Top 100 Italian Directorsby minalex | created - 07 Feb 2012 | updated - 2 months ago | Public
Director | Miryam
Former painter and designer, who pioneered epic motion pictures - replete with vast sets and huge casts - before D.W. Griffith and Hollywood cornered the market. Famous, particularly, for 'Quo Vadis ?' (1912). Doubled as art director on his own films. Active until 1943.
Director | L'Inferno
Giuseppe de Liguoro was born on January 10, 1869 in Naples, Campania, Italy as Giuseppe Dei Conti de Liguoro Presicce. He was a director and actor, known for Dante's Inferno (1911), Count Ugolini (1909) and Homer's Odyssey (1911). He died on March 19, 1944 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
Director | Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei
Mario Caserini was born on February 26, 1874 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and actor, known for The Last Days of Pompeii (1913), Romeo and Juliet (1908) and Capitan Fracassa (1919). He was married to Maria Caserini. He died on November 17, 1920 in Rome.
Director | Cabiria
Giovanni Pastrone was born on September 13, 1883 in Montechiaro d'Asti, Piedmont, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Cabiria (1914), Il fuoco (la favilla - la vampa - la cenere) (1916) and The Warrior (1916). He died on June 27, 1959 in Turin, Piedmont.
Director | Giuseppe Verdi
Carmine Gallone was born on September 10, 1885 in Taggia, Liguria, Italy as Carmelo Camillo Gallone. He was a director and writer, known for The Life of Giuseppe Verdi (1938), Odessa in fiamme (1942) and Scipione l'africano (1937). He was married to Soava Gallone. He died on March 12, 1973 in ...
9. Max Ophüls
Director | La ronde
Director Max Ophüls was born Max Oppenheimer in Saarbrücken, Germany. He began his career as a stage actor and director in the golden twenties. He worked in cities such as Stuttgart, Dortmund, Wuppertal, Vienna, Frankfurt, Breslau and Berlin. In 1929 his son Marcel Ophüls was born in Frankfurt, ...
The great German director has worked in Italy where he made La signora di tutti
Director | Prima comunione
Alessandro Blasetti was born on July 3, 1900 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Father's Dilemma (1950), La corona di ferro (1941) and Un giorno nella vita (1946). He was married to Maria Laura Brofferio. He died on February 1, 1987 in Rome.
11. Luigi Zampa
Writer | Processo alla città
Abandoning earlier studies in architecture and engineering, Luigi Zampa learned screenwriting and directing at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome, between 1932 and 1937. He went on to make military training films for the Italian army during World War II, as well as collaborating on ...
12. Vittorio De Sica
Director | Ladri di biciclette
Vittorio De Sica grew up in Naples, and started out as an office clerk in order to raise money to support his poor family. He was increasingly drawn towards acting, and made his screen debut while still in his teens, joining a stage company in 1923. By the late 1920s he was a successful matinee ...
Writer | Caccia tragica
Giuseppe De Santis was born on February 11, 1917 in Fondi, Lazio, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Caccia tragica (1947), Giorni d'amore (1954) and Bitter Rice (1949). He was married to Gordana Miletic. He died on May 16, 1997 in Rome, Lazio.
Writer | The Medium
Gian Carlo Menotti was born on July 7, 1911 in Cadegliano-Viconago, Lombardy, Italy. He was a writer and composer, known for The Medium (1951), Great Performances (1971) and NBC Television Opera Theatre (1950). He was married to Samuel Barber. He died on February 1, 2007 in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Writer | Dora la espía
Raffaello Matarazzo started writing film reviews for the Roman newspaper Il Tevere before re-editing scripts for the Italian film company Cines. His first films were comedies until he shifted to making melodramas. With Catene (1949), produced by Titanus in 1949, he became the most successful ...
17. Alberto Lattuada
Writer | Guendalina
Alberto Lattuada was born on November 13, 1914 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Guendalina (1957), Flesh Will Surrender (1947) and Tempest (1958). He was married to Carla Del Poggio. He died on July 3, 2005 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
Writer | Due soldi di speranza
Renato Castellani was born on September 4, 1913 in Finale Ligure, Liguria, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Two Cents Worth of Hope (1952), Romeo and Juliet (1954) and Sotto il sole di Roma (1948). He died on December 28, 1985 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
Director | Maria Zef
The son of an army officer and landowner, Cottafavi was already endowed with a university education in law, philosophy and literature, by the time he graduated from the famous Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia in Rome in 1938.
He began his professional career in the film industry as a clapper ...
21. Cesare Zavattini
Writer | Ladri di biciclette
Cesare Zavattini was born on September 29, 1902 in Luzzara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Bicycle Thieves (1948), Father's Dilemma (1950) and Umberto D. (1952). He died on October 13, 1989 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
Mostly known as a screenwriter, he also directed one of the segments of Love in the City
Writer | Paisà
The master filmmaker Roberto Rossellini, as one of the creators of neo-realism, is one of the most influential directors of all time. His neo-realist films influenced France's nouvelle vague movement in the 1950s and '60s that changed the face of international cinema. He also influenced American ...
24. Mario Camerini
Director | Il signor Max
Mario Camerini was born on February 6, 1895 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Il signor Max (1937), I'll Give a Million (1935) and Gli uomini, che mascalzoni... (1932). He was married to Assia Noris. He died on February 4, 1981 in Gardone Riviera, Lombardy, Italy.
25. Riccardo Freda
Writer | Il cavaliere misterioso
Riccardo Freda was born in Alexandria, Egypt, of Italian parents. Educated in Milan, he became a sculptor, then a newspaper art critic. He began a career in film in 1937 as a screenwriter and production supervisor. He moved into directing in 1942, beginning a career that lasted some 40 years. ...
27. Federico Fellini
Writer | Amarcord
The women who both attracted and frightened him and an Italy dominated in his youth by Mussolini and Pope Pius XII - inspired the dreams that Fellini started recording in notebooks in the 1960s. Life and dreams were raw material for his films. His native Rimini and characters like Saraghina (the ...
28. Luchino Visconti
Director | Le notti bianche
Luchino Visconti was born on November 2, 1906 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy as Luchino Visconti di Modrone. He was a director and writer, known for Le Notti Bianche (1957), Rocco and His Brothers (1960) and Death in Venice (1971). He died on March 17, 1976 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
Writer | Blowup
Michelangelo Antonioni was born in 1912 into a middle-class family and grew up in bourgeois surroundings of the Italian province. In Bologna he studied economics and commerce while he painted and also wrote criticism for a local newspaper. In 1939 he went to Rome and worked for the journal "Cinema"...
31. Mario Bava
Cinematographer | Reazione a catena
Italian director Mario Bava was born on July 31, 1914 in the coastal northern Italian town of San Remo. His father, Eugenio Bava (1886-1966), was a cinematographer in the early days of the Italian film industry. Bava was trained as a painter, and when he eventually followed his father into film ...
Writer | Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma
Pier Paolo Pasolini achieved fame and notoriety long before he entered the film industry. A published poet at 19, he had already written numerous novels and essays before his first screenplay in 1954. His first film Accattone (1961) was based on his own novel and its violent depiction of the life ...
33. Pietro Germi
Writer | Un maledetto imbroglio
Pietro Germi was born on September 14, 1914 in Genoa, Liguria, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for The Facts of Murder (1959), Il ferroviere (1956) and Divorce Italian Style (1961). He was married to Olga D'Aiello and Anna Bancio. He died on December 5, 1974 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
34. Vittorio De Seta
Director | Banditi a Orgosolo
Vittorio De Seta was born on October 15, 1923 in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Bandits of Orgosolo (1961), Un uomo a metà (1966) and Isole di fuoco (1955). He died on November 28, 2011 in Sellia Marina, Calabria, Italy.
35. Valerio Zurlini
Writer | Cronaca familiare
Valerio Zurlini was born on March 19, 1926. During his law studies in Rome, he started working in the theatre. In 1943, he joined the Italian resistance. Zurlini became a member of the Italian Communist Party. He filmed short documentaries in the immediate post-war period and in 1954 directed his ...
36. Dino Risi
Director | Il sorpasso
Dino Risi became a movie director by chance. In 1940 he met Alberto Lattuada at a friend's boutique. Lattuada told him they needed an assistant director for the movie Piccolo mondo antico (1941). Risi accepted just for fun, not for work. Later, he became a psychiatrist and wrote some articles for a...
37. Mario Monicelli
Writer | I compagni
Mario Monicelli was born on May 15, 1915 in Viareggio, Tuscany, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for The Organizer (1963), Speriamo che sia femmina (1986) and La grande guerra (1959). He was married to Antonella Salerni and Chiara Rapaccini. He died on November 29, 2010 in Rome, Lazio, ...
38. Marco Bellocchio
Writer | Buongiorno, notte
Marco Bellocchio was born on November 9, 1939 in Piacenza, Emilia-Romagna, Italy. He is a writer and director, known for Good Morning, Night (2003), My Mother's Smile (2002) and Vincere (2009). He is married to Gisella Burinato. They have two children.
39. Gillo Pontecorvo
Director | La battaglia di Algeri
Gillo Pontecorvo was an Italian filmmaker. He is best known for his 1966 masterpiece, The Battle of Algiers, widely viewed as one of the finest films of its genre: realistic though fictionalized documentary. Its portrayal of the Algerian resistance during the Algerian War uses the neorealist style ...
40. Elio Petri
Elio Petri was born on January 29, 1929 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Eraclio Petri. He was a writer and director, known for Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (1970), We Still Kill the Old Way (1967) and Lulu the Tool (1971). He was married to Paola Pegoraro. He died on November 10, 1982 in ...
Writer | The Last Emperor
Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian director whose films are known for their colorful visual style, was born in Parma, Italy, in 1940. He attended Rome University and became famous as a poet. He served as assistant director for Pier Paolo Pasolini in the film Accattone (1961) and directed La commare ...
42. Luigi Comencini
Director | Voltati Eugenio
Luigi Comencini was born on June 8, 1916 in Salò, Lombardy, Italy. He was a director and writer, known for Voltati Eugenio (1980), Bambini in città (1946) and Everybody Go Home! (1960). He was married to Giulia Grifeo. He died on April 6, 2007 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
43. Tonino Valerii
Director | I giorni dell'ira
Tonino Valerii was born on May 20, 1934 in Teramo, Abruzzo, Italy as Antonio Valerii. He was a director and writer, known for Day of Anger (1967), Sicilian Connection (1987) and Sahara Cross (1977). He was married to Rita. He died on October 13, 2016 in Teramo.
44. Paolo Taviani
Director | La notte di San Lorenzo
Paolo Taviani studied liberal arts at the University of Pisa, becoming interested in the cinema after seeing Roberto Rossellini's Paisan (1946). After writing and directing short films and plays with his brother Vittorio, he made his first feature in 1962. The brothers have continued to work ...
45. Vittorio Taviani
Director | La notte di San Lorenzo
Vittorio Taviani studied law at the University of Pisa, becoming interested in the cinema after seeing Roberto Rossellini's Paisan (1946). After writing and directing short films and plays with his brother Paolo, he made his first feature in 1962. The brothers have continued to work together ever ...
47. Lina Wertmüller
Writer | Pasqualino Settebellezze
Lina Wertmüller was born on August 14, 1928 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Arcangela Felice Assunta Job Wertmüller von Elgg Espanol von Brauchich. She is a writer and director, known for Seven Beauties (1975), Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d'agosto (1974) and I basilischi (1963). She ...
48. Marco Ferreri
Writer | Storie di ordinaria follia
Marco Ferreri was born on May 11, 1928 in Milan, Lombardy, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for Storie di ordinaria follia (1981), Dillinger Is Dead (1969) and L'udienza (1972). He was married to Jacqueline Ferreri. He died on May 9, 1997 in Paris, France.
50. Ermanno Olmi
Director | L'albero degli zoccoli
Ermanno Olmi was born on July 24, 1931 in Treviglio, Lombardy, Italy. He is a director and writer, known for The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978), La leggenda del santo bevitore (1988) and Il Posto (1961). He has been married to Loredana Detto since February 28, 1963. They have three children.
52. Francesco Rosi
Writer | La sfida
Francesco Rosi was born on November 15, 1922 in Naples, Campania, Italy. He was a writer and director, known for La sfida (1958), Salvatore Giuliano (1962) and Cadaveri eccellenti (1976). He was married to Giancarla Mandelli. He died on January 10, 2015 in Rome, Lazio, Italy.
56. Ruggero Deodato
Director | Cannibal Holocaust
Ruggero Deodato was born on May 7, 1939, in Potenza, Italy, and grew up outside Rome. One of his close friends at the time was Renzo Rossellini, the son of famed Italian director Roberto Rossellini. Knowing Ruggerio's love for the movies, Renzo persuaded him to work as a second unit director on ...
57. Umberto Lenzi
Director | Superseven chiama Cairo
Born in Massa Marittima, Italy on August 6, 1931, Umberto Lenzi was a movie enthusiast since his early grade school years. During those years, he founded various film fan clubs while studying law. Lenzi started out as a journalist for various local newspapers and magazines. Lenzi put off his law ...
58. Lucio Fulci
Writer | Murderock - Uccide a passo di danza
Lucio Fulci, born in Rome in 1927, remains as controversial in death as he was in life. A gifted craftsman with a sharp tongue and a wicked sense of dark humor, Fulci achieved some measure of notoriety for his gore epics of the late 1970s and early 1980s, but respect was long in coming.
Director | Il giustiziere della strada
Giuliano Carnimeo was born on July 4, 1932 in Bari, Puglia, Italy as Giuliano Carmineo. He was a director and assistant director, known for The Exterminators of the Year 3000 (1983), Find a Place to Die (1968) and The Case of the Bloody Iris (1972). He died on September 10, 2016 in Rome, Lazio, ...
61. Sergio Leone
Writer | Once Upon a Time in America
Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema - he was the son of Roberto Roberti (A.K.A. Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy's cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and U.S. directors working in ...
Director | Sogni erotici di Cleopatra
Rino Di Silvestro was an Italian writer/director who specialized in extremely raw, graphic and, in the opinion of many critics, offensive low-budget exploitation fare. He was born in 1932 and hailed from a family of Sicilian landowners. He established his own avant-garde theatre company and ...
63. Lamberto Bava
Director | Body Puzzle
Lamberto Bava was born in Rome, Italy, and was the first of a third generation of Italian filmmakers. His grandfather, Eugenio Bava (1886-1966), was a cameraman and optics effects artist during the early days of Italian silent cinema. His father, Mario Bava (1914-1980), was a legendary ...
64. Dario Argento
Writer | L'uccello dalle piume di cristallo
Dario Argento was born on September 7, 1940, in Rome, Italy, the first-born son of famed Italian producer Salvatore Argento and Brazilian fashion model Elda Luxardo. Argento recalls getting his ideas for filmmaking from his close-knit family from Italian folk tales told by his parents and other ...
67. Michele Soavi
Director | Deliria
Born in Milan, Italy in 1957, Michele Soavi's parents separated when he was little and he lived with his mother who remarried a painter. Interested in his stepfather's interest in painting, Soavi began an interest in creative arts in his school. During his teenage years, he decided that the cinema ...
70. Roberto Benigni
Actor | La vita è bella
Roberto Benigni was born on October 27, 1952 in Manciano La Misericordia, Castiglion Fiorentino, Tuscany, Italy as Roberto Remigio Benigni. He is an actor and writer, known for Life Is Beautiful (1997), La tigre e la neve (2005) and Down by Law (1986). He has been married to Nicoletta Braschi since...
76. Daniele Ciprì
Cinematographer | È stato il figlio
Daniele Ciprì was born on August 17, 1962 in Palermo, Sicily, Italy. He is a cinematographer and director, known for È stato il figlio (2012), Vincere (2009) and Come inguaiammo il cinema italiano - La vera storia di Franco e Ciccio (2004).
78. Nanni Moretti
Producer | Palombella rossa
Nanni Moretti was born on the 19th of August, 1953. He lives in Rome, where since he was a kid he devotes himself to his two passions: cinema and water-polo. In 1970 he also played in water-polo first division in Italy, and in the junior National team. In those years he was also very committed in ...
Actor | Non ti muovere
Sergio Castellitto was born in Rome in 1953. After graduating from the Silvio D'Amico National Academy of Dramatic Art in 1978, he began his theatrical career in Italian public theater with "Shakespeare's Measure for Measure" at the Teatro di Roma and with roles in other plays such as "La Madre by ...
81. Asia Argento
Actress | Land of the Dead
Asia Argento was born in Rome, Italy, into a family of actors and filmmakers, both occupations which she has herself pursued. She made her debut when she was only nine years old in Sergio Citti's Sogni e bisogni (1985). In 1988 she had the leading role in Cristina Comencini's first film, Zoo (1988)...
82. Stefano Veneruso
Director | All the Invisible Children
Director/producer Stefano Veneruso was mentored and inspired from childhood by his late uncle Massimo Troisi, renowned director, author and actor better known internationally for producing, co-directing and starring in the Academy Award-winning film The Postman, (Il Postino). Working at Esterno ...
83. Gabriele Muccino
Director | The Pursuit of Happyness
Gabriele Muccino was born on May 20, 1967 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. He is a director and writer, known for The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), Remember Me, My Love (2003) and L'ultimo bacio (2001). He has been married to Angelica Russo since December 22, 2012. He was previously married to Elena Majoni.
Director | Respiro
Although born in Rome in 1965, Emanuele Crialese has Sicilian roots, to which he pays tribute in film after film. In 1991 he leaves for the USA where he studies film direction at New York University. After making several shorts, he directs his first feature-length movie Once We Were Strangers (1997)...
86. Matteo Garrone
Director | Gomorra
Matteo Garrone was born in Rome in 1968. He is the son of a theatre critic, Nico Garrone, and a photographer. In 1996 he won the Sacher d'Oro, an award sponsored by Nanni Moretti, with the short film Silhouette (1996), that became one of the three episodes of his first feature film Terra di mezzo (...
88. Marco Bechis
The son of a Chilean woman of Swiss-French origins and an Italian father, he grew up in Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires. At the age of twenty he was expelled from Argentina for political reasons: he landed in Milan and there he lived throughout the 1980s, while also spending lots of time in New York, ...
An Italian-Argentinian director
93. Paolo Virzì
Writer | La prima cosa bella
Paolo Virzì was born on March 4, 1964 in Livorno, Tuscany, Italy. He is a writer and director, known for La prima cosa bella (2010), Tutta la vita davanti (2008) and Hardboiled Egg (1997). He has been married to Micaela Ramazzotti since January 17, 2009. They have two children. He was previously ...