Italian Comedies

Italian Lifestyle on the screen


I believe Italian movies are essential to understand how Italians live life. La commedia all' Italiana shows Italy in its most typical behaviours and attitudes, at times bringing them to the extreme, yet always with a touch of irony and a lot of poetic flair.  


Read our intro about the commedia all'Italiana here:  Italian Comedies


In the next few paragraphs we'll give you an insight into some of the best known -and loved- of all Italian commedie. Each of them is throughouly related to the times it was filmed and offers a true mirror to  life in Italy  in those years: for some Italians, watching these films is like taking a walk in a beautiful, yet lost past, as many scenes, episodes, even locations, are no longer the same.


The iconic scenes set in a "stabilimento balneare" on the banks of the river Tevere in Poveri ma Belli- with the actual actors swimming in its waters- are impossible to imagine today, when looking at the polluted waters of the capitoline river.


The figure of the Professor Tersilli, protrayed by Alberto Sordi in Professor Guido Tersilli, medico della mutua  has become synonym with a type of  healthcare typical of the Italian 1970s economic boom, based on the reality of the time as people experienced it in Rome's largest hospitals.  


More recently Italians have witnessed the success of comedies such as Il Ciclone,  by Leonardo Pieraccioni, which portrayed the up and coming 20-something of the 1990s, involved in love triangles and, well, living life, with the beauty of Florence and the Tuscan countryside as a background. Pieraccioni's movies started a cinematic trend that focused on the new youth of Italy, a trend that is somehow still going on and is now following the same getting older and wiser. 


In any way you'd like to read it, the movies below will give you a beautiful insight into living your life in Italy: watch a couple of these movies and see what you make of it!


Above: One of the pest scenes by Alberto Sordi : Il Dentone


Commedia All' Italiana Just After WW2

Italian comedies started in earnest after the end of World War II. Among all the actors of that period, Totò was the most famous.

In his best movies, Totò teamed up with some of the greatest post-war comic actors such as Aldo Fabrizi or Peppino de Filippo. Totò acted in so many films that he was once considered only a third rate actor. However, he is now viewed by all as a bona fid comic genius.

Here are some of the best movies by Totò (Totò made more than 80 movies):

  • I tartassati -  Totò- Fabrizi
  • Totòtruffa 62
  • Totò Peppino e la Malafemmina - Toto' & Peppino de Filippo
  • Miseria e Nobiltà
  • La Banda degli Onesti

Above: a short from Totò, Fabrizi e i Giovani d' oggi


Other Italian film titles from the '50s include:

  • Poveri ma belli - was a comic success in postwar Italy
  • Pane Amore e Fantasia- Vittorio De Sica and Gina Lollobrigida


Other notable actors from the period were Walter Chiari, Gino Bramieri, and Mario Carotenuto.


The Italian Films of the '60s and '70s

Following the economic boom, new comedic talents emerged. Seminal actors to follow if you want to uderstand some more of Italian society in the 1960s and 1970s are Ugo Tognazzi (who sometimes teamed up with Raimondo Vianello), Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi, and Alberto Sordi. 

  • I due Capitani.  Alberto Sordi
  • Riusciranno i nostri eroi a trovare l' amico scomparso in Africa ? A Sordi's film
  • Straziami ma di baci saziami . Nino Manfredi
  • Bello Onesto Emigrato Australia… Alberto Sordi, Claudia Cardinale, 1971
  • I soliti ignoti ** ( Big deal on Madonna street )
  • Un Americano a Roma   Alberto Sordi
  • Il Vigile  Alberto Sordi
  • La grande Guerra (A masterpiece) .  Sordi, Gassman, 1956


Alberto Sordi is still considered an icon, not only of Italian cinema, but of Italy as a country. Here are some of his most famous movies: 

  • I complessi
  • Il prof Guido Tersilli, medico della mutua
  • Il Presidente del Borgorosso Football club
  • Il marchese del Grillo


Other great movies starring Vittorio Gassman

  • L' Armata Brancaleone
  • Brancaleone alle crociate


Italy always had a  strange way to deal with some of its most talented comedians, who often were considered B-class actors by critics. This had been the case with Totò in the '40s and '50s, and happened again in the '60s and '70s with  Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia.  Just like Totò's work, today their type of comedy has been re-evaluated and is widely appreciated not only by the public (who's always liked them), but also by critics.  Their best films include:

  • I maghi del Pallone. 1970
  • I due Vigili . 1967
  • Agenti segretissimi. 1964
  • I due Deputati. 1969

Alberto Sordi's Classic movies



Saturday, April 25TH, 2009 by Guest

Can someone please help me I am trying to find the name of the movie which starred Toto. I remember seeing it when I was little and It made me laugh so very much.
What happened in it was Toto was driving a horse and cart with his friend and every time they went past this farm house they would throw stones and always break the windows and then then the owner would come out of the window and he would shoot at them. The other thing about this movie is that when Toto got home he always hid his money in the Bathroom floor tile and sometimes the toilet. If anyone knows the name of this movie it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Lisa

Monday, May 18TH, 2009 by Guest

I saw a Italian Comedy movie back then. The title was "Pamela" but I really don't know the translation ... It was about a tutor/teacher. She was hired in a house to teach a "shy" guy ... Does anybody know the name of this movie?

Wednesday, July 01TH, 2009 by Guest

I remember an Italian political comedy about a group of people who attempt a coup against the Italian government that I watched in Turkish TV many years ago. Could anyone tell me its name and help in finding it? Thank you very much.

Friday, April 30TH, 2010 by Guest

Please help me find a copy of I Tre Volti, directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, Mauro Bolognini and Franco Indovina.

Thursday, November 04TH, 2010 by Guest

Please help to know the name of the movie in which I saw this scene:

There was a couple in bed, making love, then the wife of this men arrives and surprised them, starting to shout at him. While she's at it, the surpirsed couple dress up, make the bed, say good bye with a kiss and the girl leaves...

Then the cheating husband argues with his wife... she's saying that she always catch him with some other girl in bed, and he answers saying that there is no girl here. "But I just saw her here with yuo in bed", the bed is in perfect order!, he answers, there's no girl here, It's your imagination" (or something like that)

Then the wife sits on the bed and start crying "I'm so jealous. I'm always imagining you in bed with some other women... please forgive me " (or something like that)

I was in University and the scene caused a big impression on me, but I can't remember which movie it was in...

Does anybody know?

Friday, December 17TH, 2010 by Guest

I hope someone can help me. I am looking for the name of an Italian Comedy maybe form the 1970's not sure that deals with 4 thieves ( a noble rich guy who has lost his fortune; a movie actor that was once famous but now only good for commercials, another thief and a tax collector) who all of them owe money for taxes and decide to plan to rob the Finance Ministry. It was a hilarious movie but cannot remember the name to look it up. In one part of the movie they kill the movie actor's horse so they can eat because they were in such need of money.

Saturday, April 30TH, 2011 by Guest

the movie i watched was of guy who lived with his sister and her husband and then he got a job as a policeman and gave a ticket to husband

Saturday, June 11TH, 2011 by Guest

need torrents to download pierinos movies pleaseeeee especialy the 80s movies they whre great,pleasee send to

Wednesday, July 20TH, 2011 by Guest

try: maktuub2004 or Toto tube, on youtube for all the Toto movies.

Thursday, December 01TH, 2011 by Guest

am looking for the title of an italian comedy - web browsing has not helped yet - here are the details:

This was seen on tv, in the 90's.

italian movie, a comedy

italian actors

in english but maybe dubbed

date made - 50's - 90's - not sure

a husband and wife get married in their small town in a civil ceremony
then go to the big city, possibly Rome, to have the religious ceremony.

they stay in a hotel, and the wife goes out one day and meets someone
who invites her to come with them to a filming of a movie in the area,
on the water, not sure if on the ocean or beach or a lake.

the wife meets many amusing people/characters at this outdoor filming.

one scene of the movie being filmed, one actor is asked to stand in a
trench since they are too tall, so that the other actor will not appear
so short.

the wife is also romanced by the male star of this movie being filmed, but she rrebuffs his advances.

everyone leaves the filming location and she discovers they left without her.

She makes her way back to the city and hotel.

the husband discovers the wife is missing, and is trying not to alarm
her parents, who are also in town for the religious ceremony.

Eventually the husband and wife are reunited, and all is well.
thanks for any suggestions on this title and other details.