Italian cinema has existed since the Lumiere Brothers made their first movies, and Italian movie theatres have been operating since 1896. Most experts say the birth of the Italian film industry happened around 1903 and hit the golden era around 1914 when Italian movies were at the cutting edge of production and storytelling. You could probably even credit the invention of the feature film to those early Italian screenwriters and directors. In addition, the silent films that came out in Italy during this period are considered some of the best produced.
The first Italian Hollywoods cities were Florence and Turin. Turin’s Museum of Cinema attracts cinema buffs from around the world. The first Italian movie dates back to 1896 and was about a royal visit to Florence but most of the film has been lost. Italian movies are a fun way to polish up on your Italian, pick up slang and Italian dialects.
- 15 Italian Movies On Netflix
- Best Italian Movies on Netflix
- Italian Gangster Movies on Netflix
- Italian Movies On Netflix About Real Stories
- Italian Fantasy Movies on Netflix
- Italian Romance Movies on Netflix
- Watch Any Show On Netflix From Anywhere In The World
15 Italian Movies On Netflix
Best Italian Movies on Netflix
Security is an Italian mystery movie based on a crime thriller by American author Stephen Amidon.
The movie is based around an incident that disrupts characters’ lives in an idyllic town, changing them forever.
It starts when a girl accuses one of the wealthiest residents in the town of rape, but no one believes her because her father had been arrested for pedophilia.
The town’s head of security is faced with untangling a web of deceit, and he uses his access to surveillance systems to discover everyone’s secrets.
Security is a well-constructed drama about the secrets people keep and finished filming just before the first COVID lockdown.
The director (Peter Chelsom), was down on his luck in Hollywood, so he went to Italy to make a low-budget thriller, which became a global hit.
They edited the film in LA and did post-production in Rome to launch on Netflix a few days before the second lockdown in Italy.
Released: 16 June 2021
Filmed in: Tuscany, mainly in Forte Dei Marmi and Pietrasanta in Lucca province. Forte Dei Marmi is a popular holiday town for wealthy Italians, with its lovely beaches, cultural heritage, markets and historical significance (it was a strategic place for the Roman army). Pietrasanta is another former Roman coastal town called “Little Athens of Italy” and is known for its architecture and historic buildings such as the Cathedral of St. Martin and Sant’Agostino.
Cast: Marco D’Amore, Maya Sansa and Valeria Bilello.
2- 18 Presents (18 Regali)
18 Presents is an unusual Italian movie where a pregnant mother with terminal cancer leaves 18 gifts for her unborn daughter each year until her 18th birthday.
Elisa passes away when her baby is a year old, but the gifts keep her in her child’s life and is an emotional movie to watch.
The incredible thing about this movie is it’s based on a real story, and the baby’s father is one of the screenwriters.
Bring a box of tissues and bawl our eyes out.
Released: 8 May 2020
Filmed in: Rome, with some scenes in the province of Lombardy.
Cast: With Vittoria Puccini, Benedetta Porcaroli, Edoardo Leo, Sara Lazzaro.
3- The Last Paradiso (L’ultimo paradise)
Last Paradiso transports you to the 1950s to a southern Italian town where Ciccio Paradiso, a notorious adulterer, dreams about either wrestling power from the wealthy men who control the town or leaving to travel the world.
The stunning cinematography of green hills and the historic aqueducts will have you yearning to visit southern Italy while the details about the characters’ daily lives are outstanding.
Shots of Ciccio’s mother kneading dough, women washing laundry in a river and the golden fields are a joy to watch.
The Last Paradiso focuses on community and makes a statement about the age-old class struggle and forbidden love based on actual events.
Released: 5 February 2021.
Filmed in: Gravina in Puglia, which is a town in the Metropolitan City of Bari. It’s known as the city of water and stone, with its rock churches, and where Pope Benedetto XIII was born.
Cast: Gaia Bermani Amaral, Valentina Cervi, Antonio Gerardi, Giovanni Cirfiera, Giuseppe Nardone.
4- The Life Ahead
Most viewers are used to seeing international movie goddess Sofia Loren play a young and desirable siren role.
So one of the unusual things about The Life Ahead is her role as an elderly Holocaust survivor who was a former prostitute who looks after the children of local sex workers.
Madame Rosa is on a mission to look after the kids that nobody cares about.
As she nears the end of her life, she befriends a 12-year-old boy from Senegal.
Sofia Loren’s performance as Madame Rosa pulls you in as she brings life to a complex character who has been through the school of hard knocks yet still has it in her to be generous.
First episode: 6 November 2020.
Filmed in: Bari, an Adriatic Seaport and capital of the Puglia region. Bari has a charming old town called Barivecchia, which sits between two harbours and has narrow streets. The 11th-century Basilica di San Nicola is a pilgrimage site.
Cast: Sofia Loren, Ibrahima Gueye, Babak Karimi, Abril Zamora.
Italian Gangster Movies on Netflix
5- The Ruthless
The Ruthless is a Netflix show about a rebellious teen who becomes one of Milan’s top criminals during the golden years of the ndrangheta Mafia, one of the most dangerous Italian Mafia crime syndicates in Calabria dating back to the late 18th century.
The shots of Milan’s Cathedral and other beautiful landmarks around the city are a contrast to the city’s dark side.
Accused of a crime he did not commit as a teenager leads Santo to juvenile detention and eventually a life of crime.
He ends up being a robber, jewel thief and insurance scammer. After going to jail again, he begins a killing spree to get rid of his underworld competition.
His career in crime continues to grow to luxury car trafficking and heroin.
If you’re into Italian mob movies, you’ll like this one.
Released: 19 April 2019.
Filmed in: Milan, Pavia, Foggia, Bari.
Cast: Marie-Ange Casta, Riccardo Scamarcio, Sara Serraiocco, Alessio Praticò, Alessandro Tedeschi.
6- The Beast (La Belva)
Former military special forces captain, Leonida Riva, has post-traumatic stress disorder due to his past.
His work has destroyed his chance of happy family life as his teenage son resents him, but his young daughter loves him.
While his son, Mattia, takes his daughter, Teresa, out for a burger, she is kidnapped.
The fast-paced thriller is about Riva’s search for Teresa. But, unfortunately, the police are hot on his tail, and he’s so good at it, they suspect he could be involved in the kidnapping.
The Beast is a gripping Italian movie full of action and plenty of fighting and car chases.
The plot is a little thin, but you’ll love it if you’re in the mood for action rather than contemplation.
Released: 26 November 2020.
Filmed in: Rome.
Cast: Fabrizio Gifuni, Lino Musella, Monica Piseddu, Andrea Pennacchi.
Looking for more things to do in Italy? Here are some places you will love!
Italian Movies On Netflix About Real Stories
7- Rose Island (L’Isola Delle Rose)
Rose Island is a true story about Giorgio Rosa, who built a micronation off the Rimini coast in 1968.
He was an engineer who designed and constructed an island in the Adriatic sea, with a post office, restaurant, bar and souvenir shop all on a 400 sq m platform suspended 26m above the seabed on steel pylons.
The island was 12km off the coast of Rimini and just out of reach of Italian territorial waters.
Rosa declared his ‘island’ as an independent state and declared himself the Republic of Rose Island’s president.
It’s also the shortest-lived republic, as 55 days after the declaration of independence, the Italian military blew it up with dynamite.
The government was unhappy that Rosa had built Rose Island without their permission.
What made them even angrier was the island was attracting tourists while avoiding tax laws.
After that, Rosa went back to being an engineer and a university lecturer and passed away in 2017 at 92.
Rose Island is essentially about freedom and standing up for rights against the government.
Released: 9 December 2020.
Filmed in: The Republic of Rose Island was a short-lived micronation on an artificial platform in the Adriatic Sea. Most of the filming was done in Malta.
Cast: Tom Wlaschiha, Francois Cluzet, Matilda de Angelis, Luca Zingaretti.
8- My Way
My Way is a look into the life of former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, who faced sex scandals and corruption trials. He was also convicted of tax fraud.
Berlusconi was an authoritarian leader and a controversial figure who divided public opinion.
He was also a friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who features strongly in the documentary.
It’s about a self-indulgent, narcissistic and dangerous man who was the longest-serving post-war Italian Prime Minister.
Released: 21 November 2016.
Filmed in: Italy.
Cast: Silvio Berlusconi, Alan Friedman, Adeiano Galliani, Vladimir Putin.
9- Baggio: The Divine Ponytail (Il Divin Codino)
Baggio: The Divine Ponytail is a biographical film based on real-life events of famous Italian footballer Roberto Baggio, including his career highs, injuries and discovery of Buddhism.
Baggio played for Italy in 56 matches and scored 27 goals, making him the fourth-highest scorer for the national team.
Baggio’s nickname was Il Divin Codino (The Divine Ponytail) because of his unique hairstyle.
The controversial footballer was famous for his curling freekicks and dribbling skills.
He’s also known for missing a penalty kick in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
First episode: 26 May 2021.
Filmed in: Turin.
Cast: Andrea Arcangeli, Valentina Bellè, Andrea Pennacchi, Antonio Zavatteri, Anna Ferruzzo.
Italian Fantasy Movies on Netflix
10- The Man Without Gravity (L’uomo senza gravità)
The film’s storyline revolves is about a young boy, Oscar, who is born in a hospital in a small town.
The baby was born with the extraordinary ability to float against the law of gravity.
His mother and grandmother can’t believe how he can float in the air, and the two women run away with the baby to keep him hidden from the world.
One day, Oscar decides to reveal his secret to the world. Are you curious to know what everyone thinks of the Man without Gravity?
Released: 14 October 2019
Filmed in: Calvenzano, Treviglio and Milan in Lombardy, Rome, Trentino and Belgium.
Cast: Elio Germano, Elena Cotta, Silvia D’Amico, Vincent Scarito, Pietro Pescara.
11- The App
The Italian Netflix movie The App is a psychological drama about a wealthy young man whose easy life is turned upside down when he becomes obsessed with a woman he meets on a dating app.
Ironically, Nick’s girlfriend gets him to experiment with a dating app for a dissertation she is writing about about love and algorithms.
He returns to Italy to star in his first movie and foolishly gets involved with a woman who turns his life into a wreck.
The App highlights the negative aspects of dating in these contemporary times.
Released: 26 December 2019.
Filmed in: Rome.
Cast: Salvatore Costa, Vincenzo Crea, Jessica Cressy, Maurizio Di Carmine, Abel Ferrara, Andrea Giannini.
12- The Binding
The Binding is a chilling tale about a concept called ‘binding’, which is the process of linking a victim to the perpetrator so that the victim loses their ability to make decisions for themselves.
The story starts with Emma, daughter Sofia, and her fiancé Francesco who travel to southern Italy to meet Francesco’s mother.
The older woman lives in an enormous mansion, and soon after they arrive, strange things happen to Sofia, who is bitten by a tarantula and reacts by pulling out her hair.
First episode: 2 October 2020.
Filmed in: Bari.
Cast: Riccardo Scamarcio, Mía Maestro, Michael C. Pizzuto, Federica Rosellini, Sebastiano Filocamo.
Italian Romance Movies on Netflix
13- Under the Riccione Sun (Sotto il sole di Riccione)
Under the Riccione Sun is a comedy about a group of young adults on vacation at the beach.
It’s about romantic liaisons and summer crushes by the seaside when the beaches were crowded.
Each year, the college friends head to the seaside town of Riccione to party.
The film is lighthearted and has plenty of beautifully tanned bodies in a gorgeous location.
It’s easy watching, and the show’s star is the snapshots of the lifestyle on Italy’s Adriatic coastline.
Released: 1 July 2020.
Filmed in: Riccione, a famous summer holiday town on Italy’s Adriatic coast in Emilia-Romagna. It has an attractive waterfront boulevard and bicycle lane. The town attracts both families with younger kids who go for the theme parks and the nightlife crowd.
Cast: Cristiano Caccamo, David Calgaro, Matteo Oscar Giuggioli.
14- Caught by a Wave
Caught by a Wave is a quintessential Italian love story with a sad ending.
Sara is a fearless young woman who falls in love with her sailing instructor while learning to sail on the island of Favignana in the Aegadian Islands in Sicily.
Disaster strikes, and one day, while sailing, she falls overboard and cannot climb back into the boat.
The movie is about illness and is a reminder to seize the moment and live the best life you can while you can.
It offers insights into treatment for young people affected by degenerative dystrophy and the risks of this syndrome.
The movie’s message is to take time to savour every moment of life because life itself is a precious gift.
First episode: 25 March 2021.
Filmed in: Sicily.
Cast: Elvira Camarrone, Roberto Christian, Donatella Finocchiaro, Corrado Invernizzi.
15- The Players
An Italian movie adapted from a French film, The Players, is a collection of skits exploring life’s issues lightheartedly.
The two main stars play different characters in each skit that follows the classic Italian comedy satire about sex, marriage and divorce.
The skits poke fun at adultery, which is a subject that is Italian to the core, so watch and laugh.
In Italy, they have a saying that adultery is like a pizza, delicious when it’s fresh, but leave it out for too long and it gets stale.
Released: 15 July 2020.
Filmed in: Rome.
Cast: Riccardo Scamarcio, Valerio Mastandrea, Laura Chiatti.
Watch Any Show On Netflix From Anywhere In The World
Can’t find a show on Netflix? You can watch your favourite Netflix shows and series by using a VPN. We’re offering our readers some great deals on low-cost VPNs to try.
- NordVPN allows you to connect to 2380+ servers in 56+ countries and offers military-grade encryption and top security.
- AtlasVPN is a cheap VPN provider that allows you to stream Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO, Disney+, BBC iPlayer and more on unlimited devices.
- Streamlocator is a plug and play streaming hub that provides access to 40+ popular streaming services worldwide, including shows in eight Netflix countries.