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The 12 Best Italian Gay Movies You Should Already Have Seen By Now!

The 12 Best Italian Gay Movies You Should Already Have Seen By Now!

In the world of cinema, where emotions and experiences intertwine to create a universal language, the best Italian gay movies have emerged as poignant narratives within the rich mosaic of storytelling. These films are not just part of the LGBTQ+ genre; they are profound explorations of diverse identities and stories, encapsulating the essence of human experience through an Italian lens.

The heartbeats of Italy’s cities – Naples‘ vibrant streets, Turin’s elegant avenues, Palermo’s historic allure, Genoa’s maritime legacy, and Bologna’s intellectual charm – serve as the pulsating backdrop for these best Italian gay movies. Each city, with its unique character, adds depth and authenticity to the cinematic tales that unfold within their realms, stories that delve into the complexities of gay relationships, self-discovery, and the challenges faced in a society steeped in tradition and change.

Italian cinema, with its flair for passion and vulnerability, has carved a niche in the realm of LGBTQ+ storytelling. The best Italian gay movies are a testament to this, weaving narratives where emotion, honesty, and the rawness of human connections come to the fore. These films, ranging from groundbreaking classics that broke barriers for representation to contemporary masterpieces reflecting the dynamic nature of relationships, epitomize the artistry of Italian filmmakers in portraying the LGBTQ+ experience.

As we embark on this exploration of the best Italian gay movies, prepare to be immersed in a world rich in emotions, culture, and storytelling. These films are more than mere reflections of society; they are harbingers of hope, advocating for inclusivity and understanding. Join us in celebrating the poignant and transformative power of Italian cinema, where each story is a journey into the depths of love and life, echoing the vibrant spirit of Italy’s greatest cities.

The 12 Best Italian Gay Movies You Should Already Have Seen By Now!

Wondering where to watch? It depends on where you live in the world and which streaming services you have. We link to the streaming service we watch on in each case - be it Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apply TV+, or elsewhere.

You can get one month free of Amazon Pride (or a 6-month trial for students) of Amazon Prime and also get immediate access to FREE Two Day shipping, Amazon Video, and Music. While you won't be charged for your free trial, you'll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period - though if you have already binged all these, you could just cancel before the trial ends.

Apple TV+ also has a one-week trial, and Hulu has a one-month trial (which can be bundled with Disney!). Another option might be using a VPN to access Netflix titles locked to other regions. Netflix is now available in more than 190 countries worldwide and each country has a different library and availability. US Netflix is (understandably) one of the best. 

While we wish everything could just be in one place - for now, it seems these are the best streaming platforms to watch on.

Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Call Me by Your Name, released in 2017, is a poignant coming-of-age drama directed by Luca Guadagnino. Guadagnino, an Italian filmmaker, is renowned for his exquisite visual style and emotionally resonant narratives. His earlier works include I Am Love (2009) and A Bigger Splash (2015), both known for their lush cinematography and exploration of human relationships.

The film is set in the picturesque countryside of Northern Italy during the early 1980s. It follows the evolving relationship between Elio Perlman, a precocious 17-year-old played by Timothée Chalamet, and Oliver, a charismatic American scholar portrayed by Armie Hammer. Their connection gradually deepens from friendship to an intense summer romance, marked by self-discovery, vulnerability, and heartache.

The enchanting Italian setting is as much a character in the film as the protagonists themselves. The sun-soaked landscapes, ancient architecture, and vibrant culture provide a rich backdrop that mirrors the emotional arc of the characters. Guadagnino skillfully captures the languid beauty of the Italian countryside, integrating it seamlessly into the narrative, and imbuing the film with a palpable sense of nostalgia.

Call Me by Your Name is a delicate exploration of first love and the complexities of desire. The film navigates themes of identity, acceptance, and the transient nature of time. Its evocative storytelling and exceptional performances earned it critical acclaim and several awards, including an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

I Am Love (2009)

I Am Love is another film directed by Luca Guadagnino, an Italian filmmaker known for his visually captivating and emotionally charged storytelling. For those seeking a film that challenges conventions and delves into the complexities of human relationships, I Am Love is a must-watch.

The film revolves around the Recchi family, a wealthy Milanese dynasty, as they navigate their complex relationships and personal desires. The central character, Emma Recchi, portrayed by Tilda Swinton, finds herself entangled in an illicit affair that leads to a dramatic transformation of her life. The narrative explores themes of forbidden love, tradition, and liberation, creating a deeply compelling and emotional journey.

Set against the backdrop of Milan and the serene Italian countryside, the film skillfully integrates the environment as an integral element of the narrative. The visuals and cinematography capture the grandeur of the Recchi mansion, the bustling streets of Milan, and the tranquility of the rural landscapes. The setting becomes a metaphor for the characters’ inner conflicts, reflecting their societal roles and personal struggles.

I Am Love offers a captivating cinematic experience that engages both the intellect and the senses. Guadagnino’s direction, combined with Swinton’s remarkable performance and the film’s evocative score, creates an immersive experience that lingers in the viewer’s mind long after the credits roll. The film’s exploration of love, identity, and the pursuit of happiness transcends cultural boundaries, making it a universally resonant story.

South Is Nothing (2013)

South Is Nothing is an Italian film directed by Fabio Mollo, an emerging filmmaker known for his distinctive style that combines introspection with a keen eye for the human experience. Mollo’s career has been marked by his ability to delve into characters’ emotional landscapes, often capturing the essence of personal growth and transformation.

The film follows the journey of 17-year-old Grazia, portrayed by Miriam Karlkvist, as she navigates the challenges of life in a remote village in southern Italy. Set against the backdrop of the picturesque Calabrian countryside, the plot centers around Grazia’s pursuit of personal identity and her yearning to escape the constraints of her surroundings. The film is a poignant exploration of the tensions between tradition and modernity, dreams and responsibilities.

The setting itself becomes a character in the film, as Mollo masterfully captures the beauty of the landscape while also highlighting the isolation and stagnation that can accompany life in a rural community. The film’s visual storytelling creates a palpable sense of atmosphere, immersing the audience in Grazia’s world and emotions.

South Is Nothing is a cinematic gem that offers a captivating narrative, stunning visuals, and thought-provoking themes. It showcases Fabio Mollo’s directorial prowess and his ability to capture the nuances of the human experience. If you’re a fan of character-driven stories set against evocative backdrops, this film should definitely be on your watchlist. Its exploration of personal growth, identity, and the clash between tradition and modernity makes it a compelling and enriching cinematic experience.

The Man Who Loves (2008)

The Man Who Loves is a film directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi, an Italian filmmaker known for her insightful explorations of complex human emotions and relationships. Tognazzi, daughter of the renowned actor Ugo Tognazzi, has carved her own niche in the cinematic landscape with her distinct storytelling style.

The film unfolds in the picturesque backdrop of the Italian island of Sardinia, where the protagonist, Roberto, played by Pierfrancesco Favino, finds solace and meaning in a life filled with love and passion. The narrative follows Roberto’s journey as he navigates the intricacies of various relationships. His encounters with different women provide a lens into the diverse spectrum of human emotions – from intense romance to profound melancholy.

The film masterfully captures the essence of Sardinia, portraying its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture, which serve as a rich tapestry for the characters’ emotional journeys. The island becomes more than just a setting; it becomes a reflection of the characters’ inner turmoil and desires, lending a poignant depth to the story.

If you’re a fan of emotionally resonant films that transport you to a different world while delving into the universal aspects of the human experience, The Man Who Loves is a must-watch. Tognazzi’s direction, coupled with Favino’s nuanced performance, brings the story to life in a way that leaves a lasting impact. The film’s ability to capture the essence of Sardinia and use it as a metaphor for the characters’ emotional landscapes is a testament to Tognazzi’s storytelling prowess.

His Secret Life (2001)

His Secret Life is a captivating film directed by Ferzan Özpetek, an accomplished Turkish-Italian filmmaker known for his distinctive storytelling style and exploration of complex human emotions. Özpetek’s career has been marked by his ability to delve into the intricacies of relationships and cultural identity, and His Secret Life stands as a prime example of his cinematic prowess.

Set against the backdrop of bustling Rome, the film follows the life of Antonia, a young widow played by Margherita Buy, who discovers a hidden side of her late husband’s life that she never knew existed. As she unravels the layers of her husband’s past, Antonia is introduced to his circle of friends, including the enigmatic Michele (Stefano Accorsi). As the narrative unfolds, the film skillfully balances themes of love, friendship, sexuality, and societal expectations.

Rome, with its iconic architecture and timeless allure, serves as more than just a backdrop; it becomes a character in itself, shaping the experiences and relationships of the film’s characters. Özpetek’s direction captures the essence of the city, intertwining its grandeur with the characters’ personal journeys.

Özpetek’s ability to tell a universal story through a unique lens, set against the enchanting backdrop of Rome, makes this film a captivating cinematic experience. Whether you’re drawn to character-driven narratives or simply appreciate exquisite storytelling, His Secret Life offers a journey worth embarking upon.

Loose Cannons (2010)

Loose Cannons, a film also directed by Ferzan Özpetek, is a captivating blend of drama and comedy that offers viewers a unique and insightful cinematic experience. It’s a cinematic gem that invites viewers to reflect on universal themes of identity and acceptance.

The film revolves around Tommaso Cantone, played by Riccardo Scamarcio, who struggles with revealing his homosexuality to his traditional and conservative family in Southern Italy. The narrative takes an unexpected turn when Tommaso’s older brother, Antonio, accidentally uncovers a secret that forces the family to confront long-buried truths and confront their own prejudices.

Set in the picturesque town of Lecce, Italy, Loose Cannons masterfully employs its stunning backdrop to highlight the contrast between its charming exterior and the underlying tensions within the Cantone family. Özpetek skillfully uses the setting to emphasize the clash between tradition and modernity, showcasing the struggle of individuals caught between societal norms and personal authenticity.

The film’s compelling narrative, combined with Özpetek’s expert direction, makes Loose Cannons a must-watch. With its heartwarming moments and thought-provoking themes, the film offers a relatable exploration of the complexities of family dynamics and the journey towards self-acceptance. Through its engaging storytelling and excellent performances, it manages to balance humor and poignancy in a seamless manner.

Ferzan Özpetek’s directorial finesse shines through in this film, as he skillfully guides the audience through a narrative that is both emotionally resonant and highly entertaining. For those seeking a heartfelt and enlightening cinematic experience, Loose Cannons comes highly recommended. Its captivating storytelling, coupled with its exploration of family bonds and personal growth, make it a film that should not be missed.

Tommaso (2016)

Tommaso is a film directed by Abel Ferrara, a notable American director known for his distinctive and often controversial style. Ferrara’s career has spanned decades, marked by his penchant for exploring gritty and dark themes. He has directed films such as Bad Lieutenant and King of New York, earning a reputation for his raw storytelling and exploration of human psyche.

Set in Rome, Tommaso centers around the life of the titular character, portrayed by Willem Dafoe. Tommaso is an American expatriate artist living with his young wife and daughter. The film delves into Tommaso’s struggle to balance his creative pursuits with the responsibilities of fatherhood and his past demons.

Tommaso is a cinematic experience that captivates with its introspective storytelling and immersive depiction of Rome. It challenges viewers to confront their own internal struggles while offering a unique perspective on the eternal city. With Ferrara’s signature directing style and Dafoe’s compelling performance, the film invites audiences to immerse themselves in a character-driven exploration of human complexity.

The film’s exploration of personal demons and the interplay between art and life resonates on multiple levels. The film’s ability to transport viewers to the heart of Rome, both physically and emotionally, makes it an engrossing and enriching watch. If you’re drawn to films that offer a deep dive into the human psyche and appreciate a skillful blend of character-driven narrative and evocative setting, Tommaso deserves a place on your watchlist.

The Consequences of Love (2004)

The Consequences of Love is a film directed by Paolo Sorrentino, an Italian filmmaker known for his distinctive visual style and exploration of complex characters. Sorrentino’s career has been marked by his ability to delve into the psychological intricacies of his subjects, often presented through enigmatic narratives.

Set in the lavish yet sterile backdrop of a Swiss hotel, the film revolves around Titta Di Girolamo, portrayed by Toni Servillo, an Italian businessman who has been living in seclusion for the past eight years. His monotonous routine, marked by endless coffees and meticulous note-taking, conceals a clandestine life. Titta’s true identity as a Mafia money courier gradually unfolds, and his life takes an unexpected turn when he becomes entangled with Sofia, a young waitress.

The Consequences of Love is a compelling exploration of loneliness, guilt, and the consequences of one’s choices. The film’s deliberate pacing and atmospheric cinematography immerse the audience in Titta’s secretive world, making it a visual and emotional journey. The performances, particularly Toni Servillo’s, are hauntingly evocative, drawing viewers into the depths of Titta’s psyche.

The Consequences of Love offers a captivating narrative supported by masterful direction and strong performances. Its portrayal of an emotionally desolate existence resonates with universal themes of human connection and redemption.

The film’s ability to unravel the complexities of its characters and their surroundings is a testament to Paolo Sorrentino’s directorial prowess. With its rich symbolism and engaging storytelling, this film is a must-watch for cinephiles who appreciate introspective narratives that linger long after the credits roll.

My Big Gay Italian Wedding (2018)

My Big Gay Italian Wedding is a romantic comedy film directed by Alessandro Genovesi, an Italian director known for his comedic storytelling and engaging character dynamics. Genovesi has crafted a notable career in the realm of light-hearted cinema, with a knack for infusing his films with humor, warmth, and relatable human experiences.

The film revolves around the story of Antonio and Paolo, a young couple living in Berlin. When Antonio proposes to Paolo in the romantic setting of their home city, they embark on a journey to announce their engagement to their respective families.

However, the couple’s plans are thrown into disarray when they arrive in Italy and are met with familial and cultural clashes. As Antonio’s conservative parents struggle to accept his sexual orientation, and Paolo’s free-spirited mother plans a grand wedding, chaos ensues. Amidst the chaos, the couple navigates the challenges of acceptance, love, and tradition, while attempting to bridge the gap between their two worlds.

My Big Gay Italian Wedding is a delightful cinematic experience that resonates with universal themes of love, family, and acceptance. The film strikes a balance between humor and heart, offering viewers an opportunity to reflect on the importance of embracing diversity and breaking down barriers. With its relatable characters, picturesque setting, and heartwarming narrative, the film serves as a compelling reminder of the power of love to bridge divides and unite people.

Remember Me, My Love (2003)

Remember Me, My Love is a poignant Italian drama directed by Gabriele Muccino, known for his compelling storytelling and exploration of complex emotions. Muccino gained international recognition for his earlier work, The Pursuit of Happyness (2006), which starred Will Smith. This film, however, showcases his skill in portraying the intricacies of human relationships within a family setting.

The film revolves around the lives of the Ristuccia family, residing in a picturesque suburb of Rome. The central plot follows the marital struggles of Carlo (Fabrizio Bentivoglio) and Giulia (Laura Morante) as they navigate the challenges of their long-standing marriage. Their son, Valerio (Nicoletta Romanoff), grapples with the uncertainties of youth and his burgeoning desires. Simultaneously, their daughter, Serena (Monica Bellucci), faces the tribulations of an unsatisfying marriage.

Set against the backdrop of Rome’s serene suburban neighborhoods, the film masterfully captures the ambiance of an idyllic yet inherently flawed family life. Muccino portrays the city not only as a physical location but as a metaphorical extension of the characters’ emotions, aspirations, and conflicts. The Roman streets and the Ristuccia home act as silent witnesses to their joys, sorrows, and the universal struggle to find happiness and fulfillment.

Remember Me, My Love shines as a deeply introspective exploration of human relationships and personal aspirations. The characters’ relatable struggles and desires resonate with viewers on a profound level, inviting them to reflect on their own lives. Muccino’s direction, combined with the stellar performances of the cast, crafts a genuine and moving cinematic experience.

Ciao (2008)

Ciao is an independent drama film directed by Yen Tan, a Malaysian-American filmmaker known for his contemplative and emotionally resonant storytelling. Tan’s career has been characterized by his ability to delve into human relationships and personal struggles, often navigating themes of love, loss, and identity.

Set in Dallas, Texas, Ciao follows the story of Jeff (played by Adam Neal Smith), who is grappling with the sudden death of his close friend Mark. The film takes an unexpected turn when he begins an email correspondence with Andrea (played by Alessandro Calza), an Italian man who was romantically involved with Mark.

As Jeff and Andrea exchange messages, they find solace and mutual understanding in their shared grief. Through their virtual connection, they navigate complex emotions, cultural differences, and the possibility of finding closure.

Tan skillfully captures the city’s urban and suburban landscapes, using them to mirror the characters’ emotional states. The contrast between the sprawling, impersonal cityscape and the intimate moments shared through digital communication underscores the depth of human connection in a technologically mediated world.

With its touching narrative and skillful direction, Ciao offers viewers an opportunity to witness the beauty that can emerge from unexpected connections, transcending geographical and emotional distances.

Me, Myself & Her (2015)

Me, Myself & Her is an Italian romantic drama directed by Maria Sole Tognazzi. Tognazzi, renowned for her evocative storytelling and insightful character exploration, has established herself as a prominent figure in contemporary Italian cinema. Her directorial journey has often delved into the complexities of human relationships, and Me, Myself & Her is no exception.

The film centers around the intertwined lives of two women, Marina and Federica, played by Margherita Buy and Sabrina Ferilli, respectively. Marina, a successful and openly gay former actress, finds her settled life with Federica, a reserved and introspective architect, at a crossroads. As the narrative unfolds, the film artfully navigates themes of love, identity, and the challenges of maintaining a long-term relationship.

Me, Myself & Her offers a poignant portrayal of love and self-realization that transcends sexual orientation. Through its nuanced characters and compelling narrative, the film draws audiences into the complex lives of Marina and Federica, making them confront the universal struggles of maintaining individual identity within the context of a relationship.

Tognazzi’s direction, coupled with the exceptional performances of Buy and Ferilli, creates an immersive journey of love, introspection, and the intricate dance between two lives. The film’s ability to transcend societal norms and explore the essence of human connections makes it a compelling watch, appealing to both fans of romance and those interested in exploring the intricacies of the human heart.