These aren’t your dad’s mafia movies. The new Italian crime shows and movies are more realistic and much grittier than previous generations of Italian crime drama. Here are a few of our favorites currently streaming online. And when you’re ready to learn Italian yourself, be sure to sign up for our new round of Italian classes starting at the beginning of March!
Suburra: Blood on Rome (Series)
Giuseppe Capotondi, Andrea Molaioli, Michele Placido (2017, Italy), Netflix
Conceived as a prequel to the 2015 film Suburra, itself based on an acclaimed novel, this series can be enjoyed all on its own. Over 11 episodes, a dispute over land in a seaside Italian town spirals out of control, involving mafiosos, corrupt Vatican officials, and innocent bystanders. Expect a web of shady characters and a less-than-flattering depiction of the Eternal City.
Stefano Bises, Leonardo Fasoli, Roberto Saviano (2014, Italy), Netflix
This series has almost the exact same backstory as Suburra–it’s based on the film and novel both called Gomorrah which caused and international sensation and forced the author to go into hiding. Naples’ feared Camorra, the network of crime families who run everything from drug sales to nuclear waste disposal, are the focus of this intricately plotted crime drama. A struggle for power within the family leads to a wave of international violence. A little soapier than the movie, this splits the difference between gritty modern drama and beloved mafia movie cliches.
Black Souls (Anime Nere)
Francesco Munzi (2015, Italy), Netflix
The most family-focused of our selections, this award-winning film follows a multi-generational blood feud in a tiny Calabrian town. 20-year-old Leo is not impressed by his father’s simple life of goat-herding and longs to follow in the footsteps of his uncles, who live the high-life by means of international drug-running. When Leo enters on a violent path, the two worlds, of village simplicity and urban debauchery, collide.