Italians today still long for the cultural exuberance and unprecedented prosperity of the post-war period. As a result many of the best and famous films on my list come from this period of easy money, beautiful women and fast living. Names like Fellini, Bertolucci and Mastroianni are a big part of the golden age of Italian cinema. But it would be a mistake to ignore today’s Italian cinema which boasts some terrific gems as well.

1. Rome, Open City (1945) Roberto Rossellini


Roberto Rossellini’s best film and one of the most influential films from the first half of the 20th century. Rome, Open City takes place during the Nazi Occupation of the Eternal City. The story revolves around a resistance hero named Giorgio (Marcello Pagliero), his friend Francesco (Francesco Grandjacquet), and Francesco’s fiancée Pita (Anna Magnani) who seek help from a priest named Don Pietro (Aldo Fabrizi). The ending is…

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