Luis Buñuel was a Spanish filmmaker who was a leading figure of Surrealist movement in the 20th century. He was known for his unconventional, provocative and often controversial films that challenged the norms of society.

Throughout his career, he directed over thirty films, many of which are considered masterpieces of world cinema.

Some of his most well-known films include “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie”, “Belle de Jour”, and “Un Chien Andalou”.

Best Luis Buñuel Films

In this article, we’ll introduce Buñuel’s best films, and why they are worth watching.

1. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)

“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” is a surrealist comedy film directed by Luis Buñuel and released in 1972.

The film tells the story of a group of upper-class friends who repeatedly try to have dinner together, but their attempts are constantly thwarted by a series of absurd events.

The film is characterized by its dream-like atmosphere, dark humor, and its subversion of traditional narrative structure.

Buñuel’s unique visual style and mastery of the surrealist genre are on full display in “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie,” and the film has been praised for its clever commentary on the decadence and self-delusion of the upper classes.

The film also features excellent performances from its cast, including Fernando Rey and Paul Frankeur, who bring a humorous touch to the film’s darkly comic scenarios.

Overall, “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” is a masterful work of art that showcases Buñuel’s exceptional talents as a filmmaker.

The film’s blend of surrealism, humor, and social critique make it a must-watch for fans of both art-house and comedy films.

The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Fernando Rey, Delphine Seyrig, Stéphane Audran (Actors)
  • Luis Buñuel (Director) - Luis Buñuel (Writer) - Serge Silberman (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)

2. An Andalusian Dog (1929)

“An Andalusian Dog” (1929) is a classic Surrealist film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is known for its abstract and disturbing imagery, such as the famous sequence of a razor slicing through a woman’s eye.

The film is a social critique, poking fun at the bourgeoisie and traditional values, and explores themes of desire, sexuality, and the subconscious.

   

Its use of non-linear storytelling, dream-like sequences, and disruptive editing make it a landmark of Surrealist cinema and a must-see for fans of the movement and Buñuel’s work.

Despite its experimental style and controversial themes, the film has garnered critical acclaim and remains one of Buñuel’s most famous and influential works.

An Andalusian Dog
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Pierre Batcheff, Simone Mareuil, Luis Bunuel (Actors)
  • Luis Bunuel (Director)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

3. Belle de Jour (1967)

“Belle de Jour” is a 1967 French film directed by Luis Buñuel. It stars Catherine Deneuve as Séverine, a beautiful and enigmatic young woman who begins working as a daytime prostitute to fulfill her secret desires.

The film explores Séverine’s sexual desires and fetishes, as well as her internal conflicts and the relationships she forms with her clients.

“Belle de Jour” is notable for its frank and daring depiction of sexuality, as well as its surrealist elements and black humor.

The film is widely regarded as a classic of French cinema, and is considered one of Buñuel’s best works. Deneuve gives a standout performance as Séverine, capturing both her vulnerability and her enigmatic allure.

The film’s cinematography is also noteworthy, featuring stunning images of Paris and its environs, as well as its use of color and light to create a dream-like atmosphere.

The film’s soundtrack, which incorporates classical music and popular songs, is also memorable and effective.

Overall, “Belle de Jour” is a brilliant and provocative film that remains as fresh and relevant today as it was when it was first released over 50 years ago.

If you’re a fan of foreign films, surrealist cinema, or movies that challenge societal norms and push boundaries, then this film is a must-watch.

Belle de Jour
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Pierre Clementi (Actors)
  • Luis Bunuel (Director) - Luis Bunuel (Writer) - Robert Hakim (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)

4. That Obscure Object of Desire (1977)

“That Obscure Object of Desire” is a 1977 film directed by Luis Buñuel, and is a visually stunning and thought-provoking exploration of desire and obsession.

   

The film tells the story of a wealthy middle-aged man who becomes infatuated with a young woman, but she repeatedly rebuffs his advances.

Despite this, he remains fixated on her, and the film explores the complexities of desire and the power dynamic between the two characters.

The film’s style is characteristically surreal and dreamlike, with Buñuel employing imaginative imagery and visual symbolism to express his ideas.

The film is notable for its use of two different actresses playing the same character, which adds a further layer of complexity to the film’s exploration of desire and the fluidity of identity.

The cinematography is also impressive, with Buñuel utilizing creative camera movements and inventive framing to create a unique and captivating visual experience.

The film’s score is also noteworthy, with Buñuel incorporating classical music and songs into the film to further underscore the film’s themes.

In conclusion, “That Obscure Object of Desire” is a visually stunning and thought-provoking exploration of desire and obsession, and is a must-watch for fans of surrealist cinema and Luis Buñuel.

That Obscure Object of Desire
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Fernando Rey, Carole Bouquet, Ángela Molina (Actors)
  • Luis Buñuel (Director) - Luis Buñuel (Writer) - Serge Silberman (Producer)
  • German, Italian, English (Playback Language)
  • German, Italian, English (Subtitles)

5. Tristana (1970)

“Tristana” is a 1970 Spanish film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film stars Catherine Deneuve as the titular character, a young woman who becomes the ward of an eccentric nobleman after the death of her mother.

   

The film is a classic example of Buñuel’s surrealist style, blending elements of realism and fantasy to create a haunting and thought-provoking commentary on the nature of desire and power dynamics.

The film is considered a masterpiece of Spanish cinema and a must-see for fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in surrealist art.

Tristana (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Catherine Deneuve, Fernando Rey, Franco Nero (Actors)
  • Luis Bunuel (Director) - Luis Buñuel (Writer) - Luis Buñuel (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

6. Simon of the Desert (1965)

“Simon of the Desert” is a 1965 film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a satirical and absurdist take on the story of St. Simon, a 5th-century ascetic who lived on a pillar in the desert for 37 years.

The film explores themes of faith, temptation, and the quest for spiritual enlightenment in a humorous and absurdist manner that is characteristic of Buñuel’s style.

The film is considered a cult classic and is well-regarded for its humor, surreal imagery, and thought-provoking commentary on religion and spirituality.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in absurdist art, “Simon of the Desert” is a must-see.

Simon of the Desert (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Silvia Pinal, Claudio Brook (Actors)
  • Luis Bunuel (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

7. Viridiana (1961)

“Viridiana” is a 1961 Spanish film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a darkly humorous and provocative critique of the Catholic Church and Spanish society.

The titular character, a young nun, is sent to live with her uncle and his housekeeper, where she becomes embroiled in a series of surreal and absurd events that challenge her faith and values.

The film is renowned for its bold commentary and its surreal, dreamlike imagery, and is considered a classic of Spanish and world cinema.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in provocative and surrealist art, “Viridiana” is a must-see.

Viridiana [1961] [DVD]
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NC-17 (Adults Only)

8. The Exterminating Angel (1962)

“The Exterminating Angel” is a 1962 Spanish film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a surrealist comedy that follows a group of wealthy guests who are mysteriously unable to leave a dinner party.

As they attempt to find a way out, they slowly begin to devolve into madness and chaos. The film is a commentary on the absurdity of societal norms and the futility of attempts to escape the constraints of one’s own reality.

It is considered one of Buñuel’s most iconic works and is renowned for its imaginative, dreamlike visuals and its sharp, satirical edge.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in surrealist art, “The Exterminating Angel” is a must-see.

The Exterminating Angel (The Criterion Collection)
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Luis Bunuel (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

9. The Young and the Damned (1950)

“The Young and the Damned” is a 1950 Mexican film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a social realist drama that explores the lives of poor and marginalized children living on the outskirts of Mexico City.

The film follows two young boys, Pedro and Jaibo, as they navigate the hardships of poverty, crime, and violence.

The film is considered a landmark of Mexican cinema and is renowned for its powerful, unsentimental portrayal of the lives of marginalized youth.

For fans of socially conscious and realistic filmmaking, “The Young and the Damned” is a must-see.

10. The Milky Way (1969)

“The Milky Way” is a 1969 French-Italian film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a surrealist comedy that takes the form of a spiritual pilgrimage across medieval Europe.

The film follows two vagabonds as they encounter a series of bizarre and absurd characters and events that challenge their beliefs and question the nature of reality.

The film is considered one of Buñuel’s most imaginative and humorous works and is renowned for its imaginative visuals and its irreverent take on religion and spirituality.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in surrealist art, “The Milky Way” is a must-see.

The Milky Way
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Paul Frankeur, Laurent Terzieff (Actors)
  • Luis Buñuel (Director) - Luis Buñuel (Writer) - Anna Muzii (Producer)
  • English (Playback Language)
  • English (Subtitle)

11. L’Age d’Or (1930)

“L’Age d’Or” is a 1930 French film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a surrealist avant-garde masterpiece that explores the theme of sexual desire and societal taboos.

The film is a succession of loosely connected vignettes that are interspersed with dreamlike imagery, and features a controversial narrative that challenges the norms of traditional filmmaking.

“L’Age d’Or” is considered one of the earliest and most influential examples of surrealist cinema and is renowned for its imaginative visuals, its provocative subject matter, and its subversive spirit.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in surrealist art, “L’Age d’Or” is a must-see.

Sale
L'age D'or
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Gaston Modot, Lya Lys, Caridad de Laberdesque (Actors)
  • Luis Buuel (Director) - Luis Buuel (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

12. The Phantom of Liberty (1974)

“The Phantom of Liberty” is a 1974 French film directed by Luis Buñuel.

The film is a surrealist comedy that features a series of loosely connected vignettes and events that challenge the viewer’s sense of reality and the conventional understanding of cause and effect.

The film explores themes of freedom, authority, and the absurdity of everyday life in a humorous and imaginative manner.

“The Phantom of Liberty” is considered one of Buñuel’s most imaginative and humorous works and is renowned for its imaginative visuals, its absurdist humor, and its thought-provoking commentary on society and human behavior.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in surrealist art, “The Phantom of Liberty” is a must-see.

The Phantom of Liberty [DVD]
  • Jean-Claude Brialy, Adolfo Celi, Michel Piccoli (Actors)
  • Luis Buuel (Director) - Jean-Claude Carrire (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

13. Las Hurdes (1933)

“Las Hurdes” is a 1933 Spanish documentary film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a documentary portrait of the Hurdes region of Spain, a remote and impoverished area known for its stark beauty and harsh living conditions.

The film was one of Buñuel’s early works and is considered a landmark of Spanish and documentary filmmaking.

“Las Hurdes” is renowned for its unflinching and unsentimental portrayal of poverty, its innovative cinematography, and its thought-provoking commentary on the social and economic conditions of rural Spain.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in documentary filmmaking, “Las Hurdes” is a must-see.

14. Diary of a Chambermaid (1964)

“Diary of a Chambermaid” is a 1964 French film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a dark comedy that is based on the novel of the same name by Octave Mirbeau.

The film follows the story of a chambermaid, Célestine, as she arrives in a small French village to work for a wealthy family.

Célestine is soon embroiled in a series of strange and scandalous events that lead her to question the morality and motivations of those around her.

The film is a commentary on class, sexuality, and the decadence of the French bourgeoisie.

“Diary of a Chambermaid” is considered one of Buñuel’s most accomplished and entertaining works and is renowned for its dark humor, its visually stunning cinematography, and its insightful commentary on human behavior.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in dark comedy and social satire, “Diary of a Chambermaid” is a must-see.

Diary of a Chambermaid (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Jeanne Moreau, Michel Piccoli, Georges Gret (Actors)
  • Luis Buuel (Director) - Jean-Claude Carrire (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

15. El bruto (1953)

“El Bruto” is a 1953 Mexican film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a dark comedy that explores the theme of social injustice and the consequences of violence.

The film follows the story of a brutish man, Pedro, who is driven to violence by the injustices he faces in society.

Despite his crude and violent nature, Pedro’s actions are motivated by a desire for justice and a sense of right and wrong.

“El Bruto” is considered a landmark of Mexican cinema and is renowned for its dark humor, its thought-provoking commentary on society, and its compassionate portrayal of a complex and flawed protagonist.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in social commentary and dark comedy, “El Bruto” is a must-see

The Brute (El Bruto) - (Mr Bongo Films) (1953) [DVD]
  • The Brute ( El bruto )
  • The Brute
  • El bruto
  • Pedro Armendáriz, Katy Jurado, Rosa Arenas (Actors)
  • Luis Bunuel (Director) - The Brute ( El bruto ) (Producer)

16. El (1953)

“El” is a 1953 Mexican film directed by Luis Buñuel. The film is a dark comedy that explores the theme of human desire and the corrupting influence of wealth and power.

The film follows the story of a wealthy landowner, Don Johannes, who is consumed by a desire for power and control, even as his own life spirals out of control.

“El” is considered a classic of Mexican cinema and is renowned for its dark humor, its thought-provoking commentary on human desire and corruption, and its memorable central performance by the legendary Mexican actor, Arturo de Córdova.

For fans of Buñuel’s work or for those interested in social commentary and dark comedy, “El” is a must-see.

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17. Nazarin (1959)

“Nazarin” is a 1959 film directed by the Spanish filmmaker Luis Buñuel.

The film is based on a novel by the Mexican writer Benito Pérez Galdós and tells the story of a young priest who tries to live a life of poverty and asceticism, but ends up encountering corruption, temptation, and disillusionment.

The film is widely regarded as a masterpiece of world cinema, and is considered one of Buñuel’s most important works.

It is known for its powerful critique of religious hypocrisy and its exploration of themes such as faith, morality, and the human condition.

The film’s cinematography and editing are also noteworthy, and the film’s visual style has been widely praised for its use of stark imagery and surreal elements.

Overall, “Nazarin” is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged film that remains relevant and impactful today.

NAZARIN - Francisco Rabal -1959 - Spanish Import - All Regions
  • Luis Buñuel (Director)
  • None (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

3 Characteristics of Luis Buñuel Films

Surrealism: Luis Buñuel is known for his use of surreal elements in his films, which often blend reality and fantasy in unexpected and imaginative ways. This is evident in films such as “Un Chien Andalou” and “The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie”.

Satire: Buñuel was a master of satire, using humor and irony to comment on the follies of society and the human condition. Many of his films, such as “The Exterminating Angel” and “The Phantom of Liberty”, are known for their biting commentary on issues such as social class, politics, and religion.

Symbolism: Buñuel often used symbolism to convey deeper meaning in his films, and his work is rich with references to religious and mythological themes.

Many of his films also feature dream sequences and other elements of the subconscious, underscoring his interest in the workings of the mind and the unconscious.

3 Reasons Why You Should Watch Luis Buñuel Films

Provocative storytelling: Luis Buñuel was a master of storytelling who was not afraid to tackle challenging and controversial themes in his films.

From religious hypocrisy to class struggles and the complexities of human relationships, his films offer thought-provoking and emotionally impactful stories that will engage and stimulate you.

Visual style: Buñuel was a visionary filmmaker who used a range of techniques to create distinctive and memorable visuals.

From his use of surreal imagery to his bold cinematography and editing, his films are a feast for the eyes and will leave a lasting impression.

Cultural significance: Luis Buñuel is widely regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of the 20th century and his films have had a significant impact on world cinema.

By watching his films, you’ll be able to see how he helped shape the film medium and understand the cultural, social and political context of his era.

Best Luis Buñuel Films – Wrapping Up

Here are a few of the best Luis Buñuel films to consider watching:

“Un Chien Andalou” (1929) – A landmark film in the Surrealist movement, this short film is considered one of Buñuel’s most important works.

“The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie” (1972) – A darkly comedic critique of the upper class, this film is widely regarded as one of Buñuel’s best works.

“The Exterminating Angel” (1962) – A surreal allegory that explores themes of power, authority, and social class, this film is a powerful commentary on human behavior.

“Nazarin” (1959) – A moving and thought-provoking film about a young priest who tries to live a life of poverty and asceticism, only to encounter corruption and temptation.

“Belle de Jour” (1967) – A beautiful and haunting film about a woman who leads a double life as a prostitute, this film is widely regarded as one of Buñuel’s most visually stunning works.

These films showcase Buñuel’s distinctive visual style and bold storytelling, and they offer a glimpse into the mind of one of the most important filmmakers of the 20th century.