Special Report

Best Foreign Films of All Time

Source: Courtesy of Brandon Films

5. Ikiru (1952)
> IMDb user rating: 8.3/10 (75,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (47 reviews)
> Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
> Language: Japanese

Kurosawa’s pensive drama follows an aging civil servant (Takashi Shimura) as he grapples with a terminal diagnosis. The story unfolds in two parts and doubles as a meditation on the meaning of life itself. Many consider it the director’s most empathic effort.

Source: Courtesy of Brandon Films

4. Sansho The Bailiff (1954)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (16,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (17 reviews)
> Directed by: Kenji Mizoguchi
> Language: Japanese

This historical drama has roots in ancient folklore and spins a tale of relentless perseverance. Set in feudal Japan, it finds a family being torn apart by elements beyond their control. Thus begins a long journey toward reacquaintance, which unfurls through a series of sweeping long takes.

Source: Courtesy of Tricolore

3. Children of Paradise (1945)
> IMDb user rating: 8.5/10 (19,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (40 reviews)
> Directed by: Marcel Carné
> Language: French

A beautiful Parisian actress (Arletty) is courted by four different suitors in this sprawling French classic. Filmed in Nazi-occupied France, it was marketed as the country’s answer to “Gone With the Wind.” Marlon Brando once called it “maybe the best film ever made.”

Source: Courtesy of Kingsley-International Pictures

2. The Seven Samurai (1954)
> IMDb user rating: 8.6/10 (332,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (88 reviews)
> Directed by: Akira Kurosawa
> Language: Japanese

Under siege by criminals, a small village hires a team of samurai for protection in this expansive epic. Replete with iconic characters and thrilling action sequences, it’s one of the most influential films ever made – serving as the basis for, among other things, the 1960 and 2016 films called “The Magnificent Seven.” It holds a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes and a similarly impressive score of 98 on Metacritic.

Source: Courtesy of New Yorker Films

1. Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10 (9,100 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 100% (37 reviews)
> Directed by: Ingmar Bergman
> Language: Swedish

This whimsical comedy exhibits the lighter side of director Ingmar Bergman. Set in early 20th-century Sweden, it chronicles the romantic exploits of upper class couples during a weekend retreat. The story draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Renoir’s “The Rules of the Game.”

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