10 Not So Famous Italian Movies That Are Worth Watching

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Bicycle Thieves
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1. Bicycle Thieves / Ladri di biciclette (1948)

Director: Vittorio De Sica
Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, and more.
Genres: Drama, Crimes
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 8.3 based on 133,065 ratings 
IMDb Link:


Ricci, an unemployed man in the depressed post-WWII economy of Italy gets, at last, a good job - for which he needs a bike - hanging up posters. But soon his bicycle is stolen. He and his son walk the streets of Rome, looking for the bicycle. Ricci finally manages to locate the thief but with no proof, he has to abandon his cause. But he and his son know perfectly well that without a bike, Ricci won't be able to keep his job. 

The film's final shot of Antonio and Bruno walking away from the camera into the distance is an homage to many Charles Chaplin films, who was Vittorio De Sica's favorite filmmaker.

2. Le notti di Cabiria (1957)

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Giulietta Masina, Francois Perier, Franca Marzi, and more.
Genres: Drama, Romance
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 8.1 based on 39,693 ratings
IMDb Link: tt0050783


Prostitute Cabiria (Giulietta Masina) has always wanted a sweet and peaceful life with her lover. But her boyfriend betrayed her, took all of her money and pushed her into a river where she almost lost her life. After the incident, Cabiria did not lose hope and her heart was still filled with kindness and love. One day, Cabiria encountered a handsome actor. They fell in love very quickly, and Cabiria was invited home for the night. Just when she was flattered and full of joy, the actor's girlfriend came back, Cabiria was devastated and left. Soon, she encountered the crazy pursuit of a handsome man again in the theater. At first, she was a little unconfident, but eventually, she opened her heart and accepted the man's proposal. She sold all her properties to prepare for the new life with her fiance. However, she soon was once again betrayed. Her fiance stole all of her money and left her. The poor Cabiria lost everything. She was walking alone on the street, crying out of desperation. Then a group of singing men and women passed by, they sang happily as they walked. The joy infected the frustrated Cabiria, and her face smiled again.

3. The Postman (Il postino) (1994)

Director: Michael Radford, Massimo Troisi
Stars: Massimo Troisi, Philippe Noiret, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, and more.
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance, Biograph
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 7.7 based on 31,331 ratings
IMDb Link: tt0110877


Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet, is exiled to a small island for political reasons. On the island, the unemployed son of a poor fisherman is hired as an extra postman due to the huge increase in the mail that this causes. Il Postino is to hand-deliver the celebrity's mail to him. Though poorly educated, the postman learns to love poetry and eventually befriends Neruda. Struggling to grow and express himself more fully, he suddenly falls in love and needs Neruda's help and guidance more than ever.

4. Rosso come il cielo (2006)

Director: Cristiano Bortone
Stars: Francesco Compobasso, Luca Capriotti, Marco Cocci, and more.
Genre: Drama, Comedy, Romance, Biograph
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 7.8 based on 1,709 ratings
IMDb Link: tt0450121


The film is inspired by the true story of Mirco Mencacci, one of the most gifted Italian sound editors working today, who happens to be blind. A small village in Tuscany, 1971. Mirco is a bright, lively 10-year-old, crazy about the movies - especially Westerns and adventure films. His father, an incurable idealist, is a truck driver. One day, while Mirco is playing with an old rifle, the gun accidentally goes off; the boy is shot in the head. He survives but loses his sight. At that time, Italian law considered blind people hopelessly handicapped and did not permit them to attend public school. Hence, young Mirco's parents are forced to shut their son up in a "special school for the blind": the David Chiossone Institute in Genoa. In the beginning, Mirco does not accept his new condition. But he is feisty and determined. When he finds an old tape recorder and a few used reels and discovers that by cutting and splicing tape he can create little fairy tales made only of sounds, a brand-new world opens up to him. His new adventure is opposed by the religious authorities that run the boarding school, who are convinced that a blind boy is a disabled person who must not be allowed to harbor illusions. But Mirco will not give up. He continues to fight in every way possible, and he slowly involves his classmates, leading them to rediscover their dreams and capacities. Then one night, with the help of the only sighted child - the daughter of the doorkeeper, with whom Mirco shares a tender friendship - he convinces the small group of boys to sneak out of school and go to the cinema down the street. For all of them, the experience is exhilarating. But the consequences are grim. Mirco is expelled. In the meantime, a broader struggle to change society is taking place outside. 1970's political protests are erupting. Students are taking to the streets. During one of his earlier escapades, Mirco had made friends with Ettore, a blind university student with strong political awareness. Hearing that Mirco has been expelled, Ettore pushes the whole city to mobilize. Students and workers protest in front of the Cassone Institute, threatening to shut down the city's blast furnace if Mirco is not re-admitted. As a consequence, the head of the institute is put under investigation. Mirco is finally re-admitted and granted special permission: to change the year-end show. Instead of reciting the usual religious poems, the children put on a performance of their "fairy tale in sound", before an audience of blind-folded, spellbound parents.

5. Viola di mare (2009)

Director: Donatella Maiorca
Stars: Valeria Solarino, Isabella Ragonese, Ennio Fantastichini, and more.
Genre: Drama, History, Romance
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 6.8 based on 1,355 ratings
IMDb Link: tt1467306


Nothing - not her father, not the church - can stop unruly Angela from being with her childhood best friend turned great love, Sara. Based on a true story, Viola di mare presents a uniquely engaging portrait of family, community and gender roles in a 19th-century Italian village.

6. La solitudine dei numeri (2010)

Director: Saverio Costanzo
Stars: Alba Rohrwacher, Luca Marinelli, Arianna Nastro, and more.
Genre: Drama
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 6.8 based on 3,158 ratings
IMDb Link: tt1441373


Alice and Mattia, two exceptional personalities but inadequate, synthesis of two lives in pain, two special people who travel on the same track, but are two worlds imploded, unable to open up to the world. One fully understands the feelings of the other, but is never able to express them out loud, in short, they are two prime numbers. Prime numbers are divisible only by 1 and themselves.

7. Magnifica presenza (2012)

Director: Ferzan Ozpetek
Stars: Elio Germano, Margherita Buy, Vittoria Puccini, and more.
Genre: Drama
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 6.7 based on 4,698 ratings
IMDb Link: tt2281345


The only dream of Pietro is to become a famous actor. 28-year-old Pietro is so obsessed with becoming an actor that he does not mind trying every single way. He comes to Rome and starts to work in a bakery. Also, at the same time, he tries to be an actor. At first, he stays with his cousin, Maria, but then he rents a house. Nevertheless, in a short time, something weird happens at the house. As if the furniture moves by itself. Then he realizes that the house was haunted by some ghosts, so with it, the adventure itself begins. 

​8. Quo vado? (2016)

Director: Gennaro Nunziante
Stars: Checco Zalone, Eleonora Giovanardi, Sonia Bergamasco, and more.
Genre: Comedy
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 6.6 based on 8,467 ratings
IMDb Link: tt5290524


Checco is born on the privileged side of life in an Italian small town, with a guaranteed job as a public servant. When a new reformist government vows to cut down on bureaucracy, Checco is forced to accept worsening conditions.

9. La ragazza nella nebbia (2017)

Director: Donato Carrisi
Stars: Toni Servillo, Alessio Boni, Lorenzo Richelmy, and more.
Genre: Comedy
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 6.8 based on 5,884 ratings
IMDb Link: tt6892400


On her way to church in the hazy alpine village of Avechot, the quiet 15-year-old, Anna Lou, daughter of a religious couple, vanishes into thin air, never to return home. To aid in the investigation of this puzzling case is summoned the fastidious Detective Vogel with the questionable methods; however, amidst a full-scale media storm and half-baked leads, no one is above suspicion, villagers and newcomers alike. But is Anna Lou's troubling disappearance a case of an adolescent tantrum only days before Christmas, or is there a wolf in sheep's clothing, hiding in the otherwise peaceful community?

10. Lazzaro felice (2018)

Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Stars: Adriano Tardiolo, Agnese Graziani, Alba Rohrwacher, and more.
Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Language: Italian
IMDb Score: 7.6 based on 10,253 ratings
IMDb Link: tt6752992


This is the tale of a meeting between Lazzaro, a young peasant so good that he is often mistaken for simple-minded, and Tancredi, a young nobleman cursed by his imagination. Life in their isolated pastoral village Inviolata is dominated by the terrible Marchesa Alfonsina de Luna, the queen of cigarettes. A loyal bond is sealed when Tancredi asks Lazzaro to help him orchestrate his own kidnapping. This strange and improbable alliance is a revelation for Lazzaro. Friendship is so precious that it will travel in time and transport Lazzaro in search of Tancredi. His first time in the big city, Lazzaro is like a fragment of the past lost in the modern world.