1) Bicycle Thief Many critics consider this Oscar-winning classic to be one of the greatest films ever
made. Vittorio De Sica used non-professional actors to tell the simple, human tragedy of a working man whose bike, which he
needs for his job, is stolen, sending him and his son on a harrowing search through the streets of Rome.
Rice Silvana Mangano became an international sensation with her performance as a shapely city woman working in the rice
fields of Italy's Po Valley after World War II. The sexy Mangano is caught in a love triangle with the respectable Raf Vallone
and the unscrupulous Vittorio Gassman. A Neo-Realist classic.
3) Ciao Professore! A tender and often hilarious
comedy from Lina Wertmuller centering on a teacher who is mistakenly assigned to a third-grade class in an impoverished
town in Southern Italy. The teacher soon faces the Mafia, truancy, and pupils with family problems while trying to steer his
students in the right direction.
4) Cinema Paradiso A charming, bittersweet tribute to the power of movies which
won 1989's Best Foreign Film Academy Award. A film director looks back on his childhood in Sicily, where he served as an apprentice
to the projectionist at his small town's only movie theater. Giuseppe Tornatore directs.
5) Death in Venice Luchino
Visconti's brilliant version of Thomas Mann's classic story. Dirk Bogarde stars as a jaded, middle-aged composer on holiday
on Venice who spots a handsome young boy on the beach. His doomed obsession with the youth renews his interest in living.
Divorce, Italian Style Marvelous, Oscar-winning farce starring Marcello Mastroianni as a man facing mid-life crisis who
discovers it's easier to kill his annoying wife than divorce her. Eventually he falls for a gorgeous younger woman, played
by Stefania Sandrelli.
7) The Garden of The Finzi-Continis Director Vittorio De Sica's Oscar-winning drama centers
around an upper-class Jewish family living in Fascist Italy, oblivious at first to the growing tide of anti-Semitism that
soon threatens their existence.
8) Il Postino Lovely romance set in a small Italian town during the 1950s where
exiled Chilean poet Pablo Nerudo has taken refuge. A shy mailman befriends the poet and uses his words - and, ultimately,
the writer himself - to help him woo a woman whom he has fallen in love. With Philippe Noiret and Massimo Troisi (who
died a day after filming ended).
9) La Strada Federico Fellini's Oscar-winning study of members of a travelling
circus troupe, as a brutal strongman uses a simpleminded woman who loves him, forcing her to find solace with a good-hearted
10) Seven Beauties/Le Sette Bellezze Giancarlo Giannini stars in Lina Wertmuller's dark serio-comedy as
a small-time hood in WWII Italy trying to support his sisters. His desperate attempts to stay alive take him from jail to
a mental hospital, and eventually put him in the hands of an obese concentration camp commandant.
Italy is known for producing movies that combine slapstick comedy with serious
social themes, a combination found in all of the 5 best Italian comedy movies. Italian comedy is an acquired taste that more
American audiences ought to sample.
1."Big Deal on Madonna Street" ("I Soliti Ignoti") This 1958 film--also released
in the United States as "Persons Unknown"--is considered the first great film in the Italian comic tradition. It masterfully
uses a crime-splattered plot to push its comedy to the extreme. It’s a heist movie and, of course, the heist obviously
goes wrong ... very wrong. Starring two of the greatest Italian film stars ever, Marcello Mastroianni and Toto (albeit in
a minor role), the film is directed like a straightforward crime drama yet the continual missteps in the attempt to rob a
government-type pawn shop full of treasure creates wonderful comedy. An American remake "Crackers" in 1984 went woefully wrong,
but a Woody Allen remake "Small Time Crooks" (2000) fared a bit better. But forgot those flicks and see the original to understand
the best of early Italian comedy.
2."Divorce--Italian Style" ("Divorzio all'italiana") Pietro Germi’s 1961 comedy
was another like "Big Deal" that solidified Italy as a country with some great comic chops. The plot, which is full of funny
twists, involves a man who has a mistress and wants to divorce his wife; however, divorce is not possible. Therefore, he decides
to kill her, but finds her having her own affair. Comic craziness ensues. The screenplay won an Oscar and the witty wordplay
and action justify it.
3."La Dolce Vita" Directed by legendary Federico Fellini, this 1960 movie is yet another star
vehicle for Mastroianni. "La Dolce Vita" achieves some of its greatness from having an underlying comic sensibility during
the dark journey Marcello Rubini takes through the decadent corridors of his life on a search for the title’s “sweet
life.” Some might not call it one of the best Italian comic movies, but it is dead-on with its satire. Roger Ebert calls
it “a cautionary tale of a man without a center,” which points to the film’s serious nature. Still, the
religious imagery and the sense of Rubini descending into Dante’s inferno of nightlife decadence develops the comedy
found in excesses—of sex especially (the orgy scenes were very controversial at the time, but tame by today’s
4."Amarcord" ("I Remember") Widely considered to be Fellini’s best film, this 1973 memoir-comedy
of characters in a small Italian village records small absurdities and lends a loving, comic eye to them all. Like a typical
Flannery O’Connor short story, "Amarcord" shows a sincere regard for its characters, while making fun of their idiosyncrasies.
Women stand out in this film. There is the lovely hairdresser Gradisca on whom whole town pins its hopes and desires and the
barefoot and crazy prostitute Volpina whose laughter evokes our own, not pity. Lastly, no one can forget the shop owner whose
huge bosom fascinates and “envelops” the young boy narrator in one of the movie’s classic scenes.
is Beautiful" ("La vita Ŕ bella"). Americans are probably familiar with this 1997 Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film. The
star, writer and director Roberto Benigni also won an acting Oscar for the film, reminiscent of early Italian comedies in
their stark realism. You can’t get more darkly realistic than having a comedy set in a Holocaust concentration camp
and then proceeding to say life is beautiful at the same time. Guido is a clown—a hotel waiter who can’t help
but be goofy, lovable and over-the-top. So, as Guido, Benigni wins over the audience and you want to take the journey with
him through the beauty and joy of his life. You just might not think it would work to go with him to the death camp. The continual
work of hiding reality from his son while there constitutes the tragicomic genius of the movie. While many found this mixture
offensive, the integrity of the comedy and the movie itself lies in the exploration of Guido’s character: the only tool
he has for his circumstances is comedy and you have to admire that.
10 Best Italian Comedy Movies
The 10 best Italian comedy movies include films made in the English language and those made in Italian including
English subtitles. Italian comedy is a serious area of study for film students. The comedy after World War II that set the
mood for comedy is sometimes referred as part of the neorealism, realistic comedy.
1."Divorce, Italian Style." This
well-known Italian comedy, directed by Pietro Germi is a seminal film that was used by Vittorio De Sica as an inspiration
for "Marriage, Italian Style." The film stars Marcello Mastroianni, Daniela Rocca, Stefania Sandrelli and Leopoldo Trieste
and was released by Embassy Pictures Corporation in 1962.
2."La Dolce Vita." Starring such acting greats as Marcello Mastroianni, this Italian comedy was directed by Federico
Fellini in 1960. The title means the good life and the main character's seemingly entertaining life as a newspaper reporter
is interrupted by more serious self-examination when he explores his love, life and work. The movie was nominated for four
American Academy Awards.
3."Life is Beautiful." This 1997 release stars Roberto Benigni, Giorgio Cantarini and Nicoletta Braschi. Benigni
also wrote and directed the movie about life during World War II. The film won American Academy Awards for best director and
best foreign film.
4."Marriage, Italian Style." Released in 1964 and directed under the film master Vittorio De Sica, Matrimonio all'italiana
describes a tale of a businessman and his mistress. The man intends to dump his wife and remarry, but not for his longtime
mistress. The comedy stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in the title roles, with Aldo Puglisi, Tecla Scarano, Marilu
Tolo, Gianni Ridolfi and Generoso Cortini in supporting parts.
5."Big Deal on Madonna Street." This 1958 film directed by Mario Monicelli stars Vittorio Gassman and Claudia Cardinale.
A group of thieves attempt a robbery at the local pawnshop only to start a comedy of errors to avoid detection. The movie
was later released with English subtitles under the title "Persons Unknown in the UK."
6."The Monsters", aka "I mostri." This best Italian comedy movie directed by Dino Risi in 1963, not to be confused
with the American animated film, and was followed by "The New Monsters" in 1977. The film revolves around twenty episodes
all starring Vittorio Gassman and Ugo Tognazzi. Some segments were removed with the re-release under the titles "15 from Rome"
and "Opiate '67."
7."Johnny Stecchino." Released in 1991, this film was made under the direction Roberto Benigni. The film also stars Benigni
as the main character Dante who is a poor public employee is talked into impersonating the husband of a wealthy woman who
in real life is married to the mob.
8."The Great War." Director Mario Monicelli takes on the tough topic of war and adds a comedy slant in this 1959
film featuring Alberto Sordi and Vittorio Gassman. The film was nominated for the "Best Foreign Film" award for 1959 at the
American Academy Awards.
9."Tea with Mussolini." Franco Zeffirelli directed this odd 1999 Italian comedy movie about an illegitimate son of
a businessman. The film stars Joan Plowright, Maggie Smith and Judi Dench and presents autobiographical elements from Zeffirelli's
10."The Icicle Thief." Released in 1989, this film directed by Maruizio Nichetti, mocks the media industry. A dramatic
film shown on television is cut into commercials to create an odd blend between the drama and the consumer advertisements.
11 -- Amici Miei (1975) July 19, 1976 Screen: 'My Friends,' Italian Comedy:4 Middle-Aged Men in the Provinces Outrageous
Practical Jokes in a Parable
12 -- Il ciclone" of Leonardo Piraccioni
Io Non Ho Paura". Panini and Tulipani."(Bread and Tulips), "The Leopard." IL POSTINO " Tutti Beni" Kaos
- The 1000 Euros
Generation - Generazione Mille Euro
Italians are funny and I can't help but smile when I think of their emphatic ways of communicating.
Combine that comedy with iconic Italian themes like mothers, food, love, youth, fashion, and of course passion, then you've
got the makings of a great Italian Comedy!
Join us on a cinematic tour of Italy as we take a road trip down the Calabrian
coastline (18 Years Later), walk across beautiful Basilicata (Basilicata Coast to Coast), ferry through the Venetian
lagoon (Ten Winters), bicycle in Milan (Happy Family), take a train across Puglia (The CÚzanne Affair), romp through
the fields of Abruzzo (The Thin Match Man), zip across Liguria on a Vespa (The First Beautiful Thing) and soar above
Rome (Hayfever) --all while in the comfortable seats of a venue near you