Watchworthy

The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked 

Ranker Film
Updated March 16, 2020 1.5k votes 333 voters 22.1k views 50 items

List Rules Only thriller films in a language other than English. Vote up the best foreign action movies.

If you love a good adrenaline rush, check out some of these superb foreign thriller movies to get your heart rate pumping. Thriller films are always enticing, with that mix of action, adventure, and larger-than-life characters.

Foreign thriller films add an extra layer of excitement as they simultaneously offer you the opportunity to broaden your horizon and learn more about other cultures. From new foreign action movies to long-beloved classics, you'll find films to satiate your craving for action and adventure in the list below. 

What are some great foreign language action films? Tom Tykwer's 1998 German film Run Lola Run follows the title character as she tries to save her boyfriend's life. The film is set in three parts each, with a small variance that changes the plot immensely. The Swedish adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is also a great foreign thriller. The Hunt - a 2012 Danish film - is a slow-burner, full of psychological suspense. Other good foreign thrillers include Oldboy, The Lives of Others, and I Saw the Devil.

Do you have a favorite foreign thriller? Give the best movies a thumbs up, and please add any good films we may have missed.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Oldboy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Oh Dal-su

Released: 2003

Directed by: Park Chan-wook

Oldboy is a 2003 South Korean mystery thriller neo-noir film directed by Park Chan-wook, based on the Japanese manga by Garon Tsuchiya. After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh ...more

More Oldboy 

#41 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #75 of 92 The Most Rewatchable Action Movies #84 of 185 The Greatest Comic Book Movies of All Time

2
I Saw the Devil is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-sik, Cheon Ho-Jin

Released: 2010

Directed by: Kim Jee-woon

I Saw the Devil is a 2010 South Korean psychological thriller horror film directed by Kim Jee-woon. A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases.

More I Saw the Devil 

#203 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #1,553 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #522 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

3
The Body is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
The Body Belén Rueda, José Coronado, Pere Brasó

Released: 2012

Directed by: Oriol Paulo

The Body is a 2012 thriller film written by Oriol Paulo and Lara Sendim; and directed by Oriol Paulo.
4
The Invisible Guest is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
asifhaque98 added The Invisible Guest
5
The Secret in Their Eyes... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Ricardo Darín, Mariano Argento, Soledad Villamil

Released: 2009

Directed by: Juan José Campanella

The Secret in Their Eyes is a 2009 Argentine crime thriller film directed, produced and edited by Juan José Campanella and written by Eduardo Sacheri and Campanella, based on Sacheri's ...more

More The Secret in Their Eyes 

#216 of 312 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History #14 of 70 The Best Oscar-Winning Foreign Language Filmslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
The Chaser is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Kim Yoon-seok, Ha Jung-woo, Seo Young-hee

Released: 2008

Directed by: Na Hong-jin

The Chaser is a 2008 South Korean action thriller film directed by Na Hong-jin. A disgraced ex-policeman who runs a small ring of escorts finds himself in a cat-and-mouse game with a serial
7
The Girl with the Dragon... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Noomi Rapace, Marika Lagercrantz, Lena Endre

Released: 2009

Directed by: Niels Arden Oplev

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2009 Swedish drama thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Swedish author/journalist Stieg Larsson. It is the first book in the trilogy known as ...more

More The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 

#110 of 112 The Very Best Movie Franchises #524 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #12 of 312 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History

8
The Man from Nowhere is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Won Bin, Kim Sae-ron, Young-chang Song

Released: 2010

Directed by: Lee Jung-beom

The Man from Nowhere is a 2010 South Korean action thriller film directed by Lee Jeong-beom. When a young girl (Kim Sae-ron) is kidnapped, a mysterious man (Won Bin) embarks on a bloody rampage ...more

More The Man from Nowhere 

#7 of 130 The Best Korean Movies Of All Time #178 of 312 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History #1 of 101 The Best Korean Movies On Amazon Prime

9
The Hunt is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Mads Mikkelsen, Alexandra Rapaport, Thomas Bo Larsen

Released: 2012

Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg

The Hunt is a 2012 Danish drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg. The story is set in a small Danish village around Christmas, and follows a man (Mads Mikkelsen) who becomes the target of mass ...more
10
Tell No One is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Kristin Scott Thomas, Harlan Coben, Guillaume Canet

Released: 2006

Directed by: Guillaume Canet

Tell No One is a 2006 French thriller film directed by Guillaume Canet and based on the novel of the same name by Harlan Coben. Written by Canet and Philippe Lefebvre and starring ...more

More Tell No One 

#141 of 182 The Best Mystery Movies #153 of 530 The Best Doctor Movies

11
The Lives of Others is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
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

More The Lives of Others 

#343 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #43 of 312 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema Historylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
The Skin I Live In is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Antonio Banderas, Blanca Suárez, Elena Anaya

Released: 2011

Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar

The Skin I Live In is a 2011 Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Pedro Almodóvar and based on Thierry Jonquet's novel Mygale. A brilliant plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas), ...more

More The Skin I Live In 

#580 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #14 of 21 Horror Movies That Don't Look Like Horror Movies #22 of 29 The Best Horror Movies About Evil Experiments

13
Headhunters is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aksel Hennie, Baard Owe

Released: 2011

Directed by: Morten Tyldum

Headhunters is a 2011 Norwegian-Swedish action thriller film directed by Morten Tyldum and based on the 2008 novel of the same name by Jo Nesbø. Aksel Hennie portrays the successful but ...more
14
Wild Tales is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
asifhaque98 added Ricardo Darín, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Érica Rivas

Released: 2014

Directed by: Damián Szifron

Wild Tales is a 2014 Argentine-Spanish black comedy film directed by Damián Szifron. The film is composed of six short segments, all exploring the extremities of human behavior involving ...more
15
Lady Vengeance is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
16
Run Lola Run is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Franka Potente, Armin Rohde, Moritz Bleibtreu

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tom Tykwer

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

More Run Lola Run 

#571 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #207 of 312 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema History #5 of 32 The Best Movies That Take Place in Real Time

17
The Hidden Face is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
The Hidden Face Clara Lago, Alexandra Stewart, Martina García

Released: 2011

Directed by: Andrés Baiz

The Hidden Face is a 2011 Colombian thriller film directed by Andrés Baiz. An official Bollywood remake of the film, titled Murder 3, was made in 2013.
18
Nine Queens is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Ricardo Darín, Oscar Nunez, Alejandro Awada

Released: 2000

Directed by: Fabián Bielinsky

Nine Queens is a 2000 Argentine crime drama film written and directed by Fabián Bielinsky and starring Ricardo Darín, Gastón Pauls, Leticia Brédice, Tomás ...more
19
The Orphanage is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
asifhaque98 added Geraldine Chaplin, Belén Rueda, Édgar Vivar

Released: 2007

Directed by: Juan Antonio Bayona

The Orphanage is a 2007 Spanish horror film and the debut feature of Spanish filmmaker J. A. Bayona. The film stars Belén Rueda as Laura, Fernando Cayo as her husband, Carlos, and Roger ...more

More The Orphanage 

#255 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #11 of 22 Horror Movies You Can't Even Finish Watching #192 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

20
Timecrimes is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Karra Elejalde, Nacho Vigalondo, Barbara Goenaga

Released: 2007

Directed by: Nacho Vigalondo

Timecrimes is a 2007 Spanish science-fiction thriller film directed by Nacho Vigalondo. A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour, starting a series f ...more
21
REC is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
asifhaque98 added Manuela Velasco, Javier Botet, Ana Isabel Velásquez

Released: 2007

Directed by: Paco Plaza, Jaume Balagueró

REC is a 2007 Spanish horror film, co-written and directed by Jaume Balagueró and Paco Plaza. The film was shot in Barcelona, Spain and the title is an abbreviation of the word ...more

More REC 

#1,500 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #182 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #64 of 114 The Best Intelligent Horror Movies

22
Animal Kingdom is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Guy Pearce, Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver

Released: 2010

Directed by: David Michôd

"Welcome to the jungle known as the Melbourne underworld. Animal Kingdom uses this edgy locale to unspool a gripping tale of survival and revenge. Pope Codyis on the run from a gang of ...more
23
Audition is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Eihi Shiina, Renji Ishibashi, Ren Osugi

Released: 1999

Directed by: Takashi Miike

Audition is a 1999 Japanese psychological horror-drama film, directed by Takashi Miike and starring Ryo Ishibashi and Eihi Shiina. It is based on a Ryu Murakami novel of the same title, from a ...more

More Audition 

#304 of 847 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #50 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #79 of 137 The Goriest Movies Ever Made

24
Dead Man's Shoes is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Paddy Constantine, Toby Kebbell, Gary Stretch

Released: 2004

Directed by: Shane Meadows

This film is a 2004 British psychological thriller film written and directed by Shane Meadows, and co-written by Paddy Considine, who also starred in the lead role. The film co-stars Toby ...more
25
Parasite is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Foreign Thriller Movies, Ranked
Song Kang-ho, Lee Sun-kyun, Cho Yeo-jeong

Released: 2019

Directed by: Bong Joon-ho

Parasite is a 2019 South Korean dark comedy thriller film directed by Bong Joon-ho. An unemployed driver (Song Kang-ho) and his out-of-work family takes peculiar interest in the wealthy and ...more

More Parasite 

#43 of 93 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picture #1 of 130 The Best Korean Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever