10 Best Iranian Films That You Must Not Miss

Tired of watching the same old films on repeat? Well, it’s time to expand your horizons with these critically acclaimed Iranian films that are beautifully scripted and strum your heartstrings. Here’s the Favourite list of Cinemapranthan.

  1. BARAN

This 2001 Iranian film directed by Majid Majidi, tells the tale of a construction site worker who falls in love with an Afghan worker, only to find out that it is a woman in the disguise of a man, to earn a living. Baran won a number of awards both nationally and internationally for the director and writer Majid Majidi.


This 2011 2011 Iranian drama film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, starring Leila Hatami, Peyman Moaadi, Shahab Hosseini, Sareh Bayat, and Sarina Farhadi. It focuses on an Iranian middle-class couple who separate, the disappointment and desperation suffered by their daughter due to the egotistical disputes and separation of her parents, and the conflicts that arise when the husband hires a lower-class caregiver for his elderly father, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Immensely layer and beautifully told, it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, becoming the first Iranian film to win the award. 


This 2006 Jafar Panahi film tells the story of girls who sneak into the stadium to watch the football World Cup qualifying match but are forbidden by law because of their gender. The movie’s storyline was inspired by the director’s daughter, who decided to attend a game anyway. but its screening was banned there in Iran. Offside won the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2006, and was the official selection for the 2006 New York and Toronto International Film Festivals.


The 2004 Iranian comedy drama film directed by Kamal Tabrizi, written by Peyman Ghasem Khani and starring Parviz Parastui as Reza “the lizard” Mesghali, a small-time thief. The film satirizes the clergy, religion, Iranian society, and life in general. The film received 100 out of 100 ratings from Rotten Tomatoes.


Another masterpiece by Majid Majidi, Children of Heaven is a 1997 Iranian family drama After a boy loses his sister’s pair of shoes, he goes on a series of adventures in order to find them. When he can’t, he tries a new way to “win” a new pair. This classic has won many awards and It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1998.


This Asghar Farhadi drama-thriller is set during a vacation, where a teacher disappears and leaves behind her group of friends fanatically looking for her. It is the fourth film of Farhadi. The movie won the Jury Award at the Tribeca Film Festival for Best Narrative Feature 2009 and the Special Jury Award at the Asia-Pacific Film Festival 2009, among others. 


 The 2016 drama film written and directed by Asghar Farhadi and starring Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini. Another fine example of Asghar Farhadi’s brilliant storytelling, The Salesman tells the story of a married couple who performs the play, Death of a Salesman on stage. Aside from the narrative in the play, the wife is assaulted and the husband is out to find the attacker – since she refuses to take legal action and is suffering from PTSD. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, an event Asghar did not attend in protest of the U.S. Executive Order 13769. It also won the Best Screenplay for Farhadi and Best Actor for Hosseini, at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. 


This 1990 Iranian docufiction by Abbas Kiarostami shows the real-life trial of a man, who loves cinema so much that he impersonates film-maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf, conning a family into starring in his film and even letting them use his house as a set. It features the people involved, acting as themselves. A film about human identity, it helped to increase recognition of Kiarostami internationally. Many critics consider Close-Up a masterpiece of world cinema; in the 2012 Sight & Sound poll, it was voted by critics onto “The Top 50 Greatest Films of All Time” list.

9. JUST 6.5

 2019 Iranian thriller drama film written and directed by Saeed Roustayi. The police are after a drug lord named Naser Khakzad, but when they finally manage to catch him, he tries whatever he can think of to escape and save his family.  It was well-received by critics at the 76th Venice Film Festival, and won multiple awards, including the Crystal Simorgh for Audience Choice of Best Film, at the 2019 Fajr International Film Festival.


The 2004 Kurdish war drama film written, produced, and directed by Bahman Ghobadi. The film stars Soran Ebrahim, Avaz Latif, Saddam Hossein Faysal, Hiresh Feysal Rahman, Abdolrahman Karim, Ajil Zibari. Set in a Kurdish refugee camp town, it follows a group of children who have made a little town of their own in these extreme circumstances. The 2004 film is made by Iranian-Kurdish film director, Bahman Ghobadi and won several awards at film festivals.