Preeminent actor Marcello Mastroianni, debuts at first place in this impressive round-up of Italy's leading silver screen legends. Born in 1924, Mastroianni was a formidable force in Italian cinema during the 1960s. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times for his roles in 'Divorce Italian Style (1961), 'A Special Day' (1977), and 'Dark Eyes' (1987).
With a commendable 40 films across a 34-year career, Gian Maria Volonté is best recognised for his role in 'Un Pugno Pieno di Dollari' (A Fistful of Dollars), the spaghetti western movie in which he played Ramn Rojo.
The internationally admired Vittorio Gassman received critical acclaim for his career on stage, screen and television. His first major role was in the 1949 film 'Bitter Rice'. Before his death in 1977 he appeared in many non-Italian movies and was much admired by directors such as Robert Altman. He also was one of Italy's first television stars.
Born to a family of impoverished Italian nobility in 1898, Antonio De Curtis, better known as Tot was one of the most popular Italian film stars of the fifties and sixties. Commonly referred to as Il Principe della Risata, or the prince of laughter, his comedic style was much feted in post-war Italy. Some of his best films include “Tot a colori” and “Un turco napoletano”.
Another cinematic comedy genius, Alberto Sordi shot to fame in 1952 after Fellini cast him in 'The White Sheik' cementing his reputation as one of Italy's leading men. His death in 2003 drew over a million grieving fans who came to pay their respects at his funeral.
Roberto Benigni was catapulted to international fame when his masterpiece 'Life is Beautiful' was nominated for seven Academy Awards. Benigni won an Academy Award for Best Actor (the first time that a non-English-speaking role won best male actor) and also won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The film is loosely based on Benigni's family history when his father survived three years of imprisonment in a concentration camp.
Dashing actor Raoul Bova is currently one of Italy's hottest leading men. The prolific television star's first major film break was in Carlo Vanzina's 1993 film, 'Piccolo Grande Amore'.
With a stellar career spanning 40 years, the much loved Ugo Tognazzi(pictured) is best known for his one classic comedy role in the 1978 movie 'La cage aux folles' where he played moustachioed gay cabaret owner Renato Baldi. According to IMDb the movie was one of the biggest cross-over foreign hits to ever land on American soil and went on to spawn two sequels and an American remake.
Image: Magnifico_cornuto_-_Ugo_Tognazzi.png: Gawain78 at the Italian Wikipedia project. derivative work: Cavarrone [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons