Entertainment 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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1
153 66
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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
2
113 58
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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
3
132 75
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Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret, Leopoldo Trieste
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
4
102 55
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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
5
86 49
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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
6
120 77
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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
7
136 91
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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
8
33 6
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Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf
Roma is a 2018 drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. A story that chronicles a year in the life of a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early 1970s.
9
76 44
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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
10
78 47
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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
11
65 44
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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
12
48 36
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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
13
47 36
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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
14
57 50
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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
15
56 49
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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
16
42 39
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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
17
38 35
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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
18
53 53
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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
19
49 50
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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
20
37 38
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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
21
32 33
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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
22
33 35
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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
23
27 28
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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
24
40 44
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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
25
37 41
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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