Best Foreign Language Films Of All Time - The Pinnacle Of Global Cinema
Foreign language films have made a significant impact on the world of cinema, offering diverse stories and perspectives that resonate with audiences worldwide.
From captivating dramas to thrilling adventures, the best foreign language films of all timehave garnered critical acclaim and a dedicated following.
These films showcase the artistic prowess of filmmakers from different countries, highlighting the power of storytelling beyond language barriers.
In this article, we explore the remarkable world of foreign language cinema and delve into some of the most exceptional and influential films ever made.
Whether you're a seasoned cinephile or someone looking to broaden their film horizons, this collection of the best foreign language films is sure to inspire and captivate you.
M (1931) Original Trailer [FHD]
Our top pick is a pioneering work in many genres: it was the first serial killer picture, and it was also the first sound film directed by the legendary Fritz Lang. It combines the imaginative expressionist methods of the director's epic silents like Metropolis with a terrifyingly realistic story of a child-murdering maniac, and its effect can be seen all the way up to our own Sevens and Saws.
But unlike Jigsaw, the monstrous Hans Beckert (Peter Lorre) isn't a cheer-'em-on villain; instead, he's presented abstractly as a threatening shadow on the wall and gradually brought into focus until he himself becomes a victim, hunted down and dragged before a kangaroo court where the moral divide all but evaporates.
There are universal lessons (for film and society) to be learned from this politically charged masterpiece that reflected back on the German viewers' admiration of the emerging Nazi party.
Seven Samurai (1954) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers
Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai is an action picture that was released in 1954 and is set in war-torn 16th-century Japan. The film is commonly recognized as one of the best and most referenced films of all time.
It relates the story of – you got it – seven masterless samurai (or ronin) who are engaged by a group of desperate farmers to guard their town from a gang of robbers who are planning to steal their crops after they have been harvested.
The black-and-white three-and-a-half hour epic is a theatrical explosion of fast-paced excitement and flair, replete with an exhilaratingly chaotic fightsequence, which is superbly staged in heavy rain. The film's running time is also three and a half hours.
The film's true strength, however, lies in the expertly crafted narrative, vividly realized characters (of which the zany Kikuchiyo is likely to be the most remembered), and razor-sharp wit that it possesses. There will be a break in the action, so don't worry about missing anything if you go to the theater to watch it.
Rules of the Game Trailer (Jean Renoir, 1939)
Opening credits proclaim, "This is not a comedy of manners," which is only partially accurate when applied to Jean Renoir's masterwork. Despite being labeled as a country-estate comedy, this story about France's idle affluent is so much more.
Renoir had provided a shrewd commentary on old-world Europe, a cri de coeur at the hypocrisy of class pretensions, and a rich, gratifying piece of art that is equal parts mockery and sympathy under the garb of criticizing the bourgeoisie as they traverse romantic minefields.
This magnificent satire of the entitled, which essentially changed the laws of cinema, is beloved for different reasons by different people.
Intendendente Sansho (Sansho the bailiff / Sansho Dayu) 1954 trailer
A loving father warns, "Without mercy, man is like a beast," in this heartbreaking tragedy by Kenji Mizoguchi. Here, the Japanese director takes a folklore fable and transforms it into a subdued epic struggle of against-all-odds endurance, continuing a career-long theme of showing how compassion must fight to exist in a cruel world.
The protagonist is a ruthless government official who buys a mother's son and daughter after she is forced to give them up. The children have grown up and abandoned up hope of ever seeing their mother again, but an overheard ballad gives them new reason to believe.
Mizoguchi's ability to elicit tears from his audience without resorting to sentimentality establishes him as a master of melodrama. The film has several of the director's trademark camera moves and lyrical scenes.
The Lives of Others (2006) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers
An East German Stasi operative is charged with eavesdropping on a famous writer and his actress lover in the riveting German thriller The Lives of Others. The officer overhears their chats and gradually learns to sympathize with their cause, leading him to rethink his allegiance to the dictatorship.
The film's exploration of surveillance, free speech, and the strength of human connection make it must watching for every cinema enthusiast. It's widely considered one of the finest movies of this century, and it even won an Oscar for best foreign picture in 2007.
In his commentary on the film's political and historical setting, director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck provides some interesting insights.
ROMA | Official Trailer | Netflix
The landmark Mexican film Roma is set in 1970s Mexico City and follows a housekeeper's life. This film is a classic because to the direction of Alfonso Cuarón and the striking use of black and white photography.
This touching look at family life in Mexico amid a period of social and political turmoil was inspired by Cuarón's own recollections from his upbringing.
The film's title alludes to the Roma district of Mexico City, where Cuarón spent his formative years. Many people all across the globe enjoyed this picture, and it was even nominated for three Oscars.
Oldboy (2003) Original Trailer [HD]
The South Korean film Oldboy follows a guy who is abducted and held hostage for 15 years. The moment he is freed, he sets out to learn the truth about his incarceration and exact his vengeance. This film is a masterpiece of vengeance and atonement, and every lover of the genre owes it to themselves to see it.
The combination of gore and black comedy by director Park Chan-wook sets this picture apart and ensures it won't be easily forgotten. After taking home the Grand Prix at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, Oldboy went on to become a cult classic that was the basis for several knockoffs.
Yi Yi (2000) ORIGINAL TRAILER [HD 1080p]
Edward Yang, a Taiwanese director with a tragically brief career, was a master at transforming large-scale social and political themes into personal ones. For him, the story of a young couple or a family could be the story of a city, a country, or even an entire era.
His final film, Yi Yi, a nearly three-hour picture of the middle-class Jian family in Taipei that includes weddings, love triangles, funerals, and the more prosaic tragedies and thrills of everyday life, is his greatest achievement.
With the assurance of a great novel, the film transports you into lives that feel completely realized; it is rich in detail while remaining unmistakably epic in scope. It's tragic to think that Yang was never given the opportunity to attempt and top such a picture as a filmmaker.
The Passion of Joan of Arc | Trailer HD
The landmark work of Carl Theodor Dreyer, The Passion of Joan of Arc, is a testament to the expressive potential of cinematic language. This black-and-white silent film succeeds to convey the drama of a court case via the use of striking visuals, including dramatic lighting and framing.
One of cinema's most tragic, humiliated, and elegant heroines, Maria Falconetti, is depicted in some of the most heartbreaking sequences ever captured on film, from extreme close-ups of her anguished face to high-angle pictures of her and low-angle shots of her frowning inquisitors.
A Separation | Official Trailer HD (2011)
In A Separation, everyone is struggling with something. There is conflict between Simin and her husband Nader, Nader and Simin, their maid Razieh and herself, and Razieh's husband and the world at large.
A multifaceted depiction of Iran serves as a backdrop against which Asghar Farhadi presents the domestic conflict with the utmost serenity. We're keeping a nervous eye on the situation, just like Temeh, Simin and Nader's little girl. Every conflict is relatable because it involves real people.
With whom do we side? Who can we trust? Nader and Simin sit on opposite sides of a glass barrier in the last scene, avoiding eye contact the whole time. We're still wondering about them and ourselves as the closing titles play through the narrow passageway dividing them.
Parasite, directed by Bong Joon-ho, has won the most Oscars for a foreign language film. It won four Academy Awards in 2020, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film.
There are many contenders for the greatest foreign language film of all time, as it is subjective to personal preferences. However, widely acclaimed films such as "Seven Samurai" (1954), directed by Akira Kurosawa, and "The Bicycle Thief" (1948), directed by Vittorio De Sica, are often cited as some of the greatest foreign language films ever made.
As of now, the foreign language film with the highest rating on IMDb is "Seven Samurai" (1954) directed by Akira Kurosawa. It holds an impressive rating of 8.6/10 on IMDb.
Some must-watch French foreign language films include "Amélie" (2001), "The Intouchables" (2011), "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (2007), "Blue Is the Warmest Color" (2013), and "The Artist" (2011). These films showcase the richness of French cinema and have garnered critical acclaim worldwide.
Yes, there have been a few foreign language films that have won the Best Picture award at the Oscars. One notable example is "Parasite" (2019), directed by Bong Joon-ho, which became the first South Korean film to win the prestigious award in 2020.
The best foreign language films of all time have left an indelible mark on the world of cinema. These films have transcended language barriers to connect with audiences on a deep and emotional level.
From masterpieces of storytelling to groundbreaking technical achievements, they have expanded our understanding of film as an art form. The list of the best foreign language films is subjective and ever-evolving, as new gems continue to emerge from different corners of the globe.
Exploring these films not only broadens our cultural horizons but also reminds us of the universal power of storytelling. So, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of foreign cinema and discoverthe remarkable stories that have shaped the history of film.