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The Best Movies About Immigration  

Ranker Film
225 votes 65 voters 8k 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.
list ordered by
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Sharlto Copley, Jed Brophy, Vanessa Haywood
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
Children of Men is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Immigration
Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Michael Caine
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
Titanic is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Immigration
Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Kathy Bates
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
Gangs of New York is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Immigration
Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Liam Neeson
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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hola12345 added
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
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Michelle Pfeiffer, Al Pacino, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
Scarface is a 1983 American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone. A remake of the 1932 film of the same name, Scarface tells the story of Cuban refugee Tony ...more
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Shaun Toub, Saïd Taghmaoui, Khaled Hosseini
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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Djimon Hounsou, Samantha Morton, Paddy Constantine
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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Richard Jenkins, Danai Gurira, Richard Kind
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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Lou Antonio, John Marley, Frank Wolff
America, America is a 1963 American dramatic film directed, produced and written by Elia Kazan, from his own book.
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Jennifer Connelly, Ben Kingsley, Kim Dickens
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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Jack Nicholson, Harvey Keitel, Valerie Perrine
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
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
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
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is a 2012 British comedy-drama film, directed by John Madden. The screenplay, written by Ol Parker, is based on the 2004 novel These Foolish Things, by Deborah ...more
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Marisa Tomei, Alfred Molina, Anjelica Huston
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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Jennifer Lawrence, Keeley Hazell, Felicity Jones
"Like Crazy is a film from and about the heart. Jacob, an American, and Anna, who is British, meet at college in Los Angeles and fall madly in love. It’s the purest kind of romance—they’re ...more
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I Am Singh Puneet Issar, Rico Devereaux, Jack Chevanty
I Am Singh is a 2011 Bollywood film which was released on December 2, 2011. The film stars Gulzar Inder Chahal, Rizwan Haider and Puneet Issar who also directed the film and wrote the ...more
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Vincent Lindon, Olivier Rabourdin, Yannick Renier
Welcome is a 2009 French film directed by Philippe Lioret. It stars Vincent Lindon and features Firat Ayverdi and Derya Ayverdi in their inaugural roles. The film was released on 11 March 2009 ...more
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Crossing Over Harrison Ford, Sarah Shahi, Ashley Judd
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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John Wayne, George Meeker, Earle Fox
Four Sons is a 1928 silent drama film directed and produced by John Ford and written for the screen by Philip Klein from a story by I. A. R. Wylie first published in the Saturday Evening Post as ...more
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Scarlett Johansson, Emmy Rossum, Nastassja Kinski
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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Fares Fares, Johannes Silberschneider, Navíd Akhavan
For a Moment Freedom is a 2008 film, written and directed by Austrian-Iranian filmmaker Arash T. Riahi.
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Eulalia Ramón, Albert Vidal, Akonio Dolo
Letters from Alou is 1990 Spanish film directed and written by Montxo Armendáriz.
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Christelle Cornil, Anne Coesens, Olivier Schneider
"Tania and her 14-year-old son Ivan have been illegal Russian immigrants in Belgium for eight years now. Constantly on her guard, Tania fears police identity checks. One day she is ...more