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The 125 Essential Spanish-Language Movies

Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States, and the recent boom in streaming services has made it easier than ever for audiences looking for Spanish-language movies to find them. Earlier this year, Alfonso Cuarón’s landmark film Roma earned an impressive 10 Oscar nominations, and the director took home three statuettess for Best Director, Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Language Film. He followed the wins of his fellow Mexican directors Guillermo del Toro (Best Director and Best Picture for The Shape of Water) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Best Picture for Birdman, Best Director for Birdman and The Revenant). Their accomplishments have brought the resurgence of Mexican cinema to Hollywood’s doorstep.

However, the picture is not so rosy for other Latin American movies and filmmakers trying to break into an industry that has been ignoring smaller independent films in favor of franchises, and the U.S. Latino and Hispanic filmmakers still fighting for their one shot at working in the movie business. In the United States, Latino and Hispanic moviegoers are almost a silent and invisible majority when it comes to representation. They buy about one out of every four movie tickets, yet make up only single-digit slivers of the entertainment industry.  

As the conversation about representation and systemic obstacles continues, and the Oscars have renamed their Foreign Language Film category to Best International Feature Film, let’s take a look back at the rich history of Spanish-language movies for Hispanic Heritage Month. Back in the 1960s, when the discussion of identities in the U.S. was in full swing, “Hispanic” became the catchall term for Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America and Spain. Although today, many prefer the terms Latino – which specifically refers to those of us from Latin American countries no matter what language we speak – the U.S. has observed Hispanic Heritage Month since 1989.  

To be considered for this list of essential Spanish-language films, one of the most prominent spoken languages in the movie must be Spanish. This is why you may notice a handful of U.S. Latino favorites like Selena or Real Women Have Curves missing, since the main language in those movies is English. While this rule may also leave Brazil’s vast cinematic legacy for a future list, we tried to include as many different countries across Latin America as possible.

For our most recent update, we took out movies without a Tomatometer and added The Girls Are Alright (a new hit in Spain), Dos Estaciones, Argentina, 1985 (nominated for a Best International Feature Oscar), Lullaby, the joyous musical Voy a pasármelo bien, and two from director/writer Pablo Trapero (Lion’s Den, White Elephant). As the world of Spanish-language cinema continues to grow, there will be many more titles to add to this list.

You can purchase or rent available movies on Vudu’s Essential Spanish-Language page!

So, from the grassy steppes of Argentina to Cuba’s famed stone boardwalk and on to Mexico’s bustling capital, join us as we celebrate Spanish-language cinema near and far, not just this month, but throughout the year and the many more still to come. (Monica Castillo, with additional research by Manuel Betancourt and Ivette García Dávila.)

#1
#1
Adjusted Score: 53285%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A group of young women gathers at a country house for a week one to rehearse a play. “The Girls... [More]
Directed By: Itsaso Arana

#2

Argentina, 1985 (2022)
96%

#2
Adjusted Score: 99114%
Critics Consensus: Justice is served in Argentina 1985, a crusading courtroom drama that shines a light on historically somber times with refreshing levity.
Synopsis: Argentina, 1985 is a feature inspired by the true story of Julio Strassera, Luis Moreno Ocampo and their young legal... [More]
Directed By: Santiago Mitre

#3

Lullaby (2022)
100%

#3
Adjusted Score: 91461%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Amaia has just become a mother and realizes that she doesn't really know how to be one. When her partner... [More]
Directed By: Alauda Ruiz De Azúa

#4
#4
Adjusted Score: 28587%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A pair of childhood sweethearts gets another chance at love after spending years without each other. Everything is different, but... [More]
Directed By: David Serrano

#5

Dos Estaciones (2022)
87%

#5
Adjusted Score: 87779%
Critics Consensus: Dos Estaciones soberly distills the life of a woman and contemplates the rippling effect globalization has on small companies.
Synopsis: Dos Estaciones follows fifty-year-old businesswoman María García (Teresa Sánchez), the owner of Dos Estaciones, a once-majestic tequila factory now struggling... [More]
Directed By: Juan Pablo González

#6

Parallel Mothers (2021)
96%

#6
Adjusted Score: 107290%
Critics Consensus: A brilliant forum for Penélope Cruz's talent, Parallel Mothers reaffirms the familiar pleasures of Almodóvar's filmmaking while proving he's still capable of growth.
Synopsis: Two women, Janis and Ana, coincide in a hospital room where they are going to give birth. Both are single... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#7
#7
Adjusted Score: 102389%
Critics Consensus: A slow-burning descent into desperation, Identifying Features uses one shattered family's ordeal to offer a harrowing look at the immigrant experience.
Synopsis: A middle-aged woman embarks on an increasingly dangerous journey to locate her son, who's gone missing after leaving Mexico to... [More]
Directed By: Fernanda Valadez

#8

The Mole Agent (2020)
95%

#8
Adjusted Score: 98815%
Critics Consensus: Warm and funny, The Mole Agent offers audiences a poignant reminder that it's never too late to forge new connections and embark on new adventures.
Synopsis: An 83-year-old man poses as a resident in a Chilean nursing home to see if he can find signs of... [More]
Directed By: Maite Alberdi

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 99494%
Critics Consensus: I'm No Longer Here's occasionally uneven narrative is more than offset by its honest and visually poetic approach to themes of identity and assimilation.
Synopsis: After a misunderstanding with a local cartel, a young man is forced to leave behind his family, friends and everything... [More]
Directed By: Fernando Frias

#10

Pain and Glory (2019)
96%

#10
Adjusted Score: 111906%
Critics Consensus: Pain and Glory finds writer-director Pedro Almodóvar drawing on his own life to rewarding effect -- and honoring his craft as only a master filmmaker can.
Synopsis: An aging Spanish film director in the middle of a creative crisis revisits memorable events of his past.... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#11

La llorona (2019)
96%

#11
Adjusted Score: 100432%
Critics Consensus: La Llorona puts a fresh spin on the familiar legend by blending the supernatural and the political to resolutely chilling effect.
Synopsis: Alma is murdered with her children during a military attack in Guatemala, but when the general who ordered the genocide... [More]
Directed By: Jayro Bustamante

#12

Monos (2019)
93%

#12
Adjusted Score: 100371%
Critics Consensus: As visually splendid as it is thought-provoking, Monos takes an unsettling look at human nature whose grim insights leave a lingering impact.
Synopsis: A terrorized American engineer is held captive by teenaged guerilla bandits in a South American jungle.... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Landes

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 93717%
Critics Consensus: Understated yet impactful, End of the Century offers viewers a powerful love story, elegantly told.
Synopsis: A 30-something Argentine poet on vacation in Barcelona begins a budding romance with a Spaniard from Berlin.... [More]
Directed By: Lucio Castro

#14

De lo mio (2019)
88%

#14
Adjusted Score: 39036%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three siblings reunite in the Dominican Republic and face their demons as they let go of their last connection to... [More]
Directed By: Diana Peralta

#15

Los Lobos (2019)
87%

#15
Adjusted Score: 72368%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In search of a better life, Max and Leo, are taken by the their mother, Lucia, from Mexico to Albuquerque... [More]
Directed By: Samuel Kishi

#16

The Chambermaid (2018)
99%

#16
Adjusted Score: 102082%
Critics Consensus: The Chambermaid uses one woman's experiences to take audiences inside a life -- and a culture -- that's as bracingly unique as it is hauntingly relatable.
Synopsis: A young chambermaid working in one of the most luxurious hotels in Mexico City enrolls in the hotel's adult education... [More]
Directed By: Lila Avilés

#17

The Heiresses (2018)
98%

#17
Adjusted Score: 101776%
Critics Consensus: Led by a standout performance from Ana Brun, The Heiresses takes a thoroughly compelling look at lives little explored by mainstream cinema.
Synopsis: A woman who lost her fortune befriends a younger woman.... [More]
Directed By: Marcelo Martinessi

#18

Roma (2018)
96%

#18
Adjusted Score: 118885%
Critics Consensus: Roma finds writer-director Alfonso Cuarón in complete, enthralling command of his visual craft - and telling the most powerfully personal story of his career.
Synopsis: Cleo is one of two domestic workers who help Antonio and Sofía take care of their four children in 1970s... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#19
#19
Adjusted Score: 98259%
Critics Consensus: Too Late to Die Young uses one family's experiences as the foundation for a dreamily absorbing drama with a poignant, lingering warmth.
Synopsis: During the summer of 1990 in Chile, three kids face their first loves and fears.... [More]
Directed By: Dominga Sotomayor

#20

The Wolf House (2018)
96%

#20
Adjusted Score: 98146%
Critics Consensus: Surreal, unsettling, and finally haunting, The Wolf House is a stunning outpouring of creativity whose striking visuals queasily complement its disturbing story.
Synopsis: A young woman takes refuge in a strange house in the woods after escaping from a German colony in southern... [More]

#21
Adjusted Score: 58305%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Natalia Cabral

#22
#22
Adjusted Score: 102810%
Critics Consensus: Tigers Are Not Afraid draws on childhood trauma for a story that deftly blends magical fantasy and hard-hitting realism - and leaves a lingering impact.
Synopsis: When a girl's mother disappears leaving her on her own, she goings a gang of street children, leading to a... [More]
Directed By: Issa López

#23

Zama (2017)
97%

#23
Adjusted Score: 102752%
Critics Consensus: Zama offers a series of scathingly insightful observations about colonialism and class dynamics -- and satisfyingly ends a long wait between projects from writer-director Lucrecia Martel.
Synopsis: Zama, an officer of the Spanish Crown born in South America, waits for a letter from the King granting him... [More]
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 89048%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Nico, a young Argentine actor gives up a successful soap opera career for a chance to make it in New... [More]
Directed By: Julia Solomonoff

#25

Woodpeckers (2017)
80%

#25
Adjusted Score: 69839%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Incarcerated in the Dominican Republic, an inmate uses sign language to communicate with his imprisoned girlfriend at an adjacent institution.... [More]
Directed By: José María Cabral

#26

Virus tropical (2017)
78%

#26
Adjusted Score: 40859%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The life of a young woman is followed from conception through the years when she strikes out on her own... [More]
Directed By: Santiago Caicedo

#27

Cocote (2017)
77%

#27
Adjusted Score: 77513%
Critics Consensus: A truly original hybrid that blurs the line between fiction and reality, Cocote may prove opaque for those seeking simple storytelling, yet this insider's look at the Dominican Republic ultimately rewards.
Synopsis: Alberto, a kind-hearted gardener, returns home to the Dominican Republic to attend his father's funeral. When he discovers that a... [More]

#28

Neruda (2016)
92%

#28
Adjusted Score: 98999%
Critics Consensus: Inventive, intelligent, and beautifully filmed, Neruda transcends the traditional biopic structure to look at the meaning beyond the details of its subject's life.
Synopsis: A determined police inspector (Gael García Bernal) searches for Chilean politician Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) after he goes into hiding... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Larraín

#29

The Untamed (2016)
87%

#29
Adjusted Score: 89821%
Critics Consensus: The Untamed attempts some ambitious tonal juggling between fantastical and disturbing -- and draws viewers in with its slippery, inexorable pull.
Synopsis: A couple in a troubled marriage locate a meteorite, initiating an encounter with a mysterious creature. Their lives are turned... [More]
Directed By: Amat Escalante

#30

Kings of Nowhere (2015)
100%

#30
Adjusted Score: 36515%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three families refuse to leave a village in Northwestern Mexico that is partially flooded.... [More]
Directed By: Betzabé García

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 102774%
Critics Consensus: As rich visually as it is thematically, Embrace of the Serpent offers a feast of the senses for film fans seeking a dose of bracing originality.
Synopsis: In the early 1900s, a young shaman in the Colombian Amazon helps a sick German explorer and his local guide... [More]
Directed By: Ciro Guerra

#32

The Clan (2015)
84%

#32
Adjusted Score: 87015%
Critics Consensus: As shockingly compelling as it is dispiriting, The Clan delivers hard-hitting lessons even for viewers unfamiliar with the real-life history behind its story.
Synopsis: The true story of the Puccio clan, a family with a dark secret lurking beneath their seemingly ordinary facade: they... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Trapero

#33

Magical Girl (2014)
100%

#33
Adjusted Score: 40912%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A desperate man (Luis Bermejo) blackmails a mentally ill woman (Bárbara Lennie) to buy a dress for his terminally ill... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Vermut

#34

Wild Tales (2014)
94%

#34
Adjusted Score: 100977%
Critics Consensus: Wickedly hilarious and delightfully deranged, Wild Tales is a subversive satire that doubles as a uniformly entertaining anthology film.
Synopsis: A waitress adds a special ingredient to an arrogant loan shark's meal in one of several tales dealing with extremes... [More]
Directed By: Damián David Szifron

#35

Mala Mala (2014)
94%

#35
Adjusted Score: 86520%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The diverse and vibrant transgender community in Puerto Rico.... [More]
Starring: Jason Carrion

#36

Sand Dollars (2014)
94%

#36
Adjusted Score: 76907%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An opportunistic young woman (Yanet Mojica) becomes involved with a wealthy matriarch (Geraldine Chaplin).... [More]

#37

Güeros (2014)
93%

#37
Adjusted Score: 94811%
Critics Consensus: A striking effort that synthesizes disparate influences with inventive flair, Güeros marks a bold step forward for modern Mexican cinema.
Synopsis: Three restless teens search for folk-rocker Epigmenio Cruz on the streets of Mexico City during the student strikes of 1999.... [More]
Directed By: Alonso Ruizpalacios

#38

Manos sucias (2014)
92%

#38
Adjusted Score: 61133%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A fisherman and a naive young man begin trafficking drugs up the Pacific coast of Colombia. As they tow a... [More]
Directed By: Josef Kubota Wladyka

#39

Gloria (2013)
100%

#39
Adjusted Score: 105442%
Critics Consensus: Marvelously directed by Sebastian Lelio and beautifully led by a powerful performance from Paulina Garcia, Gloria takes an honest, sweetly poignant look at a type of character that's all too often neglected in Hollywood.
Synopsis: An aging divorcee (Paulina García) embarks on an intense affair with a man (Sergio Hernández) she picked up at a... [More]
Directed By: Sebastián Lelio

#40

Bad Hair (2013)
95%

#40
Adjusted Score: 95998%
Critics Consensus: Immersive and powerfully acted, Bad Hair offers an unflinching yet gently endearing depiction of poverty's impact on youthful self-actualization.
Synopsis: A Venezuelan boy's (Samuel Lange Zambrano) desire to straighten his curly hair leads to friction between himself and his desperate... [More]
Directed By: Mariana Rondón

#41

Blancanieves (2012)
95%

#41
Adjusted Score: 99696%
Critics Consensus: Smartly written and beautiful to behold, Blancanieves uses its classic source material to offer a dark tale, delightfully told.
Synopsis: Rescued from her evil stepmother (Maribel Verdú) by dwarves, a young woman (Macarena García) becomes a bullfighter like her late... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Berger

#42

No (2012)
93%

#42
Adjusted Score: 98825%
Critics Consensus: No uses its history-driven storyline to offer a bit of smart, darkly funny perspective on modern democracy and human nature.
Synopsis: In 1988, international pressure comes to bear on Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, forcing him to call a referendum on his... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Larraín

#43

Narco cultura (2012)
89%

#43
Adjusted Score: 90258%
Critics Consensus: Disturbing, thought-provoking, and timely, Narco Cultura sheds some crucial light on an important -- and underserved -- subject.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Shaul Schwarz exposes the cycle of addiction to money, drugs and violence surrounding the war on drugs.... [More]
Starring:
Directed By: Shaul Schwarz

#44

Una noche (2012)
83%

#44
Adjusted Score: 83180%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Raul dreams of escaping to Miami. When he is accused of assault, he convinces his friend Elio to help him... [More]
Directed By: Lucy Mulloy

#45

White Elephant (2012)
95%

#45
Adjusted Score: 95071%
Critics Consensus: White Elephant thoughtfully delivers an old-fashioned social drama inspired by true events with technical mastery.
Synopsis: Julian and Nicolas work tirelessly to help people in a shantytown outside Buenos Aires. After a project is ruined, Nicolas... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Trapero

#46

Sleep Tight (2011)
92%

#46
Adjusted Score: 92585%
Critics Consensus: The strong lead performance, clever plot turns, and the unsettling ending makes Sleep Tight worth stalking.
Synopsis: César is the superintendent of an apartment building and keeps very close tabs on the tenants. He secretly enjoys inflicting... [More]
Directed By: Jaume Balagueró

#47

Miss Bala (2011)
88%

#47
Adjusted Score: 89993%
Critics Consensus: Miss Bala's subject is loaded enough, but the frantic and muscular filmmaking puts this movie in a whole new league.
Synopsis: A young woman dreams of becoming a beauty contest queen in Mexico.... [More]
Directed By: Gerardo Naranjo

#48

Juan of the Dead (2011)
83%

#48
Adjusted Score: 83012%
Critics Consensus: Filled with wild splatter slapstick, Juan of the Dead also deftly uses its zombie premise as an undead Trojan horse for insightful political commentary.
Synopsis: When the dead rise and attack the living, Juan starts a zombie-killing business, until he has to save his small... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Brugués

#49
#49
Adjusted Score: 101137%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In Chile's Atacama Desert, widows search for the bones of loved ones, left by Pinochet's atrocities.... [More]
Directed By: Patricio Guzmán

#50

Chico & Rita (2010)
87%

#50
Adjusted Score: 89162%
Critics Consensus: Aimed at adults and animated with zest, Chico & Rita is a romantic delight packed with cultural detail and flavor.
Synopsis: A Cuban pianist becomes smitten with a sultry singer, leading to a passionate but star-crossed romance that reaches across six... [More]

#51
#51
Adjusted Score: 73093%
Critics Consensus: We Are What We Are is elevated horror that combines family drama and social politics, with plenty of gore on top.
Synopsis: When his father dies unexpectedly, Alfredo (Francisco Barreiro) must step up and become the man of the house, providing for... [More]
Directed By: Jorge Michel Grau

#52
#52
Adjusted Score: 78805%
Critics Consensus: Claudia Llosa's deliberate pace and abstract storytelling may frustrate some viewers, but there's no denying the visual pleasures soaking in The Milk of Sorrow.
Synopsis: A woman suffers from a rare disease.... [More]
Directed By: Claudia Llosa

#53

Alamar (2009)
92%

#53
Adjusted Score: 93113%
Critics Consensus: Like a perfect summer at the beach, Alamar bathes you in natural warmth as it explores the blossoming bond of a five-year-old and his dad.
Synopsis: A man and his son embark on an epic sea journey.... [More]
Directed By: Pedro González-Rubio

#54
#54
Adjusted Score: 94163%
Critics Consensus: Unpredictable and rich with symbolism, this Argentinian murder mystery lives up to its Oscar with an engrossing plot, Juan Jose Campanella's assured direction, and mesmerizing performances from its cast.
Synopsis: Hoping to put to rest years of unease concerning a past case, retired criminal investigator Benjamín Espósito (Ricardo Darín) begins... [More]
Directed By: Juan José Campanella

#55

Sin nombre (2009)
88%

#55
Adjusted Score: 92283%
Critics Consensus: Part harrowing immigration tale, part gangster story, this debut by writer/director Cary Fukunaga is sensitive, insightful and deeply authentic.
Synopsis: Sayra (Paulina Gaitán), a Honduran teen, hungers for a better life. Her chance for one comes when she is reunited... [More]
Directed By: Cary Joji Fukunaga

#56

Undertow (2009)
88%

#56
Adjusted Score: 88409%
Critics Consensus: A drama as beautifully filmed as it is finely detailed, Undertow is a wonderfully unique love story with a touch of magic.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Javier Fuentes-León

#57

Broken Embraces (2009)
82%

#57
Adjusted Score: 87912%
Critics Consensus: Pedro Almodovar's fourth film with Penélope Cruz isn't his finest work, but he brings his signature visual brilliance to this noirish tale, and the cast turns in some first-class performances.
Synopsis: The death of Ernesto Martel (José Luis Gómez) sets off a chain of events that forces one man to come... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#58

Tony Manero (2008)
85%

#58
Adjusted Score: 85788%
Critics Consensus: Deliberately provocative, Tony Manero is as challenging and compelling as it is difficult to describe.
Synopsis: On weekends, 50-something Raul Peralta (Alfredo Castro) goes to the same bar outside his native Santiago, Chile, and, with friends,... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Larraín

#59

Lion's Den (2008)
91%

#59
Adjusted Score: 91430%
Critics Consensus: Martina Gusmán gives a feral performance in the Lion's Den, a gripping prison drama so real even the camera perspires behind bars.
Synopsis: In the hazy morning after a threesome, expectant mother Julia Zárate (Martina Gusmán) finds her partner dead in her flat,... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Trapero

#60
#60
Adjusted Score: 78503%
Critics Consensus: Careful and slight, Lucretia Martel's Headless Woman doesn't fit neatly into a clear storyline, but supports itself with ethereal visuals.
Synopsis: While driving down a deserted road, Veronica (María Onetto) hits something with her car as she struggles to answer her... [More]
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel

#61

Rec (2007)
90%

#61
Adjusted Score: 90808%
Critics Consensus: Plunging viewers into the nightmarish hellscape of an apartment complex under siege, [Rec] proves that found footage can still be used as an effective delivery mechanism for sparse, economic horror.
Synopsis: A reporter (Manuela Velasco) and her cameraman record the horrifying outbreak of a disease that turns humans into vicious cannibals.... [More]

#62

The Orphanage (2007)
87%

#62
Adjusted Score: 93939%
Critics Consensus: Deeply unnerving and surprisingly poignant, The Orphanage is an atmospheric, beautifully crafted haunted house horror film that earns scares with a minimum of blood.
Synopsis: Laura (Belén Rueda) has happy memories of her childhood in an orphanage. She convinces her husband to buy the place... [More]
Directed By: J. A. Bayona

#63

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#63
Adjusted Score: 105020%
Critics Consensus: Pan's Labyrinth is Alice in Wonderland for grown-ups, with the horrors of both reality and fantasy blended together into an extraordinary, spellbinding fable.
Synopsis: In 1944 Spain young Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her ailing mother (Ariadna Gil) arrive at the post of her mother's... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#64

Volver (2006)
91%

#64
Adjusted Score: 97800%
Critics Consensus: Volver catches director Pedro Almodovar and star Penelope Cruz at the peak of their respective powers, in service of a layered, thought-provoking film.
Synopsis: Raimunda (Penélope Cruz) works and lives Madrid with her husband Paco and daughter Paula. Her sister Sole (Lola Dueñas) lives... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#65

The Aura (2005)
88%

#65
Adjusted Score: 88998%
Critics Consensus: The Aura is a highly original and cerebral thriller that maintains its suspense from start to finish.
Synopsis: Shy taxidermist Espinosa (Ricardo Darín), who has epilepsy, dreams of committing the perfect crime. He unexpectedly gets the chance when... [More]
Directed By: Fabián Bielinsky

#66

The Sea Inside (2004)
85%

#66
Adjusted Score: 88982%
Critics Consensus: Held aloft by a transfixing performance from Javier Bardem as a terminally ill man who chooses to die, The Sea Inside transcends its melodramatic story with tenderness and grace.
Synopsis: Ramón Sampedro (Javier Bardem) is a Spanish ship mechanic and part-time poet who is left a quadriplegic after a diving... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#67

Live-In Maid (2004)
100%

#67
Adjusted Score: 100236%
Critics Consensus: Live-In Maid is an insightful character piece with standout performances and a poignant slice of Argentina life.
Synopsis: During the Argentine economic crisis of the early 2000s, Beba (Norma Aleandro), who was once wealthy, does not have enough... [More]
Directed By: Jorge Gaggero

#68

Days of Santiago (2004)
100%

#68
Adjusted Score: 22472%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A former SEAL (Pietro Sibille) with violent tendencies struggles to adjust to civilian life in the slums of Lima, Peru.... [More]
Directed By: Josue Mendez

#69
#69
Adjusted Score: 101431%
Critics Consensus: In a striking debut, Moreno carries the movie and puts a human face on the drug trade.
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Colombian Maria (Catalina Sandino Moreno) is desperate: pregnant and with a large family to care for, she's forced to... [More]
Directed By: Joshua Marston

#70

Duck Season (2004)
91%

#70
Adjusted Score: 92921%
Critics Consensus: This modest cinematic slice-of-life manages to subtly capture many small but resonant and truthful moments of adolescence.
Synopsis: Initially, adolescents Flama (Daniel Miranda) and Moko (Diego Cataño) are enjoying what promises to be an uneventful Sunday at Flama's.... [More]
Directed By: Fernando Eimbcke

#71

Bad Education (2004)
88%

#71
Adjusted Score: 92581%
Critics Consensus: A layered, wonderfully-acted, and passionate drama.
Synopsis: When an old friend brings filmmaker Enrique Goded (Fele Martínez) a semi-autobiographical script chronicling their adolescence, Enrique is forced to... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#72

Machuca (2004)
87%

#72
Adjusted Score: 87424%
Critics Consensus: Machuca is a touchingly bittersweet story of childhood friendship and a demonstration of how the political affects the personal.
Synopsis: Pedro (Ariel Mateluna), who comes from modest means, gets a free ride to an elite Catholic boarding school run by... [More]
Directed By: Andrés Wood

#73

Los muertos (2004)
86%

#73
Adjusted Score: 22562%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A 54-year-old Argentinean man is imprisoned for killing his brothers. Once he is released, he travels great distances in a... [More]
Directed By: Lisandro Alonso

#74
#74
Adjusted Score: 87956%
Critics Consensus: The Motorcycle Diaries is heartfelt and profound in its rendering of the formative experiences that turn Ernesto "Che" Guerva into a famous revolutionary.
Synopsis: On a break before his last semester of medical school, Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Gael García Bernal) travels with his friend... [More]
Directed By: Walter Salles

#75

The Holy Girl (2004)
78%

#75
Adjusted Score: 79354%
Critics Consensus: This provocative, lyrical drama mixes themes of forbidden sexuality and redemptive faith with a touch of humanism in a memorable, if disorienting, visual style.
Synopsis: Amalia (María Alche) is an adolescent girl who is caught in the throes of her emerging sexuality and her deeply... [More]
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel

#76

Cronicas (2004)
71%

#76
Adjusted Score: 72735%
Critics Consensus: An unsettling and absorbing cautionary tale with John Leguizamo playing an unscrupulous TV reporter who uses the medium to further his own goals.
Synopsis: Reporter Manolo Bonilla (John Leguizamo) goes to a jail in Ecuador to interview Vinicio Cepeda (Damián Alcázar), a hit-and-run driver... [More]
Directed By: Sebastian Cordero

#77

Talk to Her (2002)
91%

#77
Adjusted Score: 95293%
Critics Consensus: Another masterful, compassionate work from Pedro Almodovar.
Synopsis: Male nurse Benigno (Javier Cámara) becomes infatuated with a complete stranger when he watches dancer Alicia (Leonor Watling) practicing from... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#78

Minimal Stories (2002)
88%

#78
Adjusted Score: 84826%
Critics Consensus: This modest road movie features naturalistic performances and a heartwarming tone of gentle humanism.
Synopsis: Three strangers are on the road to the same destination: San Julián, Argentina. The city represents diverse dreams for the... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Sorin

#79
#79
Adjusted Score: 81697%
Critics Consensus: Javier Bardem gives an outstanding performance in this hought-provoking (though occasionally plodding) movie about the effects of unemployment on a group of former shipyard workers.
Synopsis: Vigo, a port town in Spain, has fallen on hard times. The shipbuilding industry, which was a primary source of... [More]

#80

Japan (2002)
79%

#80
Adjusted Score: 79079%
Critics Consensus: A slow-moving, visually impressive debut.
Synopsis: A young painter (Alejandro Ferretis), beleaguered by life, sets off in search of a place to kill himself. When he... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Reygadas

#81

Bolivia (2001)
100%

#81
Adjusted Score: 49286%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Rendered jobless by the American war on drugs in his native Bolivia, Freddy (Freddy Flores) crosses the border to Argentina,... [More]
Directed By: Israel Adrian Caetano

#82
#82
Adjusted Score: 96970%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.
Synopsis: After losing his father, 10-year-old Carlos (Fernando Tielve) arrives at the Santa Lucia School, which shelters orphans of the Republican... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#83

Nine Queens (2001)
92%

#83
Adjusted Score: 94902%
Critics Consensus: Deliciously twist-filled, Nine Queens is a clever and satisfying crime caper.
Synopsis: "Nine Queens" is the story of two small-time swindlers, Juan (Gastón Pauls) and Marcos (Ricardo Darín), who team up after... [More]
Directed By: Fabián Bielinsky

#84
#84
Adjusted Score: 97886%
Critics Consensus: Led by a triumvirate of terrific performances, Alfonso Cuarón's free-spirited road trip through Mexico is a sexy and wistful hymn to the fleetingness of youth.
Synopsis: The lives of Julio and Tenoch, like those of 17-year old boys everywhere, are ruled by raging hormones, intense friendships,... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#85

La ciénaga (2001)
87%

#85
Adjusted Score: 87930%
Critics Consensus: Dense yet impressively focused, La Cienaga is a disquieting look at domestic dissatisfaction - and a powerful calling card for debuting writer-director Lucrecia Martel.
Synopsis: This Argentinean tale, which revolves around a group of families passing summer vacation in a rural country house, does not... [More]
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel

#86
#86
Adjusted Score: 87382%
Critics Consensus: A film about one man's mid-life crisis, The Son of the Bride is both touching and funny.
Synopsis: At age 42, Rafael Belvedere is having a crisis. He's overwhelmed by his responsibilities and just isn't having any fun.... [More]
Directed By: Juan José Campanella

#87

Amores perros (2000)
93%

#87
Adjusted Score: 97562%
Critics Consensus: The brutality of Amores Perros may be difficult to watch at times, but this intense, gritty film packs a hard wallop.
Synopsis: "Amores Perros" is a bold, intensely emotional, and ambitious story of lives that collide in a Mexico City car crash.... [More]

#88

Pellet (2000)
91%

#88
Adjusted Score: 45262%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Pablo (Juan José Ballesta) is a 12-year-old boy who is streetwise but scarred. He is emotionally and physically damaged by... [More]
Directed By: Achero Mañas

#89

Burning Money (2000)
77%

#89
Adjusted Score: 77357%
Critics Consensus: Burnt Money tells a stylish and steamy story about criminals on the lam.
Synopsis: Set in Argentina in 1965, the story follows the tumultuous relationship between two men who became lovers and ultimately ruthless... [More]
Directed By: Marcelo Piñeyro

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 102359%
Critics Consensus: Almodovar weaves together a magnificent tapestry of femininity with an affectionate wink to classics of theater and cinema in this poignant story of love, loss and compassion.
Synopsis: New friends help a woman (Cecilia Roth) struggling to get her life in order after her son's (Eloy Azorín) death.... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#91

Butterfly (1999)
96%

#91
Adjusted Score: 96410%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The heartwarming story of the relationship that develops between a shy young boy and his kind teacher in 1936 Spain.... [More]
Directed By: José Luis Cuerda

#92
Adjusted Score: 82934%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: As young children, Otto (Fele Martínez) and Ana (Najwa Nimri) become best friends, leading to the marriage of Ana's mother,... [More]
Directed By: Julio Medem

#93

Open Your Eyes (1997)
87%

#93
Adjusted Score: 89473%
Critics Consensus: Director Alejandro Amenábar tackles some heady issues with finesse and clarity in Open Your Eyes, a gripping exploration of existentialism and the human spirit.
Synopsis: Handsome 25-year-old Cesar (Eduardo Noriega) had it all -- a successful career, expensive cars, a swank bachelor's pad, and an... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#94

Thesis (1996)
83%

#94
Adjusted Score: 78949%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Spanish film student (Ana Torrent) finds a videotape showing the torture and murder of a missing coed.... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#95
#95
Adjusted Score: 87451%
Critics Consensus: The Flower of My Secret finds Almodóvar revisiting old themes in a new, more subdued key, yielding a slight but vivacious work that delivers the pleasure of a punchy novella.
Synopsis: A Spanish writer who pens romance novels as Amanda Gris, Leo Macias (Marisa Paredes) is successful, but unlucky in her... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: 81137%
Critics Consensus: Strawberry and Chocolate movingly depicts the budding relationship between two men against the backdrop of a pivotal moment in Cuban history.
Synopsis: In 1979 Cuba, flamboyant gay artist Diego (Jorge Perugorría) attempts to seduce the straight and strait-laced David (Vladimir Cruz), an... [More]

#97

Cronos (1993)
90%

#97
Adjusted Score: 95196%
Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro's unique feature debut is not only gory and stylish, but also charming and intelligent.
Synopsis: Antique dealer Jesus Gris (Federico Luppi) stumbles across Cronos, a 400-year-old scarab that, when it latches onto him, grants him... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#98

Belle Epoque (1992)
95%

#98
Adjusted Score: 96216%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: As Spain sits on the precipice of civil war in 1930, Fernando (Jorge Sanz) opts to go AWOL from the... [More]
Directed By: Fernando Trueba

#99

El Mariachi (1992)
91%

#99
Adjusted Score: 97656%
Critics Consensus: Made on a shoestring budget, El Mariachi's story is not new. However, the movie has so much energy that it's thoroughly enjoyable.
Synopsis: El Mariachi (Carlos Gallardo) is a traveling guitar player with the modest desire to play music for a living. Looking... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#100
#100
Adjusted Score: 91836%
Critics Consensus: Like Water for Chocolate plays to the senses with a richly rewarding romance that indulges in magical realism to intoxicating effect.
Synopsis: The youngest daughter in her family, the beautiful Tita (Lumi Cavazos) is forbidden to marry her true love, Pedro (Marco... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Arau

#101

Cows (1992)
60%

#101
Adjusted Score: 30218%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An act of cowardice influences the lives of two Basque families over three generations.... [More]
Directed By: Julio Medem

#102

Santa Sangre (1989)
86%

#102
Adjusted Score: 89538%
Critics Consensus: Those unfamiliar with Alejandro Jodorowsky's style may find it overwhelming, but Santa Sangre is a provocative psychedelic journey featuring the director's signature touches of violence, vulgarity, and an oddly personal moral center.
Synopsis: In Mexico, the traumatized son (Axel Jodorowsky) of a knife-thrower (Guy Stockwell) and a trapeze artist bonds grotesquely with his... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Jodorowsky

#103
Adjusted Score: 94616%
Critics Consensus: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown finds writer-director Pedro Almodóvar working in a distinctly feminist vein, with richly rewarding results.
Synopsis: When Pepa Marcos' (Carmen Maura) lover Ivan (Fernando Guillén) suddenly leaves her without any explanation, she embarks on a strange... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#104

The Official Story (1985)
100%

#104
Adjusted Score: 100383%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: This Argentine drama focuses on Alicia (Norma Aleandro), a high school history teacher who is leading a comfortable life with... [More]
Directed By: Luis Puenzo

#105

The Holy Innocents (1984)
100%

#105
Adjusted Score: 91703%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1960s Spain, Paco (Alfredo Landa), his wife, Régula (Terele Pavez), and his brother-in-law Azarias (Francisco Rabal) work for slave... [More]
Directed By: Mario Camus

#106

The South (1983)
100%

#106
Adjusted Score: 100611%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Estrella Arenas (Icíar Bollaín), a rural Spanish teenager with a rich imagination, dreams of her mysterious father Agustín (Omero Antonutti),... [More]
Directed By: Víctor Erice

#107

El Norte (1983)
92%

#107
Adjusted Score: 98017%
Critics Consensus: Sensitively written, skillfully directed, and powerfully portrayed, El Norte wrings deeply affecting drama from intractable real-life issues.
Synopsis: When a group of Mayan Indians decides to organize a labor union to improve conditions in their village, their community... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Nava

#108

Cria! (1976)
100%

#108
Adjusted Score: 101831%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A little girl (Ana Torrent) and her sisters are placed with an aunt (Geraldine Chaplin) in Madrid after their father... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Saura

#109
#109
Adjusted Score: 98013%
Critics Consensus: El Espíritu de la Colmena uses a classic horror story's legacy as the thread for a singularly absorbing childhood fable woven with uncommon grace.
Synopsis: In an allegory of life after Gen. Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War, life in a remote village in... [More]
Directed By: Víctor Erice

#110
#110
Adjusted Score: 87013%
Critics Consensus: A visual treat rich in symbolism, The Holy Mountain adds another defiantly idiosyncratic chapter to Jodorowsky's thoroughly unique filmography.
Synopsis: A Mexican master (Alexandro Jodorowsky) leads a Christ figure (Horacio Salinas) and other disciples to a mountain of immortal wise... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Jodorowsky

#111

El topo (1971)
80%

#111
Adjusted Score: 84987%
Critics Consensus: By turns intoxicating and confounding, El Topo contains the creative multitudes that made writer-director Alejandro Jodorowsky such a singular talent.
Synopsis: A black-clad gunfighter (Alejandro Jodorowsky) embarks on a symbolic quest in an Old West version of Sodom and Gomorrah.... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Jodorowsky

#112

Tristana (1970)
97%

#112
Adjusted Score: 101618%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: As a young woman, Tristana (Catherine Deneuve) is orphaned and taken under the guardianship of Don Lope (Fernando Rey), a... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#113
Adjusted Score: 94792%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Sergio (Sergio Corrieri), an affluent writer, chooses to stay behind in... [More]

#114

Lucia (1968)
89%

#114
Adjusted Score: 89313%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: During Cuba's war for independence from Spain, Lucia (Raquel Revuelta), a single woman from a wealthy family, betrays her brother,... [More]
Directed By: Humberto Solás

#115

La Caza (1966)
86%

#115
Adjusted Score: 86021%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three Spanish Civil War veterans snap while hunting rabbits with a boy on a battlefield.... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Saura

#116
#116
Adjusted Score: 101817%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Simon (Claudio Brook) stands on top of a stone column in the middle of the desert and prays for six... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#117

I Am Cuba (1964)
100%

#117
Adjusted Score: 103435%
Critics Consensus: Visually absorbing and formally audacious, I Am Cuba (Soy Cuba) opens a long-buried time capsule that has lost none of its captivating power.
Synopsis: A study in contrasts set in and around Havana that explores Cuba's 1959 revolution. A young woman's fascination with the... [More]
Directed By: Mikhail Kalatozov

#118
#118
Adjusted Score: 97371%
Critics Consensus: Societal etiquette devolves into depravity in Luis Buñuel's existential comedy, effectively playing the absurdity of civilization for mordant laughs.
Synopsis: Edmundo Nobile (Enrique Rambal) invites friends over for an opulent dinner party. While the guests enjoy their food, the servants... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#119

Plácido (1961)
100%

#119
Adjusted Score: 78689%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A poor trucker gets involved with a charity drive and realizes the woes of other people.... [More]
Directed By: Luis García Berlanga

#120

Viridiana (1961)
97%

#120
Adjusted Score: 99934%
Critics Consensus: Viridiana is quintessential Bunuel: a masterpiece against the grain, designed to shock and awe.
Synopsis: Viridinia (Silvia Pinal) is preparing to start her life as a nun when she is sent, somewhat unwillingly, to visit... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#121

Macario (1960)
100%

#121
Adjusted Score: 85215%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Three mysterious deities visit impoverished peasant Macario (Ignacio López Tarso) when his wife (Pina Pellicer) prepares for him his favorite... [More]
Directed By: Roberto Gavaldón

#122

Nazarín (1959)
86%

#122
Adjusted Score: 86814%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In a seedy, plague-ridden corner of turn-of-the-century Mexico, a pious priest, Nazarín (Francisco Rabal), takes in mentally ill Beatriz (Marga... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#123

Death of a Cyclist (1955)
100%

#123
Adjusted Score: 100332%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Professor Juan (Alberto Closas) is sleeping with Maria (Lucía Bosé), who's married to a rich man. After one such tryst,... [More]
Directed By: Juan Antonio Bardem

#124
Adjusted Score: 92598%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The wealthy Archibaldo (Ernesto Alonso) is a potential serial killer. This might be the result of a childhood incident: his... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#125
#125
Adjusted Score: 96963%
Critics Consensus: Los Olvidados casts an unsparing eye on juvenile crime -- and the systemically flawed societies that allow it to flourish.
Synopsis: Once he escapes juvenile prison, El Jaibo (Miguel Inclán) resumes his role as the ringleader of a group troubled street... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel