The following 26 films, all from different countries, were submitted for the 53rd Academy Awards in the category Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. The highlighted titles were the five nominated films, which came from France, Hungary, Japan and Spain. The Soviet Union won the award with the film Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears.[1]

Cameroon, Colombia, Iceland and Portugal all submitted films for the first time. Iceland has submitted a film every year since then, while Cameroon did not submit again until 2017.


Submitting country Film title used in nomination Language(s) Original title Director(s) Result
 Austria Egon Schiele – Exzess und Bestrafung German Egon Schiele - Exzesse Herbert Vesely Not nominated
 Brazil Bye Bye Brazil Portuguese Bye Bye Brazil Carlos Diegues Not nominated
 Cameroon Our Daughter French Notre fille Daniel Kamwa Not nominated
 Canada Good Riddance French Les Bons débarras Francis Mankiewicz Not nominated
 Colombia The Latin Immigrant Spanish El Inmigrante Latino Gustavo Nieto Roa Not nominated
 Czechoslovakia Love Between the Raindrops Czech Lásky mezi kapkami deště Karel Kachyňa Not nominated
 Finland Tulipää Finnish Tulipää Pirjo Honkasalo and Pekka Lehto Not nominated
 France The Last Metro French Le Dernier métro François Truffaut Nominated
 East Germany The Fiancee German Die Verlobte Günther Rücker and Günter Reisch Not nominated
 West Germany Fabian German Fabian Wolf Gremm Not nominated
 Hungary Confidence Hungarian Bizalom István Szabó Nominated
 Iceland Land and Sons Icelandic Land og synir Ágúst Guðmundsson Not nominated
 India Payal Ki Jhankaar Hindi पायल की झंकार Satyen Bose Not nominated
 Israel The Thin Line Hebrew על חבל דק Michal Bat-Adam Not nominated
 Italy A Leap in the Dark Italian Salto nel vuoto Marco Bellocchio Not nominated
 Japan Kagemusha Japanese 影武者 Akira Kurosawa Nominated
 Netherlands In for Treatment Dutch Opname Marja Kok and Erik van Zuylen Not nominated
 Norway Life and Death Norwegian Liv og død Petter Vennerød and Svend Wam Not nominated
 Poland Olympics 40 Polish Olimpiada 40 Andrzej Kotkowski Not nominated
 Portugal Morning Undersea Portuguese Manhã Submersa Lauro António Not nominated
 Soviet Union Moscow Does Not Believe in Tears Russian Москва слезам не верит Vladimir Menshov Won Academy Award
 Spain The Nest Spanish El Nido Jaime de Armiñán Nominated
 Sweden Herr Puntila and His Servant Matti Swedish Herr Puntila och hans dräng Matti Ralf Långbacka Not nominated
  Switzerland Every Man for Himself French Sauve qui peut (la vie) Jean-Luc Godard Not nominated
 Taiwan The Legend of Six Dynasty Chinese 六朝怪談 Guk-Gam Wong Not nominated
 Yugoslavia Special Treatment Serbo-Croatian Посебан третман Goran Paskaljević Not nominated


  1. ^ "The 53rd Academy Awards (1981) Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 8 June 2013.