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The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films

Updated February 10, 2020 6.2k votes 647 voters 55.1k 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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  • 1
    Amour is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    116
    48

    Amour

    Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant

    Released2012

    Directed byMichael Haneke

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  • 2
    Parasite is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    142
    84

    Parasite

    Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun

    Released2019

    Directed byBong Joon-ho

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  • 3
    Bicycle Thieves is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    97
    48

    Bicycle Thieves

    Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell

    Released1948

    Directed byVittorio De Sica

    Bicycle Thieves, is a 1948 film directed by Vittorio De Sica. The film follows the story of a... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button

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  • 4
    Ida is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    70
    28

    Ida

    Joanna Kulig, Jerzy Trela

    Released2013

    Directed byPaweł Pawlikowski

    Ida is a 2013 Polish drama film directed by Paweł Pawlikowski. Set in Poland in 1962, a novice... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 5
    Rashomon is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    89
    48

    Rashomon

    Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura

    Released1950

    Directed byAkira Kurosawa

    Rashomon is a 1950 Japanese period drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa, working in close... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button

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  • 6
    A Separation is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    84
    46

    A Separation

    Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi

    Released2011

    Directed byAsghar Farhadi

    A Separation is a 2011 Iranian drama film directed by Asghar Farhadi. A middle-class couple in... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 7
    Life Is Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    112
    80

    Life Is Beautiful

    Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz

    Released1997

    Directed byRoberto Benigni

    Life Is Beautiful is a 1997 Italian tragicomedy comedy-drama film directed by and starring... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button

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  • 8
    The Great Beauty is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    63
    32

    The Great Beauty

    Sabrina Ferilli, Serena Grandi

    Released2013

    Directed byPaolo Sorrentino

    The Great Beauty is a 2013 Italian film directed by Paolo Sorrentino. Jep Gambardella has... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 9
    Forbidden Games is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    55
    25

    Forbidden Games

    Philippe de Chérisey, Jacques Marin

    Released1952

    Directed byRené Clément

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  • 10
    The Sea Inside is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    68
    38

    The Sea Inside

    Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda

    Released2004

    Directed byAlejandro Amenábar

    The Sea Inside is a 2004 Spanish film written, produced, directed and scored by Alejandro... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 11
    Roma is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    49
    21

    Roma

    Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira

    Released2018

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

    Roma is a 2018 Mexican drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The film follows the life of an... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 12
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    93
    67

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

    Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh

    Released2000

    Directed byAng Lee

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  • 13
    La Strada is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    62
    39

    La Strada

    Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina

    Released1954

    Directed byFederico Fellini

    La Strada is a 1954 Italian drama film directed by Federico Fellini from his own screenplay... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 14
    Black Orpheus is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    46
    23

    Black Orpheus

    Marpessa Dawn, Marcel Camus

    Released1959

    Directed byMarcel Camus

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  • 15
    8 1/2 is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    65
    44

    8 1/2

    Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni

    Released1963

    Directed byFederico Fellini

    8½ is a 1963 Italian comedy-drama film directed by Federico Fellini. Co-scripted by Fellini,... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 16
    Fanny and Alexander is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    54
    36

    Fanny and Alexander

    Lena Olin, Peter Stormare

    Released1982

    Directed byIngmar Bergman

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  • 17
    The Barbarian Invasions is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    37
    21

    The Barbarian Invasions

    Denys Arcand, Marie-Josée Croze

    Released2003

    Directed byDenys Arcand

    The Barbarian Invasions is a 2003 French-Canadian comedy-drama film written and directed by... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 18
    The Lives of Others is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    142
    145

    The Lives of Others

    Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe

    Released2006

    Directed byFlorian Henckel von Donnersmarck

    The Lives of Others is a 2006 German drama film, marking the feature film debut of filmmaker... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 19
    All About My Mother is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    44
    33

    All About My Mother

    Penélope Cruz, Fernando Fernan Gomez

    Released1999

    Directed byPedro Almodóvar

    All About My Mother is a 1999 Spanish comedy-drama film written and directed by Pedro... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 20
    Mediterraneo is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    36
    25

    Mediterraneo

    Diego Abatantuono, Giuseppe Cederna

    Released1991

    Directed byGabriele Salvatores

    Mediterraneo is a 1991 Italian film that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 21
    Dangerous Moves is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    27
    16

    Dangerous Moves

    Leslie Caron, Liv Ullmann

    Released1984

    Directed byRichard Dembo

    Dangerous Moves is a 1984 French-language film about chess, directed by Richard Dembo and... more on Wikipediaamazon_watch buy button
  • 22
    The Virgin Spring is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    35
    29

    The Virgin Spring

    Max von Sydow, Allan Edwall

    Released1960

    Directed byIngmar Bergman

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  • 23
    Babette's Feast is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    44
    41

    Babette's Feast

    Bibi Andersson, Stéphane Audran

    Released1987

    Directed byGabriel Axel

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  • 24
    Amarcord is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    37
    32

    Amarcord

    Ciccio Ingrassia, Magali Noël

    Released1973

    Directed byFederico Fellini

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  • 25
    Through a Glass Darkly is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films
    70
    74

    Through a Glass Darkly

    Max von Sydow, Harriet Andersson

    Released1961

    Directed byIngmar Bergman

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