Italian film director and screenwriter, Federico Fellini, is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. He was nominated for the Academy Awards 12 times and won four in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. His distinctive style of film-making has inspired generations of directors in both Italy and Hollywood.
Best known as a pioneer of the Spaghetti Western genre, Sergio Leone was born to legendary Italian actors Vincenzo Leone and Edvige Valcarenghi. He dropped out of law to focus on films and created masterpieces such as Once upon a Time in America and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
Italian actor Franco Nero became internationally famous with his role in the film Django. He acts in films and TV productions both in Italy and abroad. He has more than 200 leading and supporting roles in movies and TV series to his credit. He is the father of popular screenwriter and director Carlo Gabriel Nero.
Terence Hill escaped Allied bombings during World War II and was then discovered at a swimming meet, following which he bagged his first film at 12. A well-known child actor, he grew up to work in a lot of "Spaghetti Westerns" and also became famous for his action-comedy partnership with Bud Spencer.
Noted film director and actor Pier Paolo Pasolini had already gained fame as a poet and author before stepping into the entertainment industry. The openly gay filmmaker was known for his usage of non-professional actors and themes of sexuality. His brutal murder remains to be a controversial topic.
Franco Zeffirelli went from being a budding architect to a director after watching Laurence Olivier’s Henry V. Starting as a costume/set designer, he gradually deviated to making Shakespearean adaptations, earning an Academy Award nomination with Romeo and Juliet. The openly gay filmmaker was later accused of sexual assaulting two actors.
Born to a famous Italian poet and writer, Bernardo Bertolucci himself wrote and won many literary prizes in his younger days. He later established himself as one of Italian cinema’s best filmmakers and was the first filmmaker from his country to win an Academy Award, winning it for The Last Emperor.
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One of the pioneers of neo-realism, Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini was part of the French nouvelle vague movement. Born to the man who had set up Italy’s first cinema, Rossellini later grew up to make films such as Rome, Open City. He was also known for his scandalous affair with Ingrid Bergman.
Four-time Academy Award-winning director Vittorio De Sica was a symbol of Italian neorealism. Apart from creating masterpieces such as Bicycle Thieves and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. He had begun his career acting in silent films and had then also participated in musical theater. He was both a Roman Catholic and a communist.
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Giovanni Brass, also known as Tinto Brass, explored the avant-garde and erotic genres of films. The grandson of famous Italian artist Italico Brass, he created masterpieces such as The Scream, Caligula, and Salon Kitty. He has also bagged the Best Italian Film award at the Venice Film Festival for La Vacanza.
Though he wasn’t trained in a film school, Paolo Sorrentino created some of the most iconic movies of world cinema, including the Academy Award-winning The Great Beauty. His films often feature Toni Servillo, have obscure plots, and have prologues extending more than 10 minutes before the main title.
Luca Guadagnino is an Italian filmmaker best known for producing and directing the 2017 coming-of-age film Call Me by Your Name, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Also known for his contribution to the fashion industry, Guadagnino is credited with creating Frenesy, a production company that produces fashion films.
Writer-director Edoardo Ponti, best known for his 2020 production, The Life Ahead, debuted on screen as a child actor, appearing with his mother, Sophia Loren, as her on-screen son in the moviie Aurora. Beginning his career as a writer-director much later, he won multiple awards and nominations with his first feature film Between Strangers.
19 James Darren
James Darren is an American actor, singer, and television director. He is well-known for his singing abilities; Darren's version of Goodbye Cruel World peaked at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961. He has also released several albums like This One's from the Heart and Because of You.
The Master of Horror, Dario Argento was born to Italian producer Salvatore Argento and was no stranger to films in his childhood. Initially a newspaper columnist, he later stepped into screenwriting. He later directed iconic films such as The Cat o' Nine Tails and contributed to the script of Dawn of the Dead.
21 Paul Henreid
Born to an affluent banker, Paul Henreid had an elite education. He also initially worked as a translator and book designer, training as an actor at nights. He gained fame with his role in Goodbye, Mr. Chips and Casablanca. He later also directed a few episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Italian-English screenwriter and director Carlo Gabriel Nero was no stranger to films, being born to actors Franco Nero and Vanessa Redgrave. He created films such as The Fever and Uninvited, the latter starring his parents. He is also the brother-in-law of actor Liam Neeson.
Michelangelo Antonioni was an Italian screenwriter, film director, editor, short story author, and painter. Renowned for making films with striking visual composition and elusive plots, Antonioni's work has influenced art cinema of the subsequent generation. Over the course of his career, Antonioni won many prestigious awards, including an honorary Academy Award, Palme d'Or, the Golden Bear, and the Golden Lion.
Born to Duke Modrone, Luchino Visconti belonged to one of the most affluent families of Italy. He was also one of the pioneers of neo-realism and created masterpieces such as Senso and Rocco and His Brothers. A chain smoker, he was rumored to have had 120 cigarettes per day.
Apart from winning an award at the Cannes Film Festival for Love and Anarchy, Giancarlo Giannini has also been nominated for an Academy Award for Seven Beauties. He also boasts of an electronics degree. His flair for languages has helped him work as an Italian dubber for actors such as Al Pacino.
Rocco Siffredi is an Italian pornographic filmmaker and pornographic actor. Nicknamed the Italian Stallion, Siffredi has appeared in over 1,300 pornographic films. One of the most decorated pornographic actors of all time, Rocco Siffredi has won 72 awards, including 39 AVN Awards, 13 XRCO Awards, seven XBIZ Awards, and six Ninfa Awards.
Son of TV writer Antonio Amurri, Italian director Franco Amurri is best known for films such as Da grande and Monkey Trouble. He has previously also served in the Italian Army. He met actor Susan Sarandon on the sets of Tempest and later had a 4-year relationship with her.
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Gian Maria Volontè was an Italian actor whose versatility made him famous all over Europe. Volonté was honored with a Silver Ribbon in 1968. At the 1983 Cannes Film Festival, he was honored with the Best Actor award for his performance in The Death of Mario Ricci. In 1991, he won a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
Gian Carlo Menotti was an Italian-American librettist, playwright, director, and composer. Menotti is best remembered for composing popular operas that enjoyed success on Broadway during the 1950s. For his contribution to arts, Menotti was presented with a Kennedy Center Honor in 1984. In 1997, he was honored by the American Choral Directors Association with the prestigious Brock Commission.
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Gigi Proietti was an Italian actor, comedian, musician, and singer. He loved to sing from an early age and performed in nightclubs as a young man. He attended the University Theater Center and began his career as a theater actor. He soon branched out into movies as well and appeared in hit films like The Appointment and The Wedding.