Favorite Foreign Films

The very first foreign language film I remember watching (other than many dubbed kung fu movies) was "Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro" ("Swept Away") in the late-70s when I was in my early teens. Now, the only reason I watched it was because I caught a scene with the scantily clad Mariangela Melato and was hooked. But by the end of the movie, I was completely caught up in the story and immensely entertained. I've been watching foreign films ever since.

A list of my favorite foreign films (simply meaning that they were not made by the American movie industry -- as opposed to being in a foreign language... that being anything other than English in my case).

Some of these are great films ("City of God", "Amores Perros", "Revolver", "Old Boy"...) some aren't... but all are, at the least, very entertaining.
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1.
City of God (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Two boys growing up in a violent neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro take different paths: one becomes a photographer, the other a drug dealer. (130 mins.)
“ This... is one of the best movies... ever . ” - lunaticprophet
 
2.
The Crying Game (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A British soldier is kidnapped by IRA terrorists. He befriends one of his captors, who is drawn into the soldier's world. (112 mins.)
Director: Neil Jordan
“ I was in Atlanta, had already seen one movie (don't remember it) and felt like seeing another. It was premier night and I had no idea what this movie was about, but Forrest Whittaker was in it and that was all that I needed since I loved "Bird". The movie theater was completely packed, not one seat open... completely loved this movie! ” - lunaticprophet
 
3.
Revolver (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Gambler Jake Green enters into a game with potentially deadly consequences. (111 mins.)
Director: Guy Ritchie
 
4.
Amores Perros (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
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. (154 mins.)
 
5.
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A gay man and a political prisoner are together in a prison. The gay man narrates the stories of two fake movies and his own life. (120 mins.)
Director: Hector Babenco
 
6.
The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later. (129 mins.)
 
7.
Nine Queens (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Two con artists try to swindle a stamp collector by selling him a sheet of counterfeit rare stamps (the "nine queens"). (114 mins.)
 
8.
You, the Living (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
You, the Living is a film about humankind, its greatness and its baseness, joy and sorrow, its self-confidence and anxiety, its desire to love and be loved. (95 mins.)
Director: Roy Andersson
“ visually intent on being starkly drab... a great compliment/contrast to the sullen humor. Very funny... ” - lunaticprophet
 
9.
Swept Away (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A trip into the Mediterranean sea becomes a trip into the discovery of how society's frameworks of the rich and poor are delicate and temporary. (116 mins.)
 
10.
The Lives of Others (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
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. (137 mins.)
 
11.
[Rec] (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying. (78 mins.)
 
12.
Persepolis (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A precocious and outspoken Iranian girl grows up during the Islamic Revolution. (96 mins.)
 
13.
Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In Shanghai, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious "Axe Gang" while residents of a housing complex exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf. (99 mins.)
Director: Stephen Chow
“ This is a fun movie! ” - lunaticprophet
 
14.
Rashomon (1950)
    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. (88 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ Really like the story... but just love the camera work. ” - lunaticprophet
 
15.
Oldboy (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days. (120 mins.)
Director: Chan-wook Park
 
16.
Audition (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all. (115 mins.)
Director: Takashi Miike
 
17.
Memories of Murder (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In a small Korean province in 1986, three detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit. (131 mins.)
Director: Joon Ho Bong
 
18.
The White Ribbon (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Strange events happen in a small village in the north of Germany during the years before World War I, which seem to be ritual punishment. Who is responsible? (144 mins.)
Director: Michael Haneke
 
19.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A journalist is aided in his search for a woman who has been missing -- or dead -- for forty years by a young female hacker. (152 mins.)
 
20.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Lisbeth is recovering in a hospital and awaiting trial for three murders when she is released. Mikael must prove her innocence, but Lisbeth must be willing to share the details of her sordid experiences with the court. (147 mins.)
 
21.
The Girl Who Played with Fire (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
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. (129 mins.)
 
22.
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world. (118 mins.)
 
23.
Timecrimes (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A man accidentally gets into a time machine and travels back in time nearly an hour. Finding himself will be the first of a series of disasters of unforeseeable consequences. (92 mins.)
Director: Nacho Vigalondo
 
24.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Mumbai teen reflects on his upbringing in the slums when he is accused of cheating on the Indian Version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" (120 mins.)
 
25.
Caché (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch. (117 mins.)
Director: Michael Haneke
 
26.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
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. (120 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
 
27.
Let the Right One In (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Oskar, an overlooked and bullied boy, finds love and revenge through Eli, a beautiful but peculiar girl. (115 mins.)
Director: Tomas Alfredson
 
28.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A wandering gunfighter plays two rival families against each other in a town torn apart by greed, pride, and revenge. (99 mins.)
Director: Sergio Leone
 
29.
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
    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. (132 mins.)
Director: Sergio Leone
 
30.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.9/10 X  
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. (161 mins.)
Director: Sergio Leone
 
31.
Layer Cake (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A successful cocaine dealer gets two tough assignments from his boss on the eve of his planned early retirement. (105 mins.)
Director: Matthew Vaughn
 
32.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns. (107 mins.)
Director: Guy Ritchie
 
33.
Sexy Beast (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits "retired" safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them. (89 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Glazer
 
34.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living. (99 mins.)
Director: Edgar Wright
 
35.
Valmont (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Set in Baroque France, a scheming widow and her lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman... (137 mins.)
Director: Milos Forman
 
36.
I Saw the Devil (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A secret agent exacts revenge on a serial killer through a series of captures and releases. (141 mins.)
Director: Kim Jee-woon
 
37.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
King Arthur and his knights embark on a low-budget search for the Grail, encountering many, very silly obstacles. (91 mins.)
 
38.
Ikiru (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
39.
The Decline of the American Empire (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Sexual revelations emerge when a group of academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country retreat. (101 mins.)
Director: Denys Arcand
 
40.
Talk to Her (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Two men share an odd friendship while they care for two women who are both in deep comas. (112 mins.)
 
41.
Dirty Pretty Things (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An illegal Nigerian immigrant discovers the unpalatable side of London life. (97 mins.)
Director: Stephen Frears
 
42.
All About My Mother (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Young Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his father, carefully concealed by his mother Manuela. (101 mins.)
 
43.
In the Mood for Love (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs. (98 mins.)
Director: Kar Wai Wong
 
44.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A recently laid off factory worker kidnaps his former boss' friend's daughter, hoping to use the ransom money to pay for his sister's kidney transplant. (129 mins.)
Director: Chan-wook Park
 
45.
Lady Vengeance (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
After a thirteen-year imprisonment for the kidnap and murder of a six-year-old boy, Guem-Ja Lee seeks... (112 mins.)
Director: Park Chan Wook