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Best Italian Films of All Time

Published by Nanni on Friday, August 17, 2012

Photo credit by i k o

When one thinks of Italian movies, a few directors come to mind. Some of the most well known Italian directors are Federico Fellini, Bernardo Bertolucci, Michelangelo Antonioni, Roberto Rossellini, and Sergio Leone to name a few.

Here is a list of five well-made Italian Films.

Blowup (1966)

Directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, this film tells the story of a hedonistic English photographer whose life revolves around fashion, music, and easy sex. When he accidentally photographs a murder, he is forced to find the killer. He achieves this through the course of the film by enlarging the negatives in question until he is able to solve the puzzle. While this film is not strictly an Italian film, it marks the first English language film by this remarkable director.

8 ½ (1963)

This film, directed by famed Italian director Federico Fellini spins a tale of an Italian director who has lost all inspiration for his latest movie. However, the studio has invested far too much money for him to drop the project. With pressure from his wife, his mistress, the studio and others in his life, he retreats into a dream world. A musical remake titled “Nine” was released late last year starring Daniel Day Lewis in the lead role.

La Luna (1979)

Bernardo Bertolucci directed this film about an American Opera singer on a singing tour of Italy with her 15-year-old son, Joe. Caterina, (Jill Clayburgh) discoveres Joe has become addicted to heroin. She desperately attempts to find a way to help her son get off the deadly drug, and in the process the two have an incestuous liaison. At the same time, she struggles with telling the boy about his father, whose identity she has kept a secret. Many people might have been repulsed with the relationship between Caterina and her son, but Bertolucci handles it carefully, without dwelling upon it.

Roma, città aperta (1945)

Known in the United States as Open City, this Roberto Rosselini film depicts the struggle of Italian citizens in Rome during World War 2. When the leader of the Italian Resistance is in danger of being tracked down by the Nazis, he goes to his friend for help to obtain papers to safely leave Rome. As the film was made in 1945, Rossellini was able to use authentic POWs, to achieve realism.

Il Beuno, Il Brutto, Il Cattivo (1966)

If this film does not sound familiar, it’s likely because you know it better by the English title: "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly." This was one of the best known and popular of Sergio Leone’s so-called Spaghetti Westerns. Leone found that he could shoot an American themed Western film in Italy, and use Italian actors in some of the supporting roles. In this film, Clint Eastwood plays an enigmatic stranger called Blondie. Eli Wallach is Tuco, a Mexican criminal with a long list of hanging offenses under his belt. Lee Van Cleef is a bounty hunter called Angle Eyes. These three men are on the hunt for a buried treasure of stolen Union Army gold. Set during the Civil War, the film even includes a full-scale battle.

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