Italian Flag 1946 Buying Italian Films Italian Flag 1946

A number of people have asked about obtaining Italian Films. Here is an attempt to distill some of what I have learned in collecting them.


There are a number of VHS tape formats. NTSC is the system used in US and Canada and is all that VCRs sold in US will handle. There are several other formats which are used. Most of Europe uses PAL, France uses SECAM and there are two other variants of PAL, M-PAL and N-PAL. If you purchase tapes from US sources, such as, you most often get the NTSC form. If you buy from Europe, PAL is most likely the format. On Ebay, one needs to be careful because NTSC is most common, but some sellers will sell PAL tapes. Most sellers clearly label their products, but you should ask to be sure.

There are all-region VCRs which will automatically detect the format of the tape and play it. I have the AIWA MX100 which works very well. It has been out for a number of years and is getting difficult to find. There are other units around. All-region VCRs tend to be in the $400 to $500 range.

DVD units have even more playing regions - some 10. This is to prevent you from watching a DVD which was meant for another region. Here again, there are problems with DVDs produced for other than US and Canada. There is a better solution here as the all region DVD players may be purchased for $100 and less. I have a Daewoo DVD5900 which will play DVDs from anywhere in the world as well as CDs MP3s, VCDs, and more disc based formats.

These all region players can be found on ebay and the internet, but not in stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City. I have recently seen an ebay offer for a DAEWOO DVC-3000 which claims to be all region VCR and DVD unit in one for around $150 with shipping.

You should be aware that materials produced for other regions may not have subtitles.

Older Italian films are predominantly in VHS tape format, but there are signs that some of the true classics are being restored and made available in DVD format.

SOURCES:     VHS Tapes and DVDs
Under VHS or (DVD and VHS) search the word Italian and find of the order of 280 items. These items will most likely be in NTSC format with Subtitles. Read the descriptions carefully and ask questions before buying.
Ebay can be a source of VHS or DVD format. Again most of the items are NTSC and compatible with US machines. Search

Home > All Categories > Entertainment > DVDs & Movies    then search     "Italian"

The most convenient method of paying for items on Ebay is to use PayPal at Using PayPal ensures that your credit card is only seen by PayPal who then pays at your direction and simultaneously charges your credit card. PayPal asks you to register a bank account as well as your credit card. This is important if you are going to be selling and having money transferred to you; otherwise, I have found it to be unnecessary.

Some of the vendors on Ebay operate internet stores with more items than are listed on Ebay. Before bidding or buying on Ebay, check the vendor's feedback. Negatives should generally be under 1%. Further, one should check the negative comments received. If they are complaints about slow delivery it is one thing, but if there has been failure to ship or faulty merchandise without appropriate care to the customer, pass these vendors by.

The Internet Book Shop is located in Milano and sells VHS tapes, DVDs, and books. They accept credit cards. You can find Euro to Dollars conversion on the site. Shipping is rather expensive (can be around 50% of the cost of an item), but is by FedEx which is quite efficient. I have been notified of shipping on a Monday and received the item on Thursday.

VHS and DVDs purchased here are European Format and most often without subtitles.


Blackstar   in England at is an outfit I have dealt with. Since they are in England there is some chance their material has English subtitles, but their stock of Italian items is not large and, of course, the formats are European   PAL .
can turn up an incredible wealth of material. Just be carefuly with whom you are dealing. I have found English subtitled Italian films in Brazil (through Ebay) as well as in China. English subtitles are very difficult but not impossible to locate in Italy.


After locating an Italian film, you may wish to research something about the film before purchasing. The following sites provide a wealth of information on Italian Films:

Internet Movie Data Base     at
This site is searchable by title, director, actor, writer, etc. It is also possible to do a joint search for example, for films in which Mastroianni and Loren appeared together.

Blockbuster     at
Blockbuster often has synopses of films for which there is no description on IMDB.

Yahoo Cinema
Yahoo Cinema is a good source for additional descriptions of films. While the text is in Italian, their cast listings are often more complete than IMDB.

Google is the best search engine available. You may find biographical notes on directors and actors as well as incredible information of all sorts.

I had some Italian Songs from World War II which were untitled. By searching an unusal phrase from the song, I was able to locate the title and complete Lyrics for some of these classics. Firther, I was able to download almost 100 MP3 formatted audio tracks for the songs of WWII.

Additionally, I have been able to locate complete texts for Giovanni Verga's "La Lupa" and Giuseppe Cesare Abba's "Da Quarto al Volturno" the diary of one of Garibaldi's 1000

There is an vast range of material posted on the Internet and searchable by Search Engines such as Google


While looking for Italian films on a particular site, I have found it most efficient to search by Directors, Writer, or on occasion, Actor. I use the following list by copying and pasting from the list into the search engine on a given site such as IBS or Ebay. The * indicates personal favories for which I search.

Allesandrini Goffredo De Sica Vittorio * Olmi Ermanno Vancini Florestano *
Amelio Gianni * Duvivier Julien Paolella Domenico Verdone Carlo
Antonioni Michelangelo Falconi Armando Pasolini Pier Paolo Visconti Luchino *
Avati Pupi Fellini Federico Pieraccioni Leonardo Wertmuller Lina *
Benigni Roberto Ferrara Giuseppe Risi Dino * Zeffirelli Franco *
Bertolucci Bernardo Gallone Carmine Rosi Francesco * Writers
Blasetti Alessandro Gance Abel Rossellini Roberto * Bassani Giorgio
Brusati Franco Germi Pietro Salvatores Gabriele De Fillipo Eduardo
Camerini Mario * Lattuada Alberto * Scola Ettore * Pirandello Luigi
Carlei Carlo Lazotti Gianfrancesco Scorsese Martin Verga Giovanni
Cavani Liliana Loy Nanni * Soldati Mario   
Cicero Nando Magni Luigi * Soldini Silvio Actors
Comencini Luigi * Monicelli Mario* Taviani Paul & Vittorio * Manfredi Nino
De Filippo Eduardo * Montaldo Giuliano Tornatore Giuseppe Volonté Gian Maria
De Santis Giuseppe * Moretti Nanni Troisi Massimo * * personal favorites

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