My Favourite Foreign Films

by DougWonnacott | created - 15 Mar 2012 | updated - 12 Oct 2015 | Public

These are my favourite films not primarily produced by a British or American production company. A film does not necessarily have to have been shot in a foreign language to make this list. I haven't included martial arts films as I have a separate list for them.

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1. Metropolis (1927)

Not Rated | 153 min | Drama, Sci-Fi

8.3
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    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: 127,265 | Gross: $0.03M

2. Rashômon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

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

A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 117,512

3. Fistful of Dollars (1964)

R | 99 min | Western

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

A wandering gunfighter plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volontè, Marianne Koch, Wolfgang Lukschy

Votes: 164,382 | Gross: $14.50M

4. For a Few Dollars More (1965)

R | 132 min | Western

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

Two bounty hunters with the same intentions team up to track down a Western outlaw.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volontè, Mario Brega

Votes: 181,404 | Gross: $15.00M

5. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

R | 178 min | Western

8.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
90 Metascore

A bounty hunting scam joins two men in an uneasy alliance against a third in a race to find a fortune in gold buried in a remote cemetery.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach, Lee Van Cleef, Aldo Giuffrè

Votes: 563,609 | Gross: $6.10M

6. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

PG-13 | 164 min | Western

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

A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Jason Robards

Votes: 244,758 | Gross: $5.32M

7. Duck, You Sucker (1971)

PG | 138 min | War, Western

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

An I.R.A. explosives expert on the run in Mexico meets an amoral Mexican bandit; together they are drawn into the Mexican revolution.

Director: Sergio Leone | Stars: Rod Steiger, James Coburn, Romolo Valli, Maria Monti

Votes: 23,972

8. The Day of the Jackal (1973)

PG | 143 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

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

A professional assassin codenamed "Jackal" plots to kill Charles de Gaulle, the President of France.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Edward Fox, Terence Alexander, Michel Auclair, Alan Badel

Votes: 31,999 | Gross: $16.06M

9. Cross of Iron (1977)

R | 119 min | Drama, War

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

A German commander places a squad in extreme danger after its Sergeant refuses to lie for him.

Director: Sam Peckinpah | Stars: James Coburn, Maximilian Schell, James Mason, David Warner

Votes: 22,152

10. Zombie (1979)

R | 91 min | Horror

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

Strangers searching for a young woman's missing father arrive at a tropical island where a doctor desperately searches for the cause and cure of a recent epidemic of the undead.

Director: Lucio Fulci | Stars: Tisa Farrow, Ian McCulloch, Richard Johnson, Al Cliver

Votes: 21,644

11. Rupan sansei: Kariosutoro no shiro (1979)

102 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

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

A flamboyant thief and his gang struggle to free a princess from an evil count's clutches and to learn the hidden secret to a fabulous treasure that she holds part of a key to.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Yasuo Yamada, Eiko Masuyama, Kiyoshi Kobayashi, Makio Inoue

Votes: 18,603

12. Mad Max (1979)

R | 88 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  
67 Metascore

In a self-destructing world, a vengeful Australian policeman sets out to stop a violent motorcycle gang.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne, Steve Bisley

Votes: 166,121 | Gross: $8.75M

13. Porky's (1981)

R | 94 min | Comedy

6.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
40 Metascore

In 1954, a group of Florida high schoolers seek out to help their buddy lose his virginity, which leads them to seek revenge on a sleazy nightclub owner and his redneck sheriff brother for harassing them.

Director: Bob Clark | Stars: Dan Monahan, Mark Herrier, Wyatt Knight, Roger Wilson

Votes: 33,394 | Gross: $111.29M

14. The Road Warrior (1981)

R | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
76 Metascore

In the post-apocalyptic Australian wasteland, a cynical drifter agrees to help a small, gasoline rich, community escape a band of bandits.

Director: George Miller | Stars: Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston, Max Phipps

Votes: 145,976 | Gross: $12.47M

15. Le Dernier Combat (The Last Battle) (1983)

R | 92 min | Sci-Fi

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

In a post-apocalyptic future where no one is able to speak, the few remaining humans fight over resources in order to survive.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Pierre Jolivet, Jean Bouise, Jean Reno, Fritz Wepper

Votes: 4,784

16. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)

PG | 117 min | Animation, Adventure, Fantasy

8.1
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Warrior/pacifist Princess Nausicaä desperately struggles to prevent two warring nations from destroying themselves and their dying planet.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Sumi Shimamoto, Mahito Tsujimura, Hisako Kyôda, Gorô Naya

Votes: 112,216

17. Subway (1985)

R | 104 min | Thriller

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Fred is living in the Paris Metro system. He is blackmailing Helena, whose safe he has robbed. Fred has various 'friends' all living in this surreal setting. The Roller is a rollerskating ... See full summary »

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Christopher Lambert, Isabelle Adjani, Richard Bohringer, Michel Galabru

Votes: 12,121 | Gross: $0.39M

18. Crocodile Dundee (1986)

PG-13 | 97 min | Adventure, Comedy

6.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
62 Metascore

An American reporter goes to the Australian outback to meet an eccentric crocodile poacher and invites him to New York City.

Director: Peter Faiman | Stars: Paul Hogan, Linda Kozlowski, John Meillon, David Gulpilil

Votes: 80,714 | Gross: $174.64M

19. Castle in the Sky (1986)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

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

A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Anna Paquin, James Van Der Beek, Cloris Leachman, Mark Hamill

Votes: 112,696

20. The Big Blue (1988)

R | 168 min | Adventure, Drama, Sport

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
35 Metascore

The rivalry between Enzo and Jacques, two childhood friends and now world-renowned free divers, becomes a beautiful and perilous journey into oneself and the unknown.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Jean-Marc Barr, Jean Reno, Rosanna Arquette, Paul Shenar

Votes: 41,519 | Gross: $3.50M

21. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

G | 86 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

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

When two girls move to the country to be near their ailing mother, they have adventures with the wondrous forest spirits who live nearby.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Hitoshi Takagi, Noriko Hidaka, Chika Sakamoto, Shigesato Itoi

Votes: 206,520

22. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

Not Rated | 89 min | Animation, Drama, War

8.5
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A young boy and his little sister struggle to survive in Japan during World War II.

Director: Isao Takahata | Stars: Tsutomu Tatsumi, Ayano Shiraishi, Akemi Yamaguchi, Yoshiko Shinohara

Votes: 166,353

23. Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)

G | 103 min | Animation, Adventure, Drama

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

A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Minami Takayama, Rei Sakuma, Kappei Yamaguchi

Votes: 88,112

24. La Femme Nikita (1990)

R | 117 min | Action, Thriller

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

Convicted felon Nikita, instead of going to jail, is given a new identity and trained, stylishly, as a top secret spy/assassin.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Anne Parillaud, Marc Duret, Patrick Fontana, Alain Lathière

Votes: 59,405 | Gross: $5.02M

25. El Mariachi (1992)

R | 81 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

6.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
73 Metascore

A traveling mariachi is mistaken for a murderous criminal and must hide from a gang bent on killing him.

Director: Robert Rodriguez | Stars: Carlos Gallardo, Consuelo Gómez, Jaime de Hoyos, Peter Marquardt

Votes: 55,961 | Gross: $2.04M

26. Léon: The Professional (1994)

R | 110 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
64 Metascore

Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Jean Reno, Gary Oldman, Natalie Portman, Danny Aiello

Votes: 827,662 | Gross: $19.50M

27. Fireworks (1997)

103 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

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

Nishi leaves the police in the face of harrowing personal and professional difficulties. Spiraling into depression, he makes questionable decisions.

Director: Takeshi Kitano | Stars: Takeshi Kitano, Kayoko Kishimoto, Ren Osugi, Susumu Terajima

Votes: 23,139 | Gross: $0.23M

28. 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: 259,752 | Gross: $2.38M

29. Taxi (I) (1998)

Not Rated | 86 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

To work off his tarnished driving record, a hip taxi driver must chauffeur a loser police inspector on the trail of German bank robbers.

Director: Gérard Pirès | Stars: Samy Naceri, Frédéric Diefenthal, Marion Cotillard, Manuela Gourary

Votes: 66,688 | Gross: $0.27M

30. Run Lola Run (1998)

R | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

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

After a botched money delivery, Lola has 20 minutes to come up with 100,000 Deutschmarks.

Director: Tom Tykwer | Stars: Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Nina Petri

Votes: 171,332 | Gross: $7.27M

31. Battle Royale (2000)

Not Rated | 114 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

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

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

Director: Kinji Fukasaku | Stars: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano

Votes: 150,073

32. Spirited Away (2001)

PG | 125 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

8.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
96 Metascore

During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts.

Directors: Hayao Miyazaki, Kirk Wise | Stars: Daveigh Chase, Suzanne Pleshette, Miyu Irino, Rumi Hiiragi

Votes: 490,678 | Gross: $10.06M

33. City of God (2002)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama

8.6
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    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: 591,878 | Gross: $7.56M

34. Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)

PG | 94 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

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

In 1931, three aboriginal girls escape after being plucked from their homes to be trained as domestic staff and set off on a journey across the Outback.

Director: Phillip Noyce | Stars: Everlyn Sampi, Tianna Sansbury, Kenneth Branagh, Laura Monaghan

Votes: 24,811 | Gross: $6.17M

35. Howl's Moving Castle (2004)

PG | 119 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

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

When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking castle.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Chieko Baishô, Takuya Kimura, Tatsuya Gashûin, Akihiro Miwa

Votes: 249,604 | Gross: $4.71M

36. Angel-A (2005)

R | 91 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

7.1
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
48 Metascore

A beautiful woman helps an inept scam artist get his game together.

Director: Luc Besson | Stars: Rie Rasmussen, Jamel Debbouze, Gilbert Melki, Serge Riaboukine

Votes: 28,392 | Gross: $0.20M

37. Let the Right One In (2008)

R | 115 min | Drama, Horror, Romance

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
82 Metascore

Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl.

Director: Tomas Alfredson | Stars: Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Per Ragnar, Henrik Dahl

Votes: 185,998 | Gross: $2.12M

38. The Chaser (2008)

Not Rated | 125 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

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

A cash-strapped pimp and former police detective draws upon the skills of his old job to track down his missing stable of prostitutes.

Director: Hong-jin Na | Stars: Yun-seok Kim, Jung-woo Ha, Yeong-hie Seo, Yoo-Jeong Kim

Votes: 43,818

39. Ponyo (2008)

G | 101 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy

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

A five year-old boy develops a relationship with Ponyo, a goldfish princess who longs to become a human after falling in love with him.

Director: Hayao Miyazaki | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Liam Neeson, Tomoko Yamaguchi

Votes: 96,767 | Gross: $15.09M

40. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

R | 152 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

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

A journalist is aided by a young female hacker in his search for the killer of a woman who has been dead for forty years.

Director: Niels Arden Oplev | Stars: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace, Ewa Fröling, Lena Endre

Votes: 187,572 | Gross: $10.10M

41. The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)

R | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

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

As computer hacker Lisbeth and journalist Mikael investigate a sex-trafficking ring, Lisbeth is accused of three murders, causing her to go on the run while Mikael works to clear her name.

Director: Daniel Alfredson | Stars: Noomi Rapace, Michael Nyqvist, Lena Endre, Peter Andersson

Votes: 79,995 | Gross: $9.08M

42. The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

G | 94 min | Animation, Adventure, Family

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

The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered.

Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi | Stars: Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler, Will Arnett, Moises Arias

Votes: 61,241 | Gross: $19.20M