Greatest Italian Directors

by z_ingle | created - 13 Feb 2014 | updated - 13 Feb 2014 | Public

1. Federico Fellini

Writer | Amarcord

The women who both attracted and frightened him and an Italy dominated in his youth by Mussolini and Pope Pius XII - inspired the dreams that Fellini started recording in notebooks in the 1960s. Life and dreams were raw material for his films. His native Rimini and characters like Saraghina (the ...

2. Dario Argento

Writer | Profondo rosso

Dario Argento was born on September 7, 1940, in Rome, Italy, the first-born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Argento recalls getting his ideas for filmmaking from his close-knit family from Italian folk tales told by his parents and other ...

3. Roberto Rossellini

Writer | Paisà

The master filmmaker Roberto Rossellini, as one of the creators of neo-realism, is one of the most influential directors of all time. His neo-realist films influenced France's nouvelle vague movement in the 1950s and '60s that changed the face of international cinema. He also influenced American ...

4. Sergio Leone

Writer | Once Upon a Time in America

Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema - he was the son of Roberto Roberti (A.K.A. Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy's cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and U.S. directors working in ...

5. Bernardo Bertolucci

Writer | Ultimo tango a Parigi

Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian director whose films were known for their colorful visual style, was born in Parma, Italy. He attended Rome University and became famous as a poet. He served as assistant director for Pier Paolo Pasolini in the film Accattone (1961) and directed The Grim Reaper (...

6. Vittorio De Sica

Director | Ladri di biciclette

Vittorio De Sica grew up in Naples, and started out as an office clerk in order to raise money to support his poor family. He was increasingly drawn towards acting, and made his screen debut while still in his teens, joining a stage company in 1923. By the late 1920s he was a successful matinee ...

7. Pier Paolo Pasolini

Writer | Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma

Pier Paolo Pasolini achieved fame and notoriety long before he entered the film industry. A published poet at 19, he had already written numerous novels and essays before his first screenplay in 1954. His first film Accattone (1961) was based on his own novel and its violent depiction of the life ...

8. Luchino Visconti

Writer | Rocco e i suoi fratelli

Luchino Visconti was born on November 2, 1906 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy as Luchino Visconti di Modrone. He was a writer and director, known for Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Death in Venice (1971) and Le Notti Bianche (1957). He died on March 17, 1976 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

9. Giuseppe Tornatore

Writer | La leggenda del pianista sull'oceano

Giuseppe Tornatore was born on May 27, 1956 in Bagheria, Sicily, Italy. He is a writer and director, known for The Legend of 1900 (1998), Cinema Paradiso (1988) and The Best Offer (2013).

10. Gillo Pontecorvo

Director | La battaglia di Algeri

Gillo Pontecorvo was an Italian filmmaker. He is best known for his 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, widely viewed as one of the finest films of its genre: realistic though fictionalized documentary. Its portrayal of the Algerian resistance during the Algerian War uses the neorealist style ...

11. Mario Bava

Cinematographer | Ecologia del delitto

Italian director Mario Bava was born on July 31, 1914 in the coastal northern Italian town of San Remo. His father, Eugenio Bava (1886-1966), was a cinematographer in the early days of the Italian film industry. Bava was trained as a painter, and when he eventually followed his father into film ...

12. Michelangelo Antonioni

Writer | Blowup

Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper. In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema"...

13. Franco Zeffirelli

Director | Romeo and Juliet

Franco Zeffirelli was born on February 12, 1923 in Florence, Tuscany, Italy as Gian Franco Corsi Zeffirelli. He is known for his work on Romeo and Juliet (1968), The Taming of the Shrew (1967) and La traviata (1982). He died on June 15, 2019 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

14. Roberto Benigni

Actor | La vita è bella

Roberto Benigni was born on October 27, 1952 in Manciano La Misericordia, Castiglion Fiorentino, Tuscany, Italy as Roberto Remigio Benigni. He is an actor and writer, known for Life Is Beautiful (1997), The Tiger and the Snow (2005) and Down by Law (1986). He has been married to Nicoletta Braschi ...

15. Nanni Moretti

Producer | La stanza del figlio

Nanni Moretti was born on the 19th of August, 1953. He lives in Rome, where since he was a kid he devotes himself to his two passions: cinema and water-polo. In 1970 he also played in water-polo first division in Italy, and in the junior National team. In those years he was also very committed in ...

16. Alberto Lattuada

Writer | Guendalina

Alberto Lattuada was born on November 13, 1914 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Guendalina (1957), Flesh Will Surrender (1947) and Bambina (1974). He was married to Carla Del Poggio. He died on July 3, 2005 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

17. Francesco Rosi

Writer | Cadaveri eccellenti

Francesco Rosi was born on November 15, 1922 in Naples, Campania, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Illustrious Corpses (1976), Salvatore Giuliano (1962) and La sfida (1958). He was married to Giancarla Mandelli. He died on January 10, 2015 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

18. Lucio Fulci

Writer | Murderock - Uccide a passo di danza

Lucio Fulci, born in Rome in 1927, remains as controversial in death as he was in life. A gifted craftsman with a sharp tongue and a wicked sense of dark humor, Fulci achieved some measure of notoriety for his gore epics of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but respect was long in coming.

Abandoning ...

19. Vittorio Taviani

Director | La notte di San Lorenzo

Vittorio Taviani studied law at the University of Pisa, becoming interested in the cinema after seeing Roberto Rossellini's Paisan (1946). After writing and directing short films and plays with his brother Paolo, he made his first feature in 1962. The brothers have continued to work together ever ...

20. Marco Bellocchio

Writer | Buongiorno, notte

Marco Bellocchio was born on November 9, 1939 in Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. He is a writer and director, known for Good Morning, Night (2003), The Wedding Director (2006) and Fists in the Pocket (1965).

21. Augusto Genina

Director | Cielo sulla palude

Augusto Genina was born on January 28, 1892 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Heaven Over the Marshes (1949), Bengasi (1942) and The Siege of the Alcazar (1940). He was married to Carmen Boni. He died on September 18, 1957 in Rome.

22. Giuseppe De Santis

Writer | Caccia tragica

Giuseppe De Santis was born on February 11, 1917 in Fondi, Lazio, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Tragic Hunt (1947), Days of Love (1954) and Bitter Rice (1949). He was married to Gordana Miletic. He died on May 16, 1997 in Rome, Lazio.

23. Raffaello Matarazzo

Writer | Dora la espía

Raffaello Matarazzo started writing film reviews for the Roman newspaper Il Tevere before re-editing scripts for the Italian film company Cines. His first films were comedies until he shifted to making melodramas. With Chains (1949), produced by Titanus in 1949, he became the most successful ...

24. Antonio Margheriti

Director | Il mondo di Yor

Antonio Margheriti was born on September 19, 1930 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Yor, the Hunter from the Future (1983), The Unnaturals (1969) and Io ti amo (1968). He died on November 4, 2002 in Monterosi, Lazio.

25. Marco Ferreri

Writer | Dillinger è morto

Marco Ferreri was born on May 11, 1928 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Dillinger Is Dead (1969), Tales of Ordinary Madness (1981) and L'udienza (1972). He was married to Jacqueline Ferreri. He died on May 9, 1997 in Paris, France.

26. Ermanno Olmi

Director | L'albero degli zoccoli

Ermanno Olmi was born on July 24, 1931 in Bergamo, Lombardy, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978), The Legend of the Holy Drinker (1988) and The Profession of Arms (2001). He was married to Loredana Detto. He died on May 5, 2018 in Asiago, Veneto, Italy.

27. Riccardo Freda

Writer | Caccia all'uomo

Riccardo Freda was born in Alexandria, Egypt, of Italian parents. Educated in Milan, he became a sculptor, then a newspaper art critic. He began a career in film in 1937 as a screenwriter and production supervisor. He moved into directing in 1942, beginning a career that lasted some 40 years. ...

28. Ettore Scola

Writer | Una giornata particolare

Ettore Scola was born on May 10, 1931 in Trevico, Campania, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for A Special Day (1977), The Family (1987) and Passion of Love (1981). He was married to Gigliola. He died on January 19, 2016 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.

29. Mario Camerini

Director | Il signor Max

Mario Camerini was born on February 6, 1895 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Mister Max (1937), I'll Give a Million (1935) and Love Story (1942). He was married to Assia Noris. He died on February 4, 1981 in Gardone Riviera, Lombardy, Italy.

30. Elio Petri

Writer | Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto

Elio Petri was born on January 29, 1929 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Eraclio Petri. He was a writer and director, known for Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970), We Still Kill the Old Way (1967) and Lulu the Tool (1971). He was married to Paola Pegoraro. He died on November 10, 1982 in ...

31. Dino Risi

Director | Il sorpasso

Dino Risi became a movie director by chance. In 1940 he met Alberto Lattuada at a friend's boutique. Lattuada told him they needed an assistant director for the movie Piccolo mondo antico (1941). Risi accepted just for fun, not for work. Later, he became a psychiatrist and wrote some articles for a...

32. Alessandro Blasetti

Director | Prima comunione

Alessandro Blasetti was born on July 3, 1900 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Father's Dilemma (1950), La corona di ferro (1941) and Me, Me, Me... and the Others (1966). He was married to Maria Laura Brofferio. He died on February 1, 1987 in Rome.

33. Mauro Bolognini

Director | Mosca addio

Mauro Bolognini was born on February 28, 1922 in Pistoia, Tuscany, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Farewell Moscow (1987), Madamigella di Maupin (1966) and Careless (1962). He died on May 14, 2001 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.



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