What are the most classic, hilarious, cult-status non-English films?
November 15, 2010 12:57 PM   Subscribe

What are the most classic, hilarious, cult-status non-English films?

While quoting Zoolander with my friends the other day, I realized that I have no idea what an equivalent film would be in other languages. You know, the kind of movies your friends will just put on in the background when you're hanging out, and that you can all quote ad nauseum. What is the Animal House of France? Is there a Napoleon Dynamite or Big Lebowski of China?

I know of some funny foreign films, but none seem like the type you'd reference in everyday conversation for a laugh. A few friends suggested films like this just don't exist in other countries, but I'm skeptical. English speakers can't be the only ones who feel the need to repeat lines like "We believe in nothing, Lebowski. Nothing."

Here's some examples of films that have the kind of humour I'm looking for:

Blazing Saddles
The Jerk
Young Frankenstein
Old School
Scott Pilgrim
Wayne's World
Raising Arizona
Monty Python & the Holy Grail

And here's a few TV shows:
The Simpsons
Arrested Development

FWIW, I'm not interested in foreign comedies that are funny but also cerebral (e.g., Annie Hall, The Graduate).
posted by timoni to Media & Arts (35 answers total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob?
posted by demiurge at 1:03 PM on November 15, 2010

I saw Белое солнце пустыни (White Sun of the Desert) in a theater in Boston full of Russians who were reciting the lines a few seconds before the characters and singing along with all the songs. Bonus: cosmonauts traditionally watch it the night before takeoff!

His grenades are of the wrong system!
posted by nonane at 1:08 PM on November 15, 2010 [8 favorites]

Kung Fu Hustle
posted by Paragon at 1:13 PM on November 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Shaolin Soccer
posted by Artw at 1:16 PM on November 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

My Friends (Italian: Amici miei)
posted by 3mendo at 1:20 PM on November 15, 2010

Der Schuh des Manitu.
posted by Siena at 1:21 PM on November 15, 2010

In addition to Shaolin Soccer and Kung Fu Hustle, many of Stephen Chow's earlier films fit this bill:

Forbidden City Cop
From Shanghai with Love
God of Cookery

(Those are the only ones I've seen, but I imagine the rest might well be good too.)
posted by Pickman's Next Top Model at 1:29 PM on November 15, 2010

Jean-Jacques Beneix's Diva strikes me as a strong candidate.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:32 PM on November 15, 2010

The greatest food porn / spaghetti ramen Western, Tampopo!

And for a certain value of "classic," Turkish Star Wars.
posted by nicebookrack at 1:35 PM on November 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

I remember laughing a lot at "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" (in Spanish) in the late '80s.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:37 PM on November 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Bad Taste is pretty funny, though it's gross out splatter humour rather than lots of jokes.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:41 PM on November 15, 2010

Seconding MonkeyToes's recommendation of "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown". Drugs in the juice! People passing out left and right! Sex! Total ridiculousness everywhere!
posted by epj at 1:55 PM on November 15, 2010

Seconding Stephen Chow.

Strangely, Good of Cookery became one of the most borrowed and watched films of any that I have.
posted by MysticMCJ at 1:57 PM on November 15, 2010

I'm going to wave the Russian flag. I watch all of these on occasion (even now when I've forgotten 99% of the language...)

Operation Y

The Diamond Arm

The Irony of Fate
posted by Zoyashka at 2:02 PM on November 15, 2010

The Gods Must Be Crazy
posted by MuffinMan at 2:09 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Seksmisja is a cult Polish sci fi comedy. It's extremely popular in Poland and I believe it's relatively common for people to quote lines from it. A lot of the humor comes from it being a not-so-subtle satire of communism.
posted by burnmp3s at 2:11 PM on November 15, 2010

In Sweden, I would say that Sällskapsresan is considered a huge classic comedy. There is also Göta Kanal, Torsk på Tallinn and Jalla Jalla, all of which have well-recognized lines that get recited over and over.
posted by gemmy at 2:13 PM on November 15, 2010

In English but Withnail and I is a cult film from the UK that ranks with the films you listed.
posted by askmehow at 2:14 PM on November 15, 2010

G.O.R.A. It's Turkish, and it's hysterical.
posted by patheral at 2:19 PM on November 15, 2010

also (sorry for posting twice) my friend recommends Dünyayı Kurtaran Adam (The Man Who Saves the World) as a true cult classic.
posted by patheral at 2:22 PM on November 15, 2010

Spain's Torrente films, starring Santiago Segura, are pretty dreadful apart from the low-budget first, which is great: Torrente, el brazo tonto de la ley.
posted by Holly at 2:30 PM on November 15, 2010

posted by lakersfan1222 at 2:52 PM on November 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

aw, bookrack beat me to it....
posted by lakersfan1222 at 2:53 PM on November 15, 2010

In Iceland we have Með allt á hreinu (which would translate, roughly, to Everything Under Control), which most Icelanders know by heart, both the one-liners and the songs (here's one song). The songs are generally quite witty, funny enough to make you smile, but not so aggressively humorous as to wear on the psyche with repetition. There's also Sódóma Reykjavík, which, for some reason, was released with the English title Remote Control, which has similarly gifted Icelandic culture with some funny phrases. My favorite is 101 Reykjavík, whose phrases I sometimes quote (as a bonus, quite a lot of it is in English, so the Anglophone can quote a bunch of great lines).
posted by Kattullus at 3:11 PM on November 15, 2010

O Auto da Compadecida is about the funniest/weirdest Brazilian movies I have ever seen. Caveat: it was actually a miniseries. I wouldn't say it is has a cult status, but it is a beloved recent classic. The acting in it is fantastic.
posted by msali at 3:12 PM on November 15, 2010

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron (Hindi/Bollywood) would probably fit the description.
posted by sk381 at 3:28 PM on November 15, 2010

Here are my favourites from French films (translation not provided, or even guaranteed to be possible):

La cité de la peur:
"Monsieur n'est pas une tapette! Monsieur est commisaire de police!"

"Votre film est nul! Madame, je vous pisse à la raie!"
"De raie! Odille de Raie. De toute facon c'est moi qui vous appelle!"

"Sarah Conor?"
"Non, c'est á coté."
#muffled footsteps#
"Sarah Conor?"
#muffled gunshots

"La victime a été tuée à la saucisse et au morteau !"
"Euh, non, commissaire ! Faucille !"

"Mademoiselle Deray, il est interdit de manger de la choucroute ici."
"Ah… Et qu'est-ce que vous allez me faire ? Me coffrer pour mangeage de choucroute prohibé ?""

"And I've got a new project for you if you're interested..."
"Aille want to popaul!"
"OK. It's called « Snow-White and the magnificient 7 ». First, they meet. Then they meet and they fight. And then at the end, they fuck. It's unbelievable !"
"A beulibobol."
"Think about it!"
"Thank aboute it ! I have in ze bilouque."

"Vous voulez un whisky?"
"Oh, juste un doigt."
"Vous ne voulez pas un whisky d'abord ?"

"Vous voulez un chewing-gum?"
"Oh, non, merci."
"Oh si si, prenez un chewing-gum, Émile"

"On ne peut pas tromper une personne mille fois... si, si on peut tromper mille personnes une fois... euh mille fois... non, on ne peut tromper pas une fois mille personnes, Odile, mais on peut tromper une fois mille personnes, oui on ne peut pas tromper mille fois..."


"J'adoooooooooooooooore les sushis!"

Le pere noel est une ordure:

"Mais c'est de la merde!"
"Non, c'est Klug."

"Therese n'est pas mouche, c'est juste qu'elle n'a pas la physique facile."

"EH ben forcement! Quant vous metez que ca depend, ca depasse!"

"Je n'aime pas dire du mal des gens; mais c'est vrai qu'elle est gentille"

"Oh une serpillère, c'est formidable Thérèse, je suis ravi, écoutez!"
"Non Pierre, c'est un gilet !"
"Ah oui, ah mais bien sur ! Bien sur que c'est un gilet, y'a des trous plus grands pour
les bras! ça tombe bien ! Je me disais encore hier soir qu'il manquait
quelque chose pour descendre les poubelles!"

"C'est fin, très fin, ça se mange sans faim !"

Diner de cons (none stand out, but great situational comedy)

(that said)

François : C'était votre soeur.
Pierre : J'ai pas de soeur.
François : Vous n'avez pas de soeur ? Je lui ai dit : "Qui est à l'appareil ?" Elle m'a dit "Sa soeur"
Pierre : Il a appelé Marlène !
François : C'est pas votre soeur ?
Pierre : C'est son nom Sasseur ! Marlène Sasseur !

"Allôôôô??? [gros accent belge] Pourrais-je parler à monsieur Leblanc, juste une fois."

Various sketches by les inconnus

"Vous m'avez dit de dire Ardi!" (Tele Magouille)

"Louis croix V bâton" (La Revolution)

"Isabelle a les yeux bleux bleux les yeux isabelle a! sans la nuit noire! dans la nuit noire et obscure...." (link)

Vice et versa

((There is so much more, but this as much as I can get off the top of my head. Ah good memories :) )
posted by litleozy at 3:42 PM on November 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Amelie has some of the fantastic types of events that occur in Scott Pilgrim, though in a more whimsical vein. Definitely a unique character.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 7:26 PM on November 15, 2010

OH oh! there's a great Czech film from the 1960s about a government conducting an experiment that transposed the brains of a scientist and a beautiful woman --hijinx most certainly ensued! But i can't remember the name...
posted by custard heart at 9:03 PM on November 15, 2010

In German I recommend anything by Helge Schneider.

Even though they´re not German originally, the Bud Spencer and Terence Hill movies are hilariously dubbed in German and have a big following among thirty-somethings.

Loriot´s sketches and movies are very widely known and are quoted frequently.
posted by Glow Bucket at 11:45 PM on November 15, 2010

In fact, 101 Reykjavík has a memorable quotes page on IMDB.
posted by Kattullus at 8:31 AM on November 16, 2010

In Austria, everyone can and does quote from these 80s TV series: "Mundl - ein echter Wiener geht nicht unter" and "Kottan ermittelt" and often with character impressions.
posted by meijusa at 10:14 AM on November 16, 2010

The "El Santo, El Luchador Enmascarado de Plata" series of masked wrestler movies from Mexico is truly awesome.

You can even get ringtones:

"¡Es El Santo! ¡Se me escapa la mómia!"
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2010

Here is some short form Santo so you can try before you buy.
posted by toodleydoodley at 4:00 PM on November 16, 2010

I'm late to the party... But in Quebec there are two cult french movies (like in french-canadian):
Ding et Dong le film
Elvis Gratton
posted by ddaavviidd at 7:38 PM on January 24, 2011

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