Italian-American Films That Are Not About the Mafia
It's true. They do exist!
When people think of films about Italian-American culture, mafia movies are probably the first thing that springs to mind. While iconic Italian mafia films are a part of Italian-American culture, hardcore Italians know that there is so much more out there as well. Italian culture is also interesting, funny, and much of it is still tied closely with Italy itself, unlike many immigrants from other countries who have been quicker to sever their ties with the old country. Italian-American culture is an important part of the American story.
Below is a list of some great films that capture the wider aspects of Italian-American culture.
Rocky is a classic uplifting film about Italians featuring Sylvester Stallone. Stallone's character is "Rocky", an Italian-American boxer who rises from being a complete unknown to facing Apollo Creed in the championship bout. It is a heartwarming tale about Italian-American grit that will have you applauding by the end.
This romance featuring Cher and Nick Cage is set in 1980s Little Italy, and Italian-American culture forms the backdrop for how their love affair plays out. Cher plays a woman who is finished with love. She decides to settle down with an older, boring man until she meets his exciting younger brother played by Nick Cage. Their passionate affair and its impact on the people around them is a story about what it is to be Italian and to be in love.
3. My Cousin Vinny
This is a legendary comedy film whose lighthearted portrayal by talented actors manages to deal with a lot of the issues involved with being an Italian in America. The story follows two Italian-Americans from New York who get charged with murder while passing through a town in Alabama. Their wise-cracking cousin Vinny, a newly-minted lawyer, shows up to defend them in court. The ensuing clash between conservative Southern culture and Italian-American culture from up north provides hilarious yet meaningful insight into the life of Italians in America.
4. Saturday Night Fever
This film catapulted John Travolta into worldwide fame. He stars as an Italian-American that comes from a traditional Brooklyn family and who catches the dancing bug. This movie highlights the disco craze in the 70s, which was a big part of Italian-American culture at the time...it also helped to make white men's disco suits an iconic piece of American culture.
Which movie is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!