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The Best Foreign Films Available On Netflix Instant Stream

Updated on March 12, 2015

We make great movies here in America, but some of the best films on this planet come from other countries. Foreign cinema is great because every country has it's own styles and unique methods of presenting movies, which gives us experiences we can't get from our own filmmakers. You have to look past the subtitles and enjoy the differences and embrace what are some fantastic films. Here is my list of the best foreign films available on Netflix Instant Stream.

Tell No One (2006)

One of my favorite foreign films is a french movie called ‘Tell No One,’ which stars famous french actor Francois Cluzet as Alexandre, a man who lost his wife years back when she was murdered and disappeared. He was a prime suspect for the killing, but there was no enough evidence to convict him. However, years later more bodies are found in the area his wife Margot was murdered, and he is suspected again to be the killer. Alexandre gets an email which appears to show his wife alive and this leads to him going on the run from the police, criminals and other folks, while trying to clear his name and find his supposedly dead wife. One of the most thrilling movies you'll ever see, with fantastic chase scenes and a plot that keeps you guessing until the very end.

Oldboy (2003)

A part of famous South Korean filmmaker Park Chan-wook's classic 'Vengeance Trilogy' the film 'Oldboy' is perhaps his masterpiece. The film is a bizarre and often disturbing film-noir style thriller, which is about a man who has a wife and daughter, who is mysteriously imprisoned one day for reasons we do not know. Eventually, fifteen years later he is randomly released during what he thinks will be an escape plan. He goes on a twisted journey to find out who imprisoned him and why, and through various techniques of revealing the answer to us, we eventually discover the disturbing truth behind these events. A film about revenge and punishment, 'Oldboy' is an unbelievable journey which is soon to be released in an American remake starring Josh Brolin.

Let The Right One In (2008)

This little Swedish horror gem was one of my favorite films of 2008, and is like no other horror film I had seen prior, which is probably why it soon got an American remake. It is about a lonely, bullied little 12 year old boy, who meets his first real friend, a similarly aged girl. However, it soon becomes clear that she is also a vampire, and has been killing people around town with the help of a mysterious man. This clearly messed up situation presents us with some incredible cinema, that contrasts all kinds of emotions and feelings, from fear and friendship, the violence and love. It's almost a tragic fable, but it doesn't follow any kind of formula that we'd all recognize. It is a dark, twisted and beautiful film and fans of horror and drama alike are sure to enjoy it.

Biutiful (2010)

Having watched his role in 'No Country For Old Men' I knew that Javier Bardem was a great actor, which is what led me to watch his Spanish language film 'Biutiful.' His performance as a terminally ill father named Uxbal who loves his children desperately. He navigates his way through the criminal infested underworld of Barcelona, trying to pave a path for his children, while making amends with their mother. His performance is one of the best I've ever seen in a foreign film, or any film for that matter, and while often depressing, one cannot deny the films impact and power.

Dragon Tattoo Trilogy (2010)

Based on the novels of the late Stieg Larsson, which became insanely popular around the world, this Swedish film captured the dark, disturbing and controversial material from the books to near perfection. The story is multi-layered, with us following two main characters who are drawn together as their stories connect. We follow Mikael Blomkvist, a magazine editor who's goal is to reveal political and industrial corruption in the world, but gets caught up too deep in a conspiracy that then leads him on a private search for a rich man's beloved niece. Then we have the star of the show, a socially inept and dark young computer genius named Lisbeth Salander, who is played by now famous Noomi Rapace, in a breakout role. The film pulls no punches, and is often extremely violent and disturbing, but if you can stomach that, the mystery and story is some of the best you'll find.

Bullhead (2011)

One of the best foreign films in recent memory, is a Belgian movie called 'Bullhead' about a steroid taking cattle farmer called Jacky, who finds himself caught up in a shady deal with a meat trader, mafia member. The deal leads Jacky on a downward spiral, and after various connected crimes occur, such as the murder of a federal agent, he involvement comes back to haunt him. Losing out the 'A Separation' for the Best Foreign Film Academy Award, the film was certainly worthy of winning, for the amazing performance of it's leading actor alone, who portrays the man who's heart does not match his enraged and steroid affected exterior. A powerful, hard hitting movie.

Battle Royale (2000)

For those of you out there who love 'The Hunger Games' and think it is a complete original, you would be wrong. As good as it is, the idea was originally done in truly controversial fashion by Japanese director Kinji Fukasaku, who adapted a Japanese novel of the same name. The film is set in an alternate future, where due to economic collapse and a dangerous trend of youth crime, each year the government locks a group of 9th grade children in an 'arena' of sorts, attaches anti-escape bombs to them, gives them a weapon each, and tells them that the last one alive is the winner. In true, extreme, Japanese film fashion, the movie is ultra violent, cold blooded and extreme in it's delivery, which made it riddled with controversy on it's release. However, with actual meaning behind it's madness, it is a must see for foreign film fans.

Enter The Void (2010)

French director Gaspar Noé delivers yet another insane thriller, with Enter The Void, a movie about a drug dealer who is betrayed and killed, and whose soul continues to view the world after his death. The film is truly unique and takes us on all kinds of crazy journeys through the clubs of Tokyo, and the realms of both life and death, using his own creative vision to do so. It's a bold, colorful vision and it actually seems like you're hallucinating at times while watching this movie, but behind that is a moving story with plenty of meaning. It's one of the most unique films ever, and won't be for everybody, but if you're open minded and enjoy something different and powerful, check out Enter The Void.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)

This incredibly film portrays the true story of Jean-Dominic Bauby, to the letter of his legendary memoirs. Bauby was a very wealthy playboy in France who was on top of the world when he suddenly became completely paralyzed, leaving his body incapable of movement including the ability to speak. However, he found inspiration and imagination enough to go on, and eventually developed a code involving the blinking of his eyes to communicate, and through this method was able to put together his memoirs. It's an incredible story, with an incredibly performance from Mathieu Amalric (an inspiration for a certain young Eddie Redmayne I'm sure), and is a must see on Netflix.

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    • Alec Zander profile image

      Alec Zander 21 months ago from Sylva, NC

      The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is my second favorite film of all time. Noomi Rapace owned that role. Anyone that says the remake was better is someone I honestly can't take seriously.

    • jmartin1344 profile image

      jmartin1344 4 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      I agree Adriean - it was a brilliant and innovative idea years ago and the dvd and rental industries are feeling it's wrath unfortunately for them. The collection continues to grow also!


    • jmartin1344 profile image

      jmartin1344 4 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      I agree iguidenetwork! He was fantastic! I loved the film - thanks for reading!!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      The dog on "The Artist" is really a scene-stealer there. Very funny film but with heart.