Technically there’s no such thing as a foreign language film. No language is foreign to everyone, every language is native to someone. We Americans just call them foreign language films because they’re in a language that’s not English. Subtle nationalism really do be like that! But all of that is beside the point.
There are many foreign films that are absolutely vital to the history of world cinema as a whole. From French New Wave to Bollywood films, the world of cinema beyond the U.S. has so much to offer. Watching foreign films expands your horizons and helps you understand the world better as a whole, which is something we can and should always strive for. How better to understand your fellow global citizens than by watching art created by their people?
One of the worst popular ideas of world cinema is that they’re all ultra serious dramas or tragedies that depict wars or other such atrocities. World cinema is as varied as American cinema, and thought it does include serious dramas, it also includes some uproarious comedies, amongst other genres.
In recent years, global cinema has become more and more accessible, mostly thanks to Netflix, which has made more foreign language films available to the US and many other countries. This increased availability hopefully means that Netflix’s English-speaking users will get over their fear of subtitles and get some education in world cinema.
Without further ado, here are the best foreign films of all time.