What was your first foreign movie?

I guess this is a question that probably only makes sense to Americans, doesn’t it? Is there any country whose home-grown film industry is so robust that you could go a significant portion of your life never seeing a foreign film? (India, perhaps?)

Anyway, I’m pretty sure the first movie I ever saw that was made for foreigners, by foreigners, and with foreigners was Raise the Red Lantern, which I saw in a Chinese class in nerd camp when I was, what, 12? 13? Something like that. I don’t know how it’s even possible to sit a bunch of early teenagers down for three weeks and cram Chinese into them seven hours a day, but at any rate it did require a break at some point, so our teacher showed us three Zhang Yimou movies - Raise the Red Lantern, Ju-Dou, and Red Sorghum. (Had no idea at the time that as far as I know none of these films had ever been seen in China!) Anyway, Raise the Red Lantern was the first one we saw and by far my favorite.

It wasn’t just the first movie I’d seen with subtitles or with foreign people doing foreign stuff (I’d seen movies like The Last Emperor, which had some subtitles and all but was made by and for Westerners, and I may have seen some British films that I’m unaware of), it was probably also the first “grown-up” movie I’d ever seen in the sense that there wouldn’t be anything in it to interest a child at all. At any rate, it’s been probably fifteen years since I’d seen it, and I still have a very rich impression of the film - it really made an impact on me.

When I tried to find it recently on DVD it had never actually been on DVD, and then it was but it went out of print, etc. Last night I finally got to watch it again (with some trepidation - what if it sucked?) and of course it was still a fantastic movie. Of course now I watch buckets of foreign and independent films, but that was my first one and it has a kind of special place in my heart.

So, what was your first foreign movie? Did it have Jackie Chan in it? Gerard Depardieu? Roberto Begnini? Spill!

Hmm, not entirely sure, but I THINK it was Ran . Either that or Seven Samurai. Both are excellent films!

The Jungle Book was the first foreign film I remember seeing.
Into The West was the first Irish film I remember seeing (about 6 or 7 years later).
In the spirit of the OP the first non-English language film I recall seeing was Mr. Vampire.

Amélie, saw it in school one year and fell in love. Still one of my favorite films ever. Simply wonderful!

Heh. I’m an American and my first “foreign” movie was an American movie - but that’s not what you meant, is it?

I don’t remember what movie it was though. Probably E.T. or something like that. I watched a lot of Indian movies as a child, before I came over to this country.

Probably Godzilla, which I saw a zillion times before I was 10. Not to mention

**Gigantis, the Fire Monster

and lots of pre-Astroboy Japanese cartoons that I still can’t identify.

One local TV show showed whatever it got its hands on. I’ve been able to identify one as the French animated feature Jeannot l’Intrepide http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0145853/

I also saw Alakazan the Great (really Saiyu-ki, and I was startled years later to learn it was a classic myth. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0054265/)

And I saw The Horror Chamber of Dr. Faustis on TV. Pretty strong stuff (Yeax sans Visage, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053459/ )

And I saw Reptilicus, which was a poor Scandinavian mponster flick http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056405/

And First Spaceship on Venus http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0053250/, and The Sword and the Dragon (Ilya Mouremets, afes before MST3K got hold of it http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0049358/ )

And lots of poor Italian Hercules wanna-be movies. And this is all before the Japanese started sending their color Godzilla movies over here.
The first adult, non-fantastic movie I recall seeing was The Seven Samurai.

If by “foreign film” you count films that were dubbed into English, it would have been Le Fatiche di Ercole in 1959 when I was 8 years old. Those Steve Reeves movies were the greatest! I spent many a Saturday kiddie matinee being entertained by them.

If you mean foreign language film with subtitles, it would be Les Diaboliques. I saw that my freshman year in college (1969) at a cinema club showing. The film itself was released in 1955, though.

And if you mean first foreign film in a theater that wasn’t a revival, it would be Fellini Satyricon in 1970.

lowers head
Yes, Jean De Florette which, of course, then led to Manon of the Spring.

I’m not exactly sure, but it was probably either Yojimbo, the Japanese martial-arts dark comedy, or Excalibur, John Boormann’s take on Arthurian legend, or Breaker Morant, the Australian court-martial drama. I saw them all about the same time, in high school, and still love 'em all. Great flicks.

Not counting Saturday monster movies and stumbling across badly dubbed Kung-Fu flicks, the first foreign film I actually went to a theater and paid for was Ridicule. Come to think of it, that’s been the only foreign film I actually saw in theaters except for the most recent Godzilla movie back around 2000. Seen plenty of others on DVD & cable since then, though.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

It was a first date when I was like 16.

I remember seeing The Tin Drum when I was young, probably in the early or mid 80s or so. I was too young to really know what was going on, and was rushed off to bed when the controversial stuff started. My dad is kind of a war/military movie fiend, so I also saw Das Boot and Triumph of the Will when I was a kid.

In high school we saw assorted Spanish movies like Cabeza de Vaca, and French stuff like The Red Balloon, which has like no dialogue, but is still foreign.

Babes In Toyland.

I’m Canadian.

*Amélie * as well. I adore Audrey Tautou and have seen a large portion of her ouevre since.

Le Roi de Coeur. I saw it when I was about seven years old (in 1977) at a showing on the campus of the University of Montana. I still love that film.

Heh, I loved Reptilicus. Boy, was that cheesy. Complete with the monster spewing blobs of acid that even a kid could tell was painted directly on the film.

Not counting Reptilicus, Gorgo, Godzilla and their pals, I think my first “real” foreign film must have been Help! (hardly seems like it should count, really), and my first foreign language film was probably King of Hearts.

Probably Bread and Chocolate http://www.amazon.com/Bread-Chocolate-Nino-Manfredi/dp/B00005U1YR

There was one art house theater in my midwestern hometown and my friends and I made it a habit. They always had an intermission and served free coffee and cookies.

After I went to college I saw lots of foreign films due to my boyfriend’s love of them. I saw pretty much everything Werner Herzog and Kurasawa did, as well as a few other things. I’ll never forgive him for putting me through all the Fassbinder stuff, though. Just because he had a crush on Hanna Schygulla.

Excluding Godzilla and the like ( no clear idea when I saw those for the first time ), the first film I saw that I was aware was foreign was Le Ballon Rouge, retitled as The Red Balloon, in a classroom in maybe the fifth or sixth grade.

The first film with subtitles I recall seeing was Das Boot in the theatre. Followed shortly thereafter by several films in my High School french classes - La Boum, Diva and La Balance come to mind.

I’d have to say The Red Balloon, too, although it’s more of a short film and almost completely without dialogue.

First feature-length film (non-dubbed) would be Fritz Lang’s M, on video when I was around 12 or so. First one I saw in the theater? Not until I went to college (they didn’t show foreign pix in the suburbs back then); maybe…Wings of Desire?

Another vote for The Red Balloon. Great short.

My first subtitled film was probably Return of Martin Guerre – starring the aforementioned Depardieu.