Whether you’re interested in the language or the culture, these 10 best Spanish movies will capture your imagination and inspire you to look further into Spanish cinema. Spanish cinema is a vibrant and complex genre. The genre isn’t limited to those films made in Spain. Spanish language films come from all over the world, including Mexico, Argentina, Venezuela and other Latin countries.

  1. "Y Tu Mamá También" (And Your Mother Too). Alfonso Cuaron’s film is possibly the number one Spanish film in recent history. The launching pad for Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna, this coming-of-age story has a vivid, passionate plot and is equally well acted. The film is set in Mexico and juxtaposes the grittiness of poverty with its beauty.

  2. "La Nina Santa" (The Holy Girl). A Spanish twist on the classic Lolita story directed by Argentinean director, Lucrecia Martel. The film is driven forward by religious vigor and challenges the spectator to redefine their judgments on stereotypes.

  3. "Amores Perros" (Love’s a Bitch). Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Love’s a bitch is a classic three-way romance about a man in love with his brother’s wife. The film explores the urban environment and the disenchantment and salvation that lies within.

  4. "El Espinazo Del Diablo" (The Devil’s Backbone). This film is directed by Guillermo del Toro - one of Spanish cinema’s brightest stars. Set during the Spanish civil war, The Devil’s Backbone is a creepy yet evocative horror story.

  5. "Todo Sobre Mi Madre" (All About My Mother). Pedro Almodovar both wrote and directed this film. Almodovar weaves classic Spanish cinema influences together to create this poignant story. The story’s dedication sums up the film, ‘to all actresses who have played an actress’.

  6. "Abre Los Ojos" (Open Your Eyes). This film is the original version of "Vanilla Sky" (starring Tom Cruise, Penelope Cruz, and Cameroon Diaz) this film also features Penelope Cruz as the striking fantasy woman of a man whose life takes a turn for the worse after he has an accident.

  7. "Los Cronocrímenes" (Timecrimes). Nacho Vigalondo’s film is half sci-fi and half horror. The film is a time travel story that centers around a mysterious head-bandaged man. With this film Vigalondo marks himself as a man to watch.

  8. "Vacas" (Cows). From 1992, Vacas is a Basque story. The film carries a deep narrative comment on the Basque family struggle, wrapped around the struggle of a family through generations. Director Julio Medem didn’t make this film for lightweights, but those with any knowledge of Basque history will enjoy this movie.

  9. "Como Agua Para Chocolate" (Like Water For Chocolate). This film, released in 1992, is an excellent and subtle piece by Alfonso Arau based on a novel by Laura Esquivel. Set in Mexico, the film is full of Spanish cultural references and themes, from family loyalty to Spanish cooking. The main character is frustrated about having to care for her mother rather than marry her lover, and vents her emotion by cooking.

  10. "El Orfanato" (The Orphanage).Directed by Juan Antonia Bayona in 2007, this excellent horror film is set in an orphanage in Spain. A woman takes her adopted son back to the orphanage she was brought up in. At first she thinks that her son’s invisible friends are just imaginary, but after he disappears she decides to bring in parapsychologists.