The Most Successful Foreign Films in America

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

5. Amélie (2001)
> Domestic ticket sales: $53.9 million
> International ticket sales: $228.1 million
> IMDb audience score: 8.3/10 (747,528 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 89% (186 votes)
> Directed by: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

This vibrant French classic centers on the charming title character (Audrey Tautou), whose innocent worldview inspires all those around her. It was France’s highest-grossing film of 2001 and also a popular title on the home rental market in places such as the U.K.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

4. La Cage aux Folles (1979)
> Domestic ticket sales: $75.7 million
> International ticket sales: Not available
> IMDb audience score: 7.2/10 (10,866 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 95% (21 votes)
> Directed by: Édouard Molinaro

Adapted from a play of the same name, this French comedy finds a gay couple playing straight for their soon-to-be in-laws. It yielded an inferior 1991 sequel (see No. 17) and was later remade in Hollywood as the 1996 hit “The Birdcage,” starring Gene Hackman, Robin Williams, Dianne Wiest, and Nathan Lane.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

3. Hero (2004)
> Domestic ticket sales: $79.2 million
> International ticket sales: $182.4 million
> IMDb audience score: 7.9/10 (180,741 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 94% (210 votes)
> Directed by: Yimou Zhang

Director Yimou Zhang’s action-packed Mandarin-language blockbuster takes place in ancient China and stars Jet Li as a nameless warrior. Borrowing from iconic films such as “Rashomon,” it examines an event from multiple angles and plays on the concept of unreliable narration. Writing for The New Republic, critic Christopher Orr called it one of the year’s “best films to be released in the United States.”

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

2. Life Is Beautiful (1998)
> Domestic ticket sales: $111.8 million
> International ticket sales: $337.0 million
> IMDb audience score: 8.6/10 (681,806 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 81% (89 votes)
> Directed by: Roberto Benigni

This Italian tragi-comedy takes place in a concentration camp during the Holocaust and finds light in the darkest of places. Hoping to shield his son from the omnipresent horror, a prisoner (Benigni) pretends that it’s all just an elaborate game. It won three Academy Awards, including Best Actor and Best Foreign Language Film.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

1. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
> Domestic ticket sales: $217.7 million
> International ticket sales: $145.2 million
> IMDb audience score: 7.9/10 (267,347 votes)
> Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score: 97% (159 votes)
> Directed by: Ang Lee

Director Ang Lee followed a trio of Hollywood films with this Mandarin-language wuxia masterpiece. Against the backdrop of the Qing dynasty, two veteran warriors (Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh) must retrieve a stolen ancient sword. It was a domestic blockbuster and the winner of four Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language Film.

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