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

  • #20. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

    - Director: Cristian Mungiu
    - Stacker score: 92
    - Metascore: 97
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 113 min

    Cristian Mungiu’s searing, minimalist thriller-of-the-everyday became the first Romanian film to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Set in 1987 in communist Romania, the story follows what two college-age women go through when one of them seeks an abortion in a culture where it’s illegal. Cinematography focuses on the stark details of an oppressive world seen through intimate long takes.

  • #19. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

    - Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
    - Stacker score: 92
    - Metascore: 96
    - IMDb user rating: 8.1
    - Runtime: 121 min

    Using the stylistic tenets of the Italian neorealist film movement, “The Battle of Algiers” is shot in black-and-white with nonprofessional actors to achieve a sense of documentary reality in depicting the history of the Algerian War of Independence from the French government. It was a joint production between Italy and Algeria and was initially banned in France.

  • #18. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

    - Director: Sergio Leone
    - Stacker score: 93
    - Metascore: 90
    - IMDb user rating: 8.8
    - Runtime: 178 min

    Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Western classic “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” has little dialogue, instead relying on a riveting visual language that includes epic landscapes and arresting closeups. It was shot without sound, with all actors dubbing their own voices in post-production. Star Clint Eastwood’s lines were dubbed by an Italian voice actor for the film’s premiere in Italy.

  • #17. A Separation (2011)

    - Director: Asghar Farhadi
    - Stacker score: 93
    - Metascore: 95
    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Runtime: 123 min

    The first Iranian film to win the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar is also one of the great films about divorce. Asghar Farhadi’s drama opens with the separating couple (Leila Hatami and Payman Maadi) directly addressing both the camera and a family court judge. The audience is pulled into a tense and intimate world where it's impossible to choose sides in the complicated dispute that unfolds with the couple’s young daughter, who is caught in the middle.

  • #16. Ran (1985)

    - Director: Akira Kurosawa
    - Stacker score: 93
    - Metascore: 96
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 162 min

    Akira Kurosawa reimagined Shakespeare’s “King Lear” as a drama between a warrior king and his three sons in 16th-century Japan. “Ran” brings the conflict to the battlefield in sweeping combat spectacles that show the renowned director’s technical prowess. The bleak themes of the original play become even more epic as the kingdom fractures with grand cinematic beauty.

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  • #15. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)

    - Director: Isao Takahata
    - Stacker score: 93
    - Metascore: 94
    - IMDb user rating: 8.5
    - Runtime: 89 min

    “Grave of the Fireflies” is a haunting tearjerker, revered for bringing human depth to animated characters. This Japanese film follows two siblings in the aftermath of the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. The two struggle as they make their way through landscapes both harsh and fantastical to capture the tragic, heart-wrenching experience of its young heroes.

  • #14. Rififi (1955)

    - Director: Jules Dassin
    - Stacker score: 93
    - Metascore: 97
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 118 min

    Jules Dassin, an American blacklisted during the McCarthy era, directed the influential heist film “Rififi” in France. This bleak, dread-soaked caper includes a suspenseful play-by-play break-in that requires meticulous safecracking. The criminal gang, each member with their own expertise, looks to pull off that one final job, but nothing goes as planned.

  • #13. Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

    - Director: Robert Bresson
    - Stacker score: 93
    - Metascore: 100
    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Runtime: 95 min

    French director Robert Bresson’s cinematic ode to the life of a donkey, Balthazar, seems an unlikely subject for critical acclaim. Bresson uses a stark and direct style where “au hasard” or “at random” encounters are both brutal and compassionate. The film achieves a poetic presentation of the human condition that evades the sentimental, despite its exploration of these themes through an animal’s perspective.

  • #12. Children of Paradise (1945)

    - Director: Marcel Carné
    - Stacker score: 94
    - Metascore: 96
    - IMDb user rating: 8.4
    - Runtime: 189 min

    “Children of Paradise” was shot on soundstages during the restrictive Vichy regime during World War II and is considered an achievement in French studio filmmaking. The film is a long, epic costume drama set in the 1830s with a style that is traditional and straightforward with stagy, affected performances. It’s filled with subversive subtext as it follows a beguiling woman who has four different suitors, each with their own agenda.

  • #11. Rashomon (1950)

    - Director: Akira Kurosawa
    - Stacker score: 94
    - Metascore: 98
    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Runtime: 88 min

    One of the most influential Japanese films of all time, “Rashomon” is most famous for its narrative structure and the way it calls point-of-view into question. A crime takes place in feudal-era Japan, where locals try to make sense of a rape and murder with details that emerge in vignettes seen from four different perspectives.

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