Famous Italian Directors

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

Find out more about the greatest Italian Directors, including Federico Fellini, Sergio Leone, Tinto Brass, Paolo Sorrentino and Frank Capra.
Vote for Your Favourite Italian Directors
 1 
Asia Argento
(Actress and Director Known for Her Films: 'XXX', ‘'Marie Antoinette' and ‘Misunderstood’)
Asia Argento
7
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
(Italian Filmmaker Known for His Distinctive Style, Which Blends Fantasy and Baroque Images with Earthiness.)
Federico Fellini
4
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
(Italian Filmmaker Best Known for Creating the 'Spaghetti Western' Genre)
Sergio Leone
5
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.

Recommended Lists:
 4 
Rocco Siffredi
(Italian Adult Film Star Known for Appearing in the 'Buttman' Series of Adult Movies)
Rocco Siffredi
4
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.

 5 
Franco Nero
(Actor Best Known for His Role in the Spaghetti Western Film 'Django')
Franco Nero
4
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 
Pier Paolo Pasolini
(Italian Filmmaker Known for His Radical Methods, Overtly Political and Often Scandalous Content)
Pier Paolo Pasolini
3
Birthdate: March 5, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bologna, 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.

 7 
Terence Hill
(Actor Known for His Roles in ‘Lo Chiamavano Trinità’ & ‘IL Mio Nome è Nessuno')
Terence Hill
4
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.

 8 
Franco Zeffirelli
(Film Director, Producer)
Franco Zeffirelli
3
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 
Luca Guadagnino
(Director & Producer Best Known for His Film 'Call Me by Your Name')
Luca Guadagnino
3
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.

 10 
Bernardo Bertolucci
(The First Italian filmmaker to Win the Academy Award for Best Director)
Bernardo Bertolucci
3
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 
Roberto Rossellini
(Film director, Actor, Film producer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Racecar driver)
Roberto Rossellini
3
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.

 12 
Vittorio De Sica
(Film director, who was a leader in the neorealist movement of the 1940's and 1950's)
Vittorio De Sica
2
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.

 13 
Tinto Brass
(Italian Filmmaker Known for His Erotic Films: 'Caligula', 'Così Fan Tutte', 'Paprika, Monella', and 'Trasgredire')
Tinto Brass
4
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.

 14 
Paolo Sorrentino
(Italian Film Director, Screenwriter, and Writer)
Paolo Sorrentino
3
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.

 15 
Edoardo Ponti
(Director and Younger Son of Actress Sophia Loren and Producer Carlo Ponti Sr)
Edoardo Ponti
4
Birthdate: January 6, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: 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.

 16 
Giada Colagrande
(Italian Film Director and Actress)
Giada Colagrande
4
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.
 17 
Francesca Gregorini
(Italian-American Screenwriter and Director Known for Her Film ‘The Truth About Emanuel’)
Francesca Gregorini
6
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.
 18 
Dario Argento
(Italian Filmmaker Known for His Influential Horror Films Released in the 1970s and 1980s)
Dario Argento
3
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.

 19 
Giancarlo Giannini
(Actor & Film Director Known for His Wide-Range of Starring Roles Across Italian and International Cinema)
Giancarlo Giannini
3
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.

 20 
Michelangelo Antonioni
(Italian Director & Screenwriter Known for His Trilogy 'L'Avventura', 'La Notte' and 'L'Eclisse')
Michelangelo Antonioni
5
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.

 21 
Paul Henreid
(Actor & Director Best Remembered for Roles in the Films 'Casablanca' and 'Now, Voyager')
Paul Henreid
3
Birthdate: January 10, 1908
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Trieste, 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
(Screenwriter and Film Director Known for His Films: 'Uninvited' and 'The Fever')
Carlo Gabriel Nero
3
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 
Luchino Visconti
(Theatre director, Film director, Screenwriter, Writer)
Luchino Visconti
2
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.

 24 
Franco Amurri
(Director Best Known for His Films: ‘Da Grande’, ‘Monkey Trouble’ and ‘Flashback’)
Franco Amurri
5
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.

 25 
Vittorio Gassman
(Actor, Director)
Vittorio Gassman
2
Birthdate: September 1, 1922
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Died: June 29, 2000
 26 
Stefano Sollima
(Director)
Stefano Sollima
2
Birthdate: May 4, 1966
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
 27 
Lucio Fulci
(Film director)
Lucio Fulci
2
Birthdate: June 17, 1927
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 13, 1996
 28 
Giuseppe Tornatore
(Film director, Screenwriter, Film producer, Film editor)
Giuseppe Tornatore
2
Birthdate: May 27, 1956
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bagheria
 29 
George P. Cosmatos
(Former Film director and writer, known for Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985), Leviathan (1989) and Cobra (1986))
George P. Cosmatos
2
Birthdate: January 4, 1941
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: April 19, 2005
 30 
Ruggero Deodato
(Film director, Actor, Screenwriter)
Ruggero Deodato
2
Birthdate: May 7, 1939
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Potenza
 31 
Michele Placido
2
Birthdate: May 19, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ascoli Satriano, Italy
 32 
Adolfo Celi
2
Birthdate: July 27, 1922
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Messina, Italy
Died: February 19, 1986
 33 
Sergio Corbucci
(film director, screenwriter, film producer)
Sergio Corbucci
2
Birthdate: December 6, 1926
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rome
Died: December 2, 1990
Ferdinando Cito Filomarino
2
Birthdate: November 27, 1986
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Milan, Italy
 35 
Toni Servillo
2
Birthdate: January 25, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Afragola, Italy
 36 
Massimo Troisi
2
Birthdate: February 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: San Giorgio a Cremano, Italy
Died: June 4, 1994
 37 
Lina Wertmüller
(Screenwriter)
Lina Wertmüller
4
Birthdate: August 14, 1928
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
 38 
Mario Bava
(Film director, Screenwriter, Cinematographer, Writer, Responsible for special effects)
Mario Bava
2
Birthdate: July 31, 1914
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Sanremo
Died: April 25, 1980
 39 
Gabriele Muccino
(Film director, Screenwriter)
Gabriele Muccino
2
Birthdate: May 20, 1967
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome
 40 
Floria Sigismondi
2
Birthdate: 1965 AD
Birthplace: Pescara, Italy
 41 
Mario Salieri
(Film producer, Film director)
Mario Salieri
2
Birthdate: November 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Naples
 42 
Ugo Tognazzi
2
Birthdate: March 23, 1922
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cremona, Italy
Died: October 27, 1990
 43 
Gigi Proietti
2
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. 

 44 
Nanni Moretti
(Director)
Nanni Moretti
2
Birthdate: August 19, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Bruneck, Italy
 45 
Matteo Garrone
(Film director, Screenwriter)
Matteo Garrone
2
Birthdate: October 15, 1968
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Rome
 46 
Gillo Pontecorvo
(Film Director)
Gillo Pontecorvo
1
Birthdate: November 19, 1919
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Pisa, Italy
Died: October 12, 2006

Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo, best known for his Golden Lion-winning The Battle of Algiers, had migrated to France to escape the fascism in his country. He initially studied chemistry and also worked as a journalist and a tennis coach, before venturing into filmmaking. He often cast non-professional actors.

 47 
Anna Maria Tatò
(Film director)
Anna Maria Tatò
2
Birthdate: April 19, 1949
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Barletta, Italy
 48 
Ginevra Elkann
(Film director, Producer)
Ginevra Elkann
2
Birthdate: September 24, 1979
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: London, England
 49 
Antonio Margheriti
1
Birthdate: September 19, 1930
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: November 4, 2002
 50 
Andrea Di Stefano
2
Birthdate: December 15, 1972
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rome, Italy