Best Italian Movies: Top 25 Italian Films

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Powerful image from the film Gomorrah which follows the mafia of Naples. Photo courtesy of Slant Magazine

Best Italian Movies

One of the most frustrating (yet liberating) aspects of studying philosophy as an undergraduate was the idea that one could construct a logical argument for pretty much anything.  So, I spent my University days racking my brain at getting at “ultimate truths” like whether God exists and if our minds are separate from the physical world (the “Mind/Body” problem or Cartesian dualism) only to get frustrated when I realized that arguments could be made to support any position!

When it comes to getting at the best Italian films of all time one can, like my point above, make plenty of arguments for why one film should be included or not.  Hence, my dilemma when I started thinking about the top Italian films I’ve watched.  In order to help me narrow down my top 25 I used the following selection criteria:
  • Did the film cause me to think about some big issue (I think any good film needs to do this in a serious way)?
  • How beautiful was the film or was the cinematography top notch?  Let’s face it, film is, of course, a visual art and if one doesn’t get a sense of beauty when staring at the screen then the film hasn’t done much.
  • Did the film elicit an emotional feeling (i.e., anger, joy, sadness, disbelief, etc.)?  Just as a film can cause one to think deeply about certain topics, a good film should make one “feel” something in a profound way.

In turn, here are my top 25 Italian films of all time (including a fair amount of contemporary titles).  Note: the list is alphabetical and not according to rank or preference.  Also, I’d like for you to tell me which films I’ve missed or whether I’m crazy with my selections below (please leave a comment!).

  1. 1900
  2. The Great Beauty
  3. 8 1/2
  4. Cinema Paradiso
  5. Golden Door
  6. Gomorrah
  7. I Am Love
  8. Il Grido
  9. Il Postino
  10. I’m Not Scared
  11. Incantato
  12. La Notte
  13. La Strada
  14. L’Aventura
  15. Life is Beautiful
  16. Mafioso
  17. My Mother’s Smile
  18. Roma, Citta` Aperta
  19. Respiro
  20. Seven Beauties
  21. The Battle of Algiers
  22. The Best of Youth
  23. The Bicycle Thief
  24. The Leopard
  25. The Son’s Room
  26. Umberto D.

Update: 11/19/10  Thanks to the many readers that wrote in with the following suggestions (see comments section for more recommendations):

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