Oshawa Italian Recreation Club: Best Italian cultural movies

Artistic expressions like music, poetry and drama are often the best way to learn and appreciate the culture and traditional practices of a country. They serve as a way for people to get acquainted with different countries from all over the world without travelling. 

Here are some Italian movies you should watch to learn about the Italian people and their culture.

Cinema Paradiso

This movie from the ‘80s revolves around a Sicilian boy named Salvatore Di Vita who resorts to the cinema to escape the reality of his post-war life. Upon growing up, his love for film deepened which allowed him to land the job of a projectionist at the cinema. He enlisted in the military and afterwards became a film director. 

Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, this film received an Oscar award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1989, one year after its release.

Life is Beautiful

This film focuses on the life of a Jewish bookseller who aimed to divert the attention of his son from the reality of the world at the time, specifically the Nazi concentration camps. He did this by making creative stories and games to keep them preoccupied. 

This drama won the Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actor for Roberto Benigni, who also directed, co-wrote and starred in the film. 

The Godfather

Starring Marlon Brando, James Caan and Al Pacino this classic movie is one of the all-time favourites of film enthusiasts. Running for almost 3 hours, The Godfather was based on a best-selling novel by Mario Puzo in 1969 and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Revolving mostly around the mafia in New York City in the ‘40s, this film follows the life of the Corleones family, a well-known and respected mafia family in the industry.  


This film is about a group of Italian soldiers assigned to keep watch on a small island in Greece during the Second World War. Despite their foolishness and naivety in performing their duties of holding up the defences of the area, they were able to create meaningful friendships with the local dwellers on the island. 

Mediterranean was released with an English title and won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1991. 

Toto, Peppino, and the Hussy

Released in 1956, Toto, Peppino, and the Hussy is a popular classic in the Italian film industry. The plot circles around three brothers from the countryside of Naples. When one brother left to study medicine, the story focused on the mishaps of the remaining two brothers who went to Milan to save their brother from getting involved with a girl.

The brothers went to various extents in an attempt to remove the girl from the life of their brother, including sending her a letter and offering her money.  

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