My Favorite Foreign Films (So Far)

by khawk858 | last updated - 10 Sep 2016 | Public

Having rated over 3000 films and having regularly watched movies for 44 of my 58 years, I decided to put my top 48 from my 9 and 10 ratings. My favorite foreign directors are Akira Kurosawa and Pedro Almodovar, but my list extends far beyond them.

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1. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Adventure, Drama

8.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 254,039 | Gross: $0.27M

2. Bicycle Thieves (1948)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama

8.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

In post-war Italy, a working-class man's bicycle is stolen. He and his son set out to find it.

Director: Vittorio De Sica | Stars: Lamberto Maggiorani, Enzo Staiola, Lianella Carell, Elena Altieri

Votes: 108,607 | Gross: $0.33M

3. Farewell My Concubine (1993)

R | 171 min | Drama, Music, Romance

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of two men, who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and stayed friends for over 50 years.

Director: Kaige Chen | Stars: Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Li Gong, Qi Lü

Votes: 19,809 | Gross: $5.22M

4. Fitzcarraldo (1982)

PG | 158 min | Adventure, Drama

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an extremely determined man who intends to build an opera house in the middle of a jungle.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, José Lewgoy, Miguel Ángel Fuentes

Votes: 24,825

5. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)

Not Rated | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

In 1431, Jeanne d'Arc is placed on trial on charges of heresy. The ecclesiastical jurists attempt to force Jeanne to recant her claims of holy visions.

Director: Carl Theodor Dreyer | Stars: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz

Votes: 31,214 | Gross: $0.02M

6. City of God (2002)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama

8.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
79 Metascore

Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer.

Directors: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund | Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele, Phellipe Haagensen

Votes: 586,820 | Gross: $7.56M

7. Die Macht der Bilder: Leni Riefenstahl (1993)

180 min | Documentary, Biography, History

8.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A documentary about the life and work of Leni Riefenstahl, a German film director most notorious for making the most effective propaganda films for the Nazis.

Director: Ray Müller | Stars: Leni Riefenstahl, Marlene Dietrich, Walter Frentz, Joseph Goebbels

Votes: 1,332 | Gross: $0.45M

8. Life Is Beautiful (1997)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, War

8.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
59 Metascore

When an open-minded Jewish librarian and his son become victims of the Holocaust, he uses a perfect mixture of will, humor and imagination to protect his son from the dangers around their camp.

Director: Roberto Benigni | Stars: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Giorgio Cantarini, Giustino Durano

Votes: 483,793 | Gross: $57.60M

9. Umberto D. (1952)

Not Rated | 89 min | Drama

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
92 Metascore

An elderly man and his dog struggle to survive on his government pension in Rome.

Director: Vittorio De Sica | Stars: Carlo Battisti, Maria Pia Casilio, Lina Gennari, Ileana Simova

Votes: 18,376 | Gross: $0.07M

10. March of the Penguins (2005)

G | 80 min | Documentary, Family

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
79 Metascore

In the Antarctic, every March since the beginning of time, the quest begins to find the perfect mate and start a family.

Director: Luc Jacquet | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Charles Berling, Romane Bohringer, Jules Sitruk

Votes: 50,364 | Gross: $77.44M

11. Princess Mononoke (1997)

PG-13 | 134 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
76 Metascore

On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Yôji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yûko Tanaka, Billy Crudup

Votes: 256,571 | Gross: $2.38M

12. Das Boot (1981)

R | 149 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
86 Metascore

The claustrophobic world of a WWII German U-boat; boredom, filth, and sheer terror.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Jürgen Prochnow, Herbert Grönemeyer, Klaus Wennemann, Hubertus Bengsch

Votes: 186,860 | Gross: $11.49M

13. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

R | 155 min | Drama

8.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
80 Metascore

A filmmaker recalls his childhood when falling in love with the pictures at the cinema of his home village and forms a deep friendship with the cinema's projectionist.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore | Stars: Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili, Isa Danieli

Votes: 174,387 | Gross: $11.99M

14. Ran (1985)

R | 162 min | Action, Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
96 Metascore

In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu, Daisuke Ryû

Votes: 86,785 | Gross: $3.52M

15. Open Your Eyes (1997)

R | 117 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

7.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A very handsome man finds the love of his life, but he suffers an accident and needs to have his face rebuilt by surgery after it is severely disfigured.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Eduardo Noriega, Penélope Cruz, Chete Lera, Fele Martínez

Votes: 56,435 | Gross: $0.37M

16. The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988)

R | 171 min | Drama, Romance

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In 1968, a Czech doctor with an active sex life meets a woman who wants monogamy, and then the Soviet invasion further disrupts their lives.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Juliette Binoche, Lena Olin, Derek de Lint

Votes: 29,153 | Gross: $10.01M

17. The Star Maker (1995)

R | 113 min | Drama, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A photographer and the types of people he encounters.

Director: Giuseppe Tornatore | Stars: Sergio Castellitto, Tiziana Lodato, Franco Scaldati, Leopoldo Trieste

Votes: 4,185 | Gross: $0.12M

18. Murmur of the Heart (1971)

R | 118 min | Comedy, Drama

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In the end of the first Indochina War, an open-minded teenage boy finds himself between the urge to discover love and the ever-present, dominating affection of his mother.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Lea Massari, Benoît Ferreux, Daniel Gélin, Michael Lonsdale

Votes: 7,163 | Gross: $1.16M

19. Belle de Jour (1967)

R | 100 min | Drama

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A frigid young housewife decides to spend her midweek afternoons as a prostitute.

Director: Luis Buñuel | Stars: Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli, Geneviève Page

Votes: 32,398

20. Il Postino (1994)

PG | 108 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
81 Metascore

Simple Italian postman learns to love poetry while delivering mail to a famous poet; he uses this to woo local beauty Beatrice.

Directors: Michael Radford, Massimo Troisi | Stars: Massimo Troisi, Philippe Noiret, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Renato Scarpa

Votes: 28,265 | Gross: $21.85M

21. Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

PG | 125 min | Drama, History, Romance

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He, Cuifen Cao

Votes: 22,949 | Gross: $2.60M

22. Depuis qu'Otar est parti... (2003)

Unrated | 103 min | Drama

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
85 Metascore

The one joy in the lives of a mother and daughter comes from the regular letters sent to them from Paris from the family's adored son, Otar. When the daughter finds out that Otar has died ... See full summary »

Director: Julie Bertuccelli | Stars: Esther Gorintin, Nino Khomasuridze, Dinara Drukarova, Temur Kalandadze

Votes: 2,379 | Gross: $0.34M

23. Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl (1998)

R | 99 min | Drama

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Young teen girl Xiu Xiu is sent away to a remote corner of the Sichuan steppes for manual labor in 1975 (sending young people to there was a part of Cultural Revolution in China). A year ... See full summary »

Director: Joan Chen | Stars: Xiaolu Li, Lopsang, Zheng Qian, Jie Gao

Votes: 2,830 | Gross: $1.00M

24. Cries & Whispers (1972)

R | 91 min | Drama

8.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

When a woman dying of cancer in early twentieth-century Sweden is visited by her two sisters, long-repressed feelings between the siblings rise to the surface.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Harriet Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Kari Sylwan, Ingrid Thulin

Votes: 22,372

25. La Cage aux Folles (1978)

R | 110 min | Comedy

7.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two gay men living in St. Tropez have their lives turned upside down when the son of one of the men announces he is getting married. They try to conceal their lifestyle and their ownership ... See full summary »

Director: Édouard Molinaro | Stars: Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Serrault, Claire Maurier, Rémi Laurent

Votes: 8,198 | Gross: $20.42M

26. Two Women (1960)

100 min | Drama, War

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In the Italy of WWII, a widow and her lonely daughter seek for distance between them and the horrors of war.

Director: Vittorio De Sica | Stars: Sophia Loren, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Raf Vallone, Eleonora Brown

Votes: 7,189

27. Roma (2004)

155 min | Drama

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Joaquín Góñez, a novelist in his sixties recalls his emotions, his wild years in Buenos Aires, the memories of old friends, the meaning of loyalty and the intimate relationship with his mother, Roma.

Director: Adolfo Aristarain | Stars: Juan Diego Botto, Susú Pecoraro, José Sacristán, Agustín Garvíe

Votes: 1,022

28. Bad Education (2004)

NC-17 | 106 min | Crime, Drama

7.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
81 Metascore

An examination on the effect of Franco-era religious schooling and sexual abuse on the lives of two longtime friends.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Gael García Bernal, Fele Martínez, Javier Cámara, Daniel Giménez Cacho

Votes: 48,607 | Gross: $5.21M

29. The Other Side of the Bed (2002)

R | 114 min | Comedy, Drama, Musical

6.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
47 Metascore

Two couples entwine on their search for love.

Director: Emilio Martínez Lázaro | Stars: Ernesto Alterio, Paz Vega, Guillermo Toledo, Natalia Verbeke

Votes: 4,759

30. A Dama do Lotação (1978)

R | 90 min | Drama

6.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Carlos and Solange, childhood sweethearts, marry after a chaste courtship. On their wedding night, Solange refuses to make love to him. First he pleads, then in anger he rapes her. She says... See full summary »

Director: Neville de Almeida | Stars: Sonia Braga, Nuno Leal Maia, Jorge Dória, Paulo César Peréio

Votes: 466

31. Kundun (1997)

PG-13 | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
74 Metascore

From childhood to adulthood, Tibet's fourteenth Dalai Lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong, Gyurme Tethong, Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin, Tenzin Yeshi Paichang

Votes: 23,022 | Gross: $5.53M

32. The Tin Drum (1979)

R | 142 min | Drama, War

7.6
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

In 1924, Oskar Matzerath is born in the Free City of Danzig. At age three, he falls down a flight of stairs and stops growing. In 1939, World War II breaks out.

Director: Volker Schlöndorff | Stars: David Bennent, Mario Adorf, Angela Winkler, Katharina Thalbach

Votes: 19,113

33. Monsoon Wedding (2001)

R | 114 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
77 Metascore

A stressed father, a bride-to-be with a secret, a smitten event planner, and relatives from around the world create much ado about the preparations for an arranged marriage in India.

Director: Mira Nair | Stars: Naseeruddin Shah, Lillete Dubey, Shefali Shah, Vijay Raaz

Votes: 20,993 | Gross: $13.88M

34. Mediterraneo (1991)

R | 96 min | Comedy, Drama, War

7.4
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

In WW2, an Italian Army unit of misfits occupies an isolated non-strategic Greek island for the duration of the war.

Director: Gabriele Salvatores | Stars: Diego Abatantuono, Claudio Bigagli, Giuseppe Cederna, Claudio Bisio

Votes: 11,578 | Gross: $4.53M

35. That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)

R | 103 min | Comedy, Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
84 Metascore

Recounted in flashback are the romantic perils of Mathieu, a middle-aged French sophisticate as he falls for his nineteen year-old former chambermaid Conchita.

Director: Luis Buñuel | Stars: Fernando Rey, Carole Bouquet, Ángela Molina, Julien Bertheau

Votes: 16,457 | Gross: $0.06M

36. Belle Epoque (1992)

R | 109 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A 1931 Spanish military deserter finds himself on a lonely farm until the farmer's four daughters pay a visit and he falls for all of them.

Director: Fernando Trueba | Stars: Fernando Fernán Gómez, Jorge Sanz, Penélope Cruz, Miriam Díaz-Aroca

Votes: 7,976 | Gross: $5.97M

37. The Lives of Others (2006)

R | 137 min | Drama, Thriller

8.5
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
89 Metascore

In 1984 East Berlin, an agent of the secret police, conducting surveillance on a writer and his lover, finds himself becoming increasingly absorbed by their lives.

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck | Stars: Ulrich Mühe, Martina Gedeck, Sebastian Koch, Ulrich Tukur

Votes: 289,678 | Gross: $11.29M

38. Amores Perros (2000)

R | 154 min | Drama, Thriller

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
83 Metascore

A horrific car accident connects three stories, each involving characters dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love.

Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu | Stars: Emilio Echevarría, Gael García Bernal, Goya Toledo, Álvaro Guerrero

Votes: 189,817 | Gross: $5.38M

39. Metropolis (1927)

Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

8.3
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
98 Metascore

In a futuristic city sharply divided between the working class and the city planners, the son of the city's mastermind falls in love with a working class prophet who predicts the coming of a savior to mediate their differences.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Brigitte Helm, Alfred Abel, Gustav Fröhlich, Rudolf Klein-Rogge

Votes: 126,030 | Gross: $0.03M

40. Sex and Lucia (2001)

R | 128 min | Drama, Romance

7.2
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
65 Metascore

Various lives converge on an isolated island, all connected by an author whose novel has become inextricably entwined with his own life.

Director: Julio Medem | Stars: Paz Vega, Tristán Ulloa, Najwa Nimri, Elena Anaya

Votes: 31,358 | Gross: $1.49M

41. Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

R | 106 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

7.7
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
88 Metascore

In Mexico, two teenage boys and an attractive older woman embark on a road trip and learn a thing or two about life, friendship, sex, and each other.

Director: Alfonso Cuarón | Stars: Maribel Verdú, Gael García Bernal, Daniel Giménez Cacho, Ana López Mercado

Votes: 98,446 | Gross: $13.62M

42. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

7.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
93 Metascore

A young Chinese warrior steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man in the frontier of the nation.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang

Votes: 229,387 | Gross: $128.08M

43. Talk to Her (2002)

R | 112 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

8.0
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  
86 Metascore

Two men share an odd friendship while they care for two women who are both in deep comas.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar | Stars: Rosario Flores, Javier Cámara, Darío Grandinetti, Leonor Watling

Votes: 92,256 | Gross: $9.28M

44. Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007)

R | 126 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
74 Metascore

The story recounts the early life of Genghis Khan who was a slave before going on to conquer half the world in 1206.

Director: Sergei Bodrov | Stars: Tadanobu Asano, Amadu Mamadakov, Khulan Chuluun, Honglei Sun

Votes: 39,945 | Gross: $5.70M

45. The Piano Teacher (2001)

R | 131 min | Drama, Music, Romance

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
79 Metascore

A young man romantically pursues his masochistic piano teacher.

Director: Michael Haneke | Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Annie Girardot, Benoît Magimel, Susanne Lothar

Votes: 44,137 | Gross: $1.90M

46. The Lover (1992)

R | 115 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

6.9
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

In 1929 French Indochina, a French teenage girl embarks on a reckless and forbidden romance with a wealthy, older Chinese man, each knowing that knowledge of their affair will bring drastic consequences to each other.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud | Stars: Jane March, Tony Ka Fai Leung, Frédérique Meininger, Arnaud Giovaninetti

Votes: 16,258 | Gross: $4.90M

47. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

R | 188 min | Drama

8.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
100 Metascore

Two young Swedish children experience the many comedies and tragedies of their family, the Ekdahls.

Director: Ingmar Bergman | Stars: Bertil Guve, Pernilla Allwin, Kristina Adolphson, Börje Ahlstedt

Votes: 46,928 | Gross: $4.97M

48. Jean de Florette (1986)

PG | 120 min | Drama

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A greedy landowner and his backward nephew conspire to block the only water source for an adjoining property in order to bankrupt the owner and force him to sell.

Director: Claude Berri | Stars: Yves Montand, Gérard Depardieu, Daniel Auteuil, Elisabeth Depardieu

Votes: 21,091 | Gross: $4.94M