12 Must-Watch Movies If You Loved Pather Panchali

Pather Panchali, the mesmerizing Indian drama by Satyajit Ray, touched your soul with its poignant story and breathtaking cinematography. If you're craving more films that capture the beauty of life's struggles, check out this list of 12 must-watch movies that will leave you equally captivated and moved.

1) Aparajito

Aparajito, released in 1956, is reminiscent of the main movie, Pather Panchali. Both films are part of the Apu Trilogy by Satyajit Ray and beautifully capture the conditions of life in India during the time they are set. What I love most about these films is their documentary-like quality, as they are shot in real locations that appear untouched by any art department. The characters' lives are sustained by their faith and simple devotion to one another, while simultaneously facing the disappointment that life constantly brings. Aparajito, in particular, showcases stunning moments of pure cinema, such as a swish pan cut from the mother, Kurana, leaning against a tree in emptiness as Apu leaves for Calcutta, to the swift dynamo of a train crossing a bridge. The films traverse the drama of life and death, touching on all the salient points along the path.

Release date: October, 1956
IMDB Rating: 8.3

2) The World of Apu

The World of Apu, also known as Apur Sansar, is reminiscent of Pather Panchali in many ways. Both movies are part of Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy and showcase his brilliant storytelling skills. While Pather Panchali explores the life of an impoverished family, The World of Apu follows Apu's journey as an orphaned adult aspiring to be a writer. The films share common themes of village life, the pursuit of dreams, and the weight of responsibilities. What sets The World of Apu apart is its focus on Apu's personal growth and the emotional roller coaster it takes the audience on. The movie beautifully portrays Apu's journey of finding love, dealing with grief, and ultimately finding himself. It is a must-see for anyone who wants to witness the evolution of a character from childhood to adulthood and experience the depth of emotions that Ray captures on screen.

Release date: May, 1959
IMDB Rating: 8.5

3) In the Name Of

Release date: September, 2013
IMDB Rating: 6.6

4) The Hands

Release date: August, 2006
IMDB Rating: 7

5) The Wailing

The Wailing is reminiscent of Pather Panchali in its exploration of a small village and the mysterious events that unfold there. Both films take place in tight-knit communities where the arrival of an outsider leads to a series of unsettling occurrences. In Pather Panchali, an impoverished priest leaves his village in search of work, while in The Wailing, a mysterious sickness begins spreading after the arrival of a stranger. The similarities lie in the way these events disrupt the lives of the villagers and force the protagonist to unravel the mysteries in order to protect their loved ones. However, there are notable differences between the two films. Pather Panchali is a quiet and introspective drama that focuses on the effects of poverty and the resilience of the human spirit, while The Wailing is a gripping blend of drama, horror, mystery, and thriller genres. It delves into supernatural elements and uses violence and gore to heighten the tension.

Release date: December, 2016
IMDB Rating: 7.4

6) Frieda

Frieda, released in 1947, is reminiscent of Pather Panchali in many ways. Both films are set in rural villages and explore the complexities of human relationships. While Pather Panchali focuses on the poverty-stricken Ray family in Bengal, Frieda tells the story of a Royal Air Force pilot returning home to his English village with his German bride after being shot down during World War II. Both movies touch upon themes of gossip, with Pather Panchali highlighting the negative impact of gossip in a close-knit community, while Frieda delves into the reactions of war-weary citizens to a German woman being thrust into their midst. Despite their similarities, the films differ in tone and pace. While Pather Panchali is a slow-paced, introspective drama, Frieda maintains a more polite and reserved atmosphere typical of films from that era.

Release date: September, 1947
IMDB Rating: 7.2

7) That Hagen Girl

Release date: November, 1947
IMDB Rating: 6.2

8) Johnny Belinda

Release date: September, 1948
IMDB Rating: 7.7

9) Clash by Night

Clash by Night, released in 1952, is reminiscent of Pather Panchali for its exploration of complex human emotions and the impact of societal constraints on individuals. While Pather Panchali tells the story of an impoverished priest searching for a better life, Clash by Night follows Mae Doyle, a cynical woman who returns to her hometown. Both movies delve into the themes of loveless marriages, gossip, and the consequences of societal expectations. However, Clash by Night takes place in a Californian fishing community, providing a different setting and backdrop for its characters. With stunning performances by Barbara Stanwyck, Robert Ryan, and Paul Douglas, Clash by Night offers a psychologically astute exploration of human relationships, making it a must-watch for fans of Pather Panchali.

Release date: June, 1952
IMDB Rating: 7

10) Affair with a Stranger

Affair with a Stranger - When a TV gossip columnist wrongly announces the breakup of the marriage between successful playwright William Blakeley and his wife Carolyn, their New York friends reminisce about how the couple met and married. While it may seem like a typical romantic comedy, this film shares similarities with Pather Panchali, a masterpiece from India. Both movies explore the consequences of gossip and its impact on relationships. In Pather Panchali, the gossip within the village adds to the hardships faced by the impoverished family. Similarly, in Affair with a Stranger, the false rumors cause turmoil in the marriage of William and Carolyn. However, the two films differ in their genres; Pather Panchali is a drama that delves into the depths of poverty, while Affair with a Stranger combines comedy, drama, family, and romance.

Release date: June, 1953
IMDB Rating: 5.7

11) All That Heaven Allows

All That Heaven Allows is reminiscent of Pather Panchali in its exploration of societal expectations and the pursuit of love. Both films challenge norms and depict characters who defy societal conventions. While Pather Panchali follows an impoverished priest's journey to improve his family's life, All That Heaven Allows tells the story of an upper-class widow who falls in love with a much younger nurseryman. In both movies, the protagonists face disapproval from their communities and struggle to reconcile their desires with the expectations placed upon them. Pather Panchali's rural Indian setting is contrasted with All That Heaven Allows' New England town, but both films use their environments to emphasize the characters' conflicts. The cinematography in both movies is stunning, capturing the emotional depth of the stories. Overall, All That Heaven Allows provides a captivating exploration of love, sacrifice, and the constraints of societal norms, making it a must-watch for fans of Pather Panchali.

Release date: December, 1955
IMDB Rating: 7.6

12) Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing

Release date: September, 1955
IMDB Rating: 6.4

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