International cinemas are nothing but someone’s regional cinema that has its heart and soul in the right place which inspires, connects, and entertains us beyond the border.
Cinema doesn’t need a language to connect; it is the purest form of art that finds the right place in your heart if it is worthy. Let’s have a look into 25 Greatest Foreign Language movies that you must see to experience the world cinema.
25. The Man from Nowhere (2010, South Korea) IMDB – 7.8
The movie revolves around a mysterious man, who unleashes himself into a bloody killing spree when a neighbor kid, his only point of contact with the outside world goes missing. Starring Won Bin, the movie is high on action, crisp on the screenplay with a heart in the right place. You connect with the protagonist, and you travel with him from the word go. At some point, you even don’t mind the blood splashing violence, because you want the protagonist to find his favorite neighbor girl.
24. A Man Escaped (1956, France) IMDB – 8.3
Before The Shawshank Redemption, there was A Man Escaped and we are still unwilling to escape from the cinematic experience he gave us, as the most heart-warming guy stealing all our hearts. Written and Directed by the master storyteller, Robert Bresson, the story is based on a prison break and it is both Inspirational and realistic at the same time.
23. Stalker (1979, Soviet Union) IMDB – 8.2
Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, Stalker is the best science fiction film at any point existed on this planet! The movie is blissfully Poetic, Philosophical, and complex simultaneously, that leaves you to enchanted with the artistic greatness Tarkovsky has accomplished through this puzzlingly bold film.
22. Amores perros (2001, Mexico) IMDB: 8.1
Brutal to the core, but it’s a hard-hitting and marvelous piece of work that every movie buff must watch at least once in their lifetime. Amores perros is the first installment in Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s “Trilogy of Death”, and it is widely claimed as one of the greatest thrillers to come out in this century. Watch it for the intensity and grittiness it carries throughout the movie.
21. Rashomon (1950, Japan) IMDB: 8.2
A movie came out from the legendary Akira Kurosawa’s phenomenal vision, is a bliss to the world cinema that unarguably demands a place in this list. Rashomon is a crime drama that sets the style and standards so high for the cinematic world to dream off. The director’s passion for cinema is the sole reason to achieve a novelty at this level. Watch this gem of a movie to experience one of the greatest screenplay writings that has ever happened to world cinema.
20. Mahanadhi (1994, India) IMDB: 8.5
Directed by Santhana Bharathi and Starring Kamal Haasan, Mahanadhi is one of the most deeply disturbing family dramas ever made in Indian Cinema. The movie tells us the story of a man and his irreparable losses. At some point in time, you might try to take off your eyes from the screen due to the tragic happenings, but still, the direction and the performances are bound to arrest you at no time.
19. Bicycle Thieves (1948, Italy) IMDB: 8.3
Bicycle Thieves can be stated as a Universal art film for its Excellency in storytelling and unaltered neo-realist filmmaking. A story about a man and his son searching for their bike will… not only melt your hearts but also tells you much more than what you expect at times with simplicity in making. The movie that is saddening and true to the script with unflinching performance is a must-watch to everyone who loves classic movies.
18. Cinema Paradiso (1988, Italy | France) IMDB: 8.5
Directed by Giuseppe Tornatore, Cinema Paradiso is a nostalgic look at films along with a young boy’s life. The movie has charm written all over it. As some movies are meant to be experienced sitting comfortably in the living room, Cinema Paradiso is one among them.
17. Tumbbad (2018, India) IMDB:8.3
Another Indian film on the rundown but this is one hell of an epic horror movie that redefined horror genre in the Indian Cinema Industry! Tumbbad never believed in jump scares, it is a tale about greed! Sooner or later, you may overlook who the real beast is and that’s the moment Rahi Anil Barve, the director of the film turns himself into the most promising filmmaker of the country to look forward to.
16. Parasite (2019, South Korea) IMDB: 8.6
Revolutionary director Bong Joon-ho’s masterpiece deserves all the love and recognition for the level of impact it made in the world arena. Parasite discusses the line drawn by the rich people which differs themselves from the poor ones. It doesn’t lecture you the morals, yet, the movie managed to depict the philosophies of life and how unfair it is unfair to a certain set of people.
15. City of God (2002, Portuguese) IMDB: 8.6
Directed by Fernando Meirelles, the movie is a brutal crime drama set in the backdrop of slums of Rio, where the story revolves around the two kids and their lives as one becomes a struggling photographer while the other becomes a kingpin. The movie depicts how poor people are dragged into the crime syndicate as they have no other options. The tale is dark, disturbing, and hard to watch, yet it is a harsh reality that everyone needs to accept. The world is brutal at some point.
14. Let the Right One In (2008, Sweden) IMDB: 7.9
Directed by Tomas Alfredson, this Swedish movie is a blend of crime, drama, fantasy, romance, and horror. A vampire story with enough scary moments has never put a smile on the audience’s face as Let the Right One In did. The movie about a different take on the relationship between a mysterious girl and 12 years old boy gives you enough reasons to love and scream while watching the movie.
13. Roma (2018, Mexico) IMDB: 7.7
Alfonso Cuarón’s modern classic is stunning and delightful to watch! It mesmerizes us from the moment it starts and never lets you down from the high point it reaches in a matter of minutes. What makes it more memorable is the director captures the moments, places, and people; and shortens the distance between the audience and cinema.
12. The Lives of Others (2006, German) IMDB: 8.4
The Lives of Others, a movie which is one of the most powerful films that induce tension in your brain for every passing second yet capable of being truthful to its genre and avoid being a regular template movie. The movie is an honest attempt which is hard-hitting at times with a pervasive sense of danger. Grab your popcorn and sit comfortably to witness a drama that makes you uncomfortable at bits and overwhelmingly satisfying at the end.
11. M (1931, German) IMDB: 8.3
It’s been almost 80 years since the release of this masterpiece and still, it is the most terrifying and disturbing serial killer movie of all time. The movie that defines the word “Timeless Classic” has all the reasons to be considered as one of the greatest foreign-language films ever made. And, Fritz Lang, the director of the movie deserves every bit of appreciation for making such an epic movie.
10. Pather Panchali (1955, India) IMDB: 8.6
This is the one step that shattered the templates of Indian Cinema forever. In short, this is the Seven Samurai of India. Directed by Satyajit Ray, the movie is beautiful, well crafted, and the emotions are rightly conveyed. The entire movie travels with pure realism and no emotions were exaggerated at any point, therefore, helping Indian Cinema to explore a Parallel Cinema world, which sticks on to the reality of human emotions.
9. The Salesman (2016, Iran | France) IMDB: 7.8
The Salesman is a movie that is poetic, breezy, and disturbing at the same time. It is overall, a well-made drama film that didn’t fall prey for the routine twists and templates, even though it had a scope to do so. The movie handles the emotions of the actors so well that you can’t take off your eyes even for a bit. Directed by Asghar Farhadi, one of the greatest talents we have today, it is safe to say that this movie is a must-watch for the audience all around the world.
8. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006, Spain | Mexico) IMDB: 8.2
Directed by Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, the movie can be tagged as the adult version of Alice in Wonderland with horror elements and the poetic visuals, that conveys something spell bounding with a fantasy touch. Who could hate a fantasy movie with a dark tone that gives us wholesome entertainment?
7. Solaris (1972, Soviet Union) IMDB: 8.1
Another Andrei Tarvoksky film to find a place in our list. Solaris helped the sci-fi genre to reinvent itself from the taboo it was meant to be. Solaris is more like a state of meditation that questions about the realities behind life and death with a backdrop of science fiction. The movie that makes you stumble between the emotions and intelligence takes some time to settle down, but once it settles down, you are about to watch something great that you will be carrying in your head for the rest of your lifetime.
6. La Jetée (1962, France) IMDB: 8.3
This is hardly a cinema! The duration is too short. Director Chris Marker used a string of stills to tell us a story, but the story is out of the world and this movie proves that it is the conviction and vision of a filmmaker to accomplish something phenomenal, keeps the Cinema Industry alive. La Jetée is the excellence of cinema that inspires even the modern filmmakers we have today to think something BIG!
5. The Platform (2019, Spain) IMDB: 7
The film is set in an enormous, tower-style “Vertical Self-Management Center”. The residents are switched at regular intervals between its numerous floors and are fed via a platform, where the residents in top-level easily have major access to the food while the residents in down floors are left with hunger. The Movie is honest! Brutally honest!! A hard-hitting reality that most of the humans shy to face off! Watch this classic to understand the power of script writing and film making.
4. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009, Spain | Argentina) IMDB: 8.2
The film revolves around a judiciary employee and his boss, and their investigation to find the culprit behind a woman’s rape and murder case in one timeline, while also recalling the case and discovering the buried love between them 25 years later. Starting as a normal crime drama, The Secret in Their Eyes manages to ponder between the pure emotions and brilliant investigation. With a heart-melting performance and intriguing screenplay, this movie is no less than a classic.
3. Thevar Magan (1992, India) IMDB: 8.8
A movie that depicts the cruelty of the caste system and the need for education is a timeless classic which created waves at the time of its release. Sakthivel (starring Kamal Haasan), the protagonist, a London educated young guy, returns to his village only to witness the grudge and enmity of the two village people and their inefficiency in leading a peaceful life. Though he tries to run out of the problems, the situations have different ideas. He needs to fight back, and this fight is different, raw, and inspirational.
2. Memories of Murder (2003, South Korea) IMDB: 8.1
Another masterpiece from Bong Joon-ho, based upon true incidents, will send chills into your spines. And, the most disturbing and haunting factor of the movie is the ending. The movie is honest and never tries to manipulate the crime scenes, therefore, ensuring a haunting experience to the audience. Yes, we don’t want to put a spoiler. Just go ahead and watch this marvelous art to experience an intriguing psychological thriller that keeps you hooked on to your edge of the seat.
1. Seven Samurai (1954, Japan) IMDB: 8.6
Seven Samurai is one of hell of a cinematic experience that created a wave all around the world for its sheer brilliance in writing. Directed by Akira Kurosawa, the movie revolves around the Seven Samurai who risk their lives to save farmers and their crops from bandits. The movie was an instant classic by the time of its release. But, what made it more memorable is its capability to inspire the upcoming generations all these years.
Note: Apart from the above 25 movies, you could also find a lot more good movies around the world. All you need is to search and get them. Watching cinema is a never-ending journey and all you can do is… experience it because life is too short to learn and judge cinema.