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The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History

Updated November 4, 2020 9.9k votes 831 voters 25.1k views337 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.

 

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  • 1
    Seven Samurai
    162
    55

    Seven Samurai

    Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura

    Released1954

    Directed byAkira Kurosawa

    Seven Samurai is a 1954 Japanese Jidaigeki adventure film co-written, edited, and directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Bicycle Thieves
    129
    55

    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 Wikipedia

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    #123 of 160 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made#37 of 50 The Best Father-Son Movies Ever Made

  • 3
    City Of God
    163
    81

    City Of God

    Alice Braga, Seu Jorge

    Released2002

    Directed byFernando Meirelles

    City of God is a 2002 Brazilian crime drama film directed by Fernando Meirelles and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Pan's Labyrinth
    153
    79

    Pan's Labyrinth

    Sergi López, Maribel Verdú

    Released2006

    Directed byGuillermo del Toro

    Pan's Labyrinth is a 2006 Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro. It... more on Wikipedia

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  • 5
    Parasite
    70
    15

    Parasite

    Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun

    Released2019

    Directed byBong Joon-ho

    Parasite is a 2019 South Korean dark comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho. An... more on Wikipedia

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    #1 of 131 The Best Korean Movies Of All Time#20 of 92 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture

  • 6
    The Lives Of Others
    101
    40

    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 Wikipedia
  • 7
    Metropolis
    109
    48

    Metropolis

    Brigitte Helm, Gustav Fröhlich

    Released1927

    Directed byFritz Lang

    Metropolis is a 1927 German expressionist epic science fiction drama film directed by Fritz... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    The Seventh Seal
    113
    51

    The Seventh Seal

    Max von Sydow, Bibi Andersson

    Released1957

    Directed byIngmar Bergman

    The Seventh Seal is a 1957 Swedish drama-fantasy film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman.... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Cinema Paradiso
    113
    52

    Cinema Paradiso

    Jacques Perrin, Philippe Noiret

    Released1988

    Directed byGiuseppe Tornatore

    Nuovo Cinema Paradiso, internationally released as Cinema Paradiso, is a 1988 Italian drama... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    Rashomon
    100
    42

    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 Wikipedia

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  • 11
    Nosferatu
    104
    46

    Nosferatu

    Max Schreck, John Gottowt

    Released1922

    Directed byF. W. Murnau

    Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens is a 1922 German Expressionist horror film, directed by... more on Wikipedia

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    #30 of 119 List of Silent Movies#63 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

  • 12
    My Neighbor Totoro
    115
    55

    My Neighbor Totoro

    Noriko Hidaka, Ikue Ōtani

    Released1988

    Directed byHayao Miyazaki

    My Neighbor Totoro is a 1988 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    The Pianist
    86
    33

    The Pianist

    Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann

    Released2002

    Directed byRoman Polanski

    The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski,... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

    Released1964

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, more commonly known as... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Oldboy
    114
    61

    Oldboy

    Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu
  • 16
    Amélie
    141
    87

    Amélie

    Audrey Tautou, Mathieu Kassovitz
  • 17
    Roma
    128
    77

    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 Wikipedia
  • 18
    Princess Mononoke
    89
    44

    Princess Mononoke

    Claire Danes, Gillian Anderson

    Released1997

    Directed byHayao Miyazaki

    Princess Mononoke is a 1997 anime epic action historical fantasy film written and directed by... more on Wikipedia

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    #74 of 572 The Best Animated Films Ever#53 of 250 The Best English Dubbed Anime of All Time

  • 19
    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
    106
    58

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

    Zhang Ziyi, Michelle Yeoh

    Released2000

    Directed byAng Lee

    Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a 2000 wuxia film. An American-Chinese-Hong Kong-Taiwanese... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Life Is Beautiful
    145
    93

    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 Wikipedia
  • 21
    Apu trilogy
    The Apu Trilogy comprises three Bengali films directed by Satyajit Ray: Pather Panchali,... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
    64
    27

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

    Conrad Veidt, Lil Dagover

    Released1920

    Directed byRobert Wiene

    The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a 1920 German silent horror film, directed by Robert Wiene and... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Stalker
    71
    32

    Stalker

    Alexander Kaidanovsky, Anatoly Solonitsyn

    Released1979

    Directed byAndrei Tarkovsky

    Stalker is a 1979 art film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, with its screenplay written by Boris... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Tokyo Story
    59
    24

    Tokyo Story

    Setsuko Hara, Chishū Ryū

    Released1953

    Directed byYasujirō Ozu

    Tokyo Story is a 1953 Japanese film directed by Yasujirō Ozu. It tells the story of an aging... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Wings Of Desire
    59
    24

    Wings Of Desire

    Peter Falk, Bruno Ganz

    Released1987

    Directed byWim Wenders

    Wings of Desire is a 1987 Franco-German romantic fantasy film directed by Wim Wenders. The... more on Wikipedia