Thursday, March 20, 2014

Top 10 Foreign Language Films

By: Guru Jay


The best films have universal appeal. As a child, I remember one time staying awake the whole night watching movies with my brothers and a friend. Both brothers fell into a deep sleep.

We watched a lot of films that night. However, the one I most remember is Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.

In those days, we saw rented movies on VCR tapes. The most popular video store at the time was Blockbuster. I used to like Blockbuster, because you could rent movies there as well as video games.

At Blockbuster, you would find the highest grossing films. True to its name, the video giant kept the best movies on their shelves. Thanks to Netflix, Blockbuster went bankrupt. 

In the 1990’s, Blockbuster’s profits were unbelievable. Slowly but surely, the company lost customers to Netflix.
Now- myself, you, and 30 million others are subscribed to NetflixLet’s be clear, I stayed with Blockbuster to the very end.

I used to ride my bicycle to Blockbuster as a boy. It was only ten minutes from my house. And suddenly, overnight the video store chain had accounting problems.

Our generation watched many movies with Blockbuster. Blockbuster symbolized the 1990’s. Blockbuster presented an alternative for moviegoers.

As an adult, I still stay awake all night watching movies on apps. I love high quality entertainment. You can appreciate the work that goes into making a film great.

I plan to become fluent in a second language in the immediate future. I love learning lingo. Furthermore, I watch many films in foreign languages.

You will find that many of the best films are in foreign languages. Here is the Top Ten List featuring the highest grossing foreign language films of all time.

Click on the movie’s title for a synopsis from Box Office Mojo.

Top Ten Foreign Language Films


La Cage aux Folles comes in at number ten for the genre of Foreign Language. This French comedy premiered in 1979 and grossed over $20 million at the box office. Unfortunately, it wasn’t distributed worldwide.


Like Water for Chocolate is a Mexican film that debuted in 1993. The movie racked in more than $21 million. It ranks 9 in the Foreign Language area. Also, the foreign film is fifth all time in the Cooking genre.


The Italian film Il Postino delivered close to $22 million at the box office in the summer of 1995. The success of Il Postino is impressive. It is the second Italian movie in the top ten.


Directed by Ronny Yu and starring Jet Li (himself) Fearless earned $25 million domestically, and $43 million internationally, for a total of $68 million worldwide. It is the second highest Chinese film on the list.


The French made Amelie was a major box office success. The producers made the movie with a modest budget of $10 million. They never fathomed grossing $33 million domestically and $174 million worldwide.

The impact of Amelie cannot be overstated. It is the highest ranked French movie on the list for a good reason.


The gory Pan’s Labyrinth out of Mexico is the fifth best. Writer, Director, and Producer Guillermo del Toro created a classic. Although the film’s domestic total is higher than Amelie at $37 million, Pan’s Labyrinth grossed far less worldwide. (only $83 million)


The 2013 Mexican comedy, Instructions Not Included is a phenomenon. The film grossed $44 million domestically and $85 million worldwide.

It is the highest ranked Mexican (Foreign Language) film of all time. What’s more, the comedy was made with a $5 million budget.



Hero wins the bronze medal. It was successful on two levels: financially and critically. Directed by Yimou Zhang and starring Jet Li, Hero is a Chinese classic.

It is the second highest Chinese film on the list. In total, the film gathered $54 million at the domestic box office. Additionally, Hero collected $123 million internationally.


Life is Beautiful comes in second. The 1998 movie grossed $50 million at the box office. In addition, the film made $229 million in total worldwide.

Life is Beautiful is the second best Foreign Language film of all time. Financially, it is the best Italian foreign movie ever produced. Life is Beautiful won three out of seven Oscar nominations.


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon comes in first place. The Taiwanese film garnered attention from everyone. It won the Academy Award for best Foreign Language Film.

In total, the movie made $128 million at the domestic box office. In addition, it eclipsed the $200 million mark worldwide.

As a side note, I watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon again before writing this piece. I can say emphatically it is one of the best films of all time.

As a movie buff, I appreciate all the special effects. Furthermore, the film is beautiful because of its accuracy and precision. There are your top ten foreign language films.

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