Favorite Foreign Films

by lunaticprophet | created - 14 Jul 2011 | updated - 12 Apr 2012 | Public

The very first foreign language film I remember watching (other than many dubbed kung fu movies) was "Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro" ("Swept Away") in the late-70s when I was in my early teens. Now, the only reason I watched it was because I caught a scene with the scantily clad Mariangela Melato and was hooked. But by the end of the movie, I was completely caught up in the story and immensely entertained. I've been watching foreign films ever since.

A list of my favorite foreign films (simply meaning that they were not made by the American movie industry -- as opposed to being in a foreign language... that being anything other than English in my case).

Some of these are great films ("City of God", "Amores Perros", "Revolver", "Old Boy"...) some aren't... but all are, at the least, very entertaining.

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1. City of God (2002)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

In the slums of Rio, two kids' paths diverge as one struggles to become a photographer and the other a kingpin.

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund | Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele, Phellipe Haagensen

Votes: 678,808 | Gross: $7.56M

This... is one of the best movies... ever .

2. The Crying Game (1992)

R | 112 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

90 Metascore

A British soldier kidnapped by IRA terrorists soon befriends one of his captors, who then becomes drawn into the soldier's world.

Director: Neil Jordan | Stars: Stephen Rea, Jaye Davidson, Forest Whitaker, Miranda Richardson

Votes: 49,532 | Gross: $62.55M

I was in Atlanta, had already seen one movie (don't remember it) and felt like seeing another. It was premier night and I had no idea what this movie was about, but Forrest Whittaker was in it and that was all that I needed since I loved "Bird". The movie theater was completely packed, not one seat open... completely loved this movie!

3. Revolver (2005)

R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Drama

25 Metascore

Gambler Jake Green enters into a game with potentially deadly consequences.

Director: Guy Ritchie | Stars: Jason Statham, Ray Liotta, André Benjamin, Vincent Pastore

Votes: 87,615 | Gross: $0.08M

4. Amores Perros (2000)

R | 154 min | Drama, Thriller

83 Metascore

A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero

Votes: 216,680 | Gross: $5.38M

5. Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)

R | 120 min | Drama

80 Metascore

A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life.

Director: Hector Babenco | Stars: William Hurt, Raul Julia, Sônia Braga, José Lewgoy

Votes: 13,702 | Gross: $17.04M

6. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)

R | 129 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

80 Metascore

A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later.

Director: Juan José Campanella | Stars: Ricardo Darín, Soledad Villamil, Pablo Rago, Carla Quevedo

Votes: 184,655 | Gross: $6.39M

7. Nine Queens (2000)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

80 Metascore

Two con artists try to swindle a stamp collector by selling him a sheet of counterfeit rare stamps (the "nine queens").

Director: Fabián Bielinsky | Stars: Ricardo Darín, Gastón Pauls, Graciela Tenenbaum, María Mercedes Villagra

Votes: 48,144 | Gross: $1.22M

8. You, the Living (2007)

Not Rated | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Music

81 Metascore

You, the Living is a film about humankind, its greatness and its baseness, joy and sorrow, its self-confidence and anxiety, its desire to love and be loved.

Director: Roy Andersson | Stars: Elisabeth Helander, Jörgen Nohall, Jan Wikbladh, Björn Englund

Votes: 13,708 | Gross: $0.02M

visually intent on being starkly drab... a great compliment/contrast to the sullen humor. Very funny...

9. Swept Away (1974)

R | 114 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

A trip into the Mediterranean sea becomes a trip into the discovery of how society's frameworks of the rich and poor are delicate and temporary.

Director: Lina Wertmüller | Stars: Giancarlo Giannini, Mariangela Melato, Riccardo Salvino, Isa Danieli

Votes: 5,191

10. The Lives of Others (2006)

R | 137 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

89 Metascore

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck | Stars: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 344,595 | Gross: $11.29M

11. REC (2007)

R | 78 min | Action, Adventure, Horror

69 Metascore

A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying.

Directors: Jaume Balagueró, Paco Plaza | Stars: Manuela Velasco, Ferran Terraza, Jorge-Yamam Serrano, Pablo Rosso

Votes: 160,489

12. Persepolis (2007)

PG-13 | 96 min | Animation, Biography, Drama

90 Metascore

A precocious and outspoken Iranian girl grows up during the Islamic Revolution.

Directors: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi | Stars: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands, Danielle Darrieux

Votes: 86,063 | Gross: $4.45M

13. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

R | 99 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

78 Metascore

In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious "Axe Gang" while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf.

Director: Stephen Chow | Stars: Stephen Chow, Wah Yuen, Qiu Yuen, Siu-Lung Leung

Votes: 122,829 | Gross: $17.11M

This is a fun movie!

14. Rashomon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

98 Metascore

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 145,333 | Gross: $0.10M

Really like the story... but just love the camera work.

15. Oldboy (2003)

R | 120 min | Action, Drama, Mystery

77 Metascore

After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Director: Chan-wook Park | Stars: Min-sik Choi, Ji-Tae Yoo, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji

Votes: 493,146 | Gross: $0.71M

16. Audition (1999)

R | 115 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

69 Metascore

A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all.

Director: Takashi Miike | Stars: Ryo Ishibashi, Eihi Shiina, Tetsu Sawaki, Jun Kunimura

Votes: 69,381

17. Memories of Murder (2003)

Not Rated | 132 min | Action, Crime, Drama

82 Metascore

In a small Korean province in 1986, two detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit.

Director: Bong Joon Ho | Stars: Kang-ho Song, Sang-kyung Kim, Roe-ha Kim, Jae-ho Song

Votes: 122,977 | Gross: $0.01M

18. The White Ribbon (2009)

R | 144 min | Drama, History, Mystery

82 Metascore

Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible?

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Christian Friedel, Ernst Jacobi, Leonie Benesch, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 66,378 | Gross: $2.22M

19. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

R | 152 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

76 Metascore

A journalist is aided by a young female hacker in his search for the killer of a woman who has been dead for forty years.

Director: Niels Arden Oplev | Stars: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Ewa Fröling, Lena Endre

Votes: 204,604 | Gross: $10.10M

20. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009)

R | 147 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

60 Metascore

Lisbeth is recovering in a hospital and awaiting trial for three murders when she is released. Mikael must prove her innocence, but Lisbeth must be willing to share the details of her sordid experiences with the court.

Director: Daniel Alfredson | Stars: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Lena Endre, Annika Hallin

Votes: 66,139 | Gross: $5.19M

21. The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)

R | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

66 Metascore

As computer hacker Lisbeth and journalist Mikael investigate a sex-trafficking ring, Lisbeth is accused of three murders, causing her to go on the run while Mikael works to clear her name.

Director: Daniel Alfredson | Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson

Votes: 88,723 | Gross: $9.08M

22. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

R | 118 min | Drama, Fantasy, War

98 Metascore

In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.

Director: Guillermo del Toro | Stars: Ivana Baquero, Ariadna Gil, Sergi López, Maribel Verdú

Votes: 600,281 | Gross: $37.63M

23. Timecrimes (2007)

R | 92 min | Horror, Mystery, Sci-Fi

68 Metascore

A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo | Stars: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernández, Bárbara Goenaga, Nacho Vigalondo

Votes: 55,509 | Gross: $0.04M

24. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

R | 120 min | Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

A Mumbai teenager reflects on his life after being accused of cheating on the Indian version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?".

Directors: Danny Boyle, Loveleen Tandan | Stars: Dev Patel, Freida Pinto, Saurabh Shukla, Anil Kapoor

Votes: 779,724 | Gross: $141.32M

25. Caché (2005)

R | 117 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

83 Metascore

A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Daniel Auteuil, Juliette Binoche, Maurice Bénichou, Annie Girardot

Votes: 70,673 | Gross: $3.63M

26. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

94 Metascore

A young Chinese warrior steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man in the frontier of the nation.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang

Votes: 247,705 | Gross: $128.08M

27. Let the Right One In (2008)

R | 114 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

82 Metascore

Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.

Director: Tomas Alfredson | Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl

Votes: 201,090 | Gross: $2.12M

28. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)

R | 99 min | Action, Drama, Western

65 Metascore

A wandering gunfighter plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volontè, Marianne Koch, Wolfgang Lukschy

Votes: 189,066 | Gross: $14.50M

29. For a Few Dollars More (1965)

R | 132 min | Western

74 Metascore

Two bounty hunters with the same intentions team up to track down a Western outlaw.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè, Mara Krupp

Votes: 221,873 | Gross: $15.00M

30. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 662,806 | Gross: $6.10M

31. Layer Cake (2004)

R | 105 min | Action, Crime, Drama

73 Metascore

A successful cocaine dealer gets two tough assignments from his boss on the eve of his planned early retirement.

Director: Matthew Vaughn | Stars: Daniel Craig, Sienna Miller, Michael Gambon, Tom Hardy

Votes: 161,964 | Gross: $2.34M

32. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

R | 107 min | Comedy, Crime

66 Metascore

A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns.

Director: Guy Ritchie | Stars: Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham

Votes: 518,426 | Gross: $3.90M

33. Sexy Beast (2000)

R | 89 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits "retired" safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them.

Director: Jonathan Glazer | Stars: Ray Winstone, Ben Kingsley, Ian McShane, Amanda Redman

Votes: 52,947 | Gross: $6.95M

34. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

R | 99 min | Comedy, Horror

76 Metascore

A man's uneventful life is disrupted by the zombie apocalypse.

Director: Edgar Wright | Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis

Votes: 496,949 | Gross: $13.54M

35. Valmont (1989)

R | 137 min | Drama, Romance

55 Metascore

France before 1789: When a widow hears that her lover is to marry her cousin's daughter, she asks the playboy Valmont to take the girl's virginity. But first she bets him, with her body as prize, to seduce a virtuous, young, married woman.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Colin Firth, Annette Bening, Meg Tilly, Fairuza Balk

Votes: 12,150 | Gross: $1.13M

36. I Saw the Devil (2010)

Not Rated | 144 min | Action, Crime, Drama

67 Metascore

A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.

Director: Jee-woon Kim | Stars: Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi, Gook-hwan Jeon, Joon-hyuk Lee

Votes: 103,514 | Gross: $0.13M

37. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

PG | 91 min | Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

93 Metascore

King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his Knights of the Round Table embark on a surreal, low-budget search for the Holy Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles.

Directors: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones | Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam

Votes: 486,074 | Gross: $1.23M

38. Ikiru (1952)

Not Rated | 143 min | Drama

A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Takashi Shimura, Nobuo Kaneko, Shin'ichi Himori, Haruo Tanaka

Votes: 63,706 | Gross: $0.06M

39. The Decline of the American Empire (1986)

R | 101 min | Comedy, Drama

60 Metascore

Sexual revelations emerge when a group of academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country retreat.

Director: Denys Arcand | Stars: Dominique Michel, Dorothée Berryman, Louise Portal, Pierre Curzi

Votes: 7,579 | Gross: $1.90M

40. Talk to Her (2002)

R | 112 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

86 Metascore

Two men share an odd friendship while they care for two women who are both in deep comas.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Rosario Flores, Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti, Leonor Watling

Votes: 101,696 | Gross: $9.28M

41. Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

R | 97 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

78 Metascore

Undocumented immigrants Okwe and Senay work at a posh London hotel and live in constant fear of deportation. One night Okwe stumbles across evidence of a bizarre murder setting off a series of events that could lead to disaster or freedom.

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Audrey Tautou, Sophie Okonedo, Sergi López

Votes: 39,834 | Gross: $8.11M

42. All About My Mother (1999)

R | 101 min | Drama

87 Metascore

Young Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his second mother, a trans woman, carefully concealed by his mother Manuela.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Cecilia Roth, Marisa Paredes, Candela Peña, Antonia San Juan

Votes: 85,833 | Gross: $8.26M

43. In the Mood for Love (2000)

PG | 98 min | Drama, Romance

85 Metascore

Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.

Director: Kar-Wai Wong | Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu, Tung Cho 'Joe' Cheung

Votes: 116,363 | Gross: $2.73M

44. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)

R | 129 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

56 Metascore

A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' friend's daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant.

Director: Chan-wook Park | Stars: Kang-ho Song, Ha-kyun Shin, Doona Bae, Ji-Eun Lim

Votes: 60,017 | Gross: $0.05M

45. Lady Vengeance (2005)

R | 115 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

75 Metascore

After being wrongfully imprisoned for thirteen years and having her child taken away from her, a woman seeks revenge through increasingly brutal means.

Director: Chan-wook Park | Stars: Yeong-ae Lee, Min-sik Choi, Shi-hoo Kim, Yea-young Kwon

Votes: 69,116 | Gross: $0.21M