Special Report

The Most Successful Foreign Films in America

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

35. Talk to Her (2002)
> Domestic ticket sales: $14.7 million
> International ticket sales: $87.6 million
> IMDb audience score: 7.9/10 (111,935 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 91% (135 votes)
> Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar

From prolific Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar comes this twisted drama, which won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Told primarily through flashbacks, it depicts the overlapping sagas of four separate characters. In 2005, Time Magazine named it as one of the 100 best films ever made.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

34. All About My Mother (1999)
> Domestic ticket sales: $15.0 million
> International ticket sales: $107.9 million
> IMDb audience score: 7.8/10 (96,201 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 98% (93 votes)
> Directed by: Pedro Almodóvar

Widely considered Almodóvar‘s best effort at the time, this topical Spanish-language drama explores themes of AIDS and gender identity. After her son is killed in an accident, an Argentine nurse (Cecilia Roth) searches for the boy’s transgender second mother. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

33. The Lives of Others (2007)
> Domestic ticket sales: $15.0 million
> International ticket sales: $88.0 million
> IMDb audience score: 8.4/10 (385,383 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 92% (163 votes)
> Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

The feature debut from German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck takes place in communist East Berlin circa 1984. Assigned to spy on a writer and his wife, a government agent (Ulrich Mühe) begins intervening with their lives. It won numerous major awards, including the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

Source: Courtesy of The Samuel Goldwyn Company

32. The Wedding Banquet (1993)
> Domestic ticket sales: $15.3 million
> International ticket sales: Not available
> IMDb audience score: 7.6/10 (15,536 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (29 votes)
> Directed by: Ang Lee

This Chinese romantic comedy, which takes place in Manhattan, makes up part of director Ang Lee’s informal “Father Knows Best” trilogy. Afraid to come out to his parents, a gay landlord (Winston Chao) arranges a marriage of convenience with one of his Taiwanese tenants (May Chin). All is going according to plan until the parents arrive with the intention of throwing a massive wedding ceremony.

Source: Courtesy of Intercontinental Film Distributors

31. Spirited Away (2002)
> Domestic ticket sales: $15.9 million
> International ticket sales: $540.1 million
> IMDb audience score: 8.6/10 (741,306 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (194 votes)
> Directed by: Hayao Miyazaki

Miyazaki’s animated classic broke box office records in Japan before arriving in the United States to modest fanfare, though it’s since gained a respectable domestic following. The story sends a young suburban girl into a fantastic netherworld, where humans turn into beasts and gods roam the skies. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

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