Famous Italian Directors

Find out more about the greatest Italian Directors, including Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Tinto Brass, Paolo Sorrentino and Frank Capra.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Asia Argento

Asia Argento
5
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 20, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Asia Argento, daughter of filmmaker Dario Argento, has starred in movies such as XXX, Traveling Companion, and Transylvania. She declared that Harvey Weinstein had sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, while she was herself accused of assaulting Jimmy Bennett. She was dating Anthony Bourdain at the time of his death.

 2 Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini
3
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: January 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rimini, Italy
Died: October 31, 1993

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.

 3 Sergio Leone

Sergio Leone
5
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: January 3, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: April 30, 1989

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.

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 4 Frank Capra

Frank Capra
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: May 18, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bisacquino, Italy
Died: September 3, 1991
Frank Capra was a filmmaker and writer responsible for making several American award-winning films of the 1930s and 1940s. After being born into a poor Italian family, Capra went on to become one of Hollywood's most influential directors of the 1930s; his rags-to-riches story continues to inspire many, with historians labeling him the American Dream personified.

 5 Franco Nero

Franco Nero
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 23, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Parma, Italy

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.

 6 Terence Hill

Terence Hill
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 29, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Venice, Italy

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.

 7 Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini
3
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 5, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bologna, Kingdom of Italy
Died: November 2, 1975

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.

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 8 Franco Zeffirelli

Franco Zeffirelli
3
Famous As: Film Director, Producer
Birthdate: February 12, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 15, 2019

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.

 9 Francesca Gregorini

Francesca Gregorini
5
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 7, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Daughter of Bond girl Barbara Bach, Francesca Gregorini is also an Italian countess through her father. She grew up in Italy, England, and the U.S. The talented filmmaker is known for her dark and surreal characters and her critically acclaimed films such as The Truth About Emanuel.

 10 Bernardo Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci
3
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: March 16, 1941
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Parma, Italy
Died: November 26, 2018

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.

 11 Tao Ruspoli

Tao Ruspoli
3
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: November 7, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bangkok, Thailand
Italian-American director Prince Tao Ruspoli is the son of Prince Alessandro Ruspoli and actor Debra Berger. Best known for the documentaries Being in the World and Flamenco: A Personal Journey, he has also founded LAFCO and the Bombay Beach Biennale. He is a skilled flamenco guitar player and photographer, too.

 12 Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini
3
Famous As: Film director, Actor, Film producer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Racecar driver
Birthdate: May 8, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome
Died: June 3, 1977

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.

 13 Vittorio De Sica

Vittorio De Sica
2
Famous As: Film director, who was a leader in the neorealist movement of the 1940's and 1950's
Birthdate: July 7, 1901
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sora, Italy
Died: November 13, 1974

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.

 14 Tinto Brass

Tinto Brass
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Famous As: Italian filmmaker known for his erotic films, including Caligula, Così fan tutte, Paprika, Monella, and Trasgredire
Birthdate: March 26, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

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.

 15 Giada Colagrande

Giada Colagrande
3
Famous As: Director, Actress
Birthdate: October 16, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pescara, Italy
Known for projects such as Padre and Pasolini, Italian actor-director Giada Colagrande began her career making art documentaries. Her short films have earned accolades, too. She is now known for her collaborations with her actor husband Willem Dafoe, with whom she has an age gap of almost 2 decades.

 16 Paolo Sorrentino

Paolo Sorrentino
3
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: May 31, 1970
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

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.

 17 Luca Guadagnino

Luca Guadagnino
3
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: April 12, 1971
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Palermo, Sicily, Italy

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.

 18 Edoardo Ponti

Edoardo Ponti
3
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: January 6, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

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
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 8, 1936
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

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.

 20 Dario Argento

Dario Argento
3
Famous As: Filmmaker of the horror subgenre known as giallo who directed 1977's influential horror film Suspiria
Birthdate: September 7, 1940
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

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

Paul Henreid
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 10, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Trieste, Austria-Hungary (now Italy)
Died: March 29, 1992

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.

 22 Carlo Gabriel Nero

Carlo Gabriel Nero
3
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: September 16, 1969
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: London, England

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.

 23 Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni
5
Famous As: Film Director, Screenwriter, Editor
Birthdate: September 29, 1912
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ferrara, Italy
Died: July 30, 2007

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.

 24 Luchino Visconti

Luchino Visconti
2
Famous As: Theatre director, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer
Birthdate: November 2, 1906
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Milan
Died: March 17, 1976

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.

 25 Giancarlo Giannini

Giancarlo Giannini
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 1, 1942
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: La Spezia, Italy

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.

 26 Rocco Siffredi

Rocco Siffredi
4
Famous As: Adult Film Star
Birthdate: May 4, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ortona, Italy

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.

 27 Vittorio Gassman

Vittorio Gassman
2
Famous As: Actor, Director
Birthdate: September 1, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Died: June 29, 2000

 28 Franco Amurri

Franco Amurri
5
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: September 12, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

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.

 29 Stefano Sollima

Stefano Sollima
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: May 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

 30 Lucio Fulci

Lucio Fulci
2
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: June 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 13, 1996

 31 Giuseppe Tornatore

Giuseppe Tornatore
2
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer, Film editor
Birthdate: May 27, 1956
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bagheria

 32 George P. Cosmatos

George P. Cosmatos
2
Famous As: Former Film director and writer, known for Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Leviathan (1989) and Cobra (1986)
Birthdate: January 4, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: April 19, 2005

 33 Gian Maria Volontè

Gian Maria Volontè
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 9, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
Died: December 6, 1994

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.

 34 Ruggero Deodato

Ruggero Deodato
2
Famous As: Film director, Actor, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Potenza

 35 Gian Carlo Menotti

Gian Carlo Menotti
2
Famous As: Composer and librettist
Birthdate: July 7, 1911
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Cadegliano-Viconago, Italy
Died: February 1, 2007

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.

 36 Michele Placido

Michele Placido
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 19, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ascoli Satriano, Italy

 37 Ferdinando Cito Filomarino

Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: November 27, 1986
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

 38 Adolfo Celi

Adolfo Celi
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: July 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Messina, Italy
Died: February 19, 1986

 39 Sergio Corbucci

Sergio Corbucci
2
Famous As: film director, screenwriter, film producer
Birthdate: December 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rome
Died: December 2, 1990

 40 Lina Wertmüller

Lina Wertmüller
2
Famous As: Screenwriter
Birthdate: August 14, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

 41 Massimo Troisi

Massimo Troisi
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: February 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: San Giorgio a Cremano, Italy
Died: June 4, 1994

 42 Gabriele Muccino

Gabriele Muccino
2
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: May 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome

 43 Mario Bava

Mario Bava
2
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Writer, Responsible for special effects
Birthdate: July 31, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sanremo
Died: April 25, 1980

 44 Floria Sigismondi

Floria Sigismondi
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Pescara, Italy

 45 Toni Servillo

Toni Servillo
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: January 25, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Afragola, Italy

 46 Ugo Tognazzi

Ugo Tognazzi
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 23, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cremona, Italy
Died: October 27, 1990

 47 Gigi Proietti

Gigi Proietti
2
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 2, 1940
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: November 2, 2020

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. 

 48 Mario Salieri

Mario Salieri
2
Famous As: Film producer, Film director
Birthdate: November 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Naples

 49 Matteo Garrone

Matteo Garrone
2
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: October 15, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rome

 50 Nanni Moretti

Nanni Moretti
2
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: August 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bruneck, Italy