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10 Legendary Italian Directors You Need To Know About

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10 Famous Italian Directors

These are just a handful of famous Italian directors who have contributed to Italian and international cinema.

There is no denying that Italian art has contributed tremendously to Western culture. It may have started in the days of sculptures and painting, but continues today in the art of film. In order to have a successful movie, one needs a talented director.

10Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pasolini is best known for his extreme and often controversial movies.  His works have often been described as picaresque neo-realism, showing a bleak but realistic sense of reality.

Pasolini’s greatest movie is perhaps “Mamma Roma”, an amazing postneorealist film. His last movie, Salo (The 120 Days of Sodom) is perhaps his most controversial and shocking.

9Roberto Benigni

The youngest director on this list, and perhaps the best known to the modern audience.

He directed the wildly successful La Vita è Bella (Life is Beautiful) that won the Academy Award for best actor (which Benigni won himself) and best Foreign Film. It was nominated for no less than seven Academy Awards.

8Sergio Leone

There is no denying that Sergio Leone is best known for his spaghetti westerns.

With his mother an actress and his father considered a pioneer in cinema, it is true that Leone was born into movies.

Though the movies may have been released to mixed reviews initially, today Sergio Leone is widely recognized as a master filmmaker.

7Franco Zeffirelli

When he directed Romeo and Juliet in 1968, it was enough to shoot him directly to international fame.

Zeffirelli is not only known as a director of cinema, but also directed operas in some of the most famous opera houses in the world.

6Luchino Visconti

The fact that Luchino Visconti was born into a wealthy family allowed him to meet and discuss with some of the most influential people in the art community at the time.

His movie ‘The Damned’, released in 1969 was nominated for an Academy Award and instantly made him famous the world over.

5Roberto Rossellini

The father of Isabella Rossellini and married to Swedish superstar Ingrid Bergman, Rossellini is often considered the father of Italian neorealist cinema. Perhaps his most famous movie is set in Rome during Nazi Occupation in World War II, named Roma Città Aperta.

Also read: How Much Do You Know About Rome? Take This Quiz to Find Out.

4Vittorio De Sica

Known as a neorealist director, De Sica had quite a different rise to fame than Luchino Visconti. De Sica was born into poverty yet eventually managed to become an actor.

Perhaps his most famous movie of all time features Sophia Loren – ‘Two Women’ (La Ciociara).

3Michelangelo Antonioni

Though Antonioni’s own work may have been very good, it was his legacy as a director that made him renowned. His work is considered particularly influential on subsequent art films.

Shot in a modernist style, critics and fellow filmmakers have stated that Antonioni’s style encouraged an open-ended narrative.

2Bernardo Bertolucci

Bertolucci has a track record of success when it comes to releasing movies.

Perhaps his two most famous releases are The Last Tango in Paris and The Last Emperor. He in fact won an Academy Award for The Last Emperor as best director.

1Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini is one of the most widely revered and most influential filmmakers of the 20th century.

He has won multiple awards, including the grand prize at the Moscow International Film Festival, a Palme d’Or, two Silver Lions, and four Academy Awards.

Also read: These Top 10 Italian Opera Stars Will Give You Goosebumps

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