Around the World in 102 Films
From the riches of Europe to the remote island nations of Polynesia, the list aims to shift the world’s focus on North American cinema back to the many other equally rich, yet underappreciated film industries around the world. This world cinema list is a true and authentic celebration of foreign cinema. Sparkling with diversity, we offer you 102 of the best foreign films ever made, one film per country.
To write this article, we spent years watching and re-watching every film mentioned in this article; exceptions being those films considered “lost”. Still, our article features merely the top of the iceberg of all the foreign cinema output we watched to compose this list. To make sure each country on this list is represented by an authentic, locally produced film of the highest quality, we’ve watched over 3,000 non-U.S. films in the past two decades.
Pick a Country
Afghanistan • Algeria • Argentina • Australia • Austria • Azerbaijan • Bangladesh • Belarus • Belgium • Bosnia and Herzegovina • Botswana • Brazil • Bulgaria • Burkina Faso • Cambodia • Canada • Chile • China • Colombia • Cook Islands • Cuba • Czechoslovakia • Czech Republic • Denmark • Ecuador • Egypt • El Salvador • Estonia • Ethiopia • Finland • France • Georgia • Germany • Greece • Hong Kong • Hungary • Iceland • India • Indonesia • Iran • Iraq • Ireland • Israel • Italy • Ivory Coast • Jamaica • Japan • Jordan • Kazakhstan • Laos • Lebanon • Lithuania • Macedonia • Mali • Mauritania • Mexico • Mongolia • Morocco • Myanmar • Nepal • The Netherlands • Netherlands Antilles • New Zealand • Nicaragua • Nigeria • North Korea • Norway • Palestine • Paraguay • Peru • The Philippines • Poland • Puerto Rico • Quebec • Romania • Russia • Rwanda • Samoa • Saudi Arabia • Senegal • Serbia • Slovenia • Somalia • South Africa • South Korea • Soviet-Union • Spain • Sri Lanka • Sweden • Switzerland • Taiwan • Thailand • Tunisia • Turkey • Ukraine • United Kingdom • Uruguay • United States of America • Venezuela • Vietnam • West-Germany • Yugoslavia • Zambia
Lists of the best foreign films in the world
While in the past there have been some attempts to create lists with the best foreign films of all time, each one of those lists made our film scholar souls cringe. They either listed a film like Dracula (1992) as an entry for Romania or featured the Outback-drama A Town Like Alice (1956) as an Australian film, failing to recognize that these films were produced and directed by foreigners, starred foreigners, and said very little about the country they attempted to display. You’ll find no such entries on our list!
Travel the World Through Cinema
Over the course of this list, we will travel across the continents to explore the world’s splendorous cinematic landscape. We will highlight hidden gems produced within each geographical region, one film per country. From the famed film industries of France and Italy to the virtually non-existent industries of Myanmar and Saudi Arabia and the now-defunct countries of West-Germany and Yugoslavia; you’ll find them all in the list.
During our cinematic journey across the globe, we will offer you a historical outline of each country’s local film industry. Additionally, we reflect on the socio-political factors that shaped the countries’ cinematic landscape, which resulted in the production of the films we recommend.
The Best Films of Europe
The Best Films of Africa
The Best Films of Asia
The Best Films of Oceania
The Best Films of the Americas
Browse Films by Geographical Region
More articles on Movies
- World Cinema: One Film Per Country
- Cinema of South America
- Cinema of Central America and the Caribbean
- Cinema of North America
- Cinema of Oceania and the Pacific
- Cinema of East and Southeast Asia
Content creator Pim Razenberg is an experienced traveler who’s been roaming the planet for many years. After a stint in the Dutch film industry, he lived and worked in Romania, the United Kingdom, and Thailand. Pim is currently working in the Netherlands, bringing creative new projects to fruition and writing a novel detailing his journeys across the world.