951 voters

The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History

Updated May 14, 2021 10.9k votes 951 voters 27.1k views451 items

List RulesVote up the best movie from outside of the United States.

Hollywood may be the epicenter of the movie business, but many of the best films released each year hail from all over the world. The top world cinema movies feature classic stories of love, loss, and overcoming adversity. This is a list of the greatest and most famous foreign films, including everything from Life Is Beautiful to City of God to Let the Right One In.

What foreign films will you find on this list of the best movies in other languages? Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon combines mind-bending effects, beautiful cinematography, and dynamic story-telling in an entertaining, Oscar-winning package. Ang Lee directed the all-star cast, which included Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, and Zhang Aiyi. Jules and Jim is another fantastic non-English movie beloved by world cinema fans. The 2011 French film The Artist emulated the style of classic silent films, much to the delight of modern audiences. Other good foreign language movies featured on this list include Battle Royale, Princess Mononoke, and My Neighbor Totoro.

Do you have a favorite foreign film? Give the best movies a thumbs up to move them to the top of the list, and please add any great features that are missing.


  • 1


    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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  • 2

    Bicycle Thieves

    Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell
    Bicycle Thieves, is a 1948 film directed by Vittorio De Sica. The film follows the story of a...  more

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    #138 of 173 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made#17 of 18 The Saddest Movies In Which No One Actually Dies

  • 3


    Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu
    Oldboy is a 2003 South Korean mystery thriller neo-noir film directed by Park Chan-wook, based...  more

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    #62 of 231 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#81 of 92 The Most Rewatchable Action Movies

  • 4

    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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    #43 of 333 The Best Political Films Ever Made#31 of 125 The Best Period Movies Set in the '80s

  • 5

    My Neighbor Totoro

    Noriko Hidaka, Ikue Ōtani
    My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao...  more

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  • 6


    Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun
    Burning is a 2018 South Korean mystery drama film directed by Lee Chang-dong, based on the...  more
  • 7

    The Pianist

    Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann
    The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski,...  more

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  • 8

    Cinema Paradiso

    Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret
    Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, internationally released as Cinema Paradiso, is a 1988 Italian drama...  more

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  • 9

    City Of God

    Alice Braga, Seu Jorge
    City of God is a 2002 Brazilian crime drama film directed by Fernando Meirelles and...  more

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  • 10

    The Seventh Seal

    Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson
    The Seventh Seal is a 1957 Swedish drama-fantasy film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman....  more

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  • 11


    Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich
    Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist epic science fiction drama film directed by Fritz...  more

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  • 12

    Pan's Labyrinth

    Sergi López, Maribel Verdú
    Pan's Labyrinth is a 2006 Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro. It...  more

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  • 13

    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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    #957 of 1,139 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time#12 of 81 The Best Period Romance Movies

  • 14

    Seven Samurai

    Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura
    Seven Samurai is a 1954 Japanese Jidaigeki adventure film co-written, edited, and directed by...  more

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  • 15


    Max Schreck, John Gottowt
    Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens is a 1922 German Expressionist horror film, directed by...  more

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    #8 of 120 The Best Silent Movies of All Time#92 of 722 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

  • 16


    Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz
    Amélie is a 2001 romantic comedy film directed by Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Written by Jeunet with...  more

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    #61 of 126 The Greatest Date Movies Of All Time#222 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

  • 17


    Alexander Kaidanovsky, Anatoly Solonitsyn
    Stalker is a 1979 art film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, with its screenplay written by Boris...  more
  • 18


    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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  • 19

    Apu trilogy

    Subir Banerjee, Pinaki Sen Gupta
    The Apu Trilogy comprises three Bengali films directed by Satyajit Ray: Pather Panchali,...  more
  • 20

    Grave Of The Fireflies

    Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi
    Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao...  more

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  • 21

    Princess Mononoke

    Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson
    Princess Mononoke is a 1997 anime epic action historical fantasy film written and directed by...  more

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  • 22

    Wings Of Desire

    Peter Falk, Bruno Ganz
    Wings of Desire is a 1987 Franco-German romantic fantasy film directed by Wim Wenders. The...  more

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  • 23

    The 400 Blows

    Jeanne Moreau, Jean Piere Leaud
    The 400 Blows is a 1959 French drama film, the debut by director François Truffaut; it stars...  more

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  • 24

    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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  • 25

    La Dolce Vita

    Nico, Anita Ekberg
    La Dolce Vita is a 1960 Italian comedy-drama film written and directed by Federico Fellini....  more

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    #49 of 175 The Best Movies Of The '60s#17 of 24 Great Movies Where The Hero Doesn't Change Or Grow At All