The 100 Best Non-English Films Ever Made

September 20, 2007
Source: Edward Copeland, Cinematical

100 Best Non-English Films

Although this article isn't based on current movie news, I always enjoy the occasional jog backwards in time. It helps build a more well-rounded moviegoer and emphasizes the subtle appreciation of great cinema of past. Back at Toronto Film Fest I caught a few foreign films, but not as many as I would've liked to see. The American public isn't a big support of mainstream foreign cinema, which is why it's an honor now to mention this list and finally shed some mainstream light on the best of the best. Edward Copeland has put together a blogger's list of the 100 best non-English films ever made!

You can dive head first into the full list at this link, but for those who are just looking to start out in the foreign film genre, here are the top 10.

10 - The 400 Blows (1959) - Francois Truffaut, French
9 - The Battle of Algiers (1966) - Gillo Pontecorvo, French & Arabic
8 - Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) - Werner Herzog, German
7 - Grand Illusion (1937) - Jean Renoir, French
6 - Persona (1966) - Ingmar Bergman, Swedish
5 - Bicycle Thieves (aka The Bicycle Thief) (1948) - Vittorio de Sica, Italian
4 - 8 1/2 (1963) - Federico Fellini, Italian
3 - M (1931) - Fritz Lang, German
2 - The Seven Samurai (1954) - Akira Kurosawa, Japanese
1 - The Rules of the Game (1939) - Jean Renoir, French

I'll admit that now I'm inspired! I've got a ton of films to watch, I better fire up the DVD player and Netflix! I'm also incredibly pleased to see Cinema Paradiso, which has a special place in my collection, at #55. Not high up there but at least it's on there.

Every time I go to film festivals and catch a few foreign films I always come out with a certain aura. On one hand I'm upset that so many people complain about "reading subtitles" and on the other I feel like most of the time there is such a brilliance that comes from foreign filmmakers that I wish I could see more! In Toronto this year it was Lust, Caution, which is Ang Lee's latest film. It is such a beautiful film and an amazing story and it's those kind of foreign films that make you love cinema even more.

Anyone else out there a foreign film aficionado? Do you agree or disagree with the top 10 here? Are there any other great foreign films you'd suggest watching?

Find more posts: Editorial, Movie News



Just to be pedantic, shouldn't that be the 100 best non-English language films, rather than the 100 best non-English films? But it's good to see Tokyo Story placed so highly. Not so good, though, to see Jules et Jim reach the Top 20.

Ricky Roma on Sep 20, 2007


Personally I think that "Life is Beautiful" (La Vita e Bella) should have been on the list. Maybe not too high, but on it somewhere.

Zach on Sep 20, 2007


City of God deserves a spot on that list

Detective John Kimble on Sep 20, 2007


City of God IS on the list. Check out #26.

Zach on Sep 20, 2007


Amelie is my favorate film of all time, and Run Lola Run is cool, but apart from that I dont watch many non-english films. (oh, save for Ghibli's masterpieces, which are in a class of their own, Paprika and such also being great)

Thomas on Sep 21, 2007


Hmmm. . . .I always thought the title of de Sica's film translated as "The Bicycle Thief," *singular*.

Robert on Sep 22, 2007


Das Boot on 67? what a laugh? indeed...non-english or non-english language films? K

Koen on Sep 23, 2007


Das Boot is NOT a laugh. It is one of the greatest submarine war movies ever made. I advise you to watch it again. And yes, it does deserve to be on that list, and it does deserve to be number six.

marco on Sep 23, 2007


What about LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL... I really thought that should be somewhere in the top 100, especially before Run Lola Run or Amelie

Matty on Sep 23, 2007


I can't believe "Black Cat - White Cat" didn't make the list.

Jim on Sep 26, 2007

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