The Italian film industry emerged between 1903 and 1908. In the 1905s, the first cinemas were built and production companies were established in the major cities. The historical films in Italy are very popular. One of the first is La presa di Roma (XNUMX) by Filoteo Alberini. In addition, comedy develops and then melodrama soon becomes fashionable.

First World War

During the First World War, production plummeted. Due to the turbulent political and social climate and the economic problems, Italian cinema lived an insignificant existence. This changed in the 1937s, under the influence of Mussolini. The government restricts the import of American films and there is more subsidy for film. In XNUMX Cinecittà, the largest Italian film studio, is built.


The period of the Second World War was decisive for Italian cinema, because it was then that neo-realism emerged. This began to manifest itself in films such as Uomini sul Fondo (1941) by Francesco De Robertis and Quattro Passi fra le Nuvole (1942) by Alessandro Blasetti. The neo-realistic films are shot on location, without artificial light, and thus give a realistic image and they are also realistic in terms of content. Entertainment seems inappropriate at the time and the films give a picture of the social discontent after the war. A classic film was Ladri di Biciclette (1948) by Vittorio De Sica.

Calm chaos
Caos Calmo (2008) after the famous book by Sandro Veronesi


In the fifties, they returned to comedies. The commedia all'Italiana has always remained popular and is the backbone of Italian cinema. The Hollywood film is also coming back on the market. The real heyday of Italian film began in the 1960s, which became very popular nationally and internationally. Federico Fellini makes La Dolce Vita (XNUMX) and Marcello Mastroianni, Sophia Loren and Guilietta Masina become international stars. Pier Paolo Pasolini, Bernardo Bertolucci, the Taviani brothers and Ettore Scola become known as directors.


In the XNUMXs, television caused a real crisis in film. Production is declining sharply, this is caused by the increasing popularity of television and declining subsidies. Commercial broadcasters also influence this film climate. State broadcaster Radio Audizioni Italiane always paid a lot of attention to productions from its own country and also contributed financially to this. As a counterbalance, the commercial broadcasters, with Berlusconi's Fininvest being the most important, started broadcasting cheap B-movies. These were largely old Hollywood productions.


New talent emerged in the XNUMXs and XNUMXs, but competition from television remains strong. People prefer to go back to old films and Hollywood productions.

00s-10s and the early years of the second decade

In recent years, Italian film has been in the spotlight again. There is a renewed interest in Italian writers and directors. In the Netherlands, too, the demand for beautiful Italian films is high and fans are regularly treated to them in the art houses. In the list below you can see an overview of the best-selling Italian films.

Italian bestseller movies for your collection

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