner, Alfredo.  
  3. "La Dolce Vita." This is another Fellini film—the man most associated with Italian film—and is one of the most popular Italian movies ever made. It was nominated for four Academy Awards, won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and is considered one of the great film achievements ever.
  4. “The Bicycle Thief.” This classic, austere film from 1948 is considered one of the greatest Italian movies ever. It is about a desperate man who needs his bicycle to work and make money, but it is stolen from him. What will he decide when presented the opportunity to steal a bike for himself while in front of his son.
  5. “Life is Beautiful.” This Roberto Benigni film was nominated for several Academy Awards. It is a touching, heartbreaking film about a man and his son who ar taken to a concentration camp during the Holocaust. He does whatever he can to make the experience seem like a game to his young son, all the while doing what he can to survive.
  6. ‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.” This was a “Spaghetti Western,” starring American film star Clint Eastwood in a film made in Italy but set in America. The film is notable for its great cinematography, memorable score, and gunslinging bravado.
  7. “8 ½.”  Another Fellini classic, this black and white film was considered to be very influential and one of the best European films ever made. It was nominated for five Academy Awards and starred the legendary Marcello Mastroianni.
  8. “L'Avventura.” This 1960 film made actress Monica Vitti an international star. Though initially poorly received at Cannes, it eventually won the Jury Prize. Despite the slow pace, its visuals and style make it a classic film.
  9. “What a Beautiful Day.” This recent film broke several box office records upon its release, quickly becoming one of the most popular Italian movies. This politically incorrect comedy is about a security guard who falls in love with an Islamic terrorist.
  10. “1900.” One of the most popular Italian movies, this 1976 film stars Gérard Depardieu and American icon Robert DeNiro, and is directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. You might want to make some popcorn for this movie detailing the political upheavals that took place in the early 20th century, as it runs to five hours.