We’ve picked the most memorable Italian movies in different genres for this ranking and ensured a balanced mix between classical and modern.
Life is Beautiful
This one is still considered modern (1997), but on its way to becoming a classic. A Jewish librarian and his son fall victim to the Holocaust. The father protects his son, using a mixture of humor, willpower, and his very rich imagination. The film was directed by Roberto Benigni and written by Benigni and Vincenzo Cerami. It stars Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, and Benigni (again).
Once Upon a Time in America
Everyone has heard of this film, if not seen it. It’s on par with any one of the Godfather Trilogy, which is obviously on here too. It was directed by Sergio Leone and stars Robert De Niro, James Woods, and Elizabeth McGovern.
Here’s (the first) one for horror fans. An American newcomer to an elite ballet academy in Germany is not too pleased to find out the academy is a front for something not quite as romantic amid a series of brutal murders. It was directed by Dario Argento and stars Jessica Harper, Stefania Casini, and Flavio Bucci.
Marriage Italian Style (1964)
The wealthy Domenico and the prostitute Filumena, played by Sophia Loren, make a life for themselves in hapless post WWII Italy. The film was directed by Vittorio De Sica and stars Marcello Mastroianni and Aldo Puglisi.
Caesar Must Die (2012)
This is the most contemporary movie on our list. It’s based on Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar.” In the movie, inmates at a high-security prison in Rome prepare for a public performance of the play. This drama stars Cosimo Rega, Salvatore Striano, and Giovanni Arcuri.
This one may not be the “best”, but memorable it is. It was so vile, bloody, and gruesome that the police actually came on set to see if someone had been killed (only animals had).