These 10 best South American movies play a significant role in the region’s culture. South American cinema is one of the most important in the Spanish-speaking world. These notable films were produced in several different Latin American countries, including Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela. They are arranged alphabetically by title.

  1. “Burnt Money.” “Burnt Money,” originally titled “Plata Quemada,” is an erotic Uruguayan film released in Argentina in 2000. The award-winning true crime drama follows two men who become lovers and, ultimately, infamous Argentine bank robbers.

  2. “Central Station.” “Central Station,” originally titled “Central do Brasil,” is a 1998 Brazilian drama. It highlights the relationship between a school teacher and an orphaned boy in search of his father. The award-winning film stars Fernanda Montenegro, Vinícius de Oliveira, and Marília Pêra.

  3. “City Of God.” “City Of God,” originally titled “Cidade de Deus,” is a 2002 Brazilian movie. The award-winning crime drama tells of two boys growing up in Rio de Janeiro--one a photographer, the other a drug dealer. The film stars Alexandre Rodrigues, Matheus Nachtergaele, and Leandro Firmino.

  4. “Kiltro.” “Kiltro” has the distinction of being the first martial arts movie produced in Chile. The 2006 film pays tribute to the North American action movies and martial arts heroes of the 1980s. Marko Zaror, Caterina Jadresic, and Miguel Angel De Luca star in the film.

  5. “Maroa.” “Maroa” is a 2005 Venezuelan movie that shows the cruelty and violence experienced by children living in the slums of Caracas, Venezuela. An Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film, this movie stars Tristán Ulloa, Yorlis Domínguez, and Elba Escobar. 

  6. “The Motorcycle Diaries.” “The Motorcycle Diaries,” originally titled “Diarios de motocicleta,” is an Oscar-winning South American film. The 2004 biographical drama follows Che Guevara on a motorcycle road trip, during which he recognized his life calling. The Brazilian film stars Gael García Bernal, Rodrigo De la Serna, and Mercedes Morán. 

  7. “Nine Queens.” “Nine Queens,” originally titled “Nueve reinas,” is a South American crime thriller produced in Argentina. The 2000 film centers on two con artists determined to swindle a stamp collector by selling him counterfeit rare stamps. Ricardo Darín, Gastón Pauls, and Graciela Tenenbaum star in the film.

  8. “The Official Story.” “The Official Story,” originally titled “La historia official,” is a 1985 Argentine historical drama. An Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film, it centers on a couple who discover their adopted child may be a victim of Argentina’s Dirty War in the late 1970s. The film stars Norma Aleandro, Héctor Alterio, and Chunchuna Villafañe.

  9. “Rodents.” “Rodents,” originally titled, “Ratas, ratones, rateros,” is a 1999 South American movie produced in Ecuador. A petty thief is changed forever by the arrival of his cousin, an ex-convict looking for some easy money. Simón Brauer, Alex Aspiazu, and Marco Bustos star in the film.

  10. “The Sacred Family.” “The Sacred Family,” originally titled “La sagade familia,” is an award-winning movie produced in Chile. The 2004 South American drama is an emotional movie about the lives and loves of a well-to-do Chilean family. Patricia López, Néstor Cantillana, and Sergio Hernández star in the film.