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Top 5 international film stars

Some of Hollywood’s biggest stars got their start in their native country. Here are five actors who went from local favorite to international fame. I'm highlighting one of their films in their native language (not necessarily their first film) and one of their Hollywood films. You can check out all these movies from the library.

Jackie Chan

Police Story (1985, Cantonese)

Kevin (Jackie Chan) is a Hong Kong cop, who scores his first big hit by single-handedly capturing and arresting a big drug lord. Of course, the drug lord isn't too happy about this, and frames Kevin with the murder of another cop (who happened to be on the take). Kevin has to clear his name, keep from getting killed or arrested, and keep his girlfriend from leaving him.

Hong Kong Film Awards

  • Best Picture
  • Best Action Choreography

Rush Hour (1998)

When the 11-year-old daughter of the Chinese Consul in Los Angeles is kidnapped in broad daylight, the desperate father summons his old friend and Hong Kong Police Inspector Lee to assist the FBI in the investigation. However, as the bureau is far from keen on allowing the newcomer to get in their way, they pair him up with a motor-mouthed LAPD detective, James Carter, to watch him over. Neither of them is happy about this awkward partnership, but the reluctant partners must team up to solve this mystery before the FBI. Will Lee crack the case? –Nick Riganas


  • ALMA Award: Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film - Elizabeth Pena
  • Blockbuster Entertainment Award: Favorite Duo Action/Adventure - Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker
  • BMI Film & TV Award: Film Music Award - Lalo Schifrin
  • Bogey Award (Germany) in Silver
  • Golden Screen (Germany)
  • MTV Movie Award: Best On-Screen Duo- Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker

Penélope Cruz

Volver (2006, Spanish)

Having weathered a series of bad relationships and traumas, Raimunda and her sister, Sole, remain close as they continue to mourn their mother, who died years ago in a suspicious house fire. When Raimunda's lascivious husband Paco betrays her, he not-so-mysteriously disappears. Determined to keep her family together, Raimunda's resourcefulness and strength shift into overdrive just in time for additional family tragedies and unresolved conflicts to bring her and Sole home. Multiple generations of women reunite to mourn their losses, mend old rifts, and harness the healing powers of their collective resilience in the face of age-old adversities. With nods to Mildred Pierce and Arsenic and Old Lace, Volver celebrates those rites and beliefs designed keep ancestors close and the wisdom of generations intact. –Mae Moreno


  • Argentinean Film Critics Association Awards: Silver Condor Best Foreign Film, Spanish Language
  • Cannes Film Festival: Best Actress - female ensemble cast & Best Screenplay
  • European Film Awards: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress - Penélope Cruz, Best Cinematographer & Best Composer
  • 54 other awards

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) 

Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) crosses paths with a woman from his past, Angelica (Penélope Cruz), and he's not sure if it's love, or if she's a ruthless con artist who's using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. When she forces him aboard the Queen Anne's Revenge, the ship of the formidable pirate Blackbeard (Ian McShane), Jack finds himself on an unexpected adventure in which he doesn't know who to fear more: Blackbeard or the woman from his past. –ahmetkozan


  • ASCAP Award: Top Box Office Films
  • MovieGuide Award: Best Movie for Mature Audiences
  • Scream Award: Best Chase Scene

Mads Mikkelsen

The Hunt (2012, Danish)

Lucas is a kindergarten teacher who takes great care of his students. Unfortunately for him, young Klara concocts a lie about her teacher. Before Lucas is even able to understand the consequences, he has become the outcast of the town. The hunt is on to prove his innocence before it's taken from him for good. –napierslogs


  • Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Award: Best Non-English Language Film
  • British Independent Film Award: Best International Independent Film
  • Cannes Film Festival: Best Actor - Mads Mikkelsen, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, Vulcan Prize for Technical Artist - Charlotte Bruus Christensen
  • Danish Film Awards: Best Drama (Audience Award), Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Actor - Mads Mikkelsen, Best Supporting Actress - Susse Wold, Best Editing & Best Film
  • 25 other awards

Casino Royale (2006)

James Bond (Daniel Craig) goes on his first mission as a 007. Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen) is a banker to the world's terrorists. He is participating in a poker game at Montenegro, where he must win back his money, in order to stay safe amongst the terrorist market. The boss of MI6, known simply as "M" (Dame Judi Dench) sends Bond, along with Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) to attend this game and prevent Le Chiffre from winning. Bond, using help from Felix Leiter (Jeffrey Wright), Rene Mathis (Giancarlo Giannini), and having Vesper pose as his partner, enters the most important poker game in his already dangerous career. But if Bond defeats Le Chiffre, will he and Vesper Lynd remain safe? –simon Q


  • BAFTA Film Award: Best Sound
  • Art Directors Guild: Excellence in Production Design - Contemporary Film
  • Empire Award: Best Film, Best Actor, Best Female Newcomer - Eva Green
  • National Movie Awards (UK): Best Action/Adventure
  • 22 other awards

Monica Bellucci

Malena (2000, Italian)

As Italy enters World War II, the Sicilian 12-year-old boy, Renato, gets his first bicycle, and, above all, sets eyes on the sleepy town's most beautiful woman: Malena, the statuesque newcomer whose husband is off to war. Desired by every man in town, and, at the same time, despised by their jealous wives, Malena is now the center of attention and everyone's favorite subject of an increasingly rancorous gossip. Then, with Malena’s husband presumed killed in action, Renato's starry-eyed infatuation turns into obsession, as the unattainable object of his desire becomes, more and more, a victim of her incomparable beauty. Now, Malena’s fall from grace is inevitable. Will Renato finally get up his nerve to protect his eternal fantasy, Malena? –Nick Riganas


  • Cabourg Romantic Film Festival
  • David di Donatello Award: Best Cinematography
  • Golden Globe (Italy): Best Male Newcomer - Giuseppe Sulfaro
  • Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists: Best Score
  • National Board of Review Award: Top Foreign Film
  • Premio Berenice La Chioma di Berenice: Best Hairstyling in Film
  • Sannio FilmFest Golden Capital: Best Male Newcomer - Giuseppe Sulfaro

The Matrix Reloaded (2003)

After a century of war against the machines and a few months after the eye-opening events of v, the unstoppable mechanical adversary is bent on eradicating humankind. As a result, Zion, the last remaining human city on the scorched planet Earth, starts to feel the suffocating stranglehold of a quarter-million sentinels boring from the black surface down to the underground stronghold. Now Morpheus, Neo, and Trinity must delve deeper into the Matrix to find answers. But as all-powerful programs go rogue, standing in the way of fulfilling the prophecy, the question remains. Is Neo the One? Can faith alone save everyone connected to the Matrix? –Nick Riganas


  • Teen Choice Award: Choice Movie- Drama/Action Adventure
  • Visual Effects Society Award: Best Single Visual Effect of the Year in Any Medium & Outstanding Visual Effects Photography in a Motion Picture
  • World Stunt Awards Taurus Award: Best Overall Stunt by a Stunt Woman

Steven Yeun

Minari (2020, Korean)

Yearning to own a small patch of land and be more than a chicken sexer, the ambitious paterfamilias, Jacob Yi, relocates his Korean-American family: skeptical wife, Monica, and their children, David and Anne, from California to 1980s rural Arkansas, to start afresh and capture the elusive American Dream. However, new beginnings are always challenging, and to find out what is best for the family, let alone start a 50-acre farm to grow and sell Korean fruits and vegetables, is easier said than done. But, amid sincere promises, cultural unease, fleeting hopes, and the ever-present threat of financial disaster, Jacob is convinced that he has found their own slice of Eden in the rich, dark soil of Arkansas. Can grandma Soonja's humble but resilient minari help the Yi family figure out their place in the world? –Nick Riganas


  • Academy Award: Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role - Youn Yuh-Jung
  • BAFTA Award: Best Supporting Actress - Youn Yuh-Jung
  • AFI Award: Movie of the Year
  • Golden Globe: Best Motion Picture - Foreign Language
  • Sundance Film Festival: Audience Award - Dramatic & Grand Jury Prize - Dramatic
  • 111 other awards

Mayhem (2017)

Mayhem tells the story of a virus that infects a corporate law office on the day attorney Derek Cho (Yeun) is framed by a co-worker and wrongfully fired. The infection is capable of making people act out their wildest impulses. Trapped in the quarantined building, our hero is forced to savagely fight tooth and nail for not only his job but his life. –abothin


  • Brooklyn Horror Film Festival: Best Actor - Steven Yeun
  • Chattanooga Film Festival: Audience Award
  • Fant, Bilbao Fantasy Film Festival Jury Prize: Best Film
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