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Top 10 Movies from Italy

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Peter Sotiriou. Italy isn’t just about delicious cuisine and luxury sports cars; with its rich history and culture come fantastic filmmaking as well. Join WatchMojo.comas we count down our picks for the top 10 Italian films. For this list, we’ve chosen films made and produced in Italy, with the majority of the spoken language being Italian, based on a mix of their iconic nature, how memorable they are, and their critical and/or commercial success. Special thanks to our users Charles Parisé, David NM, Coop, Jaime Enrique Gutierrez Pérez and www.google.com/ for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Peter Sotiriou.

Top 10 Movies from Italy


Italy isn’t just about delicious cuisine and luxury sports cars; with its rich history and culture come fantastic filmmaking as well. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Italian films.

For this list, we’ve chosen films made and produced in Italy, with the majority of the spoken language being Italian, based on a mix of their iconic nature, how memorable they are, and their critical and/or commercial success.

#10: “Umberto D.” (1952)

Simple yet touching, “Umberto D.” is a character-driven film, which provides social commentary in post-WWII Italy. Relating the somber tale of a lonely pensioner who’s struggling to make ends meet, “Umberto D.” boasts a superb cast, with the titular character being portrayed by a professor acting for the first time. As gestures and body language tell the story of this old man and his beautiful relationship with his loveable dog, dialogue is infrequent, and this is particularly evident in the scene where he first begs for money but retracts. Hypnotic in its simplicity, this powerful neorealist film will bring you to tears.

#9: “La Strada” (1954)

You’ll hear Federico Fellini’s name a few times on this list. The master director created a very human story in “La Strada,” where viewers are introduced to Gelsomina, a carefree soul who is sold to Zampano, a ruthless, cruel street performer. She believes that he is the man of her life; unfortunately, he uses her as a way to make ends meet. But as turbulent as it is, it’s their relationship that makes this film so moving and emotional. With a fantastic musical score and remarkable cinematography, “La Strada” is a sad tale of an unlikely romance that also won the first Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1956.

#8: “The Conformist” (1970)

With brilliant performances and an unforgettable visual style, Bernardo Bertolucci’s “The Conformist” sees Marcello Clerici, a fascist flunky, travelling abroad to arrange the slaying of his old teacher, who’s now a political refugee. The political drama serves as a criticism of fascism and its advocates, examining the characters’ beliefs about politics, love, family and death when faced with repression and oppression. From a technical standpoint, “The Conformist” is visually stunning, with the use of light, camera angles and character positioning. And it’s this combination that creates a beautiful, surreal experience.

#7: “L’Avventura” (1960)

A gripping sense of uneasiness, isolation and moral decay haunt the viewer of this adventure drama. During a Mediterranean boating trip with her lover Sandro and her best friend Claudia, Anna goes missing. The film’s focus then turns to the relationship forming between Sandro and Claudia as the two seem to forget about the lost Anna and, in turn, so do the viewers. With complex shots and beautiful cinematography, “L’Avventura” is not for everyone, but with a little patience, and perhaps multiple viewings to really grasp every meticulous detail; the viewer will be rewarded with a tremendous cinematic experience.

#6: “La Dolce Vita” (1960)

Fellini puts on a show with the decadent lifestyle of the wealthy here. The comedy-drama follows a series of events in which paparazzo Marcello Rubini is slowly consumed by the riches and wealth he reports on. Self-indulgence leads to self-loathing, and so the portrait is painted of an intelligent yet shallow man. Characters with detestable qualities flood the screen, yet their every action has us glued to them: such is the magnificence of Fellini and the cast. The film itself is a wondrous exploration of The Good Life.

#5: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966)

Sergio Leone’s sprawling Spaghetti Western follows three gunslingers looking for 200-thousand dollars in stolen gold buried in a remote cemetery. Clint Eastwood stars as “The Good”, otherwise known as The Man With No Name, and the one with a sense of honor; Lee Van Cleef’s “The Bad” is a ruthless killer looking out for himself; and Eli Wallach is Tuco “The Ugly”, representing humanity’s unpleasant side as he’s driven by impulse and rage, stealing and lying to get his way. Masterful storytelling and pacing make the film’s epic length fly by, with an iconic score by Ennio Morricone that adds to every scene, creating a mood that draws the viewer in and never lets go.

#4: “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso” (1988)

A love letter to movies, Giuseppe Tornatore’s “Nuovo Cinema Paradiso” follows the life of filmmaker Salvatore “Toto” Di Vita. In the first part of the drama, we see young Toto fall in love with movies as he forms a bond with Alfredo, the local theater’s projectionist. In later parts, we witness the tragic love story blossoming between Toto and Elena. Simple and straightforward, with amazing visuals and a terrific musical score, this cinematic masterpiece will have you laughing and crying as memories of the past and pure emotion take over.

#3: “Life Is Beautiful” (1997)

Winner of three Oscars including Best Foreign Language Film, “Life Is Beautiful” isn’t your typical WWII film. A blend of simple comedy and drama breathes emotion and life into every scene as the carefree Jewish bookkeeper Guido, played masterfully by Roberto Benigni, finds love and a family before German forces occupy Italy and send him, his wife and his son to a concentration camp. To survive the camp and to hide the horrors of war from his son, Guido presents their situation as a game. It’s a simple but touching tale about the human spirit, where a man does everything in his power to protect his family.

#2: “8 ½” (1963)

From the opening dream sequence in which a man is trapped in his car, viewers know they’re about to go on an exhilarating ride into the mind of Fellini with this comedy-drama. The man in question is Guido Anselmi, a film director preparing to shoot a new, big budget film. This large task, along with the expectations of his crew and the difficulties of marriage, take a toll on him, and he resorts to dreams and fantasies as a way to cope. Shot in black and white, with beautiful images and a mesmerizing score, “8 ½” serves as a journey into the consciousness of a man who’s trying to make sense of his life.

Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Suspiria” (1977)
- “Nights of Cabiria” (1957)
- “The Best of Youth” (2003)
- “The Great Beauty” (2013)

#1: “Bicycle Thieves” (1948)

From a powerful social commentary to the relationship between a father and son, Vittorio De Sica’s “Bicycle Thieves” succeeds on many levels. After the bicycle that’s vital to his job is stolen, a man and his son undertake a grueling search throughout Rome. Though the film is filled with a myriad of brilliant scenes, none is as poignant as the neorealist drama’s restaurant sequence, in which the two dine excitedly, with the father sharing a resonating quote. For over six decades, this film has stood the test of time, showering the viewer with a rainbow of emotions. Something as simple as a bike can mean the world to someone and thanks to this film, it does to us.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite Italian film? For more entertaining top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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