award shows The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films  

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List Rules Vote 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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The Lives of Others Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck The Lives of Others is a 2006 German drama film, marking the feature film debut of filmmaker Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, about the monitoring of East Berlin by agents of the Stasi, the ...more

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Cinema Paradiso Brigitte Bardot, John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, internationally released as Cinema Paradiso, is a 1988 Italian drama film written and directed by Giuseppe Tornatore. The film stars Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret, ...more

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Bicycle Thieves Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Lamberto Maggiorani Bicycle Thieves, is a 1948 film directed by Vittorio De Sica. The film follows the story of a poor father searching post-World War II Rome for his stolen bicycle, without which he will lose the ...more

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Rashomon Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Machiko Kyō Rashomon is a 1950 Japanese period drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa, working in close collaboration with cinematographer Kazuo Miyagawa. It stars Toshiro Mifune, Machiko Kyō, Masayuki Mori ...more

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Life Is Beautiful Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz, Richard Sammel Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian tragicomedy comedy-drama film directed by and starring Roberto Benigni. Benigni plays Guido Orefice, a Jewish Italian book shop owner, who must employ his ...more

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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-Fat Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a 2000 wuxia film. An American-Chinese-Hong Kong-Taiwanese co-production, the film was directed by Ang Lee and featured an international cast of Han actors, ...more

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La Strada Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart La Strada is a 1954 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini from his own screenplay co-written with Tullio Pinelli and Ennio Flaiano. The film portrays a brutish strongman and the ...more

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A Separation Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini A Separation is a 2011 Iranian drama film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, starring Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, and Sarina Farhadi. It focuses on an Iranian ...more

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8 1/2 Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni, Barbara Steele 8½ is a 1963 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini. Co-scripted by Fellini, Tullio Pinelli, Ennio Flaiano, and Brunello Rondi, it stars Marcello Mastroianni as Guido ...more

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Fanny and Alexander Lena Olin, Peter Stormare, Erland Josephson Fanny and Alexander is a 1982 Swedish drama film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The plot focuses on two siblings and their large family in Uppsala, Sweden in the 1900s. It was ...more

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The Secret in Their Eyes Ricardo Darín, Mariano Argento, Soledad Villamil The Secret in Their Eyes is a 2009 Argentine crime thriller film directed, produced and edited by Juan José Campanella and written by Eduardo Sacheri and Campanella, based on Sacheri's ...more

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Nights of Cabiria Giulietta Masina, François Périer, Aldo Silvani Nights of Cabiria is a 1957 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini and starring Giulietta Masina, François Périer, and Amedeo Nazzari. Based on a story by Fellini, the ...more

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Amarcord Ciccio Ingrassia, Magali Noël, Pupella Maggio Amarcord is a 1973 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age tale about Titta, an adolescent boy growing up among an eccentric cast of ...more

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Z Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin Z is a 1969 Algerian French language political thriller directed by Costa-Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Semprún, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis ...more

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Babette's Feast Bibi Andersson, Stéphane Audran, Jarl Kulle Babette's Feast is a 1987 Danish drama film directed by Gabriel Axel. The film's screenplay was written by Axel based on the story by Isak Dinesen. Produced by Just Betzer, Bo Christensen, and ...more

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All About My Mother Penélope Cruz, Fernando Fernan Gomez, Antonia San Juan All About My Mother is a 1999 Spanish comedy-drama film written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. The film deals with complex issues such as AIDS, homosexuality, transsexualism, faith, and ...more

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Amour Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva Amour is a 2012 French-language drama film written and directed by the Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke, starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva and Isabelle Huppert. The narrative ...more

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The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Michel Piccoli, Fernando Rey, Jean-Pierre Cassel The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a 1972 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and written by Jean-Claude Carrière in collaboration with the director. The film was made in ...more

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The Virgin Spring Max von Sydow, Allan Edwall, Tor Isedal The Virgin Spring is a 1960 Swedish film directed by Ingmar Bergman. Set in medieval Sweden, it is a revenge tale about a father's merciless response to the rape and murder of his young ...more

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Dersu Uzala Yury Solomin, Aleksandr Pyatkov, Maxim Munzuk Dersu Uzala is a 1975 Soviet-Japanese co-production film directed by Akira Kurosawa, his first non-Japanese-language film and his first and only 70mm film. The film won the Golden Prize and the ...more

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War and Peace Sergei Bondarchuk, Anastasiya Vertinskaya, Oleg Tabakov War and Peace is a Soviet film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace, released in four parts during 1966 and 1967. Sergei Bondarchuk directed the series, co-wrote the script and ...more

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The Tin Drum Charles Aznavour, Mario Adorf, Daniel Olbrychski The Tin Drum is a 1979 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Günter Grass. It was directed and co-written by Volker Schlöndorff. Stylistically, it is a surrealistic black ...more

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No Man's Land Simon Callow, Rene Bitorajac, Katrin Cartlidge No Man's Land is a 2001 war drama that is set in the midst of the Bosnian war. The film is a parable and marked the debut of Bosnian writer and director Danis Tanović. It is a co-production ...more

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My Uncle Katsunori Takahashi, Hana Akata, Misaki Aoyagi

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Ida Joanna Kulig, Jerzy Trela, Agata Kulesza Ida is a 2013 Polish drama film directed by Paweł Pawlikowski and written by Pawlikowski and Rebecca Lenkiewicz. Set in Poland in 1962, it is about a young woman on the verge of taking vows as a ...more

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Mephisto Krystyna Janda, Klaus Maria Brandauer, Péter Andorai Mephisto is the title of a 1981 film adaptation of Klaus Mann's novel Mephisto, directed by István Szabó, and starring Klaus Maria Brandauer as Hendrik Höfgen. The film was a ...more

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Through a Glass Darkly Max von Sydow, Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand Through a Glass Darkly is a 1961 Swedish film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, and produced by Allan Ekelund. The film is a three-act "chamber film," in which four family ...more

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The Sea Inside Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda, Lola Dueñas The Sea Inside is a 2004 Spanish film written, produced, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It is based on the real-life story of Ramón Sampedro, who was left quadriplegic ...more

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The Official Story Héctor Alterio, Norma Aleandro, Patricio Contreras The Official Story is a 1985 Argentine drama historical film directed by Luis Puenzo and written by Puenzo and Aída Bortnik. It stars Norma Aleandro, Héctor Alterio, Chunchuna ...more

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Closely Watched Trains Jiří Menzel, Vlastimil Brodský, Vladimír Valenta Closely Watched Trains is a 1966 Czechoslovak film directed by Jiří Menzel, and one of the best-known products of the Czechoslovak New Wave. It was released in the United Kingdom as ...more

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Forbidden Games Philippe de Chérisey, Jacques Marin, Brigitte Fossey Forbidden Games, is a 1952 French war drama film directed by René Clément and based on François Boyer's novel, Jeux interdits. While not initially successful in France, the ...more

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The Garden of the Finzi-Continis Helmut Berger, Dominique Sanda, Fabio Testi The Garden of the Finzi-Continis is a 1970 Italian film, directed by Vittorio de Sica. It stars Lino Capolicchio, Dominique Sanda and Helmut Berger. The film is based upon Giorgio Bassani's ...more

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Day for Night Jacqueline Bissett, Graham Greene, François Truffaut La Nuit américaine is a 1973 French film directed by François Truffaut. It stars Jacqueline Bisset and Jean-Pierre Léaud. In French, nuit américaine is a technical ...more

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Pelle the Conqueror Max von Sydow, Sofie Gråbøl, Buster Larsen Pelle the Conqueror is a 1987 Danish-Swedish drama film co-written and directed by Bille August that tells the story of two Swedish immigrants to Denmark, a father and son, who try to build a ...more

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Belle Époque Penélope Cruz, Fernando Fernan Gomez, Maribel Verdú Belle Époque is a 1992 Spanish film directed by Fernando Trueba. The title doesn't derive from the period in French history known as the Belle Époque but from the days before the ...more

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The Shop on Main Street Ida Kamińska, Jozef Kroner, František Zvarík The Shop on Main Street is a 1965 Czechoslovak film about the Aryanization programme during World War II in the Slovak State. The film was written by Ladislav Grosman and directed by Ján ...more

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Indochine Catherine Deneuve, Vincent Pérez, Andrzej Seweryn Indochine is a 1992 French film set in colonial French Indochina during the 1930s to 50s. It is the story of Éliane Devries, a French plantation owner, and of her adopted Vietnamese ...more

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Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow Sophia Loren, Marcello Mastroianni, Armando Trovajoli Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow is a 1963 comedy anthology film by Italian director Vittorio de Sica. It stars Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. The film consists of three short stories ...more

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Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion Gian Maria Volonté, Florinda Bolkan, Salvo Randone Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion is a 1970 Italian crime drama film directed by Elio Petri. It is a dramatic, psychological, black-humoured satire on corruption in high office, telling ...more

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A Man and a Woman Anouk Aimée, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Valérie Lagrange A Man and a Woman is a 1966 French film written and directed by Claude Lelouch and starring Anouk Aimée and Jean-Louis Trintignant. Written by Lelouch and Pierre Uytterhoeven, the film is ...more

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Departures Ryoko Hirosue, Masahiro Motoki, Kimiko Yo Departures is a 2008 Japanese drama film directed by Yōjirō Takita and starring Masahiro Motoki, Ryōko Hirosue, and Tsutomu Yamazaki. Loosely based on Coffinman, a memoir by Shinmon Aoki, the ...more

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The Great Beauty Sabrina Ferilli, Serena Grandi, Carlo Verdone The Great Beauty is a 2013 Italian film co-written and directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Filming took place in Rome starting on 9 August 2012. It premiered at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it ...more

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In a Better World Ulrich Thomsen, Mikael Persbrandt, Trine Dyrholm "Few directors have addressed the issues of the past decade as courageously as Denmark’s Susanne Bier. With the much celebrated Brothers, she raised troubling questions about the First ...more

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Black Orpheus Marpessa Dawn, Marcel Camus, Breno Mello Black Orpheus is a 1959 film made in Brazil by French director Marcel Camus and starring Marpessa Dawn and Breno Mello. It is based on the play Orfeu da Conceição by Vinicius de ...more

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Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears Oleg Tabakov, Aleksey Batalov, Vladimir Basov Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears is a 1979 Soviet film made by Mosfilm. It was written by Valentin Chernykh and directed by Vladimir Menshov. The leading roles were played by Vera Alentova and ...more

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The Assault Derek de Lint, Monique van de Ven, Huub van der Lubbe The Assault is a 1986 film adaptation of the novel of the same name by Harry Mulisch. The film was directed and produced by Fons Rademakers. The main character is played by both Derek de Lint ...more

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Burnt by the Sun Nikita Mikhalkov, Oleg Menshikov, Vladimir Ilyin Burnt by the Sun is a 1994 film by Russian director and actor Nikita Mikhalkov and Azerbaijani screenwriter Rustam Ibragimbekov. The film depicts the story of a senior Red Army officer and his ...more

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Begin the Beguine Antonio Ferrandis, José Bódalo, Agustín González Begin the Beguine is a 1982 Spanish film written and directed by José Luis Garci, starring Antonio Ferrandis. The plot follows the story of a Spaniard who returns to his homeland after ...more