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Top 10 Italian Film 101

The Top Ten Italian films


Fellini, De Sica, Rossellini, Visconti, Antonioni--Italian cinema has its fair share of masters. This top ten isn't meant as an end-all list to the great films of Italy, but as a starting-off point for exploration. Ciao ciao!

1. La Strada

Italian film is unthinkable without Federico Fellini, and this heartbreaking classic about a poor girl who is taken away by a cruel strongman to become a circus performer is impossible to resist. With wonderful performances by Anthony Quinn and Giulietta Masina. For more early Fellini, check out Nights of Cabiria, also with Masina.

2. Umberto D.

Vittorio De Sica's 1952 neo-realist film about an old man who is stripped of his dignity is sad but not sentimental. We prefer it to The Bicycle Thief.

3. 1900

Bernardo Bertolucci's epic history about a peasant and a land owner over the course of the first half of the century stars Robert De Niro and Gerard Depardieu. If you don't have the time (1900 is over five hours long), try The Conformist.
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4. The Battle of Algiers

Gillo Pontecorvo's legendary re-telling of the struggle for Algerian independence from France is a timelessly powerful film.

5. The Best of Youth

This sprawling and all engrossing drama by Marco Tullio Giordana, the most recent film on this list, follows two brothers from the 1960s to the present. The film was first screened in Italy on television and in the U.S. as two films at three hours each. The times flies by.
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6. La Dolce Vita

Yet another masterpiece by Federico Fellini, La Dolce Vita features Marcello Mastroianni as the original Paparazzo who chases Anita Ekberg through the streets of room and right into the Fontana di Trevi.
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7. Open City

Roberto Rossellini's landmark film portrays the struggle of Rome's citizens during the final days of World War II.
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8. L'Avventura

Monica Vitti plays a woman searching for a missing friend in the Mediterranean in Michelangelo Antonioni's breakthrough film.
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9. The Leopard

Burt Lancaster, Claudia Cardinale and Alain Delon star in an epic story of elegiac grace in Luchino Visconti's Sicilian tale of revolution and decline.

10. Cinema Paradiso

Giuseppe Tornatore's sentimental love letter to the movies is a film we love to hate, but we cannot ignore it.
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