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The Best Foreign Films on Netflix Instant Watch

Updated on August 9, 2015

What are the best foreign films on Netflix Instant Watch? Does Netflix have any movies from around the world that are worth watching? The answer to this question is "si" -- I mean, "yes".

As with most of the American TV shows and movies on Netflix these days, it's safe to say that you'd be taking a risk watching a random foreign flick from Instant Watch. It's kind of a roll of the dice -- a roll of the baguette -- regarding whether you'll get something that's actually palatable or not. Will it be a fresh catch of calamari from the crystalline waters of the Amalfi Coast, or will it be something freeze-dried from Dusseldorf?

Here at the Institute of Inane Science, we've nearly perfected the art of finding the best films on Netflix Instant Watch (sitting in a beanbag chair, chewing on a croissant and watching movies), and what follows is a list of the best foreign films currently on offer.

The Bicycle Thief

Look on any serious top ten list of cinema greats, and you will no doubt find The Bicycle Thief. It is the simple story of a poor man whose bike is stolen and who goes to find it with the help of his young son.

We see an Italy only a year or so off of World War II, with the streets and buildings, nuns, workmen and gangs all showing the fatigue. It is beautifully shot and very well-paced. Few other films show as vividly life on the ground in mid-century Italy, and especially few are able to coax out the kinds of emotions from the audience that this one is able to. A classic.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is one of the most engrossing films I've seen in years. It is a Swedish movie about a journalist (Michael Nyqvist) who is awaiting incarceration on a libel conviction, and who in the mean time is hired by a distinguished family to find the killer of a young woman. The man enlists the help of a young hacker with a troubled history (Noomi Rapace) to help him find the answers.

Through the course of this journey there is murder, romance, and betrayal. It's got great style, and it is spectacularly shot. From the scenery to the set design to just about everything else, this movie flows with confidence and rhythm. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, and this cinematic portrayal certainly does the text justice. If you fall in love with this movie like millions of others already have, Netflix thankfully also has this movie's sequels.

And yes, this Swedish stunner is subtitled. But believe me, it is far superior to the odd, Americanized remake that stars Daniel Craig.

More Than Honey

You say you're looking for an excellent documentary? Then step right up...

More Than Honey is a 2012 German-made doc directed by Marcus Imhoof, that focuses on the rapid disappearance of honey bee populations around the globe. And, like the title says, this trend has an effect on a lot more than just honey. Through interviews with beekeepers and honey business owners, the film explores the biological significance of the honey bee, its many jobs in the natural world, and the worrying implications that come with the decline of the little creature.

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    • kikibruce profile image

      kikibruce 5 years ago from New York

      I love looking for foreign films on Netflix, and if you are tenacious, there are tons. Check out Troll Hunter from Norway and Flame and Citron from Denmark.

    • Helena Ricketts profile image

      Helena Ricketts 5 years ago from Indiana

      Very interesting. I have the Netflix Streaming Video but never thought about watching any foreign films on there. I'll have to check these out. Thanks for sharing!