10 Best Old Italian Movies

Wednesday, January 19 by Jason Cuthbert

The culturally exquisite country of Italy has spawned high fashion, famous painters, fabulous food and amazing cinematic masterpieces, as can be witnessed with this collection of the 10 best old Italian movies. The criteria for this top ten list is that the films have to be over 30 years old, its director has to be Italian-born and the movie must contain scenes shot in Italy. Let your imagination become your passport and travel to Europe vicariously through these best old Italian movies.

  1. "8 ½" Before directors such as Tim Burton and Terry Gilliam stroked are creative minds and made their surreal fantasy films unfold, there was Federico Fellini making his own magic in Italy, especially with this masterpiece: "8 ½." This is probably the best movie ever made about making movies.
  2. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" Clint Eastwood may have become legendary for his portrayal of tough San Francisco cop Dirty Harry in that long-lasting crime series, but Italian director Sergio Leone made him an international star with this old Italian movie and its two other chapters. If you have ever heard the phrase "Spaghetti Western," watch "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" — the king of them all.
  3. "La Dolce Vita" Federico Fellini returns, directing this gorgeous dramatic comedy, which he also helped write. This Italian tale follows the life of a journalist who must choose between the limitations of his domestic life and the temptations of the socially elite.
  4. "L'avventura" This incredible Italian classic was directed and co-written by the celebrated Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni, who also brought forth films such as "Blow Up" and "The Passenger" starring Jack Nicholson. This mysterious story involves the disappearance of a woman in the Mediterranean Sea and her lover and best friend who grow fond of each other during the search.
  5. "Open City" Italian director Roberto Rossellini brought forth this World War II era war film that deals with the struggle during the Nazi occupation of Rome. Rossellini held realism to an extremely high standard — even using actual Nazi prisoners of war as extras in the movie.
  6. "Amarcord" Federico Fellini creates quite a whimsical comedy portrayed by this ensemble cast in a small Italian town called Rimini, where Fellini grew up. Although Fellini admits that the story contains a few similarities, he has denied that "Amarcord" is intended to be an autobiography about his childhood.
  7. "Death in Venice" This old Italian movie meshes striking drama with intriguing fantasy in this adaptation of a Thomas Mann novel. Director Luchino Visconti also made two other films that have been grouped together with this one in what has been referred to as his "German Trilogy." The other two films are: "La caduta degli dei" and "Ludwig."
  8. "L'eclisse" This 1962 Italian film was actually the third part in director Michelangelo Antonioni's romance trilogy. The other two chapters were the before mentioned "L'avventura" and "La notte," each released roughly a year apart.
  9. "Novecento" This brilliant old Italian epic movie was directed by Bernardo Bertolucci and stars the incredible Robert De Niro in an early performance. This story of a wealthy man and a peasant not only spans over the course of 40 years, but also over four hours in it's total running time, so use the bathroom and get comfortable.
  10. "Two Women" This old Italian dramatic war movie tackles World War II to be exact. Vittorio De Sica directed his star Sophia Loren into a performance that lead to her winning a Best Actress Academy Award — the first ever for a "foreign language" film.