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From 'Metropolis' to 'Parasite': 100 best international movies of all time

  • #10. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

    - Director: Guillermo del Toro
    - Stacker score: 94
    - Metascore: 98
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 118 min

    Mexican director Guillermo del Toro’s resplendent and bizarre fairy tale for adults brims with surreal intrigue and nightmare scenarios involving a child-eating creature known as The Pale Man with eyes in his palms. Taking place in Spain during World War II, “Pan’s Labyrinth” mixes realistic history with a fantastical descent into the underworld to depict the horrors of wartime.

  • #9. The Leopard (1963)

    - Director: Luchino Visconti
    - Stacker score: 94
    - Metascore: 100
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Runtime: 186 min

    Opulent costumes and settings recreate 1860s Sicily, where an aristocratic family copes with the social changes that threaten their dynasty. Burt Lancaster stars as the patriarch, a prince looking to protect his family’s empire in an epic tale known for its sweeping scale and decadent beauty. “The Leopard” was screened in English in the U.S., and while Lancaster was filmed speaking English, he was later dubbed by an Italian voice actor, with awkward results.

  • #8. The Conformist (1970)

    - Director: Bernardo Bertolucci
    - Stacker score: 94
    - Metascore: 100
    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Runtime: 113 min

    Italian auteur Bernardo Bertolucci infuses his drama about conformity with stylish, color-rich cinematography that captures 1930s Paris, where an Italian assassin, Marcello, is sent to kill his outspoken, antifascist former professor. Bertolucci’s nonlinear narrative moves across Marcello’s life to explore how his obsession with acceptance contributes to his fascist sympathies and easy betrayals.

  • #7. Metropolis (1927)

    - Director: Fritz Lang
    - Stacker score: 94
    - Metascore: 98
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Runtime: 153 min

    Fritz Lang’s iconic science fiction classic is a masterwork of German Expressionism and the silent cinema. In “Metropolis,” elites frolic on garden rooftops while workers toil in the depths below, subdued by monstrous machinery. The iconic, art-deco-inspired robot Maria suggests a fear of technology in this highly influential film known for its vast scale and striking visuals.

  • #6. Army of Shadows (1969)

    - Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
    - Stacker score: 94
    - Metascore: 99
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 145 min

    “Army of Shadows” was an obscure French masterpiece about resistance during World War II until it garnered a critical resurgence of attention upon its American release in 2006. Director Jean-Pierre Melville makes the proceedings unrelentingly bleak in this chilling depiction of betrayal and despair for those who resist the Nazi regime.

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  • #5. Fanny and Alexander (1982)

    - Director: Ingmar Bergman
    - Stacker score: 94
    - Metascore: 100
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 188 min

    Known for arthouse classics “Persona” and “Wild Strawberries,” Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman may be most acclaimed for this sprawling family drama with supernatural elements set in the early 1900s. Two children (the plot is semi-autobiographical) must contend with the brutal bishop their mother marries after the death of their beloved father. Bergman’s characteristic themes of psychological mayhem play out through the children’s dreams and desperation for escape.

  • #4. Three Colors: Red (1994)

    - Director: Krzysztof Kieslowski
    - Stacker score: 94
    - Metascore: 100
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 99 min

    Polish director Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Three Colors Trilogy” took the French flag as inspiration and thematically tethered to its mottos three artsy, interlinked dramas that were co-produced by France, Poland, and Switzerland. The final “Red,” after “Blue” and “White,” stars Irène Jacob as a student and model whose life intersects with a retired judge. Critics hailed “Red” as the best of the three (it has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) due to its atmospheric beauty and interconnected themes.

  • #3. Spirited Away (2001)

    - Director: Hayao Miyazaki
    - Stacker score: 95
    - Metascore: 96
    - IMDb user rating: 8.6
    - Runtime: 125 min

    This coming-of-age adventure is a wondrous masterpiece of Japanese animation from acclaimed writer-director Hayao Miyazaki. In this brilliantly original fairy tale, a 10-year-old girl, Chihiro, loses her parents and finds herself adrift in a world filled with strange gods and creatures. Vivid worldbuilding and glorious visuals make this a family film that transcends the usual fare with heartfelt depth and mesmerizing intensity.

  • #2. Parasite (2019)

    - Director: Bong Joon-ho
    - Stacker score: 95
    - Metascore: 96
    - IMDb user rating: 8.6
    - Runtime: 132 min

    The affluent home in “Parasite” becomes a setting for nightmarish conflicts between a rich household and the poor family they hire as servants. Bong Joon-ho entwines domestic class struggles with a dark, surrealist edge. “Parasite” became the first foreign language film to win the Best Picture Oscar, while also winning for Best Foreign Language Film—the first time South Korea had been nominated in either category.

  • #1. Seven Samurai (1954)

    - Director: Akira Kurosawa
    - Stacker score: 96
    - Metascore: 98
    - IMDb user rating: 8.6
    - Runtime: 207 min

    Akira Kurosawa’s battle-heavy masterpiece remains one of the most influential films of all time. In 16th-century Japan, a ragtag group of seven fighters band together at a village outpost as plunderers surround from all sides. The tense and prolonged final battle, as well as the “team of heroes against impossible odds” narrative, show up again in countless combat and action films that obsess over honor and what makes a hero.

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