101 Movies That Will Inspire You to Travel the World

These must-see international films will broaden your cinematic horizons and have you fantasizing about your next trip.

Mara Reinstein
Airbnb Magazine
Published in
22 min readFeb 20, 2019


Illustrations by Max-o-Matic

Attention, armchair travelers! The international films on this list will whet your wanderlust and get you excited for your next adventure. Chances are many will be, well, foreign to you — which is kind of the point. In a bid to avoid the requisite hey-where’s-this-one?! protests, we purposely leaned away from obvious all-time favorites in favor of lesser-known gems. That said, we couldn’t resist including a few bona fide classics. Because every list should include Audrey Hepburn.

Yellow dots indicate crowd-pleasing classics too obvious to qualify for the list but impossible not to include.


1. Nine Queens (2000)

Small-time con artists (Gastón Pauls, Ricardo Darin) join forces in a major scam in Buenos Aires. A seductively structured and superbly acted masterpiece.


2. Tracks (2013)

Headstrong Robyn Davidson (Mia Wasikowska) treks 1,700 miles of deserts — from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean. She’s accompanied by her dog, four camels, and at certain stops, a National Geographic photographer (Adam Driver).

3. Paperback Hero (1999)

Hugh Jackman plays Jack Willis, a handsome — and charming! — road train driver who doesn’t want anyone in the outback to find out that he’s secretly a top-selling romance novelist.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Two drag queens (Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce) and a trans woman (Terence Stamp) hit the road to get to the casino where they’re scheduled to perform. This colorful confection — full of dazzling musical numbers — is the antidote to whatever ails you.


4. The Piano Teacher (2001)

Set in the classical music capital of Europe, this gripping and sexually provocative thriller centers on a pianist (Isabelle Huppert) who teaches at the Conservatory of Vienna. The film weaves themes of sexual obsession, desire, and music.

5. Museum Hours (2012)

In Vienna’s glorious Kunsthistorisches Museum, a lonely museum guard (Bobby Summer) and a lonely tourist (Mary Margaret O’Hara) attempt to navigate tough times, using art as a way to make sense of the world around them.


6. If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969)

An ebullient tour guide (Ian McShane) takes a busload of American tourists across Europe. Hilarity ensues. Shot on location from England to Italy to, yes, Belgium.

7. In Bruges (2008)

Two hit men (Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson) hide out in the best-preserved medieval city in Belgium after a brutally botched job in this irreverent dark comedy.


8. The Last Lions (2011)

National Geographic Films produced this riveting nature documentary, shot at the Okavango Delta in Botswana and illustrating a lioness battling to protect her cubs against the onslaught of other forces of nature. Jeremy Irons narrates.


9. Bossa Nova (2000)

Nine characters cross one another’s romantic paths and destinies in Rio de Janeiro in this boisterous comedy. Amid the tumultuous merry-go-round, love wins out.

10. Central Station (1998)

Fernanda Montenegro got an Oscar nomination for her lovely performance as a former schoolteacher who takes a young boy on a trip through Brazil in search of the father he’s never met.

11. Woman on Top (2000)

Penélope Cruz decides to break free from her husband and his restaurant to launch her own culinary career. But first, she makes a sacrifice to a Brazilian sea goddess to harden her heart. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t work!


12. Endless Poetry (2016)

Surrealist filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky turns the lens on himself and confronts his past in this autobiographical account of a young man (played by his son, Adan Jodorowsky) becoming a poet in Santiago and befriending other bohemian artists in the 1940s.


13. Farewell My Concubine (1993)

Over 50 years, two men destined to perform in the famed Peking Opera maintain a complicated friendship through China’s Cultural Revolution. This epic work by director Chen Kaige is part history lesson, part love story, part musical, and all remarkable.

14. The Silent War (2012)

A blind assistant (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) is recruited by the government to help detect enemy radio signals. This sleek thriller won best cinematography at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Costa Rica

15 .Viaje (2015)

After meeting at a party, Luciana (Kattia Gonzalez) and Pedro (Fernando Bolanos) decide to go on a trip together to a volcano. They get closer to each other through being far from civilization. Filmed mostly in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park in the Guanacaste province.

Czech Republic

16. Empties (2007)

A cantankerous man (Zdenek Sverak) refuses to accept that he’s getting older in this affecting comedy. His selfish behavior almost gets him into trouble, so he tries to rekindle the passion in his marriage via a hot-air balloon ride over Prague.


17. Copenhagen (2014)

The titular city is where William (Gethin Anthony), 28, finds himself at a metaphorical crossroads. When he meets a 14-year-old local girl (Frederikke Dahl Hansen), they set off on an adventure to find his grandfather. As he uncovers family truths, they grow dangerously close.


18. Hot Fuzz (2007)

Subversive director Edgar Wright (Baby Driver) exploits the cultural differences between reserved Britain and razzle-dazzle America in his send-up of the buddy cop genre. A top cop (Simon Pegg) from urban London attempts to mesh with his new partner (Nick Frost) in the sleepy West Country village of Sandford.

19. Mrs. Brown (1997)

This nuanced and entertaining drama starring Judi Dench follows Queen Victoria, who’s grieving the loss of her husband when she begins to fall for a male servant.

20. Travels with My Aunt (1972)

An uptight banker (Alec McCowen) hits the road with an eccentric woman (Maggie Smith) claiming to be his aunt. Their voyages take them from Paris to Istanbul on the Orient Express. As the journey unfolds, so do her tall tales.

21. Wonderland (1999)

Three lonely sisters in South London, along with their husbands, parents, neighbors, dates, and children, all converge during four eventful days in November. This film doesn’t offer a tidy ending but rather is an honest glimpse into how families interact.


22. Jet Lag (2003)

Two French superstars — Juliette Binoche and Jean Reno — unite in a beguiling comedy. After a canceled flight, a makeup artist and a chef share a room in Paris. Will their initial hostility turn into a one-night stand or something deeper?

23. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)

The legendary Catherine Deneuve launched her career in this alluring musical as a young woman working at a small-town umbrella boutique who falls for a garage mechanic. Their romance is a melancholic one, but ends on a deeply emotional — if impossibly sensible — note.

24. Priceless (2006)

In sun-soaked Biarritz, a young gold digger (Audrey Tautou) seduces a modest bartender (Gal Elmaleh), mistaking him for a rich suitor. Someone’s about to learn that money can’t buy love.

25. Swimming Pool (2003)

Seeking inspiration for her next novel, an author (Charlotte Rampling) accepts her publisher’s invitation to stay at his posh country home in the South of France. Then his daughter (Ludivine Sagnier) arrives. The sensuous thriller simmers with tension.

Amélie (2001)

Nobody can say no to this fanciful comedy about a wide-eyed Gallic pixie (Audrey Tautou) who discreetly orchestrates the lives of the people around her. Along the way, she discovers her own love, bien sûr. Shot in the Montmartre section of Paris.


26. Good Bye, Lenin! (2003)

It’s 1990. To protect his fragile mom from going into shock after a long coma, a young man (Daniel Brühl) tries to hide the fact that the Berlin Wall has fallen. It’s a funny and poignant political critique spliced with real documentary footage.


27. The Traveling Players (1975)

Director Theodoros Angelopoulos traces the history of Greece from 1939 to 1952 in this expansive drama. A troupe of actors perform during World War II, their lives echoing classic Greek myths.

28. The Big Blue (1988)

A dramatized account of the friendship and rivalry between two champion free divers — Jacques Mayol (Jean-Marc Barr) and Enzo Molinari (Jean Reno). Director Luc Besson’s third feature — shot mostly on the island of Amorgos — is hypnotically beautiful.

29. Shirley Valentine (1989)

This witty, buoyant comedy explores what happens when a bored housewife (Pauline Collins) from Liverpool, England, joins her friend (Alison Steadman) on a trip to Mykonos. Next comes love with a handsome tavern owner, of course.

Before Midnight (2013)

They started as strangers who met on a train in Vienna. In the profound last installment of the Before Sunrise trilogy, the now-married Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) wax about aging, parenthood, and commitment while roaming the Greek ruins.


30. Ixcanul (2015)

In the shadow of an active volcano in Guatemala, a marriage is arranged for 17-year-old Mariá (Mariá Mercedes Coroy). Locally cast and gorgeously shot, this is a mesmerizing and meditative coming-of-age tale.


31. Kontroll (2003)

Set in a fictionalized version of the Budapest Metro system, this dark comedy revolves around a dedicated ticket inspector (Sándor Csányi) who lives and breathes his job but dreams of seeing more of the city. The rich plot delivers adventure, chases, romance, and humor.

32. Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)

János (Lars Rudolph) is a wide-eyed innocent and outsider. One day, he witnesses violence erupt in a small Hungarian town when a promised act in a mysterious circus doesn’t perform. A weird yet wonderful black-and-white comedy-thriller.

33. Moscow Square (2001)

In 1989, a pack of students would rather pop champagne in Budapest’s Moscow Square than take notice of the history unfolding around them. Ferenc Török cast his film with unknowns from local high schools and the Academy of Drama.


34. Land Ho! (2014)

An aging surgeon (Earl Lynn Nelson) and his former brother-in-law (Paul Eenhoorn) attempt to recapture their youth during a delightful road trip adventure across Iceland’s enchanting terrain.

35. Of Horses and Men (2013)

Icelandic writer-director Benedikt Erlingsson weaves together a series of tales about horse owners and their steeds. The well-crafted drama showcases the splendor of the Icelandic countryside.

36. Rams (2015)

In this goofy but tender tale, an Icelandic farmer (Theódor Júliśson) and his brother (Sigurđur Sigurjónsson) haven’t spoken in 40 years, but now they must work together to save their sheep from authorities. Grímur Hákonarson’s droll work won in the Un Certain Regard category at Cannes.


37. Delhi Belly (2011)

Quentin Tarantino meets Bollywood. Three guys living in New Delhi find themselves on the hit list of one of the world’s deadliest crime syndicates. This is a smartly paced piece of entertainment that shows a broader slice of young, urban, educated life in India.

38. The Lunchbox (2013)

A mistaken delivery in Mumbai’s complex dabbawalla lunchbox delivery system connects a young, unhappy housewife (Nimrat Kaur) to a dour, older widower (Irrfan Khan). They start a daily correspondence that sparks something deeper.

39. Monsoon Wedding (2001)

A bride-to-be, her wealthy father, and their far-flung relatives create chaos while prepping for an arranged marriage in Delhi. Director Mira Nair’s cozy comedy is an exuberant blend of Hollywood and Bollywood.

Slumdog Millionaire (2008)

In the divine best picture Oscar winner, 18-year-old Jamal Malik (Dev Patel) reflects on his eclectic upbringing in Mumbai as he answers questions on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Featuring one of the most buoyant grand finales in cinematic history.


40. The Guard (2011)

In this fish-out-of-water tale, a straitlaced American FBI agent (Don Cheadle) must team up with a profane Irish cop (Brendan Gleeson) to expose police corruption among the former’s superiors while probing a drug-trafficking ring.

41. Ondine (2009)

The sparkling blue sea along the Irish coastline brims with mystical possibilities. One comes to fruition when a village fisherman (Colin Farrell) wading through the water catches a beauty named Ondine (Alicja Bachleda) in his net.

42. The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)

A 10-year-old girl (Jeni Courtney) is sent to live with her grandparents in a fishing village on the west coast of Ireland. She soon begins to unravel a few of the land’s mysterious secrets, leading to a truly magical adventure.

43. Waking Ned Devine (1998)

A man in a small village has won the lottery? What a perfect opportunity for two friends (Ian Bannen and David Kelly) to see if he wants to share. What transpires in this loopy comedy (which was shot on the exquisitely green Isle of Man) adheres to the ol’ luck of the Irish.


44. Footnote (2011)

Eliezer (Shlomo Bar-Aba) and son Uriel (Lior Ashkenazi) are rival Talmudic professors. When they learn that the father will be lauded for his work, their awkward dynamic hits a new low. A knowledge of Judaic text isn’t required; an understanding of parental guilt is.

45. The Band’s Visit (2007)

The recent Tony-winning musical was adapted from this quiet, hopeful drama about eight Egyptian musicians who find themselves lost in one of Israel’s desert towns — and find unexpected companionship.


46. Benvenuti al Sud (2010)

Overwhelmed by life, a postal worker (Claudio Bisio) in northern Italy fakes a disability to get a job transfer. Once caught, he’s sent to a tiny village near Naples. But in an instant, he meets hospitable quirky locals who make him feel at home.

47. The Great Beauty (2013)

For decades, an aging writer (Toni Servillo) has seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome. After his 65th birthday, he starts to look past the extravagance and search for meaning. This feast for the eyes won the best foreign language film Oscar.

48. Bread and Tulips (2000)

Rosalba (Licia Maglietta), a middle-aged woman on a bus trip with her husband and her sons, is left behind at a highway rest stop. Rather than going home, she makes her way to Venice and settles into a new life.

49. Cinema Paradiso (1988)

This wonder — which won the best foreign language film Oscar — is a must for lovers of cinema and travel. Screenwriter-­irector Giuseppe Tornatore crafts a nostalgic look at his Sicilian childhood, when he became enraptured by the flickering images at the local theater.

50. Il Postino (1994)

An unemployed, uneducated layabout (Massimo Troisi) is hired as a postman on a tiny Italian isle — Procida, in the Gulf of Naples — to deliver a poet’s mail in this beloved best picture Oscar nominee. Additional filming took place on a volcanic island off Sicily’s northern coast.

Roman Holiday (1953)

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Enough said. Well, a bit more: She’s an overwhelmed European princess who falls asleep on a bench in Rome…and then falls into the arms of Peck’s American reporter. The unbeatable benchmark of American romantic comedy.

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Forget Eat Pray Love and just start from scratch. A recent San Francisco divorcée (Diane Lane) takes a trip to Tuscany courtesy of her best friend (Sandra Oh). While touring Cortona, she purchases a villa and gets to know her quirky, kindhearted neighbors.


51. Made in Jamaica (2006)

Here’s a powerful look at the leaders of the reggae music movement — and a rhythmic history lesson on how a few beats turned into a global phenomenon — with performances by renowned reggae and dancehall artists.

Dr. No (1962)

The original James Bond entry — partially filmed in sun-soaked Ocho Rios and Kingston, Jamaica — will leave you both shaken and stirred. British agent 007 (Sean Connery) goes to the island to investigate the disappearance of a fellow spy. The trail leads him to the underground base of Dr. No.


52. Adrift in Tokyo (2007)

A criminal (Tomokazu Miura) offers to pay off a law student’s (Joe Odagiri) gambling debt if he accompanies him on a walk across Tokyo. They form an unlikely bond that emotionally veers into parts unknown — but results in a worthwhile journey.

53. Cherry Blossoms (2008)

After his wife, Trudi, suddenly dies, an ailing German man named Rudi (Elmar Wepper) treks to Japan to fulfill her dream of being a Butoh dancer. It’s a tender, sentimental tale unafraid to explore cultural crossroads.

54. Spirited Away (2001)

Hayao Miyazaki’s anime centers on a Japanese tween named Chihiro and her parents. They’re moving to a new house but wind up trapped in the spirit world. The visual masterpiece grossed $289 million worldwide and won a best animated feature Oscar.

55. Tokyo! (2008)

Three directors contribute three imaginative tales using the backdrop of modern-day Tokyo. Each portion has a distinct flavor — the unifier is that they all capture the experience of living in a crowded urban landscape.

Lost in Translation (2003)

An aging actor (Bill Murray) and a jet-lagged, neglected young wife (Scarlett Johansson) develop a friendship for the ages after a chance meeting in a Tokyo hotel. Director Sofia Coppola exquisitely balances humor and pathos.


56. Nairobi Half Life (2012)

An aspiring actor from rural Kenya (Joseph Wairimu) goes against his family’s wishes to chase success in the big city of Nairobi. Consider it a vibrant, African interpretation of a man’s Dickens-like struggle.


57. Like Water for Chocolate (1992)

Based on the best-seller, this romantic fable from Mexico centers on a young woman named Tita (Lumi Cavazos) who discovers that her cooking has magical effects. A tale of passion? Naturally. It’s also one of the best food films ever.

58. The Violin (2005)

Francisco Vargas shot this high drama in black-and-white majesty and set it among the guerrilla revolts in 1970s Mexico. Three generations of male musicians lead a traveling band and help fighters by hiding supplies in their instrument cases.

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

Seventeen years before his Roma masterpiece, Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón directed this sensuous coming-of-age tale about friends (Diego Luna, Gael García Bernal) who fall for an older woman. Their bond is challenged during a road trip through the golden Mexican countryside.


59. HeartBreaker (2010)

A professional seducer (Romain Duris) is hired to break up an A-list wedding, and he only has a week to do the deed. (Vanessa Paradis is the bride-to-be.) The light comedy showcases dazzling Monte Carlo backdrops.


60. Ali Zaoua: Prince of the Streets (2000)

The most successful international film in Moroccan history follows a group of young friends — all former gang members — attempting to give one of their own a proper funeral. This enchanting film offers an insightful look at the world of street children.

61. Marock (2005)

In Casablanca’s Anfa district, a wealthy 17-year-old Muslim (Morjana Alaoui) falls in love with a handsome Jewish guy (Matthieu Boujenah) . Sexual taboos, religious tolerance, class structure, and parental affection are all deftly addressed.

The Netherlands

62. Turkish Delight (1973)

Holland’s most famous film director, Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct), jump-started his career with this drama about a bohemian sculptor (Rutger Hauer) from Amsterdam who falls in love with a young woman (Monique van de Ven).

New Zealand

63. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)

A boy (Julian Dennison) and his foster uncle (Sam Neill) become the subjects of a nationwide manhunt after they go on the lam in the New Zealand wilderness. An endearingly offbeat and rousing adventure.

64. Whale Rider (2002)

Keisha Castle-Hughes stars as a young Maori girl determined to fulfill her destiny. This thoughtful poem to New Zealand’s tribal communities celebrates tradition yet embraces modernity.


65. Insomnia (1997)

A Swedish detective (Stellan Skarsgård) arrives in a small Norwegian town above the Arctic Circle to help the local police investigate the murder of a teenager. But he slowly unravels due to a guilty secret and the unrelenting glare of the area’s 24-hour daylight.

66. Kon-Tiki (2012)

This best foreign language film nominee traces the adventures of explorer Thor Heyerdahl, who crossed the Pacific Ocean on a raft to prove his theory about the first inhabitants of Polynesia. The visually stunning film was shot in Norway, Thailand, Malta, and Bulgaria.

67. Operation Arctic (2014)

A must-see if you love Arctic scenery and are passionate about adventure. Three stranded kids rely on their resourcefulness to persevere and get home. Starring Game of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju, polar bears, and a very cute Samoyed.

68. Oslo, August 31st (2011)

On this day, an almost-rehabilitated addict (Anders Danielsen Lie) wanders Oslo meeting old friends and confronting the demons of his past and present.


69. Panama Canal Stories (2014)

This impressive, sweeping historical drama chronicles five separate but related anec­dotes of everyday people impacted by the iconic canal.


70. The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)

In 1952, two young Argentines, Ernesto “Che” Guevara (Gael García Bernal) and Alberto Granado (Rodrigo de la Serna) set out to discover Latin America. Boys become men in this idealistic and marvelous road picture.


71. All These Sleepless Nights (2016)

Explore the rush of being in the moment as seen through the eyes of two students (Krzysztof Baginski and Michal Huszcza). Using Warsaw as their playground, they resolve to live it up to the fullest.


72. Lisbon Story (1994)

A sound engineer (Rüdiger Vogler) goes to the titular city to see a filmmaker friend, only to learn he’s MIA. The capital’s crooked streets, vibrant colors, and memorable sounds are encapsulated in every frame.

73. Night Train to Lisbon (2013)

An aging Swiss professor (Jeremy Irons) walks away from his buttoned-down academic life to set off on a journey to Lisbon — and one of self-discovery — in this old-fashioned thriller.


74. Toni Erdmann (2016)

The funniest Eastern European movie you will ever see — and the only one capped by a Whitney Houston tribute. This Cannes winner focuses on an uptight businesswoman (Sandra Hüller) who gets a jolt when her estranged father (Peter Simonischek) visits and plays practical jokes on her.


75. Billy Joel: A Matter of Trust The Bridge to Russia (2014)

Rock docs are as plentiful as pretzels on an airplane, but this one offers rare and absorbing behind-the-scenes footage from the then-USSR in 1987 as Joel tries to put on the Soviet Union’s first fully staged rock concert. He and then-wife Christie Brinkley hit all the tourist stops, too.

76. Russian Ark (2002)

Three centuries of Russian history are condensed into one uninterrupted 99-minute take. The story follows a 19th-century French aristocrat (Sergey Dreyden) as he travels through the Hermitage museum and encounters historical figures along the way.


77. I Know Where I’m Going! (1945)

Love competes against money in this mid-century sparkler. A plucky Englishwoman (Wendy Hiller) heads to the islands of the Scottish Hebrides to marry a wealthy industrialist. Trapped by inclement weather and unable to travel, she finds herself wooed by the locals.

78. Sunshine on Leith (2013)

War vets Davy (George MacKay) and Ally (Kevin Guthrie) go home to Edinburgh and have difficulty with re-entry. The power of music provides the joy they need. This jubilant musical — featuring the songs of Scottish duo the Proclaimers — is one of the all-time feel-greats.


79. Hyenas (1992)

Dramaan (Mansour Diouf) is the most popular man in his home village of Colobane. When a woman (Ami Diakhate) from his past returns to town — and shows off her extravagant wealth — things change. It’s a timeless parable of human greed mixed with a biting satire of Africa.


80. La Gran Familia Española (2013)

A new movie gooooaaaal! Hilarity is in order in the Spanish countryside when a guy, his four brothers, and the rest of his family converge on the family farm for a wedding on the day Spain plays for the soccer World Cup championship final.

81. Spanish Affair (2014)

A comic (Dani Rovira) from Seville falls for a country girl (Clara Lago). Venturing into Basque country for the first time, he must keep up the charade that he is a local to impress her father. The movie’s lighthearted tone and charismatic stars make it an easy, breezy watch.

82. The Skin I Live In (2011)

Sample Spain’s rich tradition of horror flicks by way of iconic director Pedro Almodóvar. He blends passion, violence, and obsession in this terrifying work of art about a tormented plastic surgeon (Antonio Banderas) who uses a woman as his guinea pig.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)

Two American tourists (Rebecca Hall, Scarlett Johansson) in Barcelona fall for a local painter (Javier Bardem). He’s equipped with conversation, art, food, and sex…and an unstable ex-wife (Penélope Cruz). The sparkling comedy charms with beautiful views and a top-notch cast.

South Africa

83. Life, Above All (2010)

The relationship between a mother (Lerato Mvelase) and her 12-year-old daughter (Khomotso Manyaka) is explored in this poignant drama. The heart-tugging story of resilience takes place entirely within a South African township near Johannesburg.

84. U-Carmen eKhayelitsha (2005)

Emphasis on the Carmen. In this update of the opera set on the modern streets of a South African township, a cigarette factory worker (Pauline Malefane) stabs her co-worker and then persuades a police sergeant (Andile Tshoni) to let her go free.

85. A United Kingdom (2016)

Controversy arises when an African prince (David Oyelowo) from Botswana marries an Englishwoman (Rosamund Pike). Based on Susan Williams’s book Colour Bar, this is a remarkable tale based on historical facts.

South Korea

86. Bitter, Sweet, Seoul (2014)

Comprising 141 video clips submitted by Korean nationals, residents, and tourists, this project is an intimate portrait of Seoul. The city is presented as drab yet beautiful, mundane yet extraordinary.

87. Okja (2017)

Rare is the film that balances pitch-black satire, international action-adventure, and family drama. But its heart belongs to a sweet girl (Ahn Seo-Hyun) who’s perfectly content raising her pig named Okja on an idyllic, forested mountaintop in South Korea.

South Pacific

88. His Majesty O’Keefe (1954)

This comedy — based on the career of a real South Sea Islands freebooter — stars Burt Lancaster as an American captain stranded on a South Pacific island after his crew mutinies. Set in Yap; filmed in and around Fiji.

89. The Orator (2011)

Filmed entirely in and around villages on Upolu (Samoa’s most populated island), the story centers on a farmer (Fa’afiaula Sagote) whose parents’ graves are threatened. The exploration of love and family unreels in sync with the relaxed rhythms of the Pacific.

Sri Lanka

90. Monkey Kingdom (2015)

It’s impossible to resist this Tina Fey–narrated documentary about a family of monkeys — including a newborn! — living in ancient ruins in the jungles of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka. Breathtaking.


91. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009)

The original, of course. Stieg Larsson’s best-selling chiller comes to life with Noomi Rapace playing Lisbeth Salander, a ruthless Swedish punk-rock hacker heroine who teams up with a local journalist (Michael Nyqvist) to track down a murderer.


92. Les Petites Fugues (1979)

A Swiss comedy that balances feel-good sentiment with a reflective undercurrent. An elderly farmhand (Michel Robin) decides to buy a moped and tour the Swiss countryside. He revels in the freedom, only to encounter new roadblocks.

93. Journey of Hope (1990)

One of only two Swiss films to win the best foreign language film Oscar, this uplifting adventure centers on a Turkish family attempting to emigrate to Switzerland. The snowcapped odyssey highlights cultural boundaries and how we try to transcend them.


94. Lost in Thailand (2012)

In this rollicking romp, three Chinese men — two competing businessmen and an eager tourist — trek to Thailand to explore the country. The film grossed more than $215 million at the Chinese box office.

95. Pee Mak (2013)

This comic-drama-horror, an adaptation of a Mae Nak Phra Khanong legend of Thai folklore, was Thailand’s highest-grossing movie ever. Mak (Mario Maurer) returns from a war with four comrades to meet his wife and infant son. But Mak’s friends begin to realize that Mak’s family is really dead.

96. Wonderful Town (2007)

A folksy story set amid a real-life pastoral background: Young architect Ton (Supphasit Kansen) is sent to oversee construction of a beachfront resort in the coastal town of Takua Pa post-tsunami. He settles in a small hotel run by a sensitive girl (Anchalee Saisoontorn).

The Beach (2000)

Leonardo DiCaprio plays an American backpacker with his sights set on adventure. In Bangkok, he gets his hands on a map of a hidden island paradise in Thailand. The thriller may be a bit flawed, but the landscapes are flat-out ravishing.


97. A Touch of Spice (2003)

As a Greek boy growing up in Istanbul, Fanis (Markos Osse) was taught that food and life both require a touch of spice to reach maximum flavor. He puts the lesson to good use after he uproots to Athens and becomes a talented cook. Adult Fanis is played by Georges Corraface.


98. Indochine (1992)

In colonial Vietnam during the politically turbulent 1930s, a dashing French naval officer, his wealthy plantation owner lover (Catherine Deneuve), and her adopted Vietnamese daughter (Linh Dan Pham) are the three points of a cross-cultural romantic triangle. The jaw-dropping photography is the film’s real star.

99. The Lover (1992)

Sultry stuff: A pretty, virginal French teenager (Jane March) meets a handsome Chinese playboy (Tony Leung Ka-fai) from a prominent family. The lustful pair soon fall into each other’s arms in Saigon…with dramatic consequences.

100. Story of Pao (2006)

Pao (Do Thi Hai Yen) is raised by her stepmother, who later dies in an accident. That’s the catalyst for embarking on a mission through Vietnam’s breathtaking mountainous provinces to track down her birth mother. She unearths family drama along the way.

101. Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass (2015)

A young man named Thieu (Thinh Vinh) learns the true meaning of brotherhood when his sibling is injured. This poetic tale, set in a lush countryside village, is based on Nguyen Nhat Ahn’s award-winning book.

About the author: Mara Reinstein is the film critic for Us Weekly, creator of MaraMovies, and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. She’s also a contributing writer for Parade, The Cut, Variety, TV Guide, and The Girlfriend. She lives in New York City.

Photos: Everett Collection, Getty Images, Shutterstock/Rex



Mara Reinstein
Airbnb Magazine

Mara Reinstein is the film critic of Us Weekly. She is also a contributing writer for Parade, The Cut, Variety, Emmy and TV Guide. She lives in New York City.