Special Report

The 50 Best Movies Directed by Women

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Greta Gerwig, the acclaimed filmmaker known for her sharp directorial style, has become a leading figure in cinema. She has contributed to modern filmmaking, particularly through her exploration of female narratives. Her latest project, “Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, continues to amplify female voices.

The film, showcasing the inner beauty of the iconic doll, has so far received positive reviews, but it is too early to determine its place among the classics directed by women – or in Hollywood history in general. (Here’s a list of all 18 Oscar Best Picture nominees directed by a woman.)

Gerwig is only one of the many female directors, in America and elsewhere around the world, who have made critically acclaimed and sometimes financially successful films in recent years. (These are the highest-grossing films directed by women.)

To determine the best movies directed by women (in two cases co-directed with a man), 24/7 Tempo developed an index using average ratings on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and a combination of audience scores and Tomatometer scores on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator, as of July 2023, weighting all ratings equally. Documentaries were not considered. Director credits are from IMDb.

A closer look at the list reveals intriguing trends and patterns. From independent gems to box office hits, these films span decades and genres, showcasing the diverse talent behind the camera.

One notable trend is the critical acclaim received by many of these movies. Films like “Capernaum,” directed by Nadine Labaki, and “CODA,” directed by Sian Heder, received particularly high ratings. These movies captivated audiences with their powerful narratives and compelling performances, leaving a lasting impression.

Click here to see the 50 best movies directed by women

Women directors have delved into various genres. From the sci-fi blockbuster “The Matrix,” co-directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski, to the emotionally charged war drama “The Hurt Locker,” directed by Kathryn Bigelow, these filmmakers have fearlessly explored different cinematic landscapes.  

Moreover, the ranking showcases the longevity of some women directors’ careers. Claudia Weill’s “Girlfriends” and Chantal Akerman’s “Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” demonstrate that female directors have been making significant contributions to the film industry for decades. Weill made her first feature in 1975, the late Akerman a year before that.

Source: Courtesy of IFC Films

50. Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (35,951 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 84% (46,691 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:82 (120 reviews)
> Directed by: Miranda July

“Me and You and Everyone We Know” is an independent romantic comedy-drama film starring John Hawkes, Miranda July, and Miles Thompson. Set in Los Angeles, it explores themes of loneliness, intimacy, and art in a unique and often humorous way. It was a critical success, winning several awards including the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

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Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

49. Toni Erdmann (2016)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (48,405 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 73% (5,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:93 (242 reviews)
> Directed by: Maren Ade

This German tragicomedy concerns a practical-joking father who tries to reconnect with daughter. It received critical acclaim for its humor, acting, and powerful themes of family, responsibility, and growing up. The film was nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

48. Girlfriends (1978)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (2,191 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 74% (306 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:95 (22 reviews)
> Directed by: Claudia Weill

In the comedy-drama “Girlfriends,” two New York City friends – played by Melanie Mayron and Anita Skinner – navigate the complexities of their relationships and lives. The film is a realistic portrayal of the struggles and joys of female friendships in the 1970s, and received critical acclaim for its exploration of female relationships and the complexity of its characters. It was added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry in 2018.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

47. The Secret Garden (1993)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (39,884 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 80% (195,144 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:88 (42 reviews)
> Directed by: Agnieszka Holland

This British drama, starring Kate Maberly, Heydon Prowse, and Andrew Knott, tells the story of a young orphaned girl, sent to live in England after spending her childhood in India, who discovers a secret garden on the grounds of her guardian’s estate. The film depicts her struggles to restore the garden and the lives of the people in her life.

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Source: Courtesy of The Samuel Goldwyn Company

46. Desert Hearts (1985)
> IMDb user rating: 7/10 (5,759 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 76% (3,484 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:96 (23 reviews)
> Directed by: Donna Deitch

“Desert Hearts” is a romantic drama set in Reno, Nevada, in 1959. It follows a young professor, Vivian (Helen Shaver), as she finds love and acceptance with another woman, Cay (Patricia Charbonneau). The film was praised for its realistic and sensitive depiction of a lesbian relationship at a time when such stories were not commonly seen. It was nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 1986 Sundance Film Festival.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

45. Mikey and Nicky (1976)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (4,733 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 80% (819 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:87 (23 reviews)
> Directed by: Elaine May

This crime drama stars John Cassavetes and Peter Falk as two childhood friends whose relationship is tested by gangsters and betrayal. The film is noted for its improvisational dialogue and its frank portrayal of the difficulties of male friendship. It was a critical success, but a commercial failure at the box office.

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Source: Courtesy of Roadside Attractions

44. Winter’s Bone (2010)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (139,279 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 76% (51,807 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:94 (175 reviews)
> Directed by: Debra Granik

“Winter’s Bone” is a drama featuring Jennifer Lawrence as Ree Dolly, a 17-year-old girl in the Ozarks of Missouri, who embarks on a desperate search to find her missing father, while trying to protect her family from being evicted from their home. The film was a critical success, earning numerous awards and nominations, including Academy Award nominations for Lawrence and Granik for Best Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, respectively.

Source: Courtesy of New World Pictures

43. Suburbia (1983)
> IMDb user rating: 7/10 (4,995 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 80% (5,134 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:93 (15 reviews)
> Directed by: Penelope Spheeris

A drama film about a group of punk rockers living in a suburban neighborhood, “Suburbia” explores themes of youth alienation and the struggle of fitting into society. The movie was acclaimed for its realistic portrayal of punk culture and received positive reviews from critics. It is now considered a classic of its genre and a cult classic.

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

42. Private Life (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (18,066 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 78% (1,065 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:93 (106 reviews)
> Directed by: Tamara Jenkins

“Private Life” is a 2018 American comedy-drama film directed by Tamara Jenkins. It follows an aging couple, played by Paul Giamatti and Kathryn Hahn, attempting to cope with infertility and the stresses of modern life. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. The movie received critical acclaim, with particular praise for the performances of Giamatti and Hahn.

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Source: Courtesy of Trimark Pictures

41. Eve’s Bayou (1997)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (9,428 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 89% (8,317 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:82 (57 reviews)
> Directed by: Kasi Lemmons

Set in rural Louisiana in the 1960s, “Eve’s Bayou” tells the story of the life of 10-year-old Eve Batiste (Jurnee Smollett), who discovers a dark secret and its devastating consequences within her family. Despite the serious subject matter, the film is filled with magical realism, allowing for a unique and captivating story. It was critically acclaimed and gained cult status for its honest and raw depiction of family life.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists Releasing

40. Booksmart (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (106,360 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 77% (4,116 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:96 (376 reviews)
> Directed by: Olivia Wilde

Actress Olivia Wilde made her directorial debut with this coming-of-age comedy. The film follows two high school seniors, played by Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, as they attempt to cram four years of fun into one night before their graduation. The movie received critical acclaim, with many praising the performances of its lead actresses and Wilde’s direction.

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

39. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (304,492 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 80% (197,285 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:91 (302 reviews)
> Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

“Zero Dark Thirty” is a 2012 American historical drama film directed by Kathryn Bigelow. It is based on the decade-long manhunt for Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11 attacks. The film follows a CIA operative’s search for bin Laden in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $132 million worldwide and earning five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

38. An Education (2009)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (131,559 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 80% (55,006 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:93 (197 reviews)
> Directed by: Lone Scherfig

Written by English novelist Nick Hornby (“About a Boy,” “High Fidelity”), “An Education” is a coming-of-age drama that follows the story of Jenny (Carey Mulligan), a bright schoolgirl, as she navigates through the challenges of growing up in 1960s suburban London. Critically acclaimed, it earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture, and was praised for its accurate and sensitive portrayal of the period.

Source: Courtesy of Showtime Networks

37.Things Behind the Sun (2001)
> IMDb user rating: 7/10 (1,448 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 79% (1,069 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:100 (12 reviews)
> Directed by: Allison Anders

“Things Behind the Sun” is a drama about a young woman, played by Kim Dickens, who struggles to cope with the psychological trauma she experienced as a child. The film deals with themes of family, love, and tragedy, ultimately exploring the lasting effects of childhood abuse.

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Source: Steve Jennings / Getty Images

36. Saving Face (2004)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (11,034 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 88% (8,573 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:86 (88 reviews)
> Directed by: Alice Wu

In this romantic comedy, follows Wil (Michelle Krusiec), a young Chinese-American lesbian, as she deals with the pressures of her conservative Chinese family while trying to maintain her secret relationship with another woman. Along the way, she finds her place and learns to accept her identity. The movie is hailed for its honest and heartfelt portrayal of a young lesbian woman struggling with her identity.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

35. Little Women (1994)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (55,003 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 84% (87,630 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:92 (39 reviews)
> Directed by: Gillian Armstrong

The 1994 version of “Little Women” is a beloved classic directed by Gillian Armstrong. The beloved story, based on Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, concerns the lives of the four March sisters – Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy – as they come of age during the American Civil War. Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, and Kirsten Dunst star in this heartwarming tale of sisterhood, courage, and resilience that has been loved by viewers for decades.

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Source: Courtesy of Good Deed Entertainment

34. Loving Vincent (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (59,025 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 86% (7,852 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:84 (160 reviews)
> Directed by: Dorota Kobiela

“Loving Vincent” – a biographical drama – is the first fully painted animated feature film, made up of 65,000 frames of oil paintings on canvas. The film is a celebration of the life and controversial death of the renowned post-impressionist artist Vincent van Gogh. The film was nominated for a number of awards, including Best Animated Feature at the 90th Academy Awards.

Source: Courtesy of New Line Cinema

33. Love & Basketball (2000)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (20,127 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 95% (186,899 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:83 (95 reviews)
> Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood

“Love & Basketball” is a romantic sports drama starring Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps as two next-door neighbors in Los Angeles who fall in love while pursuing their basketball dreams. The film follows their relationship through the years, highlighting the pressures of their respective family and cultural backgrounds. It was a critical and commercial success, earning an NAACP Image Award and a nomination for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature.

Source: Courtesy of STX Entertainment

32. The Edge of Seventeen (2016)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (113,349 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 83% (27,536 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:94 (216 reviews)
> Directed by: Kelly Fremon Craig

This coming-of-age comedy-drama stars Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine, a high school student who struggles with the pressures of adolescence. It follows her as she seeks out the help of her teacher and older brother to navigate the difficulties of high school life. The film’s themes of friendship, family, and growing up are explored in a humorous yet heartfelt manner.

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Source: Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

31. Nomadland (2020)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (126,891 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 82% (573 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:94 (416 reviews)
> Directed by: Chloé Zhao

This drama stars Frances McDormand as Fern, a nomad who embarks on a journey through the American West following the economic collapse of a company town in Nevada. “Nomadland” explores themes of loneliness, poverty, and community through her eyes. The film received critical acclaim, winning numerous awards including multiple Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and BAFTA Awards.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

30.Wonder Woman (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (611,008 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 83% (135,481 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:93 (470 reviews)
> Directed by: Patty Jenkins

A superhero movie based on the DC Comics character of the same name, “Wonder Woman” stars Gal Gadot as the titular heroine, who embarks on a journey of self-discovery while fighting a war between the gods of Olympus and the forces of evil. It was a critical and commercial success, becoming the highest-grossing superhero origin film, and the highest-grossing film directed by a woman.

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Source: Courtesy of Lions Gate Films

29. Away from Her (2006)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (21,845 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 81% (114,775 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:94 (145 reviews)
> Directed by: Sarah Polley

“Away from Her” is a Canadian drama starring Julie Christie as Fiona, a woman suffering from Alzheimer’s disease who moves into a long-term care facility. The film follows her husband Grant (Gordon Pinsent) as he struggles to accept her illness and their changed relationship. The movie explores the pain of love, loss, and acceptance in the face of a devastating illness.

Source: Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

28. Boys Don’t Cry (1999)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (99,183 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 87% (70,021 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:89 (79 reviews)
> Directed by: Kimberly Peirce

“Boys Don’t Cry” is based on the true story of Brandon Teena, a trans man – played by Hilary Swank – who seeks love and acceptance in a predominantly rural town in Nebraska and suffers a horrific hate crime. The film won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actress for Swank.

Source: Courtesy of Janus Films

27. Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (11,476 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 80% (1,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:95 (56 reviews)
> Directed by: Chantal Akerman

This Belgian movie tracks a woman’s mundane everyday routine while gradually revealing the underlying depression and desperation of her life. Through long shots and minimal dialogue, it explores themes of femininity, monotony, and alienation. It has been lauded as one of the most influential films of the 1970s and is considered not only a masterpiece of feminist cinema but one of the greatest films of all time.

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Source: Courtesy of Bleecker Street Media

26. Leave No Trace (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (55,265 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 80% (4,960 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:100 (240 reviews)
> Directed by: Debra Granik

In “Leave No Trace,” follows Will (Ben Foster), a veteran suffering from PTSD, and his daughter, Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), as they try to survive life in the forest near Portland, Oregon, without being detected by the authorities. The film explores themes of family, resilience, and freedom. It received critical acclaim and was nominated for numerous awards, including a Grand Jury Prize at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

25. Big (1988)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (207,973 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 82% (402,079 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:97 (75 reviews)
> Directed by: Penny Marshall

“Big” is a fantasy comedy-drama starring Tom Hanks as a young boy who is magically transformed into an adult. The film follows his attempt to navigate the adult world while trying to maintain his childhood innocence and enjoyment of life. The film was a box office success, grossing over $151 million on a budget of $18 million. It was nominated for two Academy Awards and won the 1989 BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay.

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Source: Courtesy of A24

24. Lady Bird (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (260,681 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 79% (22,988 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:99 (398 reviews)
> Directed by: Greta Gerwig

In this coming-of-age comedy-drama, Saoirse Ronan is featured as Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, an outspoken and rebellious high school senior who navigates her way through her senior year in Sacramento while trying to figure out her life and future. “Lady Bird” was a critical and commercial success, grossing over $80 million on a $10 million budget and receiving numerous awards and nominations, including five Academy Award nominations.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

23.The Piano (1993)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (82,223 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 86% (48,496 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:90 (62 reviews)
> Directed by: Jane Campion

This drama follows a mute Scottish woman (Holly Hunter) who is sold into marriage to a New Zealand frontiersman (Sam Neill). Harvey Keitel appears as a mysterious neighbor. The film earned critical acclaim for its powerful performances, beautiful visuals, and captivating score. It was nominated for three Academy Awards and won a Palme D’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Classics

22. Mostly Martha (2001)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (8,287 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 89% (5,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:92 (85 reviews)
> Directed by: Sandra Nettelbeck

“Mostly Martha” is a romantic comedy-drama about a workaholic chef named Martha (Martina Gedeck) who must learn to balance work and family when her sister dies and she is left to care for her niece and at the same time forced to confront her own emotional issues. The film received critical acclaim and was nominated for several awards including an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

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Source: Courtesy of HBO Films

21. The Tale (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 7.2/10 (18,359 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 82% (668 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:99 (80 reviews)
> Directed by: Jennifer Fox

In this critically acclaimed drama, director Fox tells the story of her own childhood sexual abuse, looking back from her late forties. Laura Dern plays Fox as an adult. The movie explores the complex topics of memory, power and abuse. It was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards and won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Narrative Filmmaking.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

20. Promising Young Woman (2020)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (127,151 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 88% (640 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:90 (399 reviews)
> Directed by: Emerald Fennell

“Promising Young Woman” is a dark comedy thriller starring Carey Mulligan as a woman on a mission to avenge the death of her best friend. The film follows Mulligan’s character as she seeks justice in a world that is often hostile to women’s stories and desires. It was released to critical acclaim and has won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.

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Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

19. The Rider (2017)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (17,308 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 82% (2,068 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:97 (185 reviews)
> Directed by: Chloé Zhao

“The Rider” stars Brady Jandreau as a young rodeo rider who is trying to make sense of his life after suffering a near-fatal head injury. The film follows his struggles to reconnect with his family and friends as he deals with the aftermath of the accident. It was praised for its realistic representation of rodeo life and rural America.

Source: Courtesy of Image Entertainment

18. Xiu Xiu: The Sent Down Girl (1998)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (3,294 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 83% (2,317 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:96 (24 reviews)
> Directed by: Joan Chen

In this Chinese drama, a young girl named Xiu Xiu (Li Xiaolu) who is sent to a Tibetan village to learn the traditional ways of her people. She experiences the harsh realities of life in rural China and has to make difficult decisions about her future. The film was praised for its realistic and powerful portrayal of youth in modern China.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

17. Monsoon Wedding (2001)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (25,333 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 87% (27,606 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:95 (126 reviews)
> Directed by: Mira Nair

“Monsoon Wedding” is an Indian drama that tells the story of a Punjabi family living in New Delhi, celebrating the arranged marriage of their daughter Aditi (Vasundhara Das). It is a colorful, vibrant exploration of modern India and its culture, full of love, laughter, dance, and music. The film was a critical and commercial success, and was nominated for several awards, including a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film.

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

16. Awakenings (1990)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (144,518 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 89% (55,236 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:88 (34 reviews)
> Directed by: Penny Marshall

“Awakenings,” a drama film starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, relates the true story of a doctor who discovers a treatment that awakens long-dormant patients from a catatonic state. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and was a critical and commercial success.

Source: Courtesy of Summit Entertainment

15. The Hurt Locker (2008)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (455,104 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 84% (96,200 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:97 (289 reviews)
> Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

This war thriller film, starring Jeremy Renner, follows an American Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal team during the Iraq War as they are targeted by insurgents. The film won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Bigelow, making her the first woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director. It is noted for its intense and authentic portrayal of modern warfare.

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14. Bаstard Out of Carolina (1996)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (4,555 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 84% (5,301 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:100 (9 reviews)
> Directed by: Anjelica Huston

“Bаstard Out of Carolina,” starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, is based on the novel of the same name by Dorothy Allison and tells the story of an abused girl growing up in South Carolina during the 1950s. The film was nominated for a Golden Globe and two Independent Spirit Awards. It explores themes of family, poverty, abuse, and resilience.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

13. A New Leaf (1971)
> IMDb user rating: 7.4/10 (6,159 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 83% (1,020 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:100 (36 reviews)
> Directed by: Elaine May

In this comedy-drama, Walter Matthau stars as an aging millionaire who attempts to marry a young woman (played by director May) in order to avoid bankruptcy. Despite its dark humor and unusual story, the film was well-received by critics and earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

12. Lost in Translation (2003)
> IMDb user rating: 7.7/10 (432,805 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 85% (337,639 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:95 (232 reviews)
> Directed by: Sofia Coppola

“Lost in Translation” stars Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson as Bob and Charlotte, two lost and lonely Americans in Tokyo. The film follows their blossoming relationship as they explore the city and each other, forming an intimate connection as they confront their own feelings of loneliness in a foreign culture. The film is a meditation on human connection and the search for understanding in a world of alienation and confusion.

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11. Honey Boy (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 7.3/10 (32,827 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 92% (560 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:94 (231 reviews)
> Directed by: Alma Har’el

Written and produced as well as directed by Har’el, “Honey Boy” stars Shia LaBeouf as a character based on his own life experiences, navigating the complexities of his relationship with his father over the course of a decade as a young actor. The film received critical acclaim, with praise for LaBeouf’s performance, Har’el’s direction, and the emotional honesty of its screenplay. It was nominated for several awards, including Independent Spirit Awards for Best First Feature and Best First Screenplay.

Source: Courtesy of Fine Line Features

10. An Angel at My Table (1990)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (8,041 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 90% (4,505 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:94 (18 reviews)
> Directed by: Jane Campion

This biographical drama follows the story of Janet Frame, a New Zealand writer who has endured a difficult life. It explores Janet’s relationship with her family, her struggles with mental illness, and her journey to becoming a celebrated author. The film was highly acclaimed, winning numerous awards, including the Grand Prix at the Valenciennes International Film Festival. It was also nominated for five Academy Awards.

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9. Selma (2014)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (92,432 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 86% (61,564 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:99 (313 reviews)
> Directed by: Ava DuVernay

A historical drama starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., “Selma” follows the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery marches, pivotal moments in the civil rights movement, organized in an effort to secure equal voting rights for African-Americans. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning over $50 million at the box office and numerous accolades, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture.

Source: Courtesy of A24

8. The Farewell (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 7.6/10 (57,395 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 87% (2,490 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:97 (343 reviews)
> Directed by: Lulu Wang

An American-Chinese comedy-drama film featuring Awkwafina, “The Farewell” follows a Chinese-American family who, upon learning their grandmother has only a short while left to live, decide not to tell her and schedule a wedding to gather before she dies. The film received critical acclaim, with many praising Awkwafina’s performance.

Source: Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures

7. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (454,829 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 91% (427,295 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:91 (218 reviews)
> Directed by: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

“Little Miss Sunshine” is a comedy-drama film featuring Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, and Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, and Paul Dano as members of a dysfunctional family making a cross-country road trip in a Volkswagen Type 2 van to get to a beauty pageant. Despite their various issues, they bond and become closer as a family. The film received critical acclaim and won two Academy Awards, for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor.

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Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

6. Wadjda (2012)
> IMDb user rating: 7.5/10 (19,766 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 88% (13,494 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:99 (122 reviews)
> Directed by: Haifaa Al-Mansour

A Saudi Arabian drama written and directed by Al-Mansour – one of the first female Saudi filmmakers – “Wadjda” tells the story of a young girl (Waad Mohammed) living in a suburb of Riyadh, who challenges the restrictions imposed on her gender by entering a Quran recitation competition. The film was the first feature-length movie shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, and it won several awards, including the Best Arabic Language Film at the Dubai International Film Festival. It was also nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

5. The Matrix (1999)
> IMDb user rating: 8.7/10 (1,759,161 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 85% (33,324,202 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:88 (155 reviews)
> Directed by: Lana and Lilly Wachowski

This science fiction action film, starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, and Carrie-Anne Moss, follows a computer hacker who discovers that the world has been taken over by an artificial intelligence. He joins a group of rebels in a fight against the machines in a virtual reality world. “The Matrix” mixes groundbreaking special effects with philosophical themes, and it was a box office success and a critical success.

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

4. Little Women (2019)
> IMDb user rating: 7.8/10 (165,569 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 92% (18,202 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:95 (424 reviews)
> Directed by: Greta Gerwig

The 2019 adaptation (the seventh to be filmed) of the revered Louisa May Alcott novel of the same name, set during the Civil War, was written as well as directed by Gerwig and stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, and Florence Pugh. The familiar story concerns the March sisters as they grow up and come of age, facing both joy and heartache. “Little Women” received critical acclaim, with praise for Gerwig’s screenplay and direction, the musical score, and the performances of its cast. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won one, for Best Costume Design.

Source: Courtesy of Apple TV+

3. CODA (2021)
> IMDb user rating: 8/10 (136,026 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 91% (1,000 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:94 (291 reviews)
> Directed by: Sian Heder

“CODA,” a drama starring Emilia Jones, Eugenio Derbez, and Troy Kotsur, follows Ruby (Jones), as the only hearing member of her family, who must choose between her family’s fishing business and her own musical ambitions, finding her own voice and a sense of self-worth in the hearing world. The film was praised for its strong performances, unique style, and heartfelt story. It won the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival.

Source: Courtesy of Cinecom Pictures

2. Salaam Bombay! (1988)
> IMDb user rating: 8/10 (9,036 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 93% (5,709 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:93 (30 reviews)
> Directed by: Mira Nair

Set in the slums of Bombay (Mumbai), this drama follows the life of an impoverished street kid (Shafiq Syed) who finds himself alone in the big city. The film deals with themes of poverty, human resilience, and the struggles of street children in India. It was the first Indian film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and the first film to be produced by the National Film Development Corporation of India.

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Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

1. Capernaum (2018)
> IMDb user rating: 8.4/10 (75,484 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes audience rating: 92% (1,318 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer rating:90 (176 reviews)
> Directed by: Nadine Labaki

“Capernaum” tells the tale of an impoverished and impulsive 12-year-old boy in Lebanon (Zain Al Rafeea) who sues his parents for neglect. The film explores themes of poverty, injustice, and the struggle of marginalized children living in the slums of Beirut. It was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards and won the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival.

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