10 Best Movies About Different Cultures & Why You Should Watch Them

Movies about cultures
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Who doesn’t want to learn about new cultures, languages, and traditions or meet people from different countries? Movies are a great way to travel without going outside and can be extremely useful for getting to know a town or a country we are interested in. Sometimes they can also be educative and serve as means of learning. In this list, we are going to write about the 10 best movies about different cultures. 

Lost in Translation (2003)

lost in translation

What it’s about: Bob Harris is a middle-aged movie star who crosses paths in Tokyo with a young Yale Philosophy student Charlotte. Both of them feel lonely and lost in this big city and find comfort in solace in each other’s company. It is an unusual friendship that will help them with their current issues but might end as something more important.

Why you should watch it: Sofia Coppola directed this slow-paced and, at times, philosophical movie about two people who find themselves in the middle of a huge city, in a new and unknown culture where they have to fight against all the cultural boundaries, and language they don’t know. Japanese culture is subtly introduced here so we can have an insight into it. 

Coco (2017)

Coco

What it’s about: Miguel is a talented guitar player who has to hide his talent because of his family’s long tradition where music is not allowed. Miguel wants to become an accomplished musician as his idol, and in order to prove his talent, he finds himself in a parallel world, the Mexican Land of the Dead, where he finds so much about his family’s secrets, meets interesting characters and deals with one of the greatest disappointments of his life. But everything has its own reasons, and Miguel is a boy who is destined to do great things in life.

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Why you should watch it: Coco is a masterpiece that received two Oscars for best music and best cartoon. Its interesting storyline, memorable characters, gripping music, and wonderful message are unforgettable. And it gives us a great insight into Mexican culture and tradition. 

Dances with Wolves (1990)

dances with wolves

What it’s about: Kevin Costner plays Lt. John Dunbar, who is proclaimed a war hero after accidentally leads Union troops to a victory during the Civil War. But since he is assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, he soon realizes that his country is full of diversities the military doesn’t admit. He meets a wolf he names “Two-socks,” who befriends a curious Indian tribe and discovers a white woman who was raised by them. He will gradually earn their respect and leave his white-man ways, at the same time becoming a huge problem for the military.

Why you should watch it: This is one of the most famous movies that deal with Indian culture and presents it in a beautiful way. It is a must-watch for everyone who likes epic stories and wants to learn about different cultures and customs.

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire

What it’s about: Jamal Malik, an 18-year-old orphan, is just one question away from winning a huge sum on the Indian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.” However, when the show ends before he can answer the final question, he is arrested under suspicion of cheating. To clear his name, Jamal recounts his childhood growing up in the slums with his brother, revealing humorous and heart-wrenching moments. Through his story, we become emotionally invested in this kind and intelligent young man.

Why you should watch it: This Indian movie is definitely one of a kind, with its interesting story, excellent performances, and music which is extremely important here. It is one of those movies that makes you feel good and leave you with that warm feeling.

Life of Pi (2012)

life of pi

What it’s about: Pi is telling the story of his childhood in Pondicherry, India, and the origin of his name. He was the son of a zoo keeper who suddenly announced they were moving to Canada, where the animals would be sold. After boarding a Japanese cargo ship, a strong storm hits them, and Pi finds himself stranded in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with a few animals, among which there are hungry carnivores.

Why you should watch it: This is a movie that will cause numerous emotions in you. You will learn about Indian culture and their ways of thinking and behaving and the same time, be presented with a great story and marvelous visual effects.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002)

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

What it’s about: Toula is a 30 years old woman who lives with her Greek family in Chicago. She works in their family restaurant and constantly has to listen to her father’s complaints since she is still unmarried. And everything he wants is for her to find a good Greek man who will take care of her. But Toula wants more. She wants education and life free from expectations related to her family heritage and culture.

She meets Ian Miller, an English teacher who soon falls madly in love with her. They decide to marry, but Ian is non-Greek, and this will cause various problems with her traditional family and force Toula to accept herself and respect her own wishes.

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Why you should watch it: A romance classic, a comedy which will bring tears to your eyes, but from laughing. A true feel-good movie, a safe choice when you want romance, but no tears, no disappointments, and anticipations if something bad is going to happen. Greek culture is presented in a hilarious way, but it gives us a great insight into their customs and tradition.

Witness (1985)

witness

What it’s about: When a young Amish becomes the only witness to a murder while on his trip to Philadelphia with his mother, police detective John Book tries to protect him at any cost. But after a series of unwanted events, he is forced to go back to the boy’s hometown and hide in Amish country. 

Why you should watch it: It is always interesting to get to know people who belong to a whole new way of living and thinking, and the Amish are definitely one of the most fascinating and still undiscovered communities whose beliefs and customs were brilliantly depicted in this drama thriller.

Michael Collins (1996)

michael collins

What it’s about: This is a historical biopic about the famous Irish revolutionary Michael Collins, who led a guerilla war against the UK. He also helped negotiate the creation of the Irish Free state and was in charge of the National Army during the Irish Civil War.

Why you should watch it: This Irish movie is one of the best portrayals of how Ireland broke away from the UK and became its own country. It is full of interesting historical information and very educational, with great directing by Nei Jordan and a masterful performance by Liam Neeson.

Babel (2006)

babel

What it’s about: We follow four stories in this movie, each set in a different part of the universe. We will meet a troubled married couple in Morocco and a Moroccan herder who wants to buy a rifle for his sons, a young girl in Japan who is dealing with rejection, a Mexican nanny who decides to bring the children she is taking care of to Mexico to her son’s wedding. All of them will somehow end up connected.

Why you should watch it: This is one of those movies that greatly impact its audience, whether emotionally or mentally. It is interesting and intriguing and makes you reflect and ponder on the world around you while teaching you about different cultures and traditions. 

My Family (1995)

my family 1

What it’s about: This is an interesting story about three generations of Mexican immigrants who decide to continue their lives in East L.A. The first generation comes to Los Angeles and faces marriage and deportation, all in the 1930s. We follow the story of their descendants as a youth in the 1950s and as adults in the 1960s. 

Why you should watch it: This is an epic story about Latino families in the United States, their struggles, and their problems. Everything is very realistic, giving the audience a true image of what it looked like in the past, and it still probably does.

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