11 Most Famous Italian Actors

If you haven’t noticed, big screens these past few years have been dominated by some great leading men who didn’t just keep us on the edge of our seats and made our hearts flutter. Do you know who those men are? Most of them are famous Italian actors.

Historically, Italians contributed significantly to science, cuisine, culture, music, literature, and civilization. They were the center of power until the 16th century. Italians have left a lasting impression on many cultures around the world as a result of their long period of influence.

After the World Wars, Italy’s power and influence declined. Although they still have a rich and diverse culture, culture and arts have taken a backseat due to financial and political upheavals.

Many Italian families immigrated to countries such as America, Britain, and Canada in search of a better life. Italians retained their talent for arts and performances despite being transplanted from their homeland. This is evidenced by the large number of great Italian film actors and actresses across America and Europe.

Today we see many actors of Italian heritage and ancestry dominating the Hollywood scene. On this post, though, we will explore some of the most famous Italian actors dominating the film scene in Italy.

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

The following list will show you some of the most famous Italian actors that have broken the big screens then and now.

1. Michele Morrone

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Who doesn’t know Michele Morone as Massimo Torricelli? This hot Italian actor was born in Bitonto, Italy, and is now one of the most popular Italian actors in Italy.

Michele Morrone is an actor and model who became famous worldwide after the success of his 2020 erotic romantic drama 365 Days.

He is a man with a lot of charm and sex appeal. He is also a professional guitarist and singer, and his YouTube channel has around 2 million subscribers as of this writing. Morrone also has a clothing brand called Aurumroma.

2. Terence Hill

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Terence Hill was born Mario Girotti in the northern Italian city of Venice. When he was young, he started acting after a director saw him at a swimming meet.

At first, he played minor roles and made minor appearances. Terence Hill’s first lead role was in Guaglione, which came out in 1956, thus making him one of the top actors in Italy.

Hill’s first success led to roles in spaghetti Westerns and movies like Lo chiamavano Trinità (They Call Me Trinity) in 1970; Continuavano a chiamarlo Trinità (Trinity Is Still My Name) in 1971; Il mio nome è nessuno (My Name Is Nobody) in 1973; Altrimenti ci arrabbiamo! (Watch Out, We’re Mad!) in 1974; Porgi l’altra guancia (Two Missionaries) also in 1974; and many others.

3. Totò

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Totò was born Antonio de Curtis Gagliardi Griffo Focas on 7 November 1898, in Naples, Italy, and died in Rome at the age of 69.

Often compared to American actor Buster Keaton, Totò was an Italian comic actor best known for his movie portrayal of an earnest but solicitous bourgeois figure.

Most of Totò’s movies were made in Italy. Some of the most popular films he had starred in included the “Totò” series such as the 1950 Totò Tarzan and the 1963 Totò è Cleopatra.

His other hits include the 1954 L’oro di Napoli (The Gold of Naples), which starred Sophia Loren and was directed by Vittorio De Sica; La loi c’est la loi (The Law Is the Law) in 1958; La mandragola (The Mandrake) in 1965; and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s Uccellacci e uccellini (The Hawks and the Sparrows) in 1966.

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4. Nanni Moretti

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Italian actor, director, screenwriter, and producer Giovanni “Nanni” Moretti has worked on many films in Italy that have won – or been nominated for – awards.

Moretti won the Palme d’Or in 2001, the Silver Bear in 1986, the Silver Lion in 1981, three David di Donatello Awards, and more.

Nanni Moretti has made many blockbuster movies which include the 1981 Sogni d’oro (Sweet Dreams / Golden Dreams), 1989 Palombella rossa (Red Wood Pigeon), 1993 Caro diario (Dear Diary), 2001 La stanza del figlio (The Son’s Room), 2006 Il caimano (The Caiman), 2008 Caos calmo (Quiet Chaos), 2011 Habemus papam (We Have a Pope), 2015 Mia madre (My Mother), and the 2021 Tre piani (Three Floors).

Nanni Moretti was born in Bruneck, in the Bolzano province of South Tyrol, on 19 August 1953. He lives in Rome where his parents were both from.

5. Giancarlo Giannini

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Giancarlo Giannini is an Italian director, an Oscar-nominated actor, and multilingual dubber who gained international acclaim for his leading roles in Italian films and command of various languages and dialects.

Giannini was born in La Spezia, Italy, on 1 August 1942. He lived and studied in Naples for ten years, earning a degree in electronics. At 18, he enrolled in the D’Amico Academy of Dramatic Arts in Rome and made his stage acting debut there.

In addition to contemporary Italian plays, he appeared in Italian productions of Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Giannini is also known for dubbing international stars such as Michael Douglas, Dustin Hoffman, Al Pacino, Gérard Depardieu, Ian McKellen, and Jack Nicholson in films released in Italy.

Stanley Kubrick complimented him on his dubbing Nicholson in 1980 film The Shining. Giannini’s command of the English language and dialects has earned him supporting roles in films such as A Walk in the Clouds (1995), Hannibal (2001), Darkness (2002), and Man on Fire (2004), among many others.

In the 21st James Bond film Casino Royale (2006), Giannini plays Rene Mathis and repeats his role in the 2008 sequel, Quantum of Solace.

6. Roberto Benigni

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Italian actor, comedian, screenwriter, and director Roberto Benigni does everything. He has written for and acted in both Italian and English movies.

The 1997 movie Life is Beautiful (Italian: La vita è bella) made Benigni famous worldwide. He wrote, directed, and starred in this film. It was nominated for 7 Academy Awards in 1999 and won three: Best Actor, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score.

Benigni’s 1991 Italian film Johnny Stecchino, which he directed, co-wrote, and starred in (along with his wife Nicoletta Braschi), is the highest-grossing film of all-time in Italy.

Apart from his roles in Johnny Stecchino and Life Is Beautiful, Benigni’s most memorable ones have been in Berlinguer ti voglio bene (Berlinguer, I Love You) in 1977, Down by Law (1986), Il piccolo diavolo (The Little Devil) in 1988, the 1991 art comedy-drama film Night on Earth, Son of the Pink Panther (1993), Coffee and Cigarettes (2003), and La tigre e la neve (The Tiger and the Snow) in 2005.

7. Toni Servillo

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Toni Servillo was short for Marco Antonio Servillo. Born in Afragola, in the Southern Italian region of Campania, Servillo now lives with his family in Caserta, in the same region.

Toni Servillo worked as an actor and theater director in Italy. He has won many awards, including David Di Donatellos, Nastro D’Argentos, Venice International Film Festival awards, Italian Golden Globes, Rome Film Festival awards, and others.

Toni Servillo is known for movies like the 2004 Le conseguenze dell’amore (The Consequences of Love); 2010 Una vita tranquilla (A Quiet Life); 2013 La grande bellezza (The Great Beauty) and Viva la libertà (Long Live Freedom); 2017 La ragazza nella nebbia (The Girl in the Fog); and È stata la mano di Dio (The Hand of God) and Qui rido io (The King of Laughter), both released in 2021.

8. Fabio Testi

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Fabio Testi is an Italian actor who watched movies made when he was young. He became interested in film after he worked as a stuntman on a few movie sets.

He was known as a stuntman in some movies. Il giardino dei Finzi Contini (The Garden of the Finzi-Continis), a 1972 film by Vittorio De Sica, gave Testi his big break. It made him one of the most famous actors in Italy.

Testi kept acting in movies like the 1972 Spanish-Italian Western The Avenger: Zorro and the 1975 French film L’important c’est d’aimer (The Most Important Thing: Love).

Fabio Testi was born in 1941 in the Venetian town of Peschiera del Garda, in the province of Verona. Testi veered off to politics, running for Mayor of Verona in 2006 but lost.

9. Alberto Sordi

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Born in Rome, Italy, on 15 June 1920, to a schoolteacher and a musician, Alberto Sordi went on to have an acting career that spanned seven decades, beginning in the late 1930s until his final years of life.

Among his notable early roles included the 1952 movie by Federico Fellini, Lo sceicco bianco (The White Sheik) and the 1955 Lo scapolo (The Bachelor) where he played opposite Nino Manfredi.

Sordi became an icon of Italian cinema, thanks to his talent at both comedy and light drama. He often played roles in Italian historical comedies.

Alberto Sordi was an actor, singer, writer, and director known for his work. He had written scripts for over forty movies and had been responsible for many projects. He spoke with a strong Roman accent, which became one of his most recognizable traits.

Some of Sordi’s most famous movies include the 1954 comedy Il seduttore (The Seducer), 1960 comedy-drama Tutti a Casa (Everybody Go Home), 1980 comedy Io e Caterina (Catherine and I), and the 1982 comedy-drama Io so che tu sai che io so (I Know That You Know That I Know) which he also directed.

Alberto Sordi, one of the most famous Italian actors in Italy, died of pneumonia and bronchitis at his Rome residence on the 24th of February 2003. He was 82 years old.

10. Nino Manfredi

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

People say that Saturnino “Nino” Manfredi was one of the few actors in Italian movies who did everything well. He has done everything in the media business, from acting, directing, singing, and writing to hosting radio and TV shows.

Manfredi, deemed by many as the greatest Italian actor of all time, received numerous awards during his career.

Born on 22 March 1921 in Castro dei Volsci, Italy, about 90 km. southeast of Rome, Nino Manfredi went on to become one of the most famous Italian actors in the commedia all’italiana genre.

Some of Manfredi’s most memorable roles include Per grazia ricevuta (Between Miracles) in 1971, Pane e cioccolata (Bread and Chocolate) in 1974, In nome del papa re (In the Name of the Pope King) in 1977, and Café Express (1980).

11. Raoul Bova

11 Most Famous Italian Actors

Raoul Bova is one of the famous Italian actors born and raised in Rome. He was the best swimmer in his school; and when he graduated, he joined the Italian Armed Forces where he learned how to be a sharpshooter. After this stint, Bova returned home to Rome to start his acting career.

His first role was in Quando Eravamo Repressi in 1992, but he wasn’t given credit for it.

Later, Bova starred in popular movies like the 1995 action film Palermo Milano – Solo andata (Palermo-Milan One Way), 2003 La finestra di fronte (Facing Windows), 2003 American romantic comedy-drama Under the Tuscan Sun, and 2004 science fiction action Aliens vs. Predators.