World Cinema

The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History 

Ranker Film
Updated February 21, 2020 6.3k votes 709 voters 21.6k views 136 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 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.

 

list ordered by
1
Seven Samurai is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Eijirō Tōno

Released: 1954

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

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

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2
City of God is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Alice Braga, Seu Jorge, Matheus Nachtergaele

Released: 2002

Directed by: Fernando Meirelles

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
3
Pan's Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
ShawnReynolds added Doug Jones, Ivana Baquero, Sergi López i Ayats

Released: 2006

Directed by: Guillermo del Toro

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

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4
Bicycle Thieves is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Lamberto Maggiorani

Released: 1948

Directed by: Vittorio De Sica

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

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5
Life Is Beautiful is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Roberto Benigni, Horst Buchholz, Richard Sammel

Released: 1997

Directed by: Roberto Benigni

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

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6
Roma is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Roma Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Marco Graf

Released: 2018

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

Roma is a 2018 Mexican drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The film follows the life of an indigenous live-in maid for a wealthy family named Cleodegaria "Cleo" ...more
7
Amélie is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Amélie Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz, Rufus
8
My Neighbor Totoro is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Noriko Hidaka, Ikue Ōtani, Sumi Shimamoto

Released: 1988

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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

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9
Nosferatu is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Max Schreck, John Gottowt, Alexander Granach

Released: 1922

Directed by: F. W. Murnau

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

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10
The Seventh Seal is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand

Released: 1957

Directed by: Ingmar Bergman

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

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11
Metropolis is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich, Theodor Loos

Released: 1927

Directed by: Fritz Lang

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

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12
Oldboy is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Oldboy Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang
13
Princess Mononoke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson, Jada Pinkett Smith

Released: 1997

Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

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

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14
Rashomon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Machiko Kyō

Released: 1950

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

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
15
Crouching Tiger, Hidden ... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh, Chow Yun-Fat

Released: 2000

Directed by: Ang Lee

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

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16
The Lives of Others is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Ulrich Tukur, Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck

Released: 2006

Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

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

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17
Cinema Paradiso is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret, Leopoldo Trieste

Released: 1988

Directed by: Giuseppe Tornatore

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

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#245 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #518 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
In the Mood for Love is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Roy Cheung

Released: 2000

Directed by: Wong Kar-wai

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

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19
Dr. Strangelove or: How ... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
aliamiri added James Earl Jones, Peter Sellers, George C. Scott

Released: 1964

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

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

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20
Stalker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Alexander Kaidanovsky, Anatoly Solonitsyn, Alisa Freindlich

Released: 1979

Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky

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
21
The Pianist is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
aliamiri added Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox

Released: 2002

Directed by: Roman Polanski

The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The ...more

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22
La Dolce Vita is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Nico, Anita Ekberg, Marcello Mastroianni

Released: 1960

Directed by: Federico Fellini

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

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23
8½ is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Claudia Cardinale, Marcello Mastroianni, Barbara Steele

Released: 1963

Directed by: Federico Fellini

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

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24
The Cabinet of Dr. Calig... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover, Hans Heinrich von Twardowski

Released: 1920

Directed by: Robert Wiene

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

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25
Grave of the Fireflies ... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History
Yoshiko Shinohara, Akemi Yamaguchi, Ayano Shiraishi

Released: 1988

Directed by: Isao Takahata

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

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