Looking to work on your Italian with a little pop culture? Just looking to bring a little bit of Italy to your next movie night? Either way, you’re in luck, because Netflix’s international offices have been hard at work. There are several Italian movies on Netflix worth watching – many of them Netflix originals.
Whether you’re looking for teen romance, comedies, or drama, there are Italian-language movies on Netflix to fit your mood. And we’ve taken the time to sort through them all to help you find the right film for you.
So fire up the subtitles and get ready to work on your Italian listening skills – or simply to enjoy a new Italian movie on Netflix.
Most of the below are available on Netflix US and Netflix UK.
From horror to romance, here are the 10 best Italian films on Netflix 2023
1. Lazzaro Felice (Happy as Lazzaro) – 2018
Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama, Fantasy
While critics struggled to agree on whether Happy as Lazzaro was best described as biting social commentary, touching reflection on innocence and friendship, or supernatural fantasy, they certainly agreed that they liked it. And that’s not all – it won the award for Best Screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival.
Smart, whimsical, and funny, this unusual film about a modern nobleman recruiting an innocent teen in rural Italy to help him fake his own kidnapping is a must-see for those seeking an artful Italian language movie on Netflix.
Pro tip: Learning Italian? Get extra practice by rewatching favourite scenes or films with the subtitles on and off in English and Italian. It’s a quick and easy way to help build your vocabulary and listening skills!
2. L’incredibile Storia Dell’Isola Delle Rose (Rose Island) – 2020
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Based on a true story, this whimsical film follows an engineer who seems out of step with the world around him. This man is Giorgio Rosa, who, in 1968, built his own island off the Rimini coast and declared independence. The film is entertaining and optimistic, creating a highly watchable underdog story perfect for a light evening’s entertainment.
Only available on Netflix US
3. Yara – 2021
Tomatometer: N/A (89% on Google reviews)
Genre: Crime, Drama
Based on the true story of the murder of a 13-year-old girl named Yara and the prosecutor tasked with bringing her killer to justice. While not universally beloved – some reviewers found it too dry – fans of true crime and Law & Order will enjoy this well-paced crime thriller about a woman doing her best to find a murderer and make a case based on limited evidence.
4. Sogno Azzurro (Azzurri: Road to Wembley) – 2021
Genre: Sports Documentary
While this may yet be too painful to watch for English football fans, sports fans with less of an attachment will enjoy this quick feel-good documentary. Sogno Azzurro follows the Italian national soccer team’s road to victory in the 2020 European Championship.
For learners, documentaries like this are a great way to practice listening to modern native Italian speakers chatting naturally – and to brush up on your sports terminology at the same time.
5. A Classic Horror Story – 2021
While there aren’t too many Italian horror movies on Netflix, A Classic Horror Story is the best of the options. As the name suggests, this is a perfectly serviceable horror movie, if you’re looking for one to watch in Italian! It follows five people traveling together in a camper van who crash into a tree and awake to find the road gone, replaced with a wood cabin and a forest that seems impenetrable. Don’t expect anything groundbreaking and you’ll have a scream of a time.
6. On My Skin – 2018
Tomatometer: 67% (84% audience score)
Genre: Drama, Biography
More liked than the reviews would suggest, this Netflix original drama follows the true story of a man named Stefano Cucchi. It begins when he’s arrested on a minor offense. One week later, he’s found dead in his cell. The movie follows the seven days in between and the way his family was changed forever by his final week.
7. Caffè Sospeso (Coffee For All) – 2017
Another short documentary for those working on their listening skills and vocabulary, Caffè Sospeso, which means ‘suspended coffee’, is a somewhat winding, investigative piece. The film takes a closer look at the practice of buying a coffee for a future cafe patron in need (usually the unhoused), focusing on the cities of Naples, Buenos Aires, and New York – but largely follows three people with a relationship to the practice.
While the film is not entirely in Italian, it is an interesting study in an aspect of Neapolitan culture and will scratch the itch for those seeking a fairly low-impact, food-centric documentary. That said, you may get as much bang for your buck watching the Massimo Bottura, Dario Cecchini, or Corrado Assenza episodes of Chef’s Table.
8. Sulla Stessa Onda (Caught By a Wave) – 2021
Tomatometer: N/A (78% audience score)
Genre: Teen Romance, Drama
Fans of tearjerkers like A Walk to Remember will enjoy this romantic movie about a summer fling under the Sicilian sun that takes a serious turn.
While Sulla Stessa Onda is probably one of the best Italian romance movies on Netflix, it’s certainly not the only one. Looking for a lighter version of this kind of story? Netflix’s Out of my League is a quirky Italian romantic comedy about a teen falling in love that garnered a pair of Netflix original sequels, also available on the platform.
9. É stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God) – 2021
Written and directed by Academy Award winner Paolo Sorrentino, É stata la mano di Dio is a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama about an awkward teen living with his parents in Naples and the fallout after tragedy strikes his family. A tenderly told, sensitive memoir, it won the Grand Jury Prize at the Venice International Film Festival and was nominated for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards.
10. La vita davanti a sé (The Life Ahead) – 2020
Last but certainly not least, La vita davanti a sé is a great film and an even better vehicle for the undeniable star power of Sophia Loren. A screen adaptation of the 1975 novel “The Life Before Us” by Romain Gary, the film follows a Holocaust survivor (Loren) who befriends a Senegalese refugee (played by Senegalese-Italian teen actor Ibrahima Gueye) after he robs her.
Special mention: La vita bugiarda degli adulti (The Lying Lives of Adults)
While not a movie, the new Netflix original Italian-language TV show La vita bugiarda degli adulti – release date Jan. 4, 2023 – is worth a mention. The series has been much anticipated since it was first announced in 2020. It’s based on a 2019 book by the globally famous and incredibly popular Italian writer known as Elena Ferrante (a pseudonym).
The story follows a teenage girl named Giovanna coming of age in Naples. After seeking out an estranged aunt, Giovanna begins to unravel the lies she’s been told by her family and learns to bend the truth herself.
And those are the best Italian movies on Netflix right now
Get comfy with a cappuccino and a cannoli (or maybe a big bowl of pasta) and enjoy!
What do you think? Which movie will you choose? Did we miss a personal favorite Italian film on Netflix? You can’t go wrong with any of these movies – just don’t forget the subtitles, capiche? Capiche.
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