Sophia Loren


Sofia Villani Scicolone Dame Grand Cross OMRI (born September 20, 1934), known professionally as Sophia Loren, is an Italian actress. During the 1960s she starred in films as a sexually emancipated personae and was one of the best known sex symbols. She was named by the American Film Institute as the 21st greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema. She is currently the only living actress and highest-ranked living person mentioned on the list. She is also now one of the last major surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.

Encouraged to enroll in acting lessons after entering a beauty pageant, Loren began her film career at age 16 in 1950. She appeared in several bit parts and minor roles in the early part of the decade, until her five-picture contract with Paramount in 1956 launched her international career. Her film appearances around this time include Stanley Kramer’s The Pride and the Passion (1957), with Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra; Melville Shavelson’s Houseboat (1958), with Grant, Martha Hyer, Harry Guardino; and It Started in Naples (1960), with Clark Gable. She frequently collaborated with actor Marcello Mastroianni, director/actor Vittorio De Sica, and producer Carlo Ponti, who was also her husband.

Other films in the 1950’s include Jean Negulesco’s Boy on a Dolphin (1957), with Alan Ladd and Clifton Webb, Alexis Minotis, and Laurence Naismith; Henry Hathaway’s Legend of the Lost (1957), with John Wayne, Rossano Brazzi, and Kurt Kasznar; Delbert Mann’s Desire Under the Elms (1958), with Anthony Perkins, Burl Ives, Frank Overton, and Pernell Roberts; Carol Reed’s The Key (1958), with William Holden and Trevor Howard; Martin Ritt’s The Black Orchid (1958), with Anthony Quinn, Peter Mark Richman, Virginia Vincent, Frank Puglia, Jimmy Baird, and Naomi Stevens; and Sidney Lumet’s That Kind of Woman (1959), with Tab Hunter, Jack Warden, Barbara Nichols, Keenan Wynn, and George Sanders.

Loren’s performance as Cesira in De Sica’s Two Women (1960) earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress, making her the first actor or actress to win an Oscar for a foreign-language performance. She holds the record for having earned seven David di Donatello Awards for Best Actress: Two Women; Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963); Marriage Italian Style (1964, for which she was nominated for a second Oscar); Sunflower (1970); The Voyage (1974), with Richard Burton; A Special Day (1977), with Mastroianni and John Vernon; and The Life Ahead (2020), directed by her son, Edoardo Ponti. She has also won five special Golden Globes (including the Cecil B. DeMille Award), a BAFTA Award, a Laurel Award, a Grammy Award, the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival and the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1991, she received the Academy Honorary Award for lifetime achievements.

Other films in the early 1960s include George Cukor’s Heller In Pink Tights (1960), with Quinn; Anthony Asquith’s The Millionairess (1960), with Peter Sellers, Alastair Sim, Dennis Price, Gary Raymond, and De Sica; Michael Curtiz’s A Breath of Scandal (1960), with Maurice Chevalier, John Gavin, and Angela Lansbury; Anthony Mann’s El Cid (1961), with Charlton Heston, Raf Vallone, Geneviève Page, John Fraser, Gary Raymond, Herbert Lom, and Douglas Wilmer; The Condemned of Altona (1962), with Maximilian Schell; Anatole Litvak’s Five Miles to Midnight (1962), with Perkins and Gig Young; The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), with Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Mel Ferrer, and Omar Sharif.

Films in the mid to late 1960s include Michael Anderson’s Operation Crossbow (1965), with George Peppard, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Richard Johnson, and Tom Courtenay; Peter Ustinov’s Lady L (1965), with Paul Newman, David Niven, and Cecil Parker; Daniel Mann’s Judith (1966), with Peter Finch and Jack Hawkins; Stanley Donen’s Arabesque (1966), with Gregory Peck; Charlie Chaplin’s A Countess from Hong Kong (1967), with Marlon Brando, Sydney Chaplin, Tippi Hedren, Patrick Cargill, and Margaret Rutherford; and More Than a Miracle (1967), with Sharif and Dolores del Rio.

Films in the 1970s include Mario Monicelli’s Lady Liberty (1971), with William Devane, Gigi Proietti, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, and Edward Herrmann; Arthur Hiller’s Man of La Mancha (1972), with Peter O’Toole, James Coco, Harry Andrews, and John Castle; André Cayatte’s Verdict (1974), with Jean Gabin and Julien Bertheau; George P. Cosmatos’s The Cassandra Crossing (1976), with Richard Harris, Martin Sheen, O.J. Simpson, Lionel Stander, Ann Turkel, Ingrid Thulin, Lee Strasberg, Burt Lancaster, and Ava Gardner; Brass Target (1978), with John Cassavetes, Robert Vaughn, George Kennedy, Patrick McGoohan, and Max von Sydow; Angela (1978), with Steve Railsback, Vernon, and John Huston; and Firepower (1979), with James Coburn, Simpson, Eli Wallach, Anthony Franciosa, George Grizzard, Vincent Gardenia, Victor Mature, and Jake LaMotta.

Beginning at the start of the 1980s, Loren chose to make rarer film appearances. Since then, she has appeared in films such as Robert Altman’s Ready to Wear (1994), with Anouk Aimée, Mastroianni, Kim Basinger, Stephen Rea, Lauren Bacall, Julia Roberts, Tim Robbins, Lili Taylor, Sally Kellerman, Tracey Ullman, Linda Hunt, Rupert Everett, Forest Whitaker, Richard E. Grant, Danny Aiello, Teri Garr, Lyle Lovett, Jean Rochefort, Michel Blanc, Jean-Pierre Cassel, Ute Lemper, Anne Canovas, François Cluzet, and Björk; Howard Deutch’s Grumpier Old Men (1995), with Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret, Burgess Meredith, Daryl Hannah, Kevin Pollak, Katie Sagona and Ann Morgan Guilbert; Between Strangers (2002), with Klaus Maria Brandauer, Gérard Depardieu, Malcolm McDowell, Pete Postlethwaite, Mira Sorvino, and Deborah Kara Unger; Lina Wertmüller’s Too Much Romance… It’s Time for Stuffed Peppers (2004), with F. Murray Abraham; and Rob Marshall’s Nine (2009), with Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Penélope Cruz, Judi Dench, Fergie, Kate Hudson, and Nicole Kidman.

TV movies and miniseries include Brief Encounter (1974), with Burton, Jack Hedley, and Rosemary Leach; Sophia Loren: Her Own Story (1980), with Armand Assante, John Gavin, Rip Torn, Theresa Saldana, and Edmund Purdom; Aurora (1984), with Philippe Noiret and Daniel J. Travanti; Courage (1986), with Billy Dee Williams, Héctor Elizondo, Val Avery, Ron Rifkin, Mary McDonnell, Richard Portnow, and Dan Hedaya; The Fortunate Pilgrim (1988), with Edward James Olmos, John Turturro; Annabella Sciorra, and Hal Holbrook; Running Away (1989), with Robert Loggia; Francesca and Nunziata (2001), with Giancarlo Giannini; Lives of the Saints (2004), with Fab Filippo, Jessica Paré, Sabrina Ferilli, Kris Kristofferson, and Nick Mancuso; and My House Is Full of Mirrors (2010), with Margareth Madè.

Each review will be linked to the title below.

(*seen originally in theaters)

(**seen rereleased in theaters)

  • Tototarzan (1950) – directed by Mario Mattoli – uncredited
  • Hearts at Sea (1950) – directed by Giorgio Bianchi – uncredited
  • Bluebeard’s Six Wives (1950) – directed by Carlo Ludovico Bragaglia
  • The Vote (1950) – directed by Mario Bonnard – uncredited
  • Brief Rapture (1951) – directed by Enzo Trapani
  • I’m the Capataz (1951) – directed by Giorgio Simonelli
  • Milan Billionaire (1951) – directed by Marino Girolami, Marcello Marchesi, & Vittorio Metz – uncredited
  • Quo Vadis (1951) – directed by Mervyn LeRoy – uncredited
  • The Reluctant Magician (1951) – directed by Marino Girolami
  • It’s Him!… Yes! Yes! (1951) – directed by Marino Girolami, Marcello Marchesi, & Vittorio Metz
  • Anna (1951) – directed by Alberto Lattuada – uncredited
  • The Dream of Zorro (1952) – directed by Mario Soldati
  • The Trade in White Women (1952) – directed by Luigi Comencini
  • La Favorita (1952) – directed by Cesare Barlacchi
  • The Piano Tuner Has Arrived (1952) – directed by Duilio Coletti
  • Good Folk’s Sunday (1953) – directed by Anton Giulio Majano
  • Woman of the Red Sea (1953) – directed by Giovanni Roccardi
  • Aida (1953) – directed by Clemente Fracassi
  • We Find Ourselves in the Gallery (1953) – directed by Mauro Bolognini
  • The Country of the Campanelli (1954) – directed by Jean Boyer
  • A Day in Court (1954) – directed by Steno
  • Two Nights with Cleopatra (1954) – directed by Mario Mattoli
  • The Anatomy of Love (1954) – directed by Alessandro Blasetti & Paul Paviot
  • Poverty and Nobility (1954) – directed by Mario Mattoli
  • Neapolitan Carousel (1954) – directed by Ettore Giannini
  • Pilgrim of Love (1954) – directed by Andrea Forzano
  • The Gold of Naples (1954) – directed by Vittorio De Sica
  • Attila (1954) – directed by Pietro Francisci
  • Too Bad She’s Bad (1954) – directed by Alessandro Blasetti
  • The River Girl (1954) – directed by Mario Soldati
  • The Sign of Venus (1955) – directed by Dino Risi
  • The Miller’s Beautiful Wife (1955) – directed by Mario Camerini
  • Scandal in Sorrento (1955) – directed by Dino Risi
  • Lucky to Be a Woman (1956) – directed by Alessandro Blasetti
  • Boy on a Dolphin (1957) – directed by Jean Negulesco
  • The Pride and the Passion (1957) – directed by Stanley Kramer
  • Legend of the Lost (1957) – directed by Henry Hathaway
  • Desire Under the Elms (1958) – directed by Delbert Mann
  • The Key (1958) – directed by Carol Reed
  • Houseboat (1958) – directed by Melville Shavelson
  • The Black Orchid (1959) – directed by Martin Ritt
  • That Kind of Woman (1959) – directed by Sidney Lumet
  • Heller In Pink Tights (1960) – directed by George Cukor
  • It Started in Naples (1960) – directed by Melville Shavelson
  • The Millionairess (1960) – directed by Anthony Asquith
  • A Breath of Scandal (1960) – directed by Michael Curtiz
  • Two Women (1960) – directed by Vittorio De Sica
  • El Cid (1961) – directed by Anthony Mann
  • Madame (1961) – directed by Christian-Jaque
  • Boccaccio ’70 (1962) – directed by Mario Monicelli, Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, & Vittorio De Sica – anthology
  • The Condemned of Altona (1962) – directed by Vittorio De Sica
  • Five Miles to Midnight (1962) – directed by Anatole Litvak
  • Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (1963) – directed by Vittorio De Sica
  • The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) – directed by Anthony Mann
  • Marriage Italian Style (1964) – directed by Vittorio De Sica
  • Operation Crossbow (1965) – directed by Michael Anderson
  • Lady L (1965) – directed by Peter Ustinov
  • Judith (1966) – directed by Daniel Mann
  • Arabesque (1966) – directed by Stanley Donen
  • A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) – directed by Charlie Chaplin
  • More Than a Miracle (1967) – directed by Francesco Rosi
  • Ghosts – Italian Style (1967) – directed by Renato Castellani
  • Sunflower (1970) – directed by Vittorio De Sica
  • The Priest’s Wife (1970) – directed by Dino Risi
  • Lady Liberty (1971) – directed by Mario Monicelli
  • White Sister (1972) – directed by Alberto Lattuada
  • Man of La Mancha (1972) – directed by Arthur Hiller
  • The Voyage (1974) – directed by Vittorio De Sica
  • Verdict (1974) – directed by André Cayatte
  • Brief Encounter (1974) – directed by Alan Bridges – TV movie
  • Sex Pot (1975) – directed by Giorgio Capitani
  • The Cassandra Crossing (1976) – George P. Cosmatos
  • A Special Day (1977) – directed by Ettore Scola
  • Angela (1978) – directed by Boris Sagal
  • Blood Feud (1978) – directed by Lina Wertmüller
  • Brass Target (1978) – directed by John Hough
  • Firepower (1979) – directed by Michael Winner
  • Sophia Loren: Her Own Story (1980) – directed by Mel Stuart – TV movie
  • Aurora (1984) – directed by Maurizio Ponzi – TV movie
  • Courage (1986) – directed by Jeremy Kagan – TV movie
  • The Fortunate Pilgrim (1988) – directed by Stuart Cooper – miniseries
  • Running Away (1989) – directed by Dino Risi – TV movie
  • Saturday, Sunday and Monday (1990) – directed by Lina Wertmüller
  • Ready to Wear (1994) – directed by Robert Altman
  • Grumpier Old Men (1995)* – directed by Howard Deutch
  • Soleil (1997) – directed by Roger Hanin
  • Francesca & Nunziata (2001) – directed by Lina Wertmüller – miniseries
  • Between Strangers (2002) – directed by Edoardo Ponti
  • Lives of the Saints (2004) – directed by Jerry Ciccoritti – TV movie
  • Too Much Romance… It’s Time for Stuffed Peppers (2004) – directed by Lina Wertmüller
  • Nine (2009) – directed by Rob Marshall
  • My House Is Full of Mirrors (2010) – directed by Vittorio Sindoni
  • Human Voice (2014) – directed by Edoardo Ponti – short
  • The Life Ahead (2020) – directed by Edoardo Ponti
  • What Would Sophia Loren Do? (2021) – directed by Ross Kauffman – herself – documentary short