Top 10 Spanish Movies

Friday, March 18 by Joshua Wade

The top 10 Spanish movies comprise a varied list of films from bizarre science-fiction tales like “Man Facing Southeast” and the time-travel based “Timecrimes” to deeply emotional, sentimental films like “The Sea Inside” and “The Crime of Padre Amaro.” Many of these films have highlighted the careers of actors like Javier Bardem, Gael Garcia Bernal and Penelope Cruz and have gone on to win Academy Awards as well as a number of Goya Awards, Spain’s equivalent to the Oscar.

  1. "And Your Mother, Too" ("Y Tu Mama Tambien") An early film for Mexican actors Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal, this film became known for its controversial depiction of sexuality and holds the record for the highest box office opening in Mexican cinema history. The film won an Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film and an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
  2. "The Crime of Padre Amaro" ("El Crimen del Padre Amaro") Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film, this deeply emotional film about the dire consequences that follow the actions of a newly ordained priest won a number of awards throughout Mexico and Spain, including an award for Best Screenplay at the Havana Film Festival. An exceptional story along with stellar performances by Gael Garcia Bernal and Ana Claudia Talancon make this one of the top ten Spanish movies ever made.
  3. "Pan’s Labyrinth" ("El Laberinto del Fauno") A visually stunning masterpiece by acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro, the movie presents an imaginative and often disturbing fairytale world set amid the backdrop of post-Civil War Spain in 1944. The film’s impressive special effects make it one of the top ten Spanish movies in years and earned it three Academy Awards, including Best Makeup and Best Art Direction.
  4. "The Motorcycle Diaries" ("Diarios de Motocicleta") This breathtaking 2004 biopic based on the life of Ernesto “Che” Guevara won a slew of awards, among them an Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Foreign Film. The film was a major hit for actor Gael Garcia Bernal and marked his second performance as the Argentine revolutionary.
  5. "Man Facing Southeast" ("Hombre Mirando al Sudeste") This bizarre story of a man who may or may not be an alien and inexplicably arrives at an Argentinean mental institution became an underground favorite after the 2001 release of “K-PAX,” whose story bears a striking resemblance. The movie was filmed at an actual mental institution and featured real patients as extras.
  6. "The Orphanage" ("El Orfanato") One of the top ten Spanish movies in recent years, this eerie film was the debut of Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona and was produced by his friend Guillermo Del Toro. The film features an amazing performance by Geraldine Chaplin, daughter of screen legend Charlie Chaplin, and won seven Goya Awards including Best Picture.
  7. "The Sea Inside" ("Mar Adentro") The true story of quadriplegic Ramon Sampedro and his 29-year struggle for the right to end his own life won a number of awards including both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film in 2004. One of the top ten Spanish movies of the past decade, the film features a remarkable performance by actor Javier Bardem which earned him a Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival.
  8. "Open Your Eyes" (Abre Los Ojos) Arguably one of the top ten Spanish movies ever made, 1997’s “Open Your Eyes” would inspire an almost shot-for-shot remake with Cameron Crowe’s 2001 film “Vanilla Sky.” The film is a beautifully filmed physiological thriller about a man’s perception of reality and was an early film for actress Penelope Cruz. Cruz would reprise her “Open Your Eyes” character in Crowe’s remake, a character that many consider to be her breakthrough role.
  9. "Timecrimes" ("Los Cronocrímenes") One of the top ten Spanish movies ever made, this film is a disturbing time-travel story about a man named Hector who travels back in time and inadvertently changes something important, only to try again and again to correct his mistake. Filled with strange imagery like the troubling character of a mysterious man covered in bandages, this film marked the debut of talented director Nacho Vigalondo.