8 Italian Intermediate Movies to Watch if You Are a Pro

Italy has produced some of the most influential films the world has ever seen, recognized internationally for their cinematic brilliance.

Watching movies in the original language not only enhances the viewing experience but also accelerates language learning. For Italian language learners who appreciate Italian cinema, immersing themselves in its films can be one of the most enjoyable and effective ways to improve linguistic abilities.

In this guide, we present seven of the best movies for Italian learners who have already mastered the basics and are ready to dive deeper into the language.

So, get ready to enhance your Italian proficiency while enjoying these cinematic gems.

Table of Contents

  1. La Dolce Vita
  2. La vita è bella
  3. Malèna
  4. I Cento Passi
  5. La grande bellezza
  6. Nuovo Cinema Paradiso
  7. Amarcord
  8. Mine vaganti

1. La Dolce Vita (The Sweet Life) (1960)

Federico Fellini's renowned 1960 cult classic follows Marcello, a tabloid journalist and socialite in Rome, as he grapples with the allure of the party scene and his domestic life with his girlfriend.

Structured into seven "episodes," along with a prologue, intermission, and epilogue, the film chronicles Marcello's pursuit of pleasure, love, and fulfillment.

Amidst encounters with various women and friends, amidst parties and dramatic situations, Marcello finds himself perpetually dissatisfied.

The film received an Oscar for best costumes, and, in typical Fellini fashion, features extravagant attire. Additionally, the character of Paparazzo coined the term "paparazzi," now commonly used to refer to celebrity photographers in numerous languages worldwide.

2. La vita è bella (Life Is Beautiful) (1997)

This film garnered numerous awards, including Best Actor for Roberto Benigni at the 71st Academy Awards.

Set in the 1930s, it tells the story of a father shielding his son from the brutal reality of the Nazi occupation during World War II. Guido Orefice (Benigni), a humble Jewish bookstore owner, and his son are taken to a concentration camp.

To shield his five-year-old son, the father tells the boy that they are participants in an elaborate game where they must complete various tasks (such as evading German guards) to win a real tank (much to the child's delight).

Language learners can glean much from the expressive Guido, who not only talks incessantly but also theatrically gestures as he speaks.

Despite its 1930s setting, the film employs relatively contemporary Italian, which learners can easily incorporate into everyday conversations.

3. Malèna (Malena) (2000)

Set in 1940 Sicily, "Malèna" is a poignant coming-of-age tale following a 13-year-old boy infatuated with a stunning schoolteacher named Malèna, whose husband is serving in the African war.

The luminous Monica Bellucci portrays Malèna, a woman whose mere presence ignites gossip throughout the town as she carries out her daily routines. Despite her quiet demeanor, she becomes the subject of relentless speculation among the townsfolk.

Renato, the adolescent protagonist, finds himself consumed by thoughts of Malèna, and viewers are forewarned that the film delves into intense territory as Renato's desires are portrayed.

While Malèna herself has minimal dialogue, viewers are immersed in the period Italian language through Renato's impassioned narrations and the colorful expressions of the envious townspeople in this romantic comedy-drama.

4. I Cento Passi (One Hundred Steps) (2000)

"I Cento Passi" narrates the tale of Peppino Impastato, who during a period when few dared to confront the Mafia, led a radio show exposing their criminal activities and injustices.

Tragically, Impastato fell victim to the Mafia, initially deemed a suicide. However, two decades later, his case was revisited, leading to a murder conviction.

This biographical film explains the important role played by the young activist Peppino Impastato in facing the Sicilian Mafia and is rich in evocative language and offers insight into the Sicilian dialect, appealing to those interested in cultural immersion.

Additionally, the movie opens with a rendition of "Nel blu dipinto di blu" ("In the blue that is painted blue"), also known as "Volare," sung by a young Peppino. This iconic Italian song is worthy of exploration in its own right.

5. La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty) (2013)

This 2013 dramedy, an Oscar-winning gem, centers on Jep Gambardella, a prominent socialite in Rome who, upon reaching the age of 65, begins to reassess his life.

The opulence and absurdity of Rome's party scene, which has long inspired his columns, no longer captivate him with the same allure or significance.

As a result, this film is often likened to "La Dolce Vita."

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6. Nuovo Cinema Paradiso (Paradise Cinema)

"Nuovo Cinema Paradiso" stands as a timeless masterpiece by Tornatore, chronicling a man's odyssey through life. We witness his evolution from a curious boy sneaking into the cinema's projection booth to his ascent as a skilled projectionist and ultimately, an acclaimed filmmaker.

At its core, the film also unravels a tale of lost love, captivating audiences with its endearing characters and compelling narrative that have the power to evoke genuine affection.

Even today, this great film remains a topic of discussion among film enthusiasts, with debates swirling around its deleted scenes. Remastered editions ensure that successive generations of movie lovers can savor Tornatore's cinematic brilliance. Notably, the film clinched the prestigious Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1989.

For language learners, the film showcases the exquisite beauty of the Italian language. Beyond mere dialogue, it intertwines famous lines from other movies, enriching the viewing experience with its poetic prose.

7. Amarcord (I Remember) (1973)

This 1973 dramedy by Fellini carries elements of autobiography, depicting his upbringing in a village in 1930s fascist Italy. Titled in dialect, it translates to "I remember."

The film satirizes rural life under the authoritarian rule of Mussolini and the dominance of the Catholic Church, particularly highlighting the absurdities and eccentricities of the villagers.

Portrayals of the local schoolteachers as bumbling and ludicrous add to the humor, prompting the children to seek diversion or escape. Surreal dream sequences punctuate the narrative, offering glimpses into the characters' inner fantasies.

Released during a phase of Fellini's illustrious career, the film garnered immediate and enduring acclaim from critics worldwide. It clinched the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 1975.

8. Mine vaganti (Loose Cannons (2010)

This is a 2010 Italian comedy film directed by Ferzan Özpetek.

Tommaso, the youngest member of the Cantone family - a household renowned for its pasta-making enterprise in the 1960s in conservative southern Italy.

Returning home from Rome, where he pursues studies in literature while residing with his boyfriend, Tommaso resolves to disclose his true self to his parents. However, just as he musters the courage to come out to his entire family, his elder brother Antonio disrupts his intentions, thwarting his plans.

As the protagonist navigates the challenges of coming out to his traditional Italian family, learners are exposed to real-life situations and conversations that reflect the complexities of family relationships, providing valuable learning experiences.

Why Choose Movies for Learning Italian?


Exploring Italian through film offers a dynamic and engaging approach to language acquisition. Here's why incorporating movies into your Italian learning routine is not just beneficial but also enjoyable:

Immersive Experience

Movies provide a multi-sensory and immersive learning environment. They offer a visual context to language learning, allowing you to observe native speakers' gestures and nuances, enhancing your understanding of Italian beyond just words.

Authentic Language Exposure

By watching Italian movies, you hear the language as it's naturally spoken, experiencing the melodious tones and rhythms of Italian speech.

This exposure to authentic dialogue helps you develop a better ear for the language and improves your pronunciation.

Relaxed Learning Environment

Watching movies is a relaxing and enjoyable way to learn Italian. It taps into the concept of "learning through play," as your brain becomes more receptive to new information when you're in a relaxed state.

By integrating Italian cinema into your leisure time, you reinforce positive associations with language learning and enhance your memory retention.

Confidence Boost

Regular exposure to Italian films helps demystify the language and instills confidence in your language abilities.

As you become more familiar with Italian dialogue and culture, speaking and understanding the language will feel more natural and attainable.


Here, we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions relating to movies to learn Italian.

What are the best Italian movies to learn Italian?

The best Italian movies to learn Italian vary depending on your level and interests, but contemporary drama and comedies are great for beginners and intermediate learners.

More complex historical drama, sci fi and classics can also be a great resource for more advanced learners.

What is a classic Italian feature film?

A classic Italian feature film is typically one that has had a significant impact on Italian cinema and is often celebrated for its artistic or cultural significance, such as "La Dolce Vita" or "Cinema Paradiso."

What is the golden age of Italian cinema?

The golden age of Italian cinema is generally considered to be the period between the 1940s and the 1960s, characterized by the rise of neorealism and the emergence of influential filmmakers like Federico Fellini and Vittorio De Sica.

Does Netflix have Italian movies?

Yes, Netflix offers a selection of Italian movies in its catalog, providing viewers with access to a range of Italian cinema.

Platforms like Lingopie also provide access to a range of Italian cinema.

What Netflix show is based in Italy?

One Netflix show based in Italy is "Suburra: Blood on Rome," a crime drama series set in modern-day Rome.

For additional language immersion, Lingopie offers a diverse selection of Italian shows and movies with interactive subtitles.

How can I learn Italian on my own?

You can learn Italian or any other new language on your own through various methods, including online courses, language apps, textbooks, and immersion experiences like watching movies or listening to Italian music.

You can also get some conversation practice by pairing up with a language exchange partner on one of the free language exchange apps.

Summing Up: Italian Intermediate Level Movies to Watch

Foreign cinema is not just about entertainment—it's a valuable tool for language learning. Whether you feel like watching an Italian classic, a romantic comedy, or other modern favorites, the best Italian films on this list offer immersive experiences that enhance vocabulary, comprehension, and cultural understanding.

Platforms like Lingopie can complement your learning journey by providing access to curated content with interactive subtitles. Sign up for a 7-day free trial of Lingopie today for guided learning, great built-in features and culture at your fingertips.

Dive in, immerse yourself, and watch your Italian skills flourish.

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