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The 125 Essential Spanish-Language Movies

As we head into Hispanic Heritage month, Rotten Tomatoes brings together the best Spanish-language movies, from recent instant classics like Roma and The Heiresses to Tristana and Sin Nombre.

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. Latinx filmmakers still fighting for their one shot at working in the movie business. In the United States, Latinx 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 or Latinx – 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. To rank the movies, we used Tomatometer scores, rankings from other prominent publications and organizations, and then applied editorial considerations such as the lasting impact a film has had as well as the number and types of awards it has won.

For 2021’s update, we’ve added 15 more films, many of them new Certified Fresh classics and important works like Identifying Features, The Mole Agent, and Monos. As the world of Spanish-language cinema continues to grow, there will be many more titles to add to this list.

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.)

#125

Havana Suite (2003)
71%

#125
Adjusted Score: 19124%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Filmmaker Fernando Pérez follows residents of Havana, including a family, a hospital worker, a dancer and a railroad repairman.... [More]
Directed By: Fernando Pérez

#124

Los muertos (2004)
86%

#124
Adjusted Score: 21811%
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

#123

Cows (1992)
60%

#123
Adjusted Score: 26794%
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

#122

Viaje (2015)

#122
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Luciana and Pedro meet at a costume party and instantly fall in love.... [More]
Directed By: Paz Fabrega

#121

Days of Santiago (2004)
100%

#121
Adjusted Score: 21994%
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

#120

Imprisoned (2015)

#120
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young woman begins a phone relationship with an inmate friend of her boss, and even though she's engaged, she... [More]
Directed By: Esteban Ramírez

#119
#119
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Tomas, an Afro-Colombian teenager, grows up surrounded by exclusion and racism. When his younger brother and closest friend disappear, Tomas... [More]

#118

Virus tropical (2017)
78%

#118
Adjusted Score: 36440%
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

#117

Pellet (2000)
91%

#117
Adjusted Score: 48721%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A boy (Pablo Galán), his concerned parents and a social worker try to save a 12-year-old (Juan José Ballesta) from... [More]
Directed By: Achero Mañas

#116

Bolivia (2001)
100%

#116
Adjusted Score: 53916%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A Bolivian immigrant (Freddy Flores) in Argentina copes with bigoted customers while earning a meager living as a cook.... [More]
Directed By: Israel Adrian Caetano

#115

La Yuma (2009)

#115
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A strong willed girl from a poor family dreams of being a boxer.... [More]
Directed By: Florence Jaugey

#114

Magical Girl (2014)
100%

#114
Adjusted Score: 42404%
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

#113

Lucia (1969)
88%

#113
Adjusted Score: 87177%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A young woman gets caught up in the passion and fervor that marks Cuba's revolutionary history from 1895 to 1959.... [More]
Directed By: Humberto Solás

#112

Manos sucias (2014)
92%

#112
Adjusted Score: 60683%
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 Wladyka

#111

Cocote (2017)
76%

#111
Adjusted Score: 76315%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: When evangelical gardener Alberto goes back to his hometown for his father's funeral, he is forced to participate in religious... [More]

#110

The Holy Innocents (1984)
100%

#110
Adjusted Score: 100021%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Members (Alfredo Landa, Francisco Rabal, Terele Pavez) of a poor family obey the whims of the aristocrats they work for... [More]
Directed By: Mario Camus

#109

Juan of the Dead (2011)
83%

#109
Adjusted Score: 82152%
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

#108

Sand Dollars (2014)
94%

#108
Adjusted Score: 75499%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An opportunistic young woman (Yanet Mojica) becomes involved with a wealthy matriarch (Geraldine Chaplin).... [More]

#107

Japan (2002)
79%

#107
Adjusted Score: 78082%
Critics Consensus: A slow-moving, visually impressive debut.
Synopsis: A suicidal man (Alejandro Ferretis) gets a different outlook on life after he meets an old widow (Magdalena Flores) in... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Reygadas

#106

The Untamed (2016)
86%

#106
Adjusted Score: 88786%
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

#105

Cronicas (2004)
71%

#105
Adjusted Score: 73076%
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: To help secure his release from prison, a man (Damián Alcázar) tells a tabloid reporter (John Alberto Leguizamo) that he... [More]
Directed By: Sebastián Cordero

#104

Plácido (1961)
100%

#104
Adjusted Score: 80000%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A poor trucker gets involved with a charity drive and realizes the woes of other people.... [More]

#103

The South (1983)
100%

#103
Adjusted Score: 84588%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A girl (Sonsoles Aranguren, Icíar Bollaín) in northern Spain recalls her childhood and her father, a doctor (Omero Antonutti) from... [More]
Directed By: Victor Erice

#102
#102
Adjusted Score: 76580%
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: Feelings of guilt haunt a woman (María Onetto) who might have killed someone in a hit-and-run accident.... [More]
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel

#101

Burning Money (2000)
77%

#101
Adjusted Score: 76349%
Critics Consensus: Burnt Money tells a stylish and steamy story about criminals on the lam.
Synopsis: A criminal (Leonardo Sbaraglia) tries to nurse his lover (Eduardo Noriega) back to health after a gunfight erupts during their... [More]
Directed By: Marcelo Piñeyro

#100

El camino (1963)

#100
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A boy spends time with his friends before leaving his small Spanish village to go study in the city.... [More]
Directed By: Ana Mariscal

#99
#99
Adjusted Score: 101694%
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

#98

De lo mio (2019)
100%

#98
Adjusted Score: 34644%
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

#97

Woodpeckers (2017)
80%

#97
Adjusted Score: 63100%
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: Jose Maria Cabral

#96
#96
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Afro-Mexicans go about their lives.... [More]
Directed By: Jorge Pérez Solano

#95
#95
Adjusted Score: 56547%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]
Directed By: Natalia Cabral

#94
Adjusted Score: 80936%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Children grow up to be teen lovers (Najwa Nimri, Fele Martínez) when fate unites one's father with the other's mother.... [More]
Directed By: Julio Medem

#93
#93
Adjusted Score: 81695%
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: Fired from a Spanish shipyard, three men (Javier Bardem, Luis Tosar, José Ángel Egido) spend their days wandering aimlessly and... [More]

#92

Una noche (2012)
83%

#92
Adjusted Score: 82186%
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

#91

El topo (1971)
80%

#91
Adjusted Score: 85308%
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

#90
#90
Adjusted Score: 84093%
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 creativity lull and a failing marriage prompt a romance novelist (Marisa Paredes) to seek inspiration.... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#89

Nazarín (1959)
86%

#89
Adjusted Score: 86338%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A cleric (Francisco Rabal) puts aside his priest's garb, goes on a pilgrimage and harbors a murderous prostitute.... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#88

Broken Embraces (2009)
82%

#88
Adjusted Score: 86459%
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: A man (Lluís Homar) tells his assistant the story of how he lost both his sight and the love (Penélope... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#87
#87
Adjusted Score: 78637%
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

#86

La Caza (1966)
86%

#86
Adjusted Score: 85076%
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

#85

Tony Manero (2008)
84%

#85
Adjusted Score: 84553%
Critics Consensus: Deliberately provocative, Tony Manero is as challenging and compelling as it is difficult to describe.
Synopsis: A serial killer is obsessed with "Saturday Night Fever."... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Larraín

#84

Open Your Eyes (1997)
85%

#84
Adjusted Score: 86703%
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: A former womanizer (Eduardo Noriega), disfigured in a car crash, has trouble distinguishing dreams from reality.... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#83
#83
Adjusted Score: 73006%
Critics Consensus: We Are What We Are is elevated horror that combines family drama and social politics, with plenty of gore on top.
Synopsis: A misfit teenager must take on a daunting responsibility when the patriarch of his cannibal family dies, leaving them without... [More]
Directed By: Jorge Michel Grau

#82

The Wolf House (2018)
96%

#82
Adjusted Score: 97879%
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]

#81

The Holy Girl (2004)
77%

#81
Adjusted Score: 78571%
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: Caught up in her own awakening sexuality, a teen decides to save the soul of a doctor (Carlos Belloso) who... [More]
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel

#80

Minimal Stories (2002)
88%

#80
Adjusted Score: 88095%
Critics Consensus: This modest road movie features naturalistic performances and a heartwarming tone of gentle humanism.
Synopsis: A man searches for his dog, a traveling salesman (Javier Lombardo) courts a widow, and a woman appears on a... [More]
Directed By: Carlos Sorin

#79
#79
Adjusted Score: 86237%
Critics Consensus: A film about one man's mid-life crisis, The Son of the Bride is both touching and funny.
Synopsis: A restaurateur (Héctor Alterio) wants to renew his wedding vows to his wife (Norma Aleandro) who is battling Alzheimer's disease.... [More]

#78

The Aura (2005)
87%

#78
Adjusted Score: 88065%
Critics Consensus: The Aura is a highly original and cerebral thriller that maintains its suspense from start to finish.
Synopsis: An epileptic taxidermist (Ricardo Darín) seizes the opportunity to commit the perfect crime after he accidentally kills a man who... [More]
Directed By: Fabián Bielinsky

#77
#77
Adjusted Score: 80882%
Critics Consensus: Strawberry and Chocolate movingly depicts the budding relationship between two men against the backdrop of a pivotal moment in Cuban history.
Synopsis: A hard-line Cuban communist (Vladimir Cruz) finds friendship with a gay neighbor (Jorge Perugorría) he originally intended to expose.... [More]

#76

Rec (2007)
89%

#76
Adjusted Score: 89626%
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]

#75

Sin nombre (2009)
88%

#75
Adjusted Score: 91905%
Critics Consensus: Part harrowing immigration tale, part gangster story, this debut by writer/director Cary Fukunaga is sensitive, insightful and deeply authentic.
Synopsis: A Honduran teenager (Paulina Gaitán) joins a Mexican gangmember (Edgar Flores) as both ride atop an American-bound train toward a... [More]
Directed By: Cary Joji Fukunaga

#74

Tristana (1970)
97%

#74
Adjusted Score: 100333%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Seduced by her guardian (Fernando Rey), a young woman (Catherine Deneuve) also loves an artist (Franco Nero) and loses a... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#73

The Clan (2015)
84%

#73
Adjusted Score: 86976%
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

#72
#72
Adjusted Score: 100110%
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]

#71

Chico & Rita (2010)
87%

#71
Adjusted Score: 89557%
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]

#70

Machuca (2004)
87%

#70
Adjusted Score: 86395%
Critics Consensus: Machuca is a touchingly bittersweet story of childhood friendship and a demonstration of how the political affects the personal.
Synopsis: A Chilean boy (Matías Quer) becomes friends with a poor student (Ariel Mateluna) as political tensions escalate within the country... [More]
Directed By: Andrés Wood

#69

Narco cultura (2012)
89%

#69
Adjusted Score: 89269%
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

#68

Holy Blood (1989)
86%

#68
Adjusted Score: 89638%
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

#67

Undertow (2009)
88%

#67
Adjusted Score: 87277%
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]

#66

Thesis (1996)
83%

#66
Adjusted Score: 79549%
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

#65

Sleep Tight (2011)
91%

#65
Adjusted Score: 91753%
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

#64

The Official Story (1985)
100%

#64
Adjusted Score: 100332%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An Argentine couple (Norma Aleandro, Héctor Alterio) learn that the government tortured their adopted daughter's parents.... [More]
Directed By: Luis Puenzo

#63

Miss Bala (2011)
87%

#63
Adjusted Score: 88457%
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

#62

Viridiana (1961)
96%

#62
Adjusted Score: 98613%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A would-be nun (Silvia Pinal) visits her rich uncle (Fernando Rey), who drugs her, and everything gets surreal.... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#61

Alamar (2009)
91%

#61
Adjusted Score: 91876%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man and his son embark on an epic sea journey.... [More]

#60

Bad Education (2004)
88%

#60
Adjusted Score: 91352%
Critics Consensus: A layered, wonderfully-acted, and passionate drama.
Synopsis: An actor (Gael García Bernal) gives his childhood friend (Fele Martínez), now a director, a story he wrote about sexual... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#59

The Orphanage (2007)
87%

#59
Adjusted Score: 93575%
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: Several months after her adopted son disappears, a grieving woman (Belén Rueda), in her childhood home, believes she hears spirits... [More]
Directed By: J.A. Bayona

#58

Duck Season (2004)
91%

#58
Adjusted Score: 92339%
Critics Consensus: This modest cinematic slice-of-life manages to subtly capture many small but resonant and truthful moments of adolescence.
Synopsis: Unsupervised youths (Enrique Arreola, Diego Cataño) spend their day playing videogames, eating and getting high on marijuana-laced brownies.... [More]
Directed By: Fernando Eimbcke

#57
#57
Adjusted Score: -1%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: ... [More]

#56

Cronos (1993)
91%

#56
Adjusted Score: 93842%
Critics Consensus: Guillermo del Toro's unique feature debut is not only gory and stylish, but also charming and intelligent.
Synopsis: An antiques dealer (Federico Luppi) finds an ancient artifact that grants him eternal life, but in the form of a... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#55
Adjusted Score: 92153%
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: An unstable woman searching for her former lover finds chaos as a diverse group of strangers enters her life.... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#54

No (2012)
93%

#54
Adjusted Score: 98807%
Critics Consensus: No uses its history-driven storyline to offer a bit of smart, darkly funny perspective on modern democracy and human nature.
Synopsis: An advertising executive (Gael García Bernal) joins the fight against Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.... [More]
Directed By: Pablo Larraín

#53

The Sea Inside (2004)
84%

#53
Adjusted Score: 87949%
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), a quadriplegic for nearly 30 years, wants a lawyer (Belén Rueda) and a single mother (Lola... [More]
Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar

#52

Snow White (2012)
95%

#52
Adjusted Score: 98827%
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

#51

Mala Mala (2014)
95%

#51
Adjusted Score: 90618%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The diverse and vibrant transgender community in Puerto Rico.... [More]
Starring: Jason Carrion

#50
#50
Adjusted Score: 92660%
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

#49
#49
Adjusted Score: 98483%
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

#48

Nine Queens (2001)
92%

#48
Adjusted Score: 93733%
Critics Consensus: Deliciously twist-filled, Nine Queens is a clever and satisfying crime caper.
Synopsis: A veteran con man and his rookie partner try to make a big score by selling forgeries of a famous... [More]
Directed By: Fabián Bielinsky

#47

The Mole Agent (2020)
94%

#47
Adjusted Score: 97024%
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

#46

Talk to Her (2002)
91%

#46
Adjusted Score: 95320%
Critics Consensus: Another masterful, compassionate work from Pedro Almodovar.
Synopsis: A lonely male nurse (Javier Cámara) bonds with an Argentine journalist (Darío Grandinetti) while they maintain vigils over the comatose... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#45

The Heiresses (2018)
98%

#45
Adjusted Score: 100516%
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

#44

Monos (2019)
92%

#44
Adjusted Score: 99675%
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

#43

Belle Epoque (1992)
95%

#43
Adjusted Score: 96396%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An artist's (Fernando Fernán Gómez) four daughters seduce a willing army deserter (Jorge Sanz) in 1930s Spain.... [More]
Directed By: Fernando Trueba

#42

Neruda (2016)
93%

#42
Adjusted Score: 99004%
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

#41

Güeros (2014)
93%

#41
Adjusted Score: 93740%
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 Ruiz Palacios

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 93629%
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: A judge (Soledad Villamil) has doubts about a recently retired court employee's (Ricardo Darín) plans to find the real culprits... [More]

#39

Kings of Nowhere (2015)
100%

#39
Adjusted Score: 35517%
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

#38

Bad Hair (2013)
95%

#38
Adjusted Score: 95067%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
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 Rondon

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 90003%
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 (Lumi Cavazos) of a Mexican family expresses her feelings in preparing wonderful food, when tradition keeps her... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Arau

#36

Love's a Bitch (2000)
93%

#36
Adjusted Score: 96390%
Critics Consensus: The brutality of Amores Perros may be difficult to watch at times, but this intense, gritty film packs a hard wallop.
Synopsis: In Mexico City, the lives of two desperate lovers, an entrepreneur who stages dogfights and a homeless man intertwine.... [More]

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 94920%
Critics Consensus: Societal etiquette devolves into depravity in Luis Buñuel's existential comedy, effectively playing the absurdity of civilization for mordant laughs.
Synopsis: Luis Bunuel's surrealistic tale of wealthy citizens who find themselves trapped in the living room of a friend's home.... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#34

Butterfly (1999)
96%

#34
Adjusted Score: 96232%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An 8-year-old (Manuel Lozano) forms a strong bond with his elderly teacher (Fernando Fernán Gómez), who shows him the beauty... [More]
Directed By: José Luis Cuerda

#33

La llorona (2019)
96%

#33
Adjusted Score: 99427%
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

#32
#32
Adjusted Score: 86800%
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: In 1952, medical student Ernesto "Che" Guevara (Gael García Bernal) and his friend Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna) embark... [More]
Directed By: Walter Salles

#31
#31
Adjusted Score: 83292%
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

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 96342%
Critics Consensus: Creepily atmospheric and haunting, The Devil's Backbone is both a potent ghost story and an intelligent political allegory.
Synopsis: The newest resident at a remote Spanish orphanage contends with a brutal janitor, a bully and a youngster's ghost.... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#29

Volver (2006)
91%

#29
Adjusted Score: 97557%
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: A woman's ghost (Carmen Maura) returns to her hometown to settle matters that were unresolved when she died.... [More]
Directed By: Pedro Almodóvar

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 97314%
Critics Consensus: Los Olvidados casts an unsparing eye on juvenile crime -- and the systemically flawed societies that allow it to flourish.
Synopsis: Two boys (Alfonso Mejía, Roberto Cobo) of the street fight each other for power in a Mexico City slum.... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#27
Adjusted Score: 94271%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A bourgeois writer (Sergio Corrieri) seduces a teenager and chronicles Castro's changes in 1961 Cuba.... [More]

#26

Los Lobos (2019)
92%

#26
Adjusted Score: 63051%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Immigrant siblings let their imaginations run wild as they dream of going to Disneyland one day.... [More]
Directed By: Samuel Kishi

#25

Zama (2017)
96%

#25
Adjusted Score: 100784%
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: In the 18th century, a highly-placed servant of the Spanish crown who is obsessed with petty grudges and fantasies plots... [More]
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 101048%
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

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 100356%
Critics Consensus: In a striking debut, Moreno carries the movie and puts a human face on the drug trade.
Synopsis: Unemployed and pregnant, a Colombian teenager (Catalina Sandino Moreno) takes a job smuggling drugs into the United States.... [More]
Directed By: Joshua Marston

#22
Adjusted Score: 90633%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Archibaldo (Ernesto Alonso) seeks the morbid pleasure he knew as a boy, when he saw his governess get shot.... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#21

Macario (1960)
100%

#21
Adjusted Score: 76218%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A poor woodsman enters into a strange bargain with Death in this Oscar-nominated fantasy from Mexico's Roberto Gavaldon.... [More]
Directed By: Roberto Gavaldón

#20
#20
Adjusted Score: 102246%
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 woman tries to find her son's whereabouts after he leaves Mexico to find work in the United States.... [More]
Directed By: Fernanda Valadez

#19

El Mariachi (1992)
91%

#19
Adjusted Score: 97367%
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: Henchmen mistake a traveling musician (Carlos Gallardo) for a crazed killer (Reinol Martinez) in a small Mexican town.... [More]
Directed By: Robert Rodriguez

#18
#18
Adjusted Score: 85140%
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: Alexandro Jodorowsky

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 97253%
Critics Consensus: A road movie that's not only sexy, but intelligent as well.
Synopsis: Tension and jealousy build between two friends (Gael García Bernal, Diego Luna) while they take a road trip with a... [More]
Directed By: Alfonso Cuarón

#16
#16
Adjusted Score: 101995%
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

#15

Wild Tales (2014)
94%

#15
Adjusted Score: 100915%
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]

#14

Live-In Maid (2004)
100%

#14
Adjusted Score: 100412%
Critics Consensus: Live-In Maid is an insightful character piece with standout performances and a poignant slice of Argentina life.
Synopsis: A member (Norma Aleandro) of Argentina's decaying upper class can no longer afford to pay her longtime housekeeper (Norma Argentina).... [More]
Directed By: Jorge Gaggero

#13
#13
Adjusted Score: 96098%
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 1940, a 7-year-old girl (Ana Torrent) living in a small village in Spain sees the movie "Frankenstein" with her... [More]
Directed By: Víctor Erice

#12

Cria! (1976)
100%

#12
Adjusted Score: 101320%
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

#11

El Norte (1983)
92%

#11
Adjusted Score: 96675%
Critics Consensus: Sensitively written, skillfully directed, and powerfully portrayed, El Norte wrings deeply affecting drama from intractable real-life issues.
Synopsis: A Guatemalan brother (David Villalpando) and sister (Zaide Silvia Gutiérrez) make their way through Mexico to Los Angeles.... [More]
Directed By: Gregory Nava

#10

Death of a Cyclist (1955)
100%

#10
Adjusted Score: 100670%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two illicit lovers accidentally run over a cyclist and leave him behind to die, fearing exposure of their affair.... [More]
Directed By: Juan Antonio Bardem

#9

Gloria (2013)
99%

#9
Adjusted Score: 104838%
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

#8

The Chambermaid (2018)
99%

#8
Adjusted Score: 101048%
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

#7

I Am Cuba (1964)
100%

#7
Adjusted Score: 102139%
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: Cuba's embracement of Communism is honored in four vignettes dramatizing life before Fidel Castro and the revolution.... [More]
Directed By: Mikhail Kalatozov

#6

Pain and Glory (2019)
96%

#6
Adjusted Score: 112114%
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

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 101660%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Simon stands on top of a stone column in the middle of the desert and prays for six years, six... [More]
Directed By: Luis Buñuel

#4

The Swamp (2001)
88%

#4
Adjusted Score: 88930%
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: An Argentine matriarch and her cousin attempt to cope with their large families and a sweltering summer.... [More]
Directed By: Lucrecia Martel

#3
#3
Adjusted Score: 101234%
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

#2

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
95%

#2
Adjusted Score: 103500%
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 a lonely girl (Ivana Baquero) encounters a faun in an ancient maze and must complete three dangerous... [More]
Directed By: Guillermo del Toro

#1

Roma (2018)
96%

#1
Adjusted Score: 116619%
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

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