Foreign Films

Foreign Films

You might have seen the recent Steve Carell/Zach Galifianakis comedy "Dinner for Schmucks," but did you know it's based on a French film called "Le Diner des Cons"? It's true--in fact, Hollywood has been producing Americanized versions of successful foreign films for years. But just as books often lose something when they get turned into movies, American 'translations' of foreign films are sometimes a little lackluster in comparison. After the jump, check out our list to see if one of your favorite movies has an original version--one you might not even know about!

The Ring: Rumor has it that the Japanese version of this modern horror classic was so frightening, even its posters were banned in its home country. If you love really scary movies, you can't miss this one.

Beauty and the Beast: While most Americans are familiar with the animated Disney movie, the "Beauty and the Beast" fairy tale as we know it originated in France, and one of the best film versions comes from there, too. Jean Cocteau's black-and-white masterpiece is sad, thoughtful and lovely--the pace is slower than modern movies, but it's definitely worth a watch.

No Reservations: This romantic comedy starring Catherine Zeta-Jones is based on a sweet and funny German film called "Mostly Martha." If you like cooking--or eating--you'll love the culinary scenes in either version, but the chemistry between the leads in "Mostly Martha" sets it apart.

Let Me In: The American film, starring the wonderful Chloe Grace Moretz, looks promising, but it'll be hard to top the intense, intellectual thrill of "Let the Right One In." The author of the original novel, John Ajvide Lindqvist, wrote the Swedish screenplay, too--it's taut, frightening, and romantic, and many critics are already calling it one of the decade's best.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: It looks like Daniel Craig---aka James Bond--will play the lead in the 2011 American film version of the blockbuster mystery novel by Stieg Larsson. But with so long to wait for the Stateside take, you should definitely check out the 2009 Swedish adaptation--and their versions of the next two books, which will hit theaters later this year.