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The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films

Updated February 5, 2021 7.4k votes 655 voters 55.3k views70 items

List RulesVote up the best of the films that have won a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar

 

Since the 20th Academy Awards ceremony in 1947, the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film has been awarded. From 1947-1955 it was a "Special/Honorary Award," but each year it is presented to the winning film's director. All the films on this list have won the award, but even among these great films, some are better than others. What are the best Oscar winning foreign films? This list includes titles such as Kolya, Life is Beautiful, Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, and The Lives of Others. Many of these films can be found on Netflix or Amazon Prime

Movies have the ability to make us feel. They make us want to believe, be inspired, and live vicariously through the stories we see on screen. The best of these movies are annually bestowed with an Academy Award nomination, and the best take home the Oscar. Comedic foreign films often don’t translate well due to cultural differences in humor; however, drama, heartbreak, and sorrow are universal. Thus, most foreign language film Oscar winners are dramas. There are also tons of other foreign films that may not be on this particular list, but may still be worth your while, such as foreign legion movies or German movies from the 21st century

Whether the film is from Italy, Germany, South Africa, or Poland, these best Oscar winning foreign films provide a kind of escapism that filmmakers hope people seek in entertainment. They provide entertainment that breaks cultural boundaries. Vote up the best Academy Award winning foreign language films below.

 

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    8 1/2

    Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni
    8½ is a 1963 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini. Co-scripted by Fellini,...  more

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    Z

    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand
    Z is a 1969 Algerian French language political thriller directed by Costa-Gavras, with a...  more

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    #122 of 175 The Best Movies Of The '60s#33 of 134 The Best French Movies That Are Absolute Masterpieces

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    Amour

    Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant
    Amour is a 2012 French-language drama film directed by Michael Haneke. The narrative focuses...  more

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    The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

    Michel Piccoli, Fernando Rey
    The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a 1972 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and...  more

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    Parasite

    Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun
    Parasite is a 2019 South Korean dark comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho. An...  more

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    The Tin Drum

    Charles Aznavour, Mario Adorf
    The Tin Drum is a 1979 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Günter Grass. It was...  more
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    Nights of Cabiria

    Giulietta Masina, François Périer
    Nights of Cabiria is a 1957 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini and starring...  more
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    A Separation

    Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi
    A Separation is a 2011 Iranian drama film directed by Asghar Farhadi. A middle-class couple in...  more
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    Roma

    Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira
    Roma is a 2018 Mexican drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The film follows the life of an...  more
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    107
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    Life Is Beautiful

    Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz
    Life Is Beautiful is a 1998 Italian tragicomedy comedy-drama film directed by and starring...  more

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    54
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    Forbidden Games

    Philippe de Chérisey, Jacques Marin
    Forbidden Games, is a 1952 French war drama film directed by René Clément and based on...  more

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    The Sea Inside

    Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda
    The Sea Inside is a 2004 Spanish film written, produced, directed and scored by Alejandro...  more
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    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

    Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a 2000 wuxia film. An American-Chinese-Hong Kong-Taiwanese...  more

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    46
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    Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

    Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni
    Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow is a 1963 comedy anthology film by Italian director Vittorio de...  more

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    #55 of 79 The Best Comedy Movies Of The 1960s#10 of 85 The Best Sophia Loren Movies

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    Black Orpheus

    Marpessa Dawn, Marcel Camus
    Black Orpheus is a 1959 film made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus and starring...  more

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    The Barbarian Invasions

    Denys Arcand, Marie-Josée Croze
    The Barbarian Invasions is a 2003 French-Canadian comedy-drama film written and directed by...  more
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    36
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    Burnt by the Sun

    Nikita Mikhalkov, Oleg Menshikov
    Burnt by the Sun is a 1994 film by Russian director and actor Nikita Mikhalkov and Azerbaijani...  more

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    Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears

    Oleg Tabakov, Aleksey Batalov
    Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears is a 1979 Soviet film made by Mosfilm. It was written by...  more
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    Dersu Uzala

    Yury Solomin, Aleksandr Pyatkov
    Dersu Uzala is a 1975 Soviet-Japanese co-production film directed by Akira Kurosawa, his first...  more
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    The Lives of Others

    Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe
    The Lives of Others is a 2006 German drama film, marking the feature film debut of filmmaker...  more

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    Nowhere in Africa

    Matthias Habich, Juliane Köhler
    Nowhere in Africa is a 2001 German film that was written and directed by Caroline Link. The...  more
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    Begin the Beguine

    Antonio Ferrandis, José Bódalo
    Begin the Beguine is a 1982 Spanish film written and directed by José Luis Garci, starring...  more
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    All About My Mother

    Penélope Cruz, Fernando Fernan Gomez
    All About My Mother is a 1999 Spanish comedy-drama film written and directed by Pedro...  more

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    #13 of 102 The 100+ Best Movies Streaming On The Criterion Channel#40 of 436 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History

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    Through a Glass Darkly

    Max von Sydow, Harriet Andersson
    Through a Glass Darkly is a 1961 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, and...  more
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    No Man's Land

    Simon Callow, Rene Bitorajac
    No Man's Land is a 2001 war drama that is set in the midst of the Bosnian war. The film is a...  more