Watching films is a great way of learning a language. You’ll absorb a lot of vocabulary while also becoming acquainted with a story and its characters, making the learning process all the more enjoyable.
In a previous set of articles, we covered our recommendations for Italian movies to watch on Netflix but this time, we’ll be taking a look at YouTube and the films that are available to watch for free (gratuitamente) with a specific focus on those that have English subtitles (sottotitoli in inglese).
There is a good selection but it can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know what to look for. This is why we decided to do the job for you by finding films that have decent audio and video quality, as well as working subtitles.
Important: The full length films listed below have been uploaded by third-party YouTube accounts that are not affiliated with this website in any way. We don’t have any information on how or why these films were made available, nor do we have any control over whether they will be taken down.
Table of Contents
- How to Check for Subtitles
- Award Winning Films
- Italian Comedy Movies
- Other Old Italian Movies
- How to find Italian Films on YouTube
- Italian Movies on Other Streaming Platforms
How to Check for Subtitles on YouTube
Some films have the English subtitles embedded into the video directly, so no further action is required on your part.
For others, you need to enable them in the YouTube player. To do so, simply click on the Subtitle/Caption button.
If more than one language is available, you can select English with the Settings button (gear wheel icon) just next to it.
Italian Movies on YouTube: Award Winning Films
Il Postino (The Postman)
Il Postino depicts the encounter between Chilean exiled writer Pablo Neruda and local postman Mario. Despite their different upbringings, the two become friends. It received Four Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor.
The film was co-written by Massimo Troisi who also plays the leading role. The Neapolitan actor was well-know in his home country for his theatre and cinema work, including the comedy Non ci resta che piangere made with Roberto Benigni. His accent is not the easiest to understand because of its notable Napolitean influence. You can see a few scenes from the film in the video below.
Sad trivia: Troisi died of a heart attack twelve hours after the end of filming Il Postino. He was only 41 years old and had already been ill for some time.
Click on the link below to open the YouTube page. You need to activate the English subtitles with the Subtitle/Caption button.
One of my favourite Italian films, Mediterraneo, tells the story of a group of Italian soldiers sent to Greece during World War II. When they realise that the enemy is long gone, they set up camp in a small village and get acquainted with the local people and their culture.
A great mix of comedy, love and hope starring many well-known Italian comedians and directed by Gabriele Salvatores, a respected indie filmmaker. The film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film in 1992. Below is the only English trailer I was able to find.
English subtitles are included the video, so there is no need to activate them. (If you click the button you’ll load the auto-generated Italian subtitles.)
Divorzio all’Italian (Divorce Italian Style)
This 1961 comedy-drama stars one of Italy’s most famous actors, Marcello Mastroianni. He plays Ferdinando, an impoverished noble man from Sicily, who is married to his devoted wife Roasalia but is secretly in love with his cousin Angela. Divorce still being illegal in Italy at the time, Ferdinando tries to imagine several ways to separate from his wife.
The film won an Oscar for the best original screenplay, while Mastroianni was nominated for Best Actor, and Pietro Germi for best director.
In the clip below, you can watch one of the most famous scenes where the lawyer pronounces the closing statement in court. I couldn’t find a version of this scene with English subtitles unfortunately.
Trivia: divorce became fully legal (legale) in Italy in December 1970. In 1974, a referendum introduced by the anti-divorce movement was held in the hope of withdrawing the new law, but 59.3% voted against it.
Click the dedicated button on the player to activate the English subtitles.
La Classe Operaia Va in Paradiso (The Working Class Goes to Heaven)
Ludovico “Lulù” is a factory worker who works extra hours to provide for two families and his own spending. Praised by the bosses and disliked by his co-workers, Lulù changes his view on working conditions after he accidentally cuts his finger on the job.
The film generated a lot of controversy because of its criticism of labour unions. But as director Elio Petri describes:
Con il mio film sono stati polemici tutti, sindacalisti, studenti di sinistra, intellettuali, dirigenti comunisti, maoisti. Ciascuno avrebbe voluto un’opera che sostenesse le proprie ragioni: invece questo è un film sulla classe operaia.
Everybody has been critical of my film, union officials, left wing students, intellectuals, communists executives, maoists. Each one of them would have wanted a film that would support their own motives. Instead this film is about the working class.
Here is a scene where Lulù speaks in front of his factory colleagues.
Controversy didn’t stop the film from winning the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) at the 1972 Cannes Film Festival, one of the highest honours a feature film can receive on an international level.
Remember to activate the subtitles when starting the video.
8½ – Otto e mezzo (Eight and a half)
Federico Fellini is considered one of the most important directors to have lived, not just in Italy but worldwide. One of his most highly praised masterpieces is 8½, the story of Italian film director Guido Anselmi (played by Marcello Mastroianni), who is lacking inspiration to finish his new science fiction movie.
Best Foreign Language film at the 1963 Academy Award, Otto e mezzo received virtually unanimous acclaim and is considered one of the greatest films of all time. Below you can watch a recent trailer made for the remastered version.
Trivia: otto e mezzo (eight and a half) is the number of films that Fellini had directed up until then: eight features directed by him alone plus one co-directed with Alberto Lattuada.
You’ll need to activate the English subtitles on this one too.
La Strada (The Road)
Another highly praised film by Federico Fellini, starring his wife Giulietta Masina who plays a young woman named Gelsomina. After her sister dies, she is sold by her mother to the same street performer (Anthony Quinn) her sister ran away with a year earlier. A poetic journey and one of the director’s most sentimental films.
Below is an English trailer made for the restored version.
Fellini won another Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, as well as the Silver Lion at the International Venice Film Festival.
There are two subtitles to choose from: English and English (United Kingdom). The latter doesn’t seem to be synced properly, so choose English.
Italian Comedy Movies on YouTube
Made in Italy: Ciao Brother
This 2016 comedy is the most recent film I found. A film debut for the two leading actors (famous for their comedy sketches on TV), it depicts the story of a forty-year-old thief, who is forced to flee to Los Angeles and attempts to scam the son of a wealthy entrepreneur by claiming to be his lost brother.
Here is the trailer.
You can activate the English subtitles with the dedicated button on the YouTube player.
Poliziotto Superpiù (Super Fuzz)
I remember watching this simple feel-good movie many times when I was a kid. (I would turn the TV on every time the names Terence Hill or Bud Spencer were in the credits.) In this comedy fantasy, Hill leads on his own as a Miami cop that acquires superpowers after a nuclear explosion. Ernest Borgnine co-stars as his mentor Sergeant Dunlop.
I found the English trailer below (with the title Supersnooper which comes from the main theme song).
Remember to activate the subtitles when watching the film via the link below.
Segni Particolari: Bellissimo (Distinguishing Features: Beautiful)
This comedy was a big hit at the Italian box office, grossing more 3.4 billion lire (Italy’s old currency before the euro). The story revolves around Mattia, a famous writer and womaniser about to get married. However, the day before the wedding, he confesses to a priest that he is in love with another younger woman.
I wasn’t able to find a short scene with English subtitles. The clip below is the beginning of the film, with the credits starting after Mattia’s conversation with the priest. In this first scene he doesn’t tell him about the marriage, but he says that the cause of his sins are women, and he doesn’t understand why they like him so much.
The film stars Adriano Celentano, who is best known as one of the most talented and controversial songwriters in his home country. But Celentano has done much more such as create his own TV shows, and star in a long series of comedies including this one.
The subtitles are embedded in the video so no need to activate them.
Operazione San Gennaro (Treasure of San Gennaro)
This 1966 Italian comedy stars Totò, one of the most famous Italian comedians, as well as other important actors such as Nino Manfredi. It is about an American criminal and his girlfriend who partner with locals to rob the treasure of San Gennaro in Naples.
Subtitles are included in the film directly, so no need for further action.
Totò, Peppino e la… Malafemmina (Totò, Peppino, and the Hussy)
One of the most successful films of Neapolitan comedian Totò, it was the top grossing movie in 1956. It contains some of the most famous scenes from the duo Totò and Peppino (actor Peppino De Filippo), such as the dictation of a letter full of grammatical errors below.
The story is about the Caponi brothers. When they learn that their sister’s son left school to be with a ballet dancer in Milan, they travel north to bring him back.
You need to activate the subtitles with the Subtitle/Caption CC button.
Miseria e Nobiltà (Poverty and Nobility)
A Marquis’ son decides to ask the daughter of a simple cook to marry him. Because his parents do not agree to this, he hires two poor men and asks them to pretend to be the girl’s aristocrats parents. As you can imagine, things go terribly wrong!
I couldn’t find extracts with English subtitles, but here is a funny scene with not a lot of dialogue, where much of the comedy comes from the actors’ movements.
Another film starring Totò and this time one of Italy’s most famous actresses, Sofia Loren. The film is an adaptation of the famous Italian comedy of the same name.
Remember to click the button to activate the subtitles.
Other Old Italian Movies on YouTube
La Donna della Domenica (Sunday Woman)
Based on the novel of the same name, it stars Marcello Mastroianni and French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant. While investigating the murder of an ambiguous architect, police commissioner Santamaria is led to a woman that he initially suspects but then falls in love with.
I wasn’t able to find a short clip with subtitles, but here is a preview of the film.
The music is composed by legendary musician Ennio Morricone (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in America, etc.).
Subtitles are available once activated with the dedicated button in the player.
Il Magnifico Avventuriero (The Magnificent Adventurer)
A 1963 adventure film about a sculptor and ladies’ man who flee to Florence after stealing the gold necessary to finish his art work. On his way, he meets the count Frangipani and falls in love with his wife, while also pursuing other female encounters. Loosely based on the real life of artist Benvenuto Cellini.
The subtitles are included in the main video, so no need to enable them.
Detenuto in Attesa di Giudizio (In Prison Awaiting Trial)
This Italian drama made in 1971 stars Alberto Sordi, one of Italy’s most famous actors, who won the Silver Bear for this performance at the Berlin Film Festival. Sordi plays a respected family man who is arrested without any explanation when he crosses the Italian border.
Here as well I couldn’t find a clip with English subtitles, but the full film has them.
Remember to activate the captions.
How to find Italian Films to Watch on YouTube
Nothing surprising, just type italian movies with english subtitles, or italian movies eng sub into the search bar. Yep, it is that simple. Of course you might be a bit overwhelmed by the results if you don’t know any of the films, so that’s why our article exists! You may also find films that have poor image quality or sound, and sometimes they even look like they’ve been recorded off a TV screen, so it is a bit hit and miss!
As I said at the beginning, I don’t know what the copyright situation is for this films, so they might be taken down at some point, and maybe new ones will be uploaded as well.
That said, most of the films I included in my list come from the channel Films&Clips, and they claim the movies are available for free legally. Given the vast selection, it looks like it’s a legitimate channel which is great news for you. You can find more films than the ones I’ve listed here, but some may not always have English subtitles, while others are Italian B-Movies (horror and sex comedies mostly).
Italian Movies on Streaming Services
If you’re looking for more information about movies and TV series to watch in Italian, have a look at the articles below!
Movies made in Italy.
Series made in Italy.
Series available in Italian.
Mathieu Gasquet was born and raised in Turin in the north of Italy to an Italian mother and a French father. He provides the audio pronunciation for Daily Italian Words.