Lebanese Films Flashback

Lebanese cinema is much more diverse than what is often seen in its depictions in Hollywood, where harsh landscapes and waitron cities are often displayed. In actuality, Lebanese cinema is compromised of many of the standard genres and often deals with personal and emotional insights into peoples everyday lives. Films like Caramel (2007), a romantic comedy that explores universal issues within the lives of five women, such as homosexuality and mental health, demonstrating how contemporary the Lebanese film industry is. So while there is some depiction of the harsh and war-torn landscapes of Lebanon, you can also explore the beauty and human emotion that is the driving factor in many of these Lebanese films.

Check out CulturalPulse’s shortlist of the best Lebanese films over the past 70 years below.

50's to 70's

Ila Ayn (1957)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Director: Georges Nasser
Stars: Laura Azar, Tannous Dik, Shakib Khouri, Mounir Nader
Synopsis: A family lives poorly in a village in the Lebanese mountain. One day the father abandons his family and leaves for Brazil, considered an Eldorado by a great number of his compatriots. … See full summary »

Safar barlek (1966)

Genre: Musical, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.0
Director: Henry Barakat
Stars:  Fairuz, Elie Choueiri, Berj Fazlian, Salwa Haddad
Synopsis: During the war in 1914, the Othoman empire forbided weat toenter the lands of Lebanon in order to make the Lebanese people starve. In addition to that, the Othoman empire was taking men to … See full summary »

Bint El-Hares (1968)

Genre: Musical, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.7
Director: Henry Barakat
Stars: Fairuz, Samir Chamas, Elie Choueiri, Berj Fazlian
Synopsis: A young girl’s father is fired from his job as a guard because there are no more criminals left in town so she pretends to be a thief in order to stir up trouble and get him his job back. See Full Summary 

Beirut Oh Beirut (1975)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.2
Director: Maroun Bagdadi
Stars: Ezzat El Alaili, Mireille Maalouf, Joseph Bou Nassar, Elie Adabachi
Synopsis:In the aftermath of the 1967 defeat, four young Lebanese try to figure out their places in a society whose rules seem to have changed. It proved to be an extraordinary anticipation of the … See full summary »

80's

Beirut The Encounter (1981)

Genre: Drama, War
IMDB Rating: 6.9
Director: Borhane Alaouié
Stars: Haithem el Amine, Nadine Acoury, Najoua Haydar, Houcem Sabbah
Synopsis: Just after telephone communication is restored between the warring East and West sides of Beirut, two old college lovers, one Christian, the other Shiite, whose efforts to meet have … See full summary »

Les Petites Guerres (1982)

Genre: Drama, War
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Director: Maroun Bagdadi
Stars: Soraya Khoury, Nabil Ismaïl, Roger Hawa, Reda Khoury
Synopsis: Lebanon, 1975. How Tahal, an affluent young man becomes a warlord ; how Soraya, the girl he leaves behind, tries to help him in abducting a businessman ; how Nabil, a press photographer… See full summary »

90's

Out of Life (1991)

Genre: Crime, Drama, War
IMDB Rating: 6.8
Director: Maroun Bagdadi
Stars: Hippolyte Girardot, Rafik Ali Ahmad, Hussein Sbeity, Habib Hammoud
Synopsis: A French photograher is kidnapped and held hostage in a war-torn Beirut. Slowly but surely his integrity and self-respect is broken. See full summary »

Phantom Beirut (1998)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Director: Ghassan Salhab
Stars: Aouni Kawas, Darina Al Joundi, Rabih Mroue, Carol Abboud
Synopsis: Late in the 1980s it seems like the Lebanese conflict will never end. Khalil returns to Beirut after many years. Ten years earlier, during a battle, he took advantage of the confusion and pretended he was dead. See full summary »

West Beirut (1998)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 7.7
Director: Ziad Doueiri
Stars: Rami Doueiri, Naamar Sahli, Mohamad Chamas, Rola Al Amin
Synopsis: In April, 1975, civil war breaks out; Beirut is partitioned along a Moslem-Christian line. Tarek is in high school, making Super 8 movies with his friend, Omar. At first the war is a lark… See full summary »

Around the Pink House (1999)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 6.2
Director: Joana Hadjithomas
Stars: Hanane Abboud, Fadi Abi Samra, Anne-Marie Afif, Asma Andraos
Synopsis: La Maison Rose (The Pink House) is an old mansion in Beirut. It is the place where the Nawfal family found shelter during the Civil War and in which they feel good. Unfortunately for them, … See full summary »

00's

In the Shadows of the City (2000)

Genre: Drama, Romance, War
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Director: Jean Khalil Chamoun
Stars: Majdi Machmouchi, Christine Choueiri, Ammar Chalak, Ahmed Azzein
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Rami moves from South Lebanon to Beirut with his family, to escape the Israeli bombings. In the city, he becomes fast friends with a few local children, including his … See full summary »

When Maryam Spoke Out (2001)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.5
Director: Assad Fouladkar
Stars: Bernadette Hodeib, Talal Jurdi, Renée Dick, Umaya Lahoud
Synopsis: Ziyad and Maryam are a happy young couple in Lebanon, yet after three years of marriage they remain childless. Due to intense family pressure, they try everything they can but eventually … See full summary »

Lila Says (2004)

Genre: Crime, Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 7
Director: Ziad Doueiri
Stars: Vahina Giocante, Moa Khouas, Karim Ben Haddou, Lotfi Chakri
Synopsis: Two inner-city teenagers engage in an obsessive, innocent flirtation fuelled by Lila’s sexually explicit overtures… See full summary »

Under the Bombs (2007)

Genre: Drama, Romance, War
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Director: Philippe Aractingi
Stars: Nada Abou Farhat, Georges Khabbaz, Rawia Elchab, Bshara Atallah
Synopsis: In the wake of Israel’s 2006 bombardment of Lebanon, a determined woman finds her way into the country convincing a taxi cab driver to take a risky journey around the scarred region in search of her sister and her son… See full summary »

Caramel (2007)

Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
IMDB Rating: 7.1
Director:Nadine Labaki
Stars: Nadine Labaki, Joanna Moukarzel, Gisèle Aouad, Yasmine Al Massri
Synopsis: A romantic comedy centered on the daily lives of five Lebanese women living in Beirut. See full summary »

Falling From Earth (2007)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 6.8
Director: Chadi Zeneddine
Stars: Rafik Ali Ahmad, Carmen Lebbos, Naya Salame, Ammar Shalak
Synopsis: Youssef, a wise fool, lives in the remains of a building collecting photographs of happy people. Behind each photograph lie millions of implosions of a city wounded by time. Chapter after chapter, they are all still waiting for Beirut. See full summary »

Semaan Bil Day’ia (2008)

Genre: Documentary
IMDB Rating: 8
Director: Simon El Habre
Stars: Semaan El Habre
Synopsis: Semaan is leading a quiet life on his farm in the small village of Ain Al-Halazoun in the Lebanese mountains. The hamlet was completely emptied and destroyed in combats during the civil war… See full summary »

12 Angry Lebanese: The Documentary (2009)

Genre: Documentary
IMDB Rating: 8.6
Director: Zeina Daccache
Stars: Zeina Daccache
Synopsis: For 15 months, 45 inmates, some completely illiterate, worked together to present an adaptation of Reginald Rose’s famous stage play 12 Angry Men (known worldwide through the Sidney Lumet… See full summary »

Lebanon (2009)

Genre: Drama, War
IMDB Rating: 6.9
Director: Samuel Maoz
Stars: Yoav Donat, Itay Tiran, Oshri Cohen, Michael Moshonov
Synopsis: During the First Lebanon War in 1982, a lone tank and a paratroopers platoon are dispatched to search a hostile town. See full summary »

1958 (2009)

Genre: –
IMDB Rating: 6.8
Director: Ghassan Salhab
Stars: Aouni Kawas, Zahia Salhab
Synopsis: In 1958, in Senegal, land of emigration, Zahia Salhab gave birth to her first child Ghassan. During the same period, Lebanon, their homeland, is driven into a significant local conflict, a preamble to the next civil war. See full summary »

10's

Marcedes (2011)

Genre: Documentary
IMDB Rating: 8
Director: Hady Zaccak
Stars:
Synopsis: 60 years of the History of Lebanon seen throughout the story of the Mercedes Ponton (the 180 model) and its German-Lebanese “family” locally called “Marcedes”. Marcedes: the story of a car, the story of a family, the story of a country. …  See full summary »

Sector Zero (2011)

Genre: Documentary
IMDB Rating: 8.9
Director: Nadim Mishlawi
Stars: Chawki Azouri, Bernard Khoury, Hazem Saghiyeh
Synopsis: “Sector Zero” explores the macabre history of Karantina, an abandoned area located on the outskirts of Beirut, and uses this history as a metaphor for Lebanon’s own troubled past. … See full summary »

Void (2013)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Director: Maria Abdel Karim
Stars: Carol Abboud, Diamand Bou Abboud, Takla Chamoun, Julian Farhat
Synopsis: Six Lebanese women, different ages, await the return of their sons, brothers, husbands or lovers, who have been missing since the Civil War. VOID depicts the events that take place on the … See full summary »

Scheherazade’s Diary (2013)

Genre: Documentary, Crime, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.9
Director: Zeina Daccache
Stars:
Synopsis: In 2012, after a 10 months drama therapy workshop, the women inmates of a Beirut prison presented their play Scheherazade in Baabda inside prison to the audience. This film follows the … See full summary »

Makhdoumin (2016)

Genre: Documentary
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Director: Maher Abi Samra
Stars:
Synopsis: For an estimated population of 4 million, Lebanon boasts some 200,000 foreign domestic workers, contracted under a system of full custodianship that deprives them of basic rights. … See full summary »

Those Who Remain (2016)

Genre: Documentary
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Director: Eliane Raheb
Stars: Haykal Mikhael
Synopsis: A 60-year-old Christian farmer struggles to hold onto the land he has tilled for decades despite mounting tensions in Lebanon’s picturesque Akkar District. … See full summary »

Heaven Without People (2017)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8
Director: Lucien Bourjeily
Stars: Farah Shaer, Jean Paul Hage, Jenny Gebara, Laeticia Semaan
Synopsis: Josephine, the matriarch of a sprawling family, is delighted to gather everyone for Easter lunch for the first time in two years. While they all share a joyful meal, an incident ignites …  See full summary »

Khabsa – What Did I Mess (2018)

Genre: Comedy, Romance
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Director: Shady Hanna
Stars: Rola Beksmati, Junaid Zeineldine, Abboudy Mallah, Tony Benn
Synopsis: The romp revolves around a dinner party hosted by the young and vivacious Nayla to introduce Fares, the love of her life, to Silvio, her new fiancé. …  See full summary »

Good Morning (2018)

Genre: Comedy, Drama
IMDB Rating: 7.8
Director: Bahij Hojeij
Stars: Reem Khoury, Gabriel Yammine, Rodrigue Sleiman, Bahij Hojeij
Synopsis: A former Interior Security Forces General of 80 years old, and a former Army doctor of 84, go every day to the same coffee shop, to sip quietly their espresso, and to make crossword puzzles, to avoid loss of memory, Alzheimer’s disease. …  See full summary »

Capernaum (2019)

Genre: Drama
IMDB Rating: 8.5
Director: Nadine Labaki
Stars: Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shiferaw, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole, Kawsar Al Haddad
Synopsis: While serving a five-year sentence for a violent crime, a 12-year-old boy sues his parents for neglect. …  See full summary »