The best Italians in film

by kaveman_1986 | created - 09 Jan 2013 | updated - 31 Jan 2013 | Public

Great Italian men and women in film

1. Sylvester Stallone

Actor | Rocky

This athletically built, dark-haired American actor/screenwriter/director may never be mentioned by old-school film critics in the same breath as, say, Richard Burton or Alec Guinness; however, movie fans worldwide have been flocking to see Stallone's films for over 30 years, making "Sly" one of ...

This man is a true hero to young Italian boys like me. Thank you for showing what I want to do in film.

2. Robert De Niro

Actor | Cape Fear

One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is English, Dutch, German, French and Irish. He was trained at...

3. Al Pacino

Actor | Serpico

One of the greatest actors in all of film history, Al Pacino established himself during one of film's greatest decades, the 1970s, and has become an enduring and iconic figure in the world of American movies.

Alfredo James Pacino was born on April 25, 1940, in the Bronx, New York, to an ...

4. Joe Pesci

Actor | Goodfellas

Compact Italian-American actor Joe Pesci was born February 9, 1943 in Newark, New Jersey, to Mary (Mesce), a part-time barber, and Angelo Pesci, a bartender and forklift driver. Pesci first broke into entertainment as a child actor, and by the mid-1950s, was starring on the series "Star Time Kids"....

5. John Travolta

Actor | Battlefield Earth

John Joseph Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey, one of six children of Helen Travolta (née Helen Cecilia Burke) and Salvatore/Samuel J. Travolta. His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. His father owned a tire repair shop called Travolta Tires in Hillsdale, ...

6. Leonardo DiCaprio

Actor | Inception

Few actors in the world have had a career quite as diverse as Leonardo DiCaprio's. DiCaprio has gone from relatively humble beginnings, as a supporting cast member of the sitcom Growing Pains (1985) and low budget horror movies, such as Critters 3 (1991), to a major teenage heartthrob in the 1990s,...

7. Nicolas Cage

Actor | Face/Off

Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Kim Coppola in Long Beach, California, the son of comparative literature professor August Coppola (whose brother is director Francis Ford Coppola) and dancer/choreographer Joy Vogelsang. He is of Italian (father) and Polish, German, and English (mother) descent. Cage ...

8. Marlon Brando

Actor | Apocalypse Now

Marlon Brando is widely considered the greatest movie actor of all time, rivaled only by the more theatrically oriented Laurence Olivier in terms of esteem. Unlike Olivier, who preferred the stage to the screen, Brando concentrated his talents on movies after bidding the Broadway stage adieu in ...

9. James Gandolfini

Actor | The Sopranos

James Gandolfini was born in Westwood, New Jersey, to Santa (Penna), a high school lunchlady, and James Joseph Gandolfini, Sr., a bricklayer and head school janitor. His parents were both of Italian origin. Gandolfini began acting in the New York theater. His Broadway debut was in the 1992 revival ...

10. Marisa Tomei

Actress | My Cousin Vinny

Marisa Tomei was born on December 4, 1964, in Brooklyn, New York, to Patricia "Addie" (Bianchi), a teacher of English, and Gary Tomei, a lawyer, both of Italian descent. Marisa has a brother, actor Adam Tomei. As a child, Marisa's mother frequently corrected her speech as to eliminate her heavy ...

11. Annabella Sciorra

Actress | The Sopranos

Annabella Sciorra was born on March 29, 1960 in Wethersfield, Connecticut, USA as Annabella Gloria Philomena Sciorra. She is an actress and producer, known for The Sopranos (1999), The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992) and Jungle Fever (1991). She was previously married to Joe Petruzzi.

12. Chazz Palminteri

Actor | The Usual Suspects

Bronx-born and raised Chazz Palminteri was a natural choice to continue the Italianate torch in film. In the tradition set forth in the 1970s by such icons as director Martin Scorsese and actors Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, John Cazale and Joe Pesci, Palminteri has brought grit, muscle and an ...

13. Paul Sorvino

Actor | Goodfellas

Tall, dark and imposing American actor Paul Sorvino has made a solid career of portraying authority figures.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York City. His mother, Angela (Renzi), was a piano teacher, of Italian descent. His father, Ford Sorvino, was an Italian immigrant who worked in a robe factory as...

14. Frank Sinatra

Actor | The Manchurian Candidate

Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, to Italian immigrants Natalina Della (Garaventa), from Northern Italy, and Saverio Antonino Martino Sinatra, a Sicilian boxer, fireman, and bar owner. Growing up on the gritty streets of Hoboken made Sinatra determined to work hard to get ahead. ...

Thank you Mr. Sinatra for just being the best in all the fields you where in. I love all your work.

15. Dean Martin

Soundtrack | Rio Bravo

If there had to be an image for cool, the man to fit it would be Dean Martin.

Martin was born Dino Paul Crocetti in Steubenville, Ohio, to Angela (Barra) and Gaetano Alfonso Crocetti, a barber. His father was an Italian immigrant, and his mother was of Italian descent. He spoke only Italian until ...

16. Talia Shire

Actress | Rocky

Talia Shire was born on April 25, 1946 in Lake Success, Long Island, New York, USA as Talia Rose Coppola. She is an actress, known for Rocky (1976), The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974). She was previously married to Jack Schwartzman and David Shire.

17. Susan Sarandon

Actress | Thelma & Louise

Susan Sarandon was born Susan Abigail Tomalin in New York City, NY, to Lenora Marie (Criscione), no profession, and Phillip Leslie Tomalin, an advertising executive. She is of Italian (mother) and English, Irish, Welsh, and German (father) descent. Soon after the 1968 Democratic convention, there ...

18. Danny DeVito

Actor | Matilda

Danny DeVito has amassed a formidable and versatile body of work as an actor, producer and director that spans the stage, television and film.

Daniel Michael DeVito Jr. was born on November 17, 1944, in Neptune, New Jersey, to Italian-American parents. His mother, Julia (Moccello), was a homemaker. ...

19. Joe Mantegna

Actor | The Godfather: Part III

Joe Mantegna is an American actor who has made over 200 film and TV appearances. He is also a producer, writer, and director, and is probably best known for his role as Joey Zasa in the Francis Ford Coppola epic The Godfather: Part III (1990), in which he stars alongside Al Pacino and Andy Garcia.

...

20. Frank Langella

Actor | Frost/Nixon

Frank Langella was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, to Angelina and Frank A. Langella, a business executive. He is of Italian descent.

A stage and screen actor of extreme versatility, Frank Langella won acclaim on the New York stage in "Seascape" and followed it up with the title role in the Edward Gorey...

21. Armand Assante

Actor | Gotti

Armand Assante is a coarsely handsome American actor who has successfully portrayed a wide range of intriguing characters from numerous ethnic backgrounds, both on screen and in the theater.

Armand Anthony Assante, Jr. was born on October 4, 1949 in New York City, to Katherine (Healey), a music ...

22. Liza Minnelli

Soundtrack | Cabaret

Liza Minnelli was born on March 12, 1946, the daughter of Judy Garland and movie director Vincente Minnelli. She was practically raised at MGM studios while her parents worked long hours there and she made her film debut at fourteen months of age in the movie In the Good Old Summertime (1949). Her ...

23. John Turturro

Actor | Barton Fink

Highly talented, lightly built American actor who always looks unsettled and jumpy has become a favourite of cult/arthouse film aficionados with his compelling performances in a broad range of cinematic vehicles.

Turturro was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Italian-American parents, Katherine (...

24. Gary Sinise

Actor | Forrest Gump

Gary Alan Sinise was born in Blue Island, Illinois, to Mylles S. (Alsip) and Robert L. Sinise, A.C.E., a film editor. He is of Italian (from his paternal grandfather), English, Scottish, Irish, French, German, and Swedish ancestry. His family moved to Highland Park, where he attended high school. ...

25. Rene Russo

Actress | Nightcrawler

Rene Russo was born in Burbank, California, to Shirley (Balocca), a barmaid and factory laborer, and Nino Russo. She grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. Her father, a sculptor and mechanic, left the family when Rene was just two, and thus her mother raised Rene and her sister, Toni, as a ...

26. Steve Buscemi

Actor | Fargo

Steve Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Dorothy (Wilson), a restaurant hostess, and John Buscemi, a sanitation worker. He is of Italian (father) and English, Dutch, and Irish (mother) descent. He became interested in acting during his last year of high school. After graduating, he moved to...

27. Anjelica Huston

Actress | The Witches

Anjelica Huston was born on July 8, 1951 in Santa Monica, California, to prima ballerina Enrica "Ricki" (Soma) and director and actor John Huston. Her mother, who was from New York, was of Italian descent, and her father had English, Scottish, and Scots-Irish ancestry. Huston spent most of her ...

28. David Caruso

Actor | First Blood

His low-keyed intensity, deep-voiced somberness, pale skin, puffy-eyed baby face and crop of carrot-red hair are all obvious and intriguing trademarks of TV star David Caruso. A hugely popular item in the 1990s as a result of a smash crime series, he got way too caught up in all the hoopla ...

29. Quentin Tarantino

Writer | Reservoir Dogs

Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Tony Tarantino, is an Italian-American actor and musician from New York, and his mother, Connie (McHugh), is a nurse from Tennessee. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old.

In January of...

30. Stanley Tucci

Actor | Big Night

Actor Stanley Tucci was born on November 11, 1960, in Peekskill, New York. He is the son of Joan (Tropiano), a writer, and Stanley Tucci, an art teacher. His family is Italian-American, with origins in Calabria.

Tucci took an interest in acting while in high school, and went on to attend the State ...

31. Mark Ruffalo

Actor | The Avengers

Mark Ruffalo was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, to Marie Rose (Hebert), a stylist and hairdresser, and Frank Lawrence Ruffalo, a construction painter. His father's ancestry is Italian, and his mother is of half French-Canadian and half Italian descent. Mark moved with his family to Virginia Beach, ...

32. Téa Leoni

Actress | The Family Man

Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni was born on February 25, 1966 in New York City. Her father, Anthony Pantaleoni, was a corporate lawyer, and her mother, Emily Ann (Patterson), worked as a dietitian and nutritionist. She is of Italian (from a paternal great-great-grandfather), Polish, English, Irish, ...

33. Anthony LaPaglia

Actor | Without a Trace

Anthony LaPaglia was born on January 31, 1959 in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. He is an actor and producer, known for Without a Trace (2002), Lantana (2001) and So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993). He was previously married to Gia Carides.

34. Vin Diesel

Actor | Guardians of the Galaxy

Vin Diesel was born Mark Sinclair in Alameda County, California, along with his fraternal twin brother, Paul Vincent. He was raised by his astrologer/psychologist mother, Delora Sherleen (Sinclair), and adoptive father, Irving H. Vincent, an acting instructor and theater manager, in an artists' ...

35. Maria Bello

Actress | A History of Violence

Maria Bello was born on 18 April, 1967 in Norristown, Pennsylvania, to Kathy, a nurse and teacher, and Joe Bello, a contractor. She is of Italian and Polish descent. Maria went to Villanova University, majoring in political science. She had every intention of becoming a lawyer, but she took an ...

36. Jennifer Aniston

Actress | Friends

Jennifer Aniston was born in Sherman Oaks, California, to actors John Aniston and Nancy Dow. Her father is Greek, and her mother was of English, Irish, Scottish, and Italian descent. Jennifer spent a year of her childhood living in Greece with her family. Her family then relocated to New York City ...

37. Liv Tyler

Actress | Armageddon

Liv Tyler was born in New York City, New York. She is the daughter of Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith, and Bebe Buell, former model (and Playboy Playmate of the Month) and stalwart of the backstage rock scene of the 1970s. Liv grew up thinking that rock star Todd Rundgren was her father. But as ...

38. Giovanni Ribisi

Actor | Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Antonino Giovanni Ribisi is an American actor who was born in Los Angeles, California. His parents both have careers in the entertainment industry. His mother, Gay Ribisi (née Landrum), is a talent manager for actors and writers, and his father, Albert Anthony Ribisi, is a musician. He has a twin ...

39. Liv Tyler

Actress | Armageddon

Liv Tyler was born in New York City, New York. She is the daughter of Steven Tyler of the band Aerosmith, and Bebe Buell, former model (and Playboy Playmate of the Month) and stalwart of the backstage rock scene of the 1970s. Liv grew up thinking that rock star Todd Rundgren was her father. But as ...

40. Kate Hudson

Actress | Almost Famous

Almost everyone who has spent time with Kate Hudson -including directors, family members, co-stars and interviewers - is quick to comment on her ability to light up a room. Through some combination of a winning smile, solid work ethic, and good old-fashioned talent, the young actress has gone from ...

41. Sofia Coppola

Writer | Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was ...

42. Anne Bancroft

Actress | The Graduate

Anne Bancroft was born on September 17, 1931 in the Bronx, the daughter of Michael Italiano (1905-2001), a dress pattern maker, and Mildred DiNapoli (1908-2010), a telephone operator. She made her cinema debut in Don't Bother to Knock (1952) in 1952 and over the next five years appeared in a lot of...