Think you’ve seen all cult sci-fi and fantasy films that have shaped modern pop-culture? Well, think again. While it is true that there are countless gems in the English-speaking world, there are just as many foreign films that you probably have not watched yet. Why would you miss out on some of the most iconic masterpieces just because of their language? Get your popcorn, turn on the subtitle feature, sit back, relax, and enjoy these awesome foreign sci-fi and fantasy titles that you’ll wish you’d known about earlier:
- Metropolis (1927) – Germany
This German movie is the mother of all science-fiction films, tv shows, comic books, and culture in general. With its iconic plot and visuals, you will probably recognize many scenes and moments from it, because, well, it has influenced all of the most popular depictions of a dystopian future in our culture. This is an unmissable film for any sci-fi fan or any curious film enthusiast.
- Akira (1988) – Japan
This cult film is praised by anime fans and film enthusiasts alike. Directed by the legendary Katsuhiro Otomo, its visuals have influenced Japanese and western pop-culture alike. With its Blade Runner-esque neon-lit metropolis and the juxtaposition of technology and grit, Akira is not only visually striking but also incredibly smart and entertaining in its narrative.
- Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – Spain
One of Guillermo del Toro’s undiscussed masterpieces, this Spanish film is a must-watch for any fantasy enthusiast who enjoys twisted storylines and dark aesthetics. Following the story of a young girl in 1944 Spain, the film brings the viewers into a spectral and enchanting world of dark magic. With its distinct visuals and sinister take on a fairy-tale-like story, Pan’s Labyrinth is bound to haunt you for a long time after you watch it.
- Trollhunter (2010) – Norway
You may be a fantasy and science-fiction fan, but it is very unlikely that you have ever watched anything like Trollhunter. This masterpiece rests on the border between the scary, the comedic, the fantastical and, well, the straight-up weird. Shot in a very believable The Blair Witch Project-style found footage technique, the Norwegian film will keep you glued to the screen, whether you will love it or hate it.
- The City of Lost Children (1995) – France
This French film is a hidden gem that should be watched by every fantasy and sci-fi geek at least once in their lifetime. Directed by Marc Caro and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, its style is similar to other great French titles such as Delicatessen and Amélie. With its surrealist tones and creepy story, The City of Lost Children has the strange power of capturing all of its viewers in a way no other film does. It is definitely a must-watch for all Francophiles and fantasy lovers alike.