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The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Films

Updated February 10, 2020 6.8k votes 649 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
    Z
    122
    40

    Z

    Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand

    Released1969

    Directed byCosta-Gavras

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  • 2
    Amour
    116
    48

    Amour

    Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant

    Released2012

    Directed byMichael Haneke

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  • 3
    The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
    90
    36

    The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie

    Michel Piccoli, Fernando Rey

    Released1972

    Directed byLuis Buñuel

    The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is a 1972 surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel and... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button
  • 4
    Parasite
    145
    84

    Parasite

    Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun

    Released2019

    Directed byBong Joon-ho

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  • 5
    Bicycle Thieves
    97
    48

    Bicycle Thieves

    Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell

    Released1948

    Directed byVittorio De Sica

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  • 6
    The Tin Drum
    73
    29

    The Tin Drum

    Charles Aznavour, Mario Adorf

    Released1979

    Directed byVolker Schlöndorff

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  • 7
    Ida
    70
    28

    Ida

    Joanna Kulig, Jerzy Trela

    Released2013

    Directed byPaweł Pawlikowski

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  • 8
    A Separation
    85
    46

    A Separation

    Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi

    Released2011

    Directed byAsghar Farhadi

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  • 9
    Life Is Beautiful
    112
    80

    Life Is Beautiful

    Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz

    Released1997

    Directed byRoberto Benigni

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  • 10
    The Great Beauty
    63
    32

    The Great Beauty

    Sabrina Ferilli, Serena Grandi

    Released2013

    Directed byPaolo Sorrentino

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  • 11
    Forbidden Games
    55
    25

    Forbidden Games

    Philippe de Chérisey, Jacques Marin

    Released1952

    Directed byRené Clément

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  • 12
    The Sea Inside
    68
    38

    The Sea Inside

    Javier Bardem, Belén Rueda

    Released2004

    Directed byAlejandro Amenábar

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  • 13
    Roma
    49
    21

    Roma

    Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira

    Released2018

    Directed byAlfonso Cuarón

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  • 14
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    92
    66

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

    Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh

    Released2000

    Directed byAng Lee

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  • 15
    Black Orpheus
    46
    23

    Black Orpheus

    Marpessa Dawn, Marcel Camus

    Released1959

    Directed byMarcel Camus

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  • 16
    La Strada
    61
    39

    La Strada

    Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina

    Released1954

    Directed byFederico Fellini

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  • 17
    8 1/2
    64
    44

    8 1/2

    Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni

    Released1963

    Directed byFederico Fellini

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  • 18
    Fanny and Alexander
    54
    36

    Fanny and Alexander

    Lena Olin, Peter Stormare

    Released1982

    Directed byIngmar Bergman

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  • 19
    The Barbarian Invasions
    37
    21

    The Barbarian Invasions

    Denys Arcand, Marie-Josée Croze

    Released2003

    Directed byDenys Arcand

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  • 20
    Burnt by the Sun
    37
    22

    Burnt by the Sun

    Nikita Mikhalkov, Oleg Menshikov

    Released1994

    Directed byNikita Mikhalkov

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  • 21
    Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears
    37
    22

    Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears

    Oleg Tabakov, Aleksey Batalov

    Released1979

    Directed byVladimir Menshov

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  • 22
    The Lives of Others
    142
    144

    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
  • 23
    In a Better World
    37
    25

    In a Better World

    Ulrich Thomsen, Mikael Persbrandt

    Released2010

    Directed bySusanne Bier

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  • 24
    All About My Mother
    44
    33

    All About My Mother

    Penélope Cruz, Fernando Fernan Gomez

    Released1999

    Directed byPedro Almodóvar

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  • 25
    Begin the Beguine
    29
    18

    Begin the Beguine

    Antonio Ferrandis, José Bódalo

    Released1982

    Directed byJosé Luis Garci

    Begin the Beguine is a 1982 Spanish film written and directed by José Luis Garci, starring... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button