Film The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History  

Ranker Film
4.3k votes 409 voters 13.1k views 125 items

List Rules Vote 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 famous foreign movies, including everything from Life Is Beautiful to City of God to Let the Right One In.

What 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 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.

list ordered by

1
52 17
Seven Samurai is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Eijirō Tōno Seven Samurai is a 1954 Japanese Jidaigeki adventure film co-written, edited, and directed by Akira Kurosawa. It follows the story of a village of farmers that hire seven ronin to combat bandits ...more

2
51 20
Bicycle Thieves is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
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
32 8
Shoplifters is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka Shoplifters is a 2018 Japanese drama film directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda. A poor, shoplifting family adopts a homeless girl after noticing signs of abuse.

4
44 19
8½ is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
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

5
49 23
The Seventh Seal is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand The Seventh Seal is a 1957 Swedish drama-fantasy film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. Set in Denmark it tells of the journey of a medieval knight and a game of chess, who has come to ...more

6
64 37
City of God is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Alice Braga, Seu Jorge, Matheus Nachtergaele City of God is a 2002 Brazilian crime drama film directed by Fernando Meirelles and co-directed by Kátia Lund, released in its home country in 2002 and worldwide in 2003. The story was ...more

7
30 10
Roma is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
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.

8
33 13
Burning is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Yoo Ah-in, Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo Burning is a 2018 South Korean mystery drama film directed by Lee Chang-dong, based on the short story "Barn Burning" by Haruki Murakami. A part-time worker (Yoo Ah-in) hoping to spend ...more

9
46 24
The Lives of Others is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
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

10
42 21
La Dolce Vita is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Nico, Anita Ekberg, Marcello Mastroianni La Dolce Vita is a 1960 Italian comedy-drama film written and directed by Federico Fellini. The film follows Marcello Rubini, a journalist writing for gossip magazines, over seven days and ...more

11
43 22
In the Mood for Love is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Roy Cheung In the Mood for Love is a 2000 Hong Kong film directed by Wong Kar-wai, starring Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung. The film premiered on 20 May 2000, at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, where it was ...more

12
38 20
Rashomon is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
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

13
38 20
Nosferatu is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens is a 1922 German Expressionist horror film, directed by F. W. Murnau, starring Max Schreck as the vampire Count Orlok. The film, shot in 1921 and released ...more

14
29 13
Border is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Eva Melander, Jorgen Thorsson, Ann Petrén Border is a 2018 Swedish fantasy film directed by Ali Abbasi A customs officer who can smell fear develops an unusual attraction to a strange traveler while aiding a police investigation which ...more

15
61 41
Life Is Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
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

16
51 33
Oldboy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Oldboy Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang

17
31 16
La Haine is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Vincent Cassel, Saïd Taghmaoui, Benoît Magimel La Haine is a 1995 French black-and-white drama/suspense film written, co-edited, and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz. It is commonly released under its French title in the English-speaking world, ...more

18
15 3
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Lear... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
aliamiri added James Earl Jones, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, more commonly known as Dr. Strangelove, is a 1964 political satire black comedy film that satirizes fears of a nuclear ...more

19
43 28
My Neighbor Totoro is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Noriko Hidaka, Ikue Ōtani, Sumi Shimamoto My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki and produced by Studio Ghibli. The film – which stars the voice actors Noriko Hidaka, Chika ...more

20
35 21
Apu trilogy is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
The Apu Trilogy comprises three Bengali films directed by Satyajit Ray: Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar. They are based on two Bengali novels written by Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay: ...more

21
26 13
Come and See is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Aleksei Kravchenko, Liubomiras Lauciavicius, Vladas Bagdonas Come and See is a 1985 Soviet war drama film directed by Elem Klimov about and occurring during the Nazi German occupation of the Byelorussian SSR. Aleksei Kravchenko and Olga Mironova star as ...more

22
37 23
Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Theodor Loos Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist epic science fiction drama film directed by Fritz Lang. The film was written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, and starred Brigitte Helm, Gustav ...more

23
28 15
Wings of Desire is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Peter Falk, Bruno Ganz, Solveig Dommartin Wings of Desire is a 1987 Franco-German romantic fantasy film directed by Wim Wenders. The film is about invisible, immortal angels who populate Berlin and listen to the thoughts of the human ...more

24
30 17
Tokyo Story is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Setsuko Hara, Chishū Ryū, Kyōko Kagawa Tokyo Story is a 1953 Japanese film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. It tells the story of an aging couple who travel to Tokyo to visit their grown children. The film contrasts the behavior of their ...more

25
41 27
Princess Mononoke is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Jada Pinkett Smith Princess Mononoke is a 1997 anime epic action historical fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It was animated by Studio Ghibli and produced by Toshio Suzuki. The film stars the ...more

26
56 41
Amélie is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Amélie Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus

27
26 14
Le Samouraï is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Alain Delon, François Périer, Cathy Rosier Le Samouraï is a 1967 French-Italian crime film directed by French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville, starring Alain Delon as Jef Costello.

28
54 41
Cinema Paradiso is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
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

29
44 32
Grave of the Fireflies is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi, Ayano Shiraishi Grave of the Fireflies is a 1988 Japanese animated drama film written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli. It is based on the 1967 semi-autobiographical novel Grave of ...more

30
34 23
Let the Right One In is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Lina Leandersson, Tom Ljungman, Philip Hersh Let the Right One In is a 2008 Swedish romantic horror film directed by Tomas Alfredson. A 12-year-old boy (Kåre Hedebrant) develops a friendship with a vampire child (Lina Leandersson) in ...more

31
23 13
The Spirit of the Beehive is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Fernando Fernan Gomez, Ana Torrent, Laly Soldevila The Spirit of the Beehive is a 1973 Spanish drama film directed by Víctor Erice. The film was Erice's debut and is considered a masterpiece of Spanish cinema. The film focuses on the ...more

32
23 13
Children of Heaven is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Reza Naji, Christopher Maleki, Amir Farrokh Hashemian Children of Heaven is a 1997 Iranian family drama film written and directed by Majid Majidi. It deals with a brother and sister and their adventures over a lost pair of shoes. It was nominated ...more

33
29 19
Stalker is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Alexander Kaidanovsky, Anatoly Solonitsyn, Alisa Freindlich Stalker is a 1979 art film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, with its screenplay written by Boris and Arkady Strugatsky. Loosely based on the novel The Roadside Picnic, the film features a mixture ...more

34
31 21
Pan's Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
ShawnReynolds added Doug Jones, Ivana Baquero, Sergi López i Ayats Pan's Labyrinth, originally known in Spanish as El laberinto del fauno, is a 2006 Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy film written and directed by Mexican Guillermo del Toro. It was produced and ...more

35
33 23
Run Lola Run is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Franka Potente, Armin Rohde, Moritz Bleibtreu Run Lola Run is a 1998 German thriller film written and directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Franka Potente as Lola and Moritz Bleibtreu as Manni. The story follows a woman who needs to obtain ...more

36
22 13
The Battle of Algiers is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Jean Martin, Saadi Yacef, Gene Wesson The Battle of Algiers is a 1966 war film based on occurrences during the Algerian War against the French government in North Africa, the most prominent being the titular Battle of Algiers. An ...more

37
22 13
Solaris is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Anatoly Solonitsyn, Natalya Bondarchuk, Jüri Järvet Solaris is a 1972 Russian science fiction art film adaptation of Polish author Stanisław Lem's novel Solaris. The film was co-written and directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. The film is a meditative ...more

38
22 13
The Conformist is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Stefania Sandrelli, Dominique Sanda The Conformist is a 1970 political drama directed by Bernardo Bertolucci. The screenplay was written by Bertolucci based on the 1951 novel The Conformist by Alberto Moravia. The film features ...more

39
23 14
The 400 Blows is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Jeanne Moreau, Jean Piere Leaud, Jean-Claude Brialy The 400 Blows is a 1959 French drama film, the debut by director François Truffaut; it stars Jean-Pierre Léaud, Albert Rémy, and Claire Maurier. One of the defining films of ...more

40
23 14
Farewell My Concubine is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Gong Li, Leslie Cheung, Ge You Farewell My Concubine, a 1993 Chinese drama film directed by Chen Kaige, is one of the central works of the Fifth Generation movement that brought Chinese film directors to world attention. ...more

41
25 16
Battleship Potemkin is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Sergei Eisenstein, Grigori Aleksandrov, Aleksandr Antonov Battleship Potemkin, sometimes rendered as Battleship Potyomkin, is a 1925 silent film directed by Sergei Eisenstein and produced by Mosfilm. It presents a dramatized version of the mutiny that ...more

42
25 16
All About My Mother is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
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

43
27 18
The Passion of Joan of Arc is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Antonin Artaud, Michel Simon, Renée Jeanne Falconetti The Passion of Joan of Arc is a 1928 silent French film based on the actual record of the trial of Joan of Arc. The film was directed by Carl Theodor Dreyer and stars Renée Jeanne ...more

44
28 19
Battle Royale is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Beat Kitano, Chiaki Kuriyama, Kou Shibasaki Battle Royale is a 2000 Japanese action thriller film adapted from the 1999 novel of the same name by Koushun Takami. It is the final film directed by Kinji Fukasaku, the screenplay written by ...more

45
29 20
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene and written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. Considered the quintessential work of German Expressionist ...more

46
16 8
Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
aliamiri added John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American black comedy thriller film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, from a story by Tarantino and Roger Avary. The film is known for its eclectic dialogue, ...more

47
16 8
Harakiri is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Tatsuya Nakadai, Tetsurō Tamba, Akiji Kobayashi Harakiri is a Japanese jidaigeki film directed by Masaki Kobayashi. The story takes place between 1619 and 1630 during the Edo period and the reign of the Tokugawa shogunate. It tells the story ...more

48
18 10
Rome, Open City is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Anna Magnani, Aldo Fabrizi, Marcello Pagliero Rome, Open City is a 1945 Italian drama film directed by Roberto Rossellini. In its English subtitled release it was named, Open City. The picture features Aldo Fabrizi, Anna Magnani and ...more

49
43 34
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
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

50
22 14
Ghost in the Shell is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Maaya Sakamoto, Akio Ōtsuka, Kōichi Yamadera Ghost in the Shell is a 1995 anime science fiction film based on manga of the same title by Masamune Shirow. The film was written by Kazunori Itō, directed by Mamoru Oshii, animated by ...more