10 Foreign Movies Every Guy Should See

We’re not quite sure why, but when we think of foreign movies we immediately think of French romance flicks. Pass. This is dumb since there are a ton of solid foreign movies for dudes. In fact, if you don’t mind a bit of reading with your movie watching, there are some kickass foreign films you really need to see. Here are 10 to get you started. (Just as a note, we’re leaving off British films & martial arts flicks because there are far too many awesome ones to try and squeeze in.)

1. City of God

You’ve probably seen some pretty great American style gang movies, but you’ve never seen a gang movie with the grittiness of City of God. Based on a true story, City of God delves deep into the underworld of the slums of Rio de Janeiro. To add to the intensity, this doesn’t deal with grown up gangsters alone, it focuses on young kids caught up in the game and the struggle to live amongst it.  Netflix DVD iTunes Amazon Instant

2. A Prophet

Some great movies have used prison as the main backdrop for the film (see: Shawshank Redemption), but few have utilized it and taken advantage of it like A Prophet. The French film explores the corrupt nature behind prison doors and the world outside them through the dealings of an illiterate 19 year-old who just stepped up from juvie to the big boy punishment world. Netflix DVD iTunes Amazon Instant

3. Pusher Trilogy

Okay, technically this is three movies, but they’re all equally awesome so forgive us. Anything that’s described as the European version of The Sopranos deserves some attention. While we do like the description, we’d say it’s more like The Sopranos on steroids. More violence, more drugs and more of the stuff you loved about that TV show. Netflix DVD Amazon Instant

4. La Haine

Why this movie works better in black & white, we couldn’t tell you, all we know is it does and it’s awesome. The film unfolds over a 24 hour period filled with riots, police beatings and deadly blackmail. Standard light popcorn flick! Netflix DVD iTunes

5. Mesrine: Killer Instinct

Another film starring Vincent Cassel on the list (who you might also know from Black Swan), and another winner. Dude is like the overseas Daniel Day Lewis; we’ll see whatever he puts out. The first of a two part series (and the much better part), Mesrine: Killer Instinct is part of the story of Jacques Mesrine, the infamous French criminal from the 60’s and 70’s that was best known for escaping prison and pulling off every crime in the book. Netflix DVD iTunes Amazon Instant

6. Waltz with Bashir

Don’t be fooled by the animated fact, Waltz with Bashir is about the furthest thing from a Disney flick you could imagine. The story/stories revolve around the Lebanon War in the early 80’s (not exactly a backdrop for a Snow White sequel). Told through a series of interviews and flashbacks, the comic book style film is more real than any cartoon you’ve ever seen.  Netflix DVD iTunes Amazon Instant

7. Breathless

For film buffs, Breathless is a must. The groundbreaking French new wave film ushered in a new style of cinema. That’s not to say you’d just have to watch it for the Citizen Kane-like historical aspect, there’s also pin up models, nice cars and people just being damn cool. Netflix DVD iTunes Amazon Instant

8. [Rec]

Horror movies can go one of two ways, either they’re genuinely scary and successful or they come off cheesy and are a waste of money until decades later when they’re so bad they’re actually entertaining. [Rec] is easily in the former of those two categories. In fact, it may be the gold standard for what a horror movie should be: Seriously smart and damn scary. Netflix DVD iTunes Amazon Instant

9. Headhunters

If you’re unfamiliar with Jo Nesbo, he writes the books that are always next to Steig Larrson’s at your local Barnes & Noble. For all the press The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo got, Nesbo puts out just as good reads. Headhunters displays that on the big screen. Based around an art thief living the high life, Headhunters offers viewers a delicious fast-paced crime thriller. Netflix DVD Netflix Instant iTunes Amazon Instant

10. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within

Just like City of God, Elite Squad provides a sense of realism in relation to the slums of Rio de Janeiro. It does so, however, with more of a focus on politics and law enforcement. While we can’t say it’s as good as City of God (few movies are), it is a damn fine film with some solid acting, a well thought out plot and lots of violent action (yay!). Netflix DVD Netflix Instant iTunes Amazon Instant

What other foreign movies do you think every guy should see? Tell us in the comments.


  • http://alkarma.tk Jimmy Halim

    Actually the list is very poor, sorry guys but that’s true

  • Aaron

    Battle Royale!

  • Manu Alvarez

    Where’s El Secreto De Sus Ojos?

  • http://twitter.com/MichaelMelas Michael Mel

    in your opinion*

  • http://about.me/mttsndrs Matt Saunders

    If you think so, perhaps you should make your own list and offer it up for our critique.

  • Gogot

    I’ve 4 of the films on this list and they’re part of my favorite movies! I’ll make sure to check the others. Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/jacklope Gary Sanders

    City of Lost Children!

  • dude

    dude you are so right. none of these movies are that phenomenal. the editor didn’t even mention ong bak, taxi, onmoyoji, merantau, evil cult or mushishi

  • http://twitter.com/awequiteabit RS Hardisty

    The list ignores Asian films. Like Raid: Redemption and The Man from No Where. Or Old Boy, Infernal Affairs, etc etc.

    City of God is a brilliant film though.

  • Louis

    13 Assassins is definitely missing

  • jacobcrim

    In no order:

    City of God
    Seven Samurai
    13 Assassins
    Pans Labyrinth
    Let The Right One In
    Fist of Legend
    Harakiri: Death of A Samurai (original)

  • The OP Guy

    Omg yes Evil Cult!

  • Ricardo

    Layer Cake

  • stray_bullett

    With 9 out of the ten remarkably violent, it appears the maker of the list has a little growing up to do.

  • scottyboy

    Amores Perros, Infernal Affairs, Let The Right One In.

  • Kun

    And of Anything made by Kim Jee-woon

  • D.Souto

    As a Brazilian i suggest for you guys to see the first “Elite Squad” which is more action-packed, some ways more controversial( Broom an Bag controversial haha) But also for the development of the recurring characters in “Elite Squad :Enemy within”

  • Johnny Wishbone

    Agree, Downfall, Pans labyrinth and Let the right In should be on there. The Lives of Others too. Difficult though to make such a list to begin with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tscole90 Taylor Salisbury Cole

    No Caché? What?

  • Pedro Chavez


  • Terrin D. Fuhrmann

    High Tension!! French horror film… so good!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/jdonvil Jonas Donvil

    You should try to find ‘c’est arrivé près de chez vous’, I think the English title is ‘man bites dog’. It’s a belgian film noir about a student film crew that follows around a serial killer.

  • http://twitter.com/Hurricane_Paul Paul Kim

    I know you’re leaving off martial arts flicks but 5 Deadly Venoms is a MUST.

    Other suggestions include
    Machine Girl or Tokyo Gore Police (not great movies but great campy fun)

    Any Asian Horror movie that was remade by Hollywood (Ringu, Tale of Two Sisters, Ju-On),

    Two anime essentials:
    Akira and Ninja Scrolls

    Any Akira Kurosawa movies but especially
    Seven Samurai (The Magnificent 7)
    Yojimbo (For a Few Dollars More, Last Man Standing)
    Hidden Fortress (Star Wars)

    Other Asian Films like
    Ichi the Killer
    Ip Man

    European must sees..
    Run Lola Run
    The Seventh Seal
    The original Lisebeth Salander movies (The Dragon Tattoo trilogy)
    La Femme Nikita

    Not too familiar with spanish speaking movies but I thoroughly enjoyed:
    El Mariachi
    Dog Eat Dog

  • Bill


  • Curtis

    Motorcylce Diaries should certainly be on the list

  • Enoch Castleberry

    Raid: Redemption, a new Indonesian language film (2011) made by a Welsh director about a Jakarta police squad who raid a drug-lord’s apartment block. All manner of chaos, killing, and Indonesian Kung-Fu ensue.

    Also, the Japanese horror flick Battle Royale, upon which the Hunger Games stole its basic premise.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bruce.murray.5895 Bruce Murray

    Did you read the part about leaving out the martial arts flicks? Some more info would be helpful. Oh yeah, and capital letters, and grammar. OMG LOL :]

  • wes

    Ip Man and Ip Man 2! Best kung fu movies ever made.

  • Dennis

    I haven’ t viewed any movie on this list, but some of the movies here are worth checking…

    The Pianist , France

    Zatoichi (2003) , Japan
    The Raid Redemption , Indonesia
    Ong Bak, Thailand
    IP Man 1 & 2 , China
    Amelie, France
    Taegukgi, S. Korea
    Muro-Ami, Philippines
    The Flowers of War, China
    Silmido, S. Korea
    Das Boot , Germany
    Rurouni Kenshin , Japan
    Departures , Japan
    Red Cliff, China
    Pans Labyrinth, Mexico

  • fadzli

    Sin Nombre

  • Buzz

    You should watch Croatian film Metastaze.

    It’s awesome!!!

  • http://bbakeca.com/ BBakeca

    Great list!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dee.cranney Dee Imma Newbie Cranney

    the orphanage, casshern, seventh seal, diving bell and the butterfly to name but a couple more awesome foreign films