Portuguese cinema, though lesser-known on the international stage compared to its European counterparts, holds a unique and important place in the global film landscape.

Characterized by its rich narratives, poetic aesthetics, and profound exploration of the human condition, Portuguese cinema offers a captivating journey through the country’s history, culture, and collective psyche.

The early days of Portuguese cinema were marked by commercial and propagandistic films during the Estado Novo regime, but it was with the advent of the Portuguese New Wave in the 1960s that the industry began to assert its unique voice.

This period saw a surge of innovative and socially conscious filmmaking, with directors exploring themes of identity, colonialism, and social change.

Best Portuguese Movies

The following list presents some of the finest films in Portuguese cinema. Each film, with its distinctive storytelling and stylistic approach, offers a glimpse into the soul of Portugal.

From classic gems to contemporary masterpieces, these films reflect the evolving landscape of Portuguese cinema, highlighting its capacity to captivate, provoke, and deeply move audiences.

1. Tabu (2012)

“Tabu” is a Portuguese film directed by Miguel Gomes and released in 2012. It is a unique and experimental film that combines elements of drama, romance, and surrealism. The movie is divided into two parts: “Paradise Lost” and “Paradise.”

“Tabu” tells the story of Aurora, an elderly woman living in Lisbon, Portugal, and her mysterious past. In the first part, “Paradise Lost,” we meet Aurora as an old woman suffering from dementia.

She is taken care of by her neighbor, Pilar, and a maid named Santa. Pilar discovers that Aurora was once involved in a romantic relationship with a man named Ventura during their younger days in Africa.

In the second part, “Paradise,” the story shifts back in time to the 1960s, focusing on the young Aurora and Ventura’s passionate affair in Portuguese Mozambique.

The film explores their relationship, the dynamics of colonialism, and the challenges faced by the characters in a changing world.

“Tabu” is known for its distinctive storytelling style, combining different narrative techniques, including voiceover narration and a silent film aesthetic.

The movie also features themes of memory, nostalgia, and the impact of the past on the present. It received critical acclaim for its cinematography, performances, and artistic vision.

It’s important to note that “Tabu” is not to be confused with the 1931 film of the same name by F.W. Murnau. Miguel Gomes’ “Tabu” is a separate and original work.

Tabu [DVD] [2012]
  • Tabu ( Tabou )
  • Tabu
  • Tabou
  • Teresa Madruga, Laura Soveral, Ana Moreira (Actors)
  • Miguel Gomes (Director) - Tabu ( Tabou ) (Producer)

 2. Blood of My Blood (2011)

“Blood of My Blood” is a phrase commonly used to refer to a close familial relationship, particularly in the context of parent-child relationships.

However, I couldn’t find any specific information regarding a film or book titled “Blood of My Blood” released in 2011.


It’s possible that there may be a lesser-known or independent production with that title, or it could be a mistake or confusion with another title.

If you have any additional details or context about the specific work you’re referring to, I’ll be happy to assist you further.

Blood of My Blood
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hardcover Book
  • Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 03/06/2002 (Publication Date) - University Press of Florida (Publisher)

3. In Vanda’s Room (2000)

“In Vanda’s Room” is a film directed by Pedro Costa and released in 2000. It is a part of a trilogy of films known as “Fontainhas Trilogy” that focuses on the lives of people living in the impoverished Fontainhas neighborhood in Lisbon, Portugal.

The other two films in the trilogy are “Ossos” (1997) and “Colossal Youth” (2006).

“In Vanda’s Room” is a documentary-style drama that blurs the line between fiction and reality.

It follows the daily life of a young woman named Vanda Duarte, who lives in a slum in Lisbon. The film provides an intimate and raw portrayal of Vanda’s life, depicting her struggles with drug addiction, poverty, and the harsh realities of her environment.

Pedro Costa, the director, often works with non-professional actors and captures their experiences in a realistic and unfiltered manner.

“In Vanda’s Room” is known for its slow pacing, long takes, and contemplative cinematography, which immerses the viewers in the gritty atmosphere of the Fontainhas neighborhood.

The film received critical acclaim for its unique approach and its unflinching portrayal of social issues. It has been praised for its authenticity, as well as its artistic and poetic qualities.

“In Vanda’s Room” offers a glimpse into the marginalized lives of its characters and sheds light on the socio-economic challenges faced by the residents of Fontainhas.

In Vanda's Room Poster Movie Japanese 27x40
  • NEW 27 x 40 Movie Poster packaged with care, rolled and shipped in sturdy reinforced packing...
  • Whether you are a collector or just generous with gifts, you can't go wrong sharing your favorite...
  • Most posters sourced are standard poster paper however some may have a gloss coating
  • The Amazon image in this listing is a digital scan of the poster that you will receive
  • Great for framing!

4.Aniki Bóbó (1942)

“Aniki Bóbó” is a Portuguese film directed by Manoel de Oliveira. It was released in 1942 and is considered one of Oliveira’s early works. The film tells the story of a group of children living in a neighborhood in Porto, Portugal, and focuses on the adventures and relationships among them.

The title “Aniki Bóbó” comes from a children’s rhyme that the characters often sing in the film. The phrase itself does not have a specific meaning and is meant to evoke the innocence and playfulness of childhood.

The film is known for its naturalistic portrayal of children and their interactions, capturing the world through their eyes.

It explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the challenges of growing up. Despite being made in the 1940s, “Aniki Bóbó” continues to be recognized as an important film in Portuguese cinema.

Manoel de Oliveira, the director of the film, went on to have a long and prolific career, becoming one of the most respected filmmakers in Portuguese cinema history. He continued making films well into his 100s, with his last film, “Gebo and the Shadow,” released in 2012.

Oliveira’s work often explored philosophical and existential themes, and he was known for his unique storytelling style and his ability to challenge traditional narrative structures. He passed away in 2015 at the age of 106.

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5.April Captains (2000)

 “April Captains (2000).” It seems to be a specific reference that I don’t have information about in my training data up until September 2021.

It could be a movie, book, song, or another form of media, but without more context, I’m unable to provide any further details. If you can provide more information or clarify your question, I’ll do my best to assist you.

Capitaes De Abril (Widescreen Edition)
  • Actress Maria de Madeiros (PULP FICTION, HENRY & JUNE) makes her directorial debut with the...
  • Joaquim de Almeida, Maria de Medeiros, Frederic Pierrot (Actors)
  • Maria de Medeiros (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

6.Our Beloved Month of August (2010)

“Our Beloved Month of August” is a Portuguese film released in 2008, not 2010. It was directed by Miguel Gomes and received critical acclaim for its unique storytelling style.

The film is set in the rural region of Portugal during the month of August, a time when many people go on vacation. It blurs the line between documentary and fiction, presenting a meta-narrative that explores the relationships between the characters both on and off screen.

The story revolves around a small community that comes together to prepare for a local festival. The film explores the dynamics between the various members of the community, including a father-daughter musical duo, a music promoter, and a local band.

As the festival approaches, tensions rise, relationships are tested, and unexpected events unfold.

“Our Beloved Month of August” is known for its improvisational approach to filmmaking. The director incorporated real events and local traditions into the narrative, blurring the line between scripted scenes and documentary footage.

This unique approach gives the film an authentic and organic feel, creating a sense of immersion for the audience.

The film received praise for its beautiful cinematography, capturing the rural landscapes of Portugal and the vibrant energy of the festival. It also explores themes of love, longing, and the passage of time.

Overall, “Our Beloved Month of August” is a visually stunning and unconventional film that offers a fresh and immersive cinematic experience.

Our Beloved Month of August
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Sónia Bandeira, Fábio Oliveira, Joaquim Carvalho (Actors)
  • Miguel Gomes (Director) - Miguel Gomes (Writer) - Luís Urbano (Producer)
  • (Playback Language)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

7.Alice (2005)

“Alice” is a television miniseries that aired in 2009, not 2005. The miniseries is a modern retelling of Lewis Carroll’s classic novels, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass.” It was directed by Nick Willing and produced by RHI Entertainment.

The story follows a young woman named Alice Hamilton, played by Caterina Scorsone, who finds herself trapped in Wonderland, a strange and twisted world filled with peculiar characters and bizarre events.

In this version, Wonderland is depicted as a parallel universe accessed through a mirror.

Throughout the series, Alice embarks on a journey to save Wonderland from the Queen of Hearts, played by Kathy Bates, and the other menacing inhabitants.

Along the way, she encounters familiar characters such as the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat, the White Rabbit, and the Caterpillar, each with their own unique spin.

The miniseries combines elements of fantasy, adventure, and mystery, exploring themes of self-discovery and the power of imagination. It offers a darker and more mature interpretation of Carroll’s original stories, incorporating psychological and philosophical elements.

“Alice” received generally positive reviews for its imaginative visuals, captivating performances, and its creative take on the source material. It remains a notable adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s iconic tales.

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Lucrezia Bertini, Anna Laura Mauriello, Gennaro Cassini (Actors)
  • Mario Parruccini (Director) - Mario Parruccini (Writer)

8.Recollections of the Yellow House (1989)

“Recollections of the Yellow House” released in 1989. It’s possible that the title or details might be different or there may be some confusion.

If you have any additional information or if you could provide more context about the film, I’ll do my best to assist you further.

9.Abraham’s Valley (1993)

“Abraham’s Valley” (Portuguese: “Vale Abraão”) is a 1993 Portuguese drama film directed by Manoel de Oliveira. It is based on the novel of the same name by Agustina Bessa-Luís. The film stars Leonor Silveira, Luís Miguel Cintra, and Ruy de Carvalho in lead roles.

“Abraham’s Valley” tells the story of Ema, a young woman living in the Portuguese countryside. The film explores themes of love, desire, and societal expectations. It follows Ema’s relationships with two men: her much older husband, Dr. Carlos, and her cousin, Diogo.

Manoel de Oliveira, the director of the film, was a prominent figure in Portuguese cinema and one of the oldest active filmmakers in the world at the time.

“Abraham’s Valley” is known for its beautiful cinematography and reflective narrative style, which are characteristic of Oliveira’s work.

Abraham's Valley [VHS]
  • Leonor Silveira, Cécile Sanz de Alba, Luís Miguel Cintra (Actors)
  • Manoel de Oliveira (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: Unrated (Not Rated)

10.The Tyrannical Father (1941)

“The Tyrannical Father” released in 1941. It’s possible that the title you provided may be incorrect or the film may not be well-known or widely documented.

If you have any additional details or if there might be a different title or alternative information, please let me know, and I’ll do my best to assist you further.

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