The Best Movies About Immigration 

Ranker Film
Updated April 14, 2020 243 votes 74 voters 8.2k views

List Rules Movies about immigrants, immigration, and life in a new country.

This is a crowdranked list of the top films where immigration is a major focus or plot element. Since America is a country of immigrants, settled by numerous different cultural groups over the years. It's no wonder that much of American cinema features stories about immigrants and immigration. From Ellis Island, to an influx of Irish Americans displaced by the Potato Famine, to Latino immigrants today, it's no surprise that this list has so many classic films about immigration - a classic American issue. But in recent times we have also seen an influx of films by non-American filmmakers tackling the subject of immigration, usually in a dramatic as opposed to comedic manner. 
The movies on this list all tackle the topic of immigration in one way or another – whether through a historical lens, looking at how life was affected by immigration through Ellis Island into New York City (including the formation of gangs for survival), or whether it takes a more dramatic approach by featuring a modern couple kept apart due to an immigration law. There are even "genre movies" in recent years that at their core are really about immigrants and cultural aliens - see District 9 or Children of Men
This list features the best immigration movies including: Scarface, Children of Men, Like Crazy, In America, House of Sand and Fog, The Border, The Kite Runner, and Journey of Hope. Vote up your favorite immigration film or add one you love that isn't already on the list.
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hola12345 added

Released: 2009

Directed by: Roy Germano

The Other Side of Immigration is a 2010 documentary film directed by Roy Germano that explores why so many people leave the Mexican countryside to work in the United States and what happens to ...more
Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Immigration
Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Michael Caine

Released: 2006

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Children of Men is a 2006 science fiction thriller film directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuarón. The screenplay, based on P. D. James's 1992 novel of the same name, was credited to five ...more

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Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood

Released: 2009

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp

District 9 is a 2009 science fiction film directed by Neill Blomkamp, released August 13, 2009. It takes place in Johannesburg, South Africa. District 9 is based on Alive in Joburg, a short film ...more

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Titanic is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Immigration
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates

Released: 1997

Directed by: James Cameron

Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed by James Cameron. A seventeen-year-old aristocrat (Kate Winslet) falls in love with a kind but poor artist (Leonardo DiCaprio) ...more

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Gangs of New York is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Immigration
Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Liam Neeson

Released: 2002

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Gangs of New York is a 2002 American fictionalized historical drama film set in the mid-19th century in the Five Points district of Lower Manhattan in 1863. The film was directed by Martin ...more

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Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer

Released: 1983

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Scarface is a 1983 American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma, and a remake of the 1932 film. In 1980s Miami, Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino) rises up and becomes a powerful ...more

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Djimon Hounsou, Samantha Morton, Paddy Constantine

Released: 2002

Directed by: Jim Sheridan

In America is a 2002 Irish-American-British drama film directed by Jim Sheridan. The semi-autobiographical screenplay by Sheridan and his daughters Naomi and Kirsten focuses on an immigrant ...more

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Shaun Toub, Saïd Taghmaoui, Khaled Hosseini

Released: 2007

Directed by: Marc Forster

The Kite Runner is a 2007 American drama film directed by Marc Forster, based on the 2003 novel by Khaled Hosseini. After spending years in California, Amir returns to his homeland in ...more
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Richard Jenkins, Danai Gurira, Richard Kind

Released: 2007

Directed by: Thomas McCarthy

The Visitor is a 2007 American drama film written and directed by Thomas McCarthy and produced by Michael London and Mary Jane Skalski. Executive producers were Jeff Skoll and Omar Amanat. The ...more
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Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kingsley, Kim Dickens

Released: 2003

Directed by: Vadim Perelman

House of Sand and Fog is a 2003 American drama film directed by Vadim Perelman, based on the novel by Andre Dubus III. A young woman (Jennifer Connelly) and an immigrant Iranian family battle ...more

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Lou Antonio, John Marley, Frank Wolff

Released: 1963

Directed by: Elia Kazan

America, America is a 1963 American dramatic film directed, produced and written by Elia Kazan, from his own book.
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Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Valerie Perrine

Released: 1982

Directed by: Tony Richardson

The Border is a 1982 American drama film directed by Tony Richardson and starring Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Valerie Perrine and Warren Oates.
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Dietmar Schönherr, Teco Celio, Nur Sürer

Released: 1990

Directed by: Xavier Koller

Journey of Hope is a 1990 film directed by Xavier Koller. It tells the story of a Turkish Alevi family trying to illegally emigrate to Switzerland, a country they know only from a postcard. The ...more
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Demián Bichir, Joaquín Cosío, Gabriel Chavarria

Released: 2011

Directed by: Chris Weitz

A Better Life is a 2011 American drama film directed by Chris Weitz. The screenplay, originally known as The Gardener, was written by Eric Eason based on a story by Roger L. Simon. Demián ...more
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Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson

Released: 2011

Directed by: John Madden

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Harrison Ford, Sarah Shahi, Ashley Judd

Released: 2009

Directed by: Wayne Kramer

Crossing Over is a 2009 American independent crime drama film about illegal immigrants of different nationalities struggling to achieve legal status in Los Angeles, and stars Harrison Ford as an ...more

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Scarlett Johansson, Emmy Rossum, Nastassja Kinski

Released: 2001

Directed by: Éva Gárdos

An American Rhapsody is a 2001 Hungarian-American biographical drama film that tells a story of 15-year-old girl from a Hungarian-American family. The film is based on the true story of the ...more
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John Wayne, George Meeker, Earle Fox

Released: 1928

Directed by: John Ford

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Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina, Anjelica Huston

Released: 1995

Directed by: Mira Nair

The Perez Family is a comedy film released in 1995 about a group of Cuban refugees in America who pretend to be a family. It starred Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina, Anjelica Huston, Chazz ...more

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James Earl Jones, Phil Hartman, Ron Perlman

Released: 1997

Directed by: Joe Dante

This film is a satirical/comedy film made for the HBO cable television network and first shown on March 15, 1997. Directed by Joe Dante, the film is a satire about anti-immigrant sentiment in ...more
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Christopher Walken, Clancy Brown, Edward Herrmann

Released: 1999

Directed by: Nicholas Meyer

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Fares Fares, Johannes Silberschneider, Navíd Akhavan

Released: 2008

Directed by: Arash T. Riahi

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Vincent Lindon, Olivier Rabourdin, Yannick Renier

Released: 2009

Directed by: Philippe Lioret

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Eulalia Ramón, Albert Vidal, Akonio Dolo

Released: 1990

Directed by: Montxo Armendáriz

Letters from Alou is 1990 Spanish film directed and written by Montxo Armendáriz.
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Frank Grillo, David Rasche, Erica Gimpel

Released: 2009

Directed by: José Joffily

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