The 100 Best Foreign Films According To The BBC

Need to increase your level of cinema knowledge? This Top 100 will inspire you.

100 foreign films, no more, no less, covering more than a century of cinema. That's the challenge which the BBC website set itself this week: to produce a list of the 100 best foreign films. "Foreign" as in "not in English". In order to draw up the list, the British broadcaster called upon a group of 209 film critics (43% of whom were women).

Here are some of the highlights of the list:

  • First place in the Top 100 was reserved for Japanese director Akira Kurosawa and his film Seven Samurai, which is set in the Middle Ages.
  • On the podium, we also find an Italian film, Bicycle Thieves, and another Japanese film, Tokyo Story.
  • The two most-cited directors are Spaniard Luis Buñuel and Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, with five films each in the Top 100.
  • Akira Kurosawa, Andrei Tarkovski and Federico Fellini are cited four times.
  • We also find three films each by Wong Kar-wai, Abbas Kiarostami and Jean-Luc Godard.
  • The Top 10 features two French films, The Rules of the Game by Renoir and The 400 Blows by Truffaut. 
  • The only film from the 2000s to appear in the Top 10 is In the Mood for Love by Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai.
  • Among the recent films, we can also find A Separation, Pan's Labyrinth, Oldboy, City of God, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days and Spirited Away.

We'll leave you with the Top 100 to give you some more ideas for your travels in the world of film:

1. Seven Samurai (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)
2. Bicycle Thieves (Vittorio de Sica, 1948)
3. Tokyo Story (Yasujiro Ozu, 1953)
4. Rashomon (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
5. The Rules of the Game (Jean Renoir, 1939)
6. Persona (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
7. 1⁄2 (Federico Fellini, 1963)
8. The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959)
9. In the Mood for Love (Wong Kar-wai, 2000)
10. La dolce vita (Federico Fellini, 1960)
11. Breathless (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
12. Farewell My Concubine (Chen Kaige, 1993)
13. M (Fritz Lang, 1931)
14. Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du commerce, 1080 Brussels (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
15. Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)
16. Metropolis (Fritz Lang, 1927)
17. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (Werner Herzog, 1972)
18. A City of Sadness (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1989)
19. The Battle of Algiers (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
20. The Mirror (Andrei Tarkovski, 1974)
21. A Separation (Asghar Farhadi, 2011)
22. Pan's Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006)
23. The Passion of Joan of Arc (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1928)
24. Battleship Potemkin (Serguei M. Eisenstein, 1925)
25. Yi Yi (Edward Yang, 2000)
26. Cinema Paradiso (Giuseppe Tornatore, 1988)
27. The Spirit of the Beehive (Victor Erice, 1973)
28. Fanny and Alexander (Ingmar Bergman, 1982)
29. Old Boy (Park Chan-wook, 2003)
30. The Seventh Seal (Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
31. The Lives of Others (Florian H. von Donnersmarck, 2006)
32. All About My Mother (Pedro Almodovar, 1999)
33. Playtime (Jacques Tati, 1967)
34. Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1987)
35. The Leopard (Luchino Visconti, 1963)
36. La Grande Illusion (Jean Renoir, 1937)
37. Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001)
38. A Brighter Summer Day (Edward Yang, 1991)
39. Close-up (Abbas Kiarostami, 1990)
40. Andrei Roublev (Andrei Tarkovski, 1966)
41. To Live (Zhang Yimou, 1994)
42. City of God (Fernando Meirelles and Kátia Lund, 2002)
43. Beau Travail (Claire Denis, 1999)
44. Cleo from 5 to 7 (Agnès Varda, 1962)
45. L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
46. Children of Paradise (Marcel Carné, 1945)
47. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Cristian Mungiu, 2007)
48. Viridiana (Luis Buñuel, 1961)
49. Stalker (Andrei Tarkovski, 1979)
50. L’Atalante (Jean Vigo, 1934)
51. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Jacques Demy, 1964)
52. Au Hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson, 1966)
53. Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949)
54. Eat Drink Man Woman (Ang Lee, 1994)
55. Jules and Jim (François Truffaut, 1962)
56. Chungking Express (Wong Kar-wai, 1994)
57. Solaris (Andrei Tarkovski, 1972)
58. The Earrings of Madame de… (Max Ophuls, 1953)
59. Come and See (Elem Klimov, 1985)
60. Contempt (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963)
61. Sansho the Bailiff (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1954)
62. Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambéty, 1973)
63. Spring in a Small Town (Fei Mu, 1948)
64. Three Colours: Blue (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1993)
65. Ordet (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955)
66. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1973)
67. The Exterminating Angel (Luis Buñuel, 1962)
68. Ugetsu (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1953)
69. Amour (Michael Haneke, 2012)
70. L’Eclisse (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1962)
71. Happy Together (Wong Kar-wai, 1997)
72. Ikiru (Akira Kurosawa, 1952)
73. Man with a Movie Camera (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
74. Pierrot le Fou (Jean-Luc Godard, 1965)
75. Belle de jour (Luis Buñuel, 1967)
76. Y tu mamá también (Alfonso Cuaron, 2001)
77. The Conformist (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1970)
78. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Ang Lee, 2000)
79. Ran (Akira Kurosawa, 1985)
80. The Young and the Damned (Luis Buñuel, 1950)
81. Celine and Julie Go Boating (Jacques Rivette, 1974)
82. Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)
83. La Strada (Federico Fellini, 1954)
84. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (Luis Buñuel, 1972)
85. Umberto D. (Vittorio de Sica, 1952)
86. La Jetée (Chris Marker, 1962)
87. The Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957)
88. The Story of the Last Chrysanthemum (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1939)
89. Wild Strawberries (Ingmar Bergman, 1957)
90. Hiroshima mon amour (Alain Resnais, 1959)
91. Rififi (Jules Dassin, 1955)
92. Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1973)
93. Raise the Red Lantern (Zhang Yimou, 1991)
94. Where Is the Friend's Home? (Abbas Kiarostami, 1987)
95. Floating Clouds (Mikio Naruse, 1955)
96. Shoah (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
97. Taste of Cherry (Abbas Kiarostami, 1997)
98. In the Heat of the Sun (Jiang Wen, 1994)
99. Ashes and Diamonds (Andrzej Wajda, 1958)
100. Landscape in the Mist (Theo Angelopoulos, 1988)

Journaliste culture depuis 1956. Musique, cinéma et un peu de photographie.