The Best Movies About Immigration

Over 90 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Best Movies About Immigration
Voting 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.
Most divisive: The Border
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  • 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 the families and communities they leave behind. The film is based on Germano’s interviews with over 700 households in Mexico, which he carried out while doing Ph.D. research on remittances at the University of Texas at Austin. The Other Side of Immigration is distributed by Team Love Records, a company founded by musician Conor Oberst.
  • The Kite Runner
    2
    Khalid Abdalla, Homayoun Ershadi, Zekeria Ebrahimi
    8 votes
    • Released: 2007
    • Directed by: Marc Forster
    Growing up in Kabul, Amir and Hassan are inseparable friends. As an adult living in California, Amir remains haunted by a childhood incident in which he betrayed Hassan's trust. When he learns that the Taliban has murdered Hassan and wife, Amir returns to his homeland to learn the fate of the couple's son.

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  • Children of Men
    3
    Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine
    18 votes
    • Released: 2006
    • Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
    In the dystopian genre film Children of Men, humanity grapples with infertility, a crisis threatening extinction. The protagonist, Theo Faron (Clive Owen), is a disillusioned bureaucrat who gets entangled in a mission to protect the world's only pregnant woman. Julian Taylor (Julianne Moore), an activist and Theo's ex-lover, leads this desperate quest for survival. The movie, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, won acclaim for its immersive storytelling and technical excellence, particularly its long-take action sequences. It offers a bleak yet poignant exploration of hope amid despair, challenging viewers to reflect on society's resilience in the face of impending doom.

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  • District 9
    4
    Sharlto Copley, Jason Cope, David James
    18 votes
    • Released: 2009
    • Directed by: Neill Blomkamp
    In the 2009 science fiction film District 9, an alien race, derogatorily referred to as Prawns, finds themselves stranded on Earth in Johannesburg. The central character here is Wikus van de Merwe (Sharlto Copley), a government agent assigned to relocate these beings to a new camp. This Neill Blomkamp-directed movie takes an unexpected turn when Wikus becomes the subject of a bizarre transformation, leading him into the heart of District 9's tension. Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, District 9 blends elements of dystopia with socio-political commentary, making it a notable entry in the genre.

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  • Gangs of New York
    5
    Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz
    17 votes
    • Released: 2002
    • Directed by: Martin Scorsese
    In the gritty, historical drama Gangs of New York, director Martin Scorsese paints a vivid picture of 1860s Manhattan. The storyline follows Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio), a young Irish immigrant seeking revenge against Bill 'The Butcher' Cutting (Daniel Day-Lewis), the ruthless gang leader responsible for his father's death. As Vallon navigates the city's complex web of corruption and violence, he finds himself drawn into the political turmoil leading up to the infamous Draft Riots. The film, known for its meticulous historical accuracy, garnered ten Academy Award nominations.

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  • In America
    6
    Samantha Morton, Paddy Considine, Sarah Bolger
    7 votes
    • Released: 2002
    • Directed by: Jim Sheridan
    The Sullivan family emigrates from Ireland to New York City as father Johnny (Paddy Considine) chases his dream of being an actor. Living in a small Hell's Kitchen apartment, the family settles into American life despite their deplorable living conditions. Wife Sarah (Samantha Morton) works at an ice parlor while Johnny looks for work as an actor, both haunted by memories of their dead son, Frankie. Daughter Christie (Sarah Bolger) documents the family's American journey with a video camera.

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