There’s something quite interesting about the countries that have lived under military dictatorship. It makes one wonder how a country expresses itself after living in an oppressive regime for a long time. But before we jump to discuss the best Argentinian movies, we have a prime example of how Iranian movies under a fundamentalist government found a way to express and protest.
What about Argentina? Argentina is quite interesting not only from the art perspective but in terms of sports as well. In 1976, a coup d’état overthrew Isabel Perón as President of Argentina. In 1978, Argentina beat the Netherlands 3-1 at Estadio Monumental, Buenos Aires. As expected, the victory should have brought the dictatorship to its knees.
The situation was the opposite, however, as the military dictatorship used the very victory to whitewash its bloody rule. One couldn’t have accepted otherwise from a military rule to suppress human rights voices.
However, sports and art do make nations resilient. When we discuss movies about Argentina dictatorship, the sports aspect also deserves mention, as how Diego Maradona stuck it to the Queen, as everyone calls it a Hand Of God goal, and won the World Cup. For him, as mentioned in a Maradona by Kusturica documentary, it felt like a Robin Hood moment, stealing from the wealthy and giving to the poor.
So, art and sports are part of Argentina’s protest culture. If you look at the Argentinian movies released before the 1990s, you will seldom find a movie critical of the state. Everything changed after the military rule as the movies pushed the limits of criticism, self-reflection, and finding the truth. So, let’s discuss some of the best Argentinian movies on a broader range of subjects that will surprise you!
Ricardo Darín is one of this century’s most famous South American actors.
I often joke that South American blockbusters always star Darín or Gael García Bernal (a famous Mexican actor). Still, as you start discovering more famous Latin movies, you will realize that it’s not that far from the truth.
Many top Argentinian movies in this list will prove that point as Ricardo Darín takes the leading role in them.
Whenever we talk about famous Argentinian movies, the list will always start from the Argentinian movie Wild Tales. It’s a movie that brought much-needed attention to the Argentinian cinema. The movie gained international acclaim for its unique storytelling and dark humor. The movie comprises six short stories just like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs by the Coen brothers. Interestingly, the parts are independent but deal with revenge and losing control in extreme situations.
The stories are dark and funny at the same time. The characters in the movie face very stressful or unfair moments and the unpredictable ways in which they react when pushed to their limits. For example, a bride who finds out a big secret about her husband at their wedding. Will she call off a wedding, or will her reaction be worse?
The Argentinian movie Wild Tales was very successful, which is why it received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. It is one of the best Argentinian movies, where well-crafted characters perfectly portray human reactions under extreme situations.
The Secret in Her Eyes is an Argentine-Spanish film that came out in 2009. The film became a box office hit in Argentina and received widespread critical acclaim. It is one of the two Argentinian movies, The Official Story being the first one, that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2010.
The movie revolves around Benjamín Esposito, a retired federal officer who spends his retirement days writing a novel. The topic of his novel is an unsolved case of rape and murder of a young girl. His findings bring him in contact with his former boss (whom he had an unexpressed love for), but everything changes as soon as he tells her what he’s doing.
As the movie progresses, Benjamín delves into the case, which leads to unpleasant flashbacks and memories that darken the story. All of this builds up to a climax where the retired detective has to look the horrendous truth in the eye. The Secret in Her Eyes is one of the best Argentinian films where Ricardo Darín steals the show with his lead role.
There are many movies about Argentina dictatorship, and Argentina, 1985 is one of the best drama films about the dictatorship. The movie revolves around the historical events in Argentina in 1985, focusing on the trial of the military juntas that ruled the country during the period known as the “Dirty War” between 1976 and 1983. It is one of the best Argentinian movies on Amazon Prime that you should definitely watch.
The movie follows the work of chief prosecutor Julio Strassera and his legal assistant Luis Moreno Ocampo as they prepare and conduct the trial against the military juntas. Despite facing immense pressure and dangerous threats, they work together to compile evidence. They work hard yards, coming over multiple obstacles to gather testimonies against the generals responsible for the human rights abuses.
Argentina, 1985 is one of the few movies about Argentina dictatorship, which received critical acclaim and was selected as Argentina’s submission for the Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards. There are many Argentinian movies on Amazon Prime, but none comes close to the drama that Argentina, 1985 puts you through.
It’s time for some comedy, some thriller, and who can forget to mention Un Cuento Chino – one of the best Argentinian movies in the comedy genre. The movie was released in 2011 and is a comedy-drama that explores the unlikely friendship between two very different characters.
Roberto is a grumpy small business owner who believes in order and diligence. His grumpiness is a direct result of fighting in the Falklands War. His orderliness stems from this time, too. As a hobby, Roberto collects absurd news articles to prove that the world is going mad, but he believes it will not affect him. Until one day, a helpless Chinese man is thrown out of a driving taxi.
Roberto frustratingly decides to help Jun, who doesn’t speak Spanish. Roberto finds Jun disoriented and takes it upon himself to help him. All this means you are in for a delightful viewing experience of humorous and touching events. It is one of the best Argentinian films to make you roll on the floor while watching it.
The Boss, Anatomy of a Crime is one of the best Argentinian movies on Netflix, based on a true story. The film is a perfect combination of psychological thriller and social commentary. It received critical acclaim for its strong performances, especially the portrayal of Hermogenes, played by Joaquín Furriel, and its depiction of the struggle of the working class.
The film’s main character, Hermogenes, is a hardworking rural worker from the countryside. He comes to Buenos Aires and finds a job in a butcher shop. The owner of the butcher shop, nicknamed “The Boss,” is an evil man who exploits his workers, particularly taking advantage of Hermogenes’ desperate need for a job.
As the story unfolds, the abusive behavior of “The Boss” towards Hermogenes increases day by day. The mistreatment pushes Hermogenes to the brink of his sanity, leading to tragic consequences. If you are bored with Netflix algorithmic recommendations, we recommend- a human recommendation- to watch one of the best Argentinian movies on Netflix.
El Hijo de la Novia is our list’s second Argentinian comedy-drama film. The film was released in 2001, and its lead actor was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category. And not to forget, the movie itself was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.
The film is about Rafael Belvedere, a middle-aged man overwhelmed by life’s pressures. He is trying to keep his restaurant business afloat while dealing with personal issues, such as his divorce, the strained relationship with his daughter, and his aging mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease. If that was not enough, Rafael’s father, Nino, adds another layer of complexity to Rafael’s life when he decides to fulfill his wife’s dream of having a church wedding, which they were never able to have because of their busy lives. The film takes exciting twists and turns as we explore themes of family, love, regret, and the desire for a second chance to make things right. It is one of the best Argentinian movies if you are looking for a comedy coupled with drama.
Nueve Reinas or Nine Queens is an Argentine crime drama film released in 2000. One of the best Argentinian movies of modern times. The movie was a critical commercial success for its clever plot and engaging storyline.
Marcos and Juan are two con artists who meet in a convenience store by chance. Marcos, the more experienced of the two, teaches Juan the tricks of being a swindler, and the two men start working together. Then, an exciting opportunity comes their way; Marcos is contacted about a set of rare stamps (the nine queens). The plan is to forge the stamps and sell them to a businessman who’s in a rush to leave the country.
Although it seems like a golden opportunity, tricksters trick, get tricked, and distrust, making it challenging to find out who’s scamming who at the end of the day. Nine Queens is a fast-paced movie full of twists. You only have to remember that nothing is what it seems. Nueve Reinas was so successful that it inspired a Hollywood remake, “Criminal.”
Argentina, without a mention of Che Guevara, is incomplete. After all, he was born in Argentina. He is known as an Argentine Marxist revolutionary and a significant figure of the Cuban Revolution. One of the most prominent champions of Marxism and a countercultural symbol of rebellion and global insignia in popular culture. But to inspire, you have to be inspired first. And where Che got his inspiration, apart from literature? Well, traveling.
As the Arabic saying goes, “Travel is the means of victory.” It is traveling where Che got his inspiration, as we see in The Motorcycle Diaries. The journey took place in 1952, and Che traveled with his friend Alberto Granado. It played a significant role in shaping Che’s political and social consciousness. The documentary delves into the disparities and injustices they witnessed, influencing Che’s transformation from a medical student into a revolutionary figure.
El Clan is an Argentine crime film directed by Pablo Trapero. The movie is based on the true story of the Puccio family, an ordinary middle-class family from Buenos Aires that became notorious for kidnapping and murdering people in the early 1980s during a military dictatorship.
The film focuses on Arquímedes Puccio, the mastermind behind the criminal operations. He leads his family into a life of crime, with the complicity of some of his children, especially his eldest son, Alejandro Puccio. The Puccios commit their crimes under the guise of an everyday, respectable family life, making their wrongdoings even more chilling. If you’re interested in crime dramas based on true events with a strong focus on character dynamics, El Clan is one of the best Argentinian movies you must watch.
On Probation is the third Argentine comedy-drama film on our list because we like to keep emotions balanced. The movie is a perfect blend of action, comedy, and drama, making it one of the best Argentinian films.
The film’s main character, Mariano Silverstein, is a neurotic and talkative psychoanalyst dealing with the recent separation from his wife. His life takes an unexpected turn when he gets involved in a car accident that, due to bureaucratic complications, results in him being assigned to perform community service.
For his community service, Mariano is paired up with Alfredo Díaz, a tough and emotionally closed-off police inspector. Díaz is in the middle of investigating a complicated murder case and, somewhat unwillingly, begins to use Mariano as an unofficial partner. As the case unfolds, the two men, with different personalities and approaches to life, begin to influence each other.
When it comes to cinema, Argentina has plenty to offer, just like its sports and tango music. If you want to know about Argentinian military rule, you can watch movies about Argentina dictatorship. However, if you want to explore Argentinian cinema’s crime, drama, or comedy genre, you can watch some of the best Argentinian movies we have carefully curated. Let us know if you have already watched the above-mentioned Argentinian movies. Or else, you can tell which movie you plan to watch first!