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Award Winning

With garlands and glamour, cinema’s spirit of self-congratulation has long fascinated, allowing great works to gain recognition and reach wide audiences.

The famous example is Kurosawa’s Rashomon, which astounded Venice and thrust Japanese cinema on the world stage. But awards still have the power to elevate films and help secure their place in the pantheon. Our collection highlights the films that have won the praise of peers over the years, from Palme d’Or recipients to prize-winners from the BFI London Film Festival.

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Hotel Salvation
Hotel Salvation
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Hotel Salvation

Drama201699 minsDirector: Shubhashish Bhutiani

This gentle, tender and award-winning Indian comedy follows the ordeal of an over-worked modern son forced to accompany his 77-year-old father to the holy city of Varanasi, where he plans to end his days.

Mademoiselle Chambon
Mademoiselle Chambon
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Mademoiselle Chambon

Drama2009100 minsDirector: Stéphane Brizé

When a happily married man decides to volunteer at his son’s school, he begins to form a romantic bond with a teacher in this intimate French drama.

Fitzcarraldo
Fitzcarraldo
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Fitzcarraldo

Historical drama1981157 minsDirector: Werner Herzog

One of Werner Herzog's most acclaimed and audacious films, Fitzcarraldo tells the incredible story of Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald, an opera-loving fortune hunter who dreams of bringing opera to the heart of the Peruvian jungle.

Bicycle Thieves
Bicycle Thieves
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Bicycle Thieves

Drama194889 minsDirector: Vittorio De Sica

Vittorio De Sica’s story of a father and son searching for a stolen bicycle on the streets of Rome is a classic of post-war Italian cinema.

Black Narcissus
Black Narcissus
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Black Narcissus

Drama1947101 minsDirector: Michael Powell

Tensions grow when a group of nuns open a convent in the Himalayas in Powell and Pressburger’s remarkable melodrama, starring Deborah Kerr.

Blancanieves
Blancanieves
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Blancanieves

Drama2011105 minsDirector: Pablo Berger

Pablo Berger’s imaginative black-and-white ‘silent’ movie relocates the story of Snow White to 1920s Spain – complete with bullfighting dwarfs

Buena Vista Social Club
Buena Vista Social Club
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Buena Vista Social Club

Documentary1999101 minsDirector: Wim Wenders

Cuba’s rich and colourful past comes vividly to life in this legendary, Oscar-nominated documentary from director Wim Wenders (Paris, Texas, Wings of Desire).

Brief Encounter
Brief Encounter
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Brief Encounter

Romance194586 minsDirector: David Lean

Noël Coward’s tale of a love affair, thrillingly played out with tight British reserve.

Breathless / À bout de souffle
Breathless / À bout de souffle
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Breathless / À bout de souffle

Film noir196090 minsDirector: Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard’s extraordinary debut feature, an insouciant and iconoclastic crime film that paved the way for the French New Wave.

By the Time It Gets Dark
By the Time It Gets Dark
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By the Time It Gets Dark

Drama2016106 minsDirector: Anocha Suwichakornpong

Anocha Suwichakornpong's mesmerising and innovative treatise on memory, politics and cinema.

Court
Court
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Court

Drama2014116 minsDirector: Chaitanya Tamhane

Hailed as a modern classic channelling the spirit of Satyajit Ray, Chaitanya Tamhane's film is an absurdist portrait of injustice in contemporary India.

Delicatessen
Delicatessen
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Delicatessen

Comedy1990100 minsDirector: Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Jeunet and Caro's endlessly inventive and wildly enjoyable post-apocalyptic black comedy, about a sinister butcher and the circus clown who becomes his nemesis.

Distant Voices, Still Lives
Distant Voices, Still Lives
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Distant Voices, Still Lives

Biopic198881 minsDirector: Terence Davies

Terence Davies' debut feature is a remarkable evocation of working-class family life in the 40s and 50s and a visionary exploration of memory.

Dogtooth
Dogtooth
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Dogtooth

Drama200993 minsDirector: Yorgos Lanthimos

Yorgos Lanthimos' scary, witty tale of a dysfunctional Greek family is original, ingenious and sadly relevant as a study of parent-child relationships

Dodes'Ka-Den
Dodes'Ka-Den
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Dodes'Ka-Den

Drama1970140 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s first colour film is an eccentric and joyous account of a group of disparate people living in a city dump.

The Elephant Man
The Elephant Man
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The Elephant Man

Biopic1980124 minsDirector: David Lynch

David Lynch's moving true-life tale of the severely deformed Joseph Merrick and his rescue from the hell of a Victorian circus sideshow.

Brick Lane
Brick Lane
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Brick Lane

Drama200797 minsDirector: Sarah Gavron

Sarah Gavron’s subtle and intelligent adaptation of Monica Ali’s acclaimed novel charts the experiences of a Bangladeshi woman in London.

For Those in Peril
For Those in Peril
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For Those in Peril

Drama201392 minsDirector: Paul Wright

An intense and mysterious drama about the lone survivor of a strange fishing accident who’s outcast and persecuted by his fellow villagers.

Frozen River
Frozen River
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Frozen River

Crime200893 minsDirector: Courtney Hunt

Nominated for two Oscars (Best Actress – Melissa Leo - and Best Original Screenplay) Frozen River is a riveting thriller that raises questions about the borders we construct, between countries, communities and each other.

Gomorrah
Gomorrah
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Gomorrah

Crime2008132 minsDirector: Matteo Garrone

Matteo Garrone's unnervingly authentic Naples crime drama won the Grand Prix at Cannes before inspiring a hit TV series.

Great Expectations
Great Expectations
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Great Expectations

Period drama1947118 minsDirector: David Lean

The first of David Lean’s two Dickens adaptations is one of the finest British literary interpretations and one of the most acclaimed of all British films.

Half Nelson
Half Nelson
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Half Nelson

Drama2006107 minsDirector: Ryan Fleck

Ryan Gosling received his first Oscar nomination for his performance as an inspirational inner city high school teacher, in this moving story of redemption in an unforgiving world

Hamlet
Hamlet
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Hamlet

Drama1948153 minsDirector: Laurence Olivier

The first British film to win the Best Picture Oscar remains one of the strongest examples of Shakespeare on film.

Henry V
Henry V
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Henry V

Historical drama1944131 minsDirector: Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier rouses an all-star cast and an imperiled nation with his magnificent adaptation of Shakespeare's warrior monarch.

The Housemaid
The Housemaid
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The Housemaid

Thriller2010107 minsDirector: Im Sang-soo

An enigmatic housemaid and her wealthy, totalitarian employer begin an affair that will have disastrous consequences for them both.

Honeydripper
Honeydripper
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Honeydripper

Drama2007124 minsDirector: John Sayles

Acclaimed writer-director John Sayles brings the birth of rock 'n' roll to life with electrifying effect, with Danny Glover heading up a stellar cast.

How I Ended This Summer
How I Ended This Summer
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How I Ended This Summer

Drama2010124 minsDirector: Alexei Popogrebsky

Alexei Popogrebski's taut psychological drama depicts two Arctic meteorologists (a veteran and a novice); secrets, lies and isolation take their toll

In a Better World
In a Better World
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In a Better World

Drama2010113 minsDirector: Susanne Bier

Susanne Bier’s sumptuous, Oscar-winning drama explores the duality of a doctor working in a Sudanese refugee camp and his troubled family life in rural Denmark.

The Hunt
The Hunt
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The Hunt

Drama2012111 minsDirector: Thomas Vinterberg

Mads Mikkelsen stars in a distressing examination of a false indictment, and the collective hysteria that ensues, in this electrifying drama from Festen director Thomas Vinterberg.

The Arbor
The Arbor
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The Arbor

Biopic201090 minsDirector: Clio Barnard

Clio Barnard's film about Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar mixes reconstruction, interviews (performed by actors) and scenes from the plays.

Opening Night
Opening Night
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Opening Night

Drama1977144 minsDirector: John Cassavetes

John Cassavetes’s emotionally charged film stands as one of the great American movies about theatre and the art of performance.

My Brother the Devil
My Brother the Devil
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My Brother the Devil

Drama2012107 minsDirector: Sally El Hosaini

Sally El Hosaini's feature debut tells of the love and disenchantment of two British-Egyptian brothers. Gangs, drugs and sexuality come between them

Nightwatching
Nightwatching
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Nightwatching

Biopic2007136 minsDirector: Peter Greenaway

Martin Freeman’s hearty turn as Rembrandt anchors one of Peter Greenaway’s most accessible films, charting the creation of the Dutch master’s key work, ‘The Night Watch’.

Paris, Texas
Paris, Texas
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Paris, Texas

Drama1984145 minsDirector: Wim Wenders

The late, great Harry Dean Stanton's finest role came as the near-mute Travis, on a journey across America to reunite his family, in Wim Wenders' moving tale of loss and redemption.

Ordet.
Ordet.
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Ordet.

Drama1955125 minsDirector: Carl Th. Dreyer

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s beautifully photographed tale explores the religious intolerance and familial tensions within a Danish farming family.

PAISÀ
PAISÀ
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PAISÀ

War1946126 minsDirector: Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini’s ambitious and enormously moving follow-up to his breakthrough Rome, Open City.

Ran
Ran
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Ran

Drama1985154 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s visually spectacular epic transplants Shakespeare’s King Lear from Celtic Britain to feudal Japan.

Red Road
Red Road
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Red Road

Thriller2006110 minsDirector: Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold’s highly acclaimed film, winner of top prizes at Cannes and the BFI London Film Festival, is a haunting drama about a woman confronting past demons.

Rome, Open City
Rome, Open City
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Rome, Open City

War1945103 minsDirector: Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini’s landmark of Italian neorealism often cited as one of the greatest films ever made.

Seven Samurai
Seven Samurai
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Seven Samurai

Drama1954207 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Farmers hire a band of samurai to defend them against marauding bandits in Kurosawa’s influential epic, a touchstone for action movies ever since.

Red Beard
Red Beard
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Red Beard

Drama1965180 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Kurosawa’s episodic, poignant story of a 19th-century doctor (Toshiro Mifune) working in a clinic for the poor and his tumultuous friendship with young intern.

She, a Chinese
She, a Chinese
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She, a Chinese

Drama200999 minsDirector: Xiaolu Guo

British-Chinese director Xiaolu Guo’s story of a young woman's journey from a remote Chinese village to London, in an attempt to realise the Western consumer dream.

Spanking the Monkey
Spanking the Monkey
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Spanking the Monkey

Comedy199495 minsDirector: David O. Russell

David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook) made his feature debut in 1994 with this biting black comedy, which caused a stir with its incestuous subplot and portrayal of adolescent restlessness.

The Shout
The Shout
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The Shout

Drama197883 minsDirector: Jerzy Skolimowski

Cannes’ Grand Jury Prize was awarded to this unnerving drama about a man who claims to be able to kill people with a ‘terror shout’ learned from an Aboriginal shaman.

A Simple Life
A Simple Life
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A Simple Life

Drama2011118 minsDirector: Ann Hui On-Wah

A wealthy film executive reconnects with the nanny who raised him, in a touching drama from the great humanist of the Hong Kong New Wave, Ann Hui.

The Tree of Wooden Clogs
The Tree of Wooden Clogs
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The Tree of Wooden Clogs

Period drama1978186 minsDirector: Ermanno Olmi

Ermanno Olmi’s Palme d’Or-winner, about the hardships faced by peasants in late 19th-century Lombardy, is a masterpiece of neorealism.

Tokyo Story
Tokyo Story
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Tokyo Story

Drama1953136 minsDirector: Yasujiro Ozu

A constant fixture in critics' polls, Yasujiro Ozu's most enduring masterpiece is a beautifully nuanced exploration of filial duty, expectation and regret.

This Sporting Life
This Sporting Life
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This Sporting Life

Sport1963129 minsDirector: Lindsay Anderson

Lindsay Anderson’s fantastic first feature masterfully dissects the brutal life struggles of a rough-edged rugby footballer on and off the field.

Yojimbo
Yojimbo
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Yojimbo

Crime1961111 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Kurosawa’s classic about a drifting samurai who plays two gangs off against each other, famously remade as A Fistful of Dollars.

The Village Church
The Village Church
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The Village Church

Documentary194714 minsDirector: Carl Th. Dreyer

Carl Theodor Dreyer recounts the history of churches in Denmark, in this hypnotic and powerfully realised short.

A Woman Under the Influence
A Woman Under the Influence
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A Woman Under the Influence

Drama1974146 minsDirector: John Cassavetes

John Cassavetes's powerful drama stars Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk as a blue-collar couple struggling to cope with the wife's slide into mental illness.

Whisky Galore!
Whisky Galore!
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Whisky Galore!

Comedy194983 minsDirector: Alexander Mackendrick

Ealing's thirstiest comedy: "the longest unsponsored advertisement ever to reach cinema screens"?

All in Good Time
All in Good Time
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All in Good Time

Comedy201194 minsDirector: Nigel Cole

A pair of newlyweds endure a honeymoon staying with the groom's parents in a comedy from East Is East writer Ayub Khan-Din.