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Added by johanlefourbe on 9 Mar 2011 10:38
15228 Views 11 Comments
32
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My favorite Asian movies

Sort by: Showing 33 items
Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 1312 Average listal rating (804 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.2
Rashomon (1950)
Original Title: 'Rashômon'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

With: Toshiro Mifune

Plot: A crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view.

Note: This is my favorite Kurosawa movie. It is so old but at the same time very modern. I usually don't think that modern thrillers are great because they always put an over-the-top twist(s) at the end. This movie doesn't have this issue. It is at the same time much more pure and interesting. A great achievement.


johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 3190 Average listal rating (2061 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.4
Oldboy (2003)
Original Title: 'Oldeuboi'

Country: South Korea

Directed by: Chan-wook Park

Plot: After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days.

Note: As said before, I usually don't like twists but the one developped in this movie didn't bother me. The reason why is that the story, the directing, the acting,... are just so amazing. A great schocking movie. A true classic.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 1279 Average listal rating (724 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Audition (2000)
Original Title: 'Odishon'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Takashi Miike

Plot: A widower takes an offer to screen girls at a special audition, arranged for him by a friend to find him a new wife. The one he fancies is not who she appears to be after all...

Note: I have seen more than 3500 movies in my life so far and this is the most horrible one. I won't describe what happened but it is just terrible. Compared to this, 'Saw' or 'Hostel' are like Disney movies. It is not only horrible but it has also a fascinating story.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 827 Average listal rating (520 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8
Original Title: 'Mou gaan dou'

Country: Hong Kong

Directed by: Wai-keung Lau, Alan Mak

With: Tony Leung Chiu Wai

Plot: A story between a mole in the police department and an undercover cop. Their objectives are the same: to find out who is the mole, and who is the cop.

Note: I was fortunate to see this movie before The Departed. Even if Scorsese's version was pretty good, I prefer this movie anyway. Great directing, great acting, fascinating story.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 733 Average listal rating (455 ratings) 8.2 IMDB Rating 8.1
Original Title: 'Salinui chueok'

Country: South Korea

Directed by: Joon-ho Bong

Plot: In a small Korean province in 1986, three detectives struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit.

Note: Right from the start, I recognized the unique style of Joon-ho Bong which was in this case to mix a very dark and realistic serial-killer thriller with some unexpected humor. Eventually, I really enjoyed the fact that there were just so many layers. Not only it gave a great look on how rural South Korea must have been in the 80's, there was also this clash between the modern methods used by a cop from Seoul and the (usually brutal) methods used by the local cops who seemed to be just terribly incompetent. It is also one of these few very brave thrillers which dare not to finish everything with some preposterous and annoying twist suddenly solving the case and it made the whole thing even more fascinating.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 2018 Average listal rating (1366 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.9
Hero (2002)
Original Title: 'Ying xiong'

Country: Hong Kong / China

Directed by: Yimou Zhang

With: Jet Li, Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang

Plot: A series of Rashomon-like flashback accounts shape the story of how one man defeated three assassins who sought to murder the most powerful warlord in pre-unified China.

Note: I'm not big fan of Jet Li and this movie is probably the only one with him that I really enjoyed. The story is entertaining enough but, most of all, it has to be one of the most gorgeous movie I have ever seen. Definitely worth a look.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 924 Average listal rating (559 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
Original Title: 'Chung Hing sam lam'

Country: Hong Kong

Directed by: Kar Wai Wong

With: Tony Leung Chiu Wai

Plot: Two stories, two lovelorn cops, two objects of desire: one a big-time heroin dealer in deep trouble with her boss after the cargo disappears, the other a seriously flaky take-out waitress who inadvertently gets hold of the keys to her admirer's apartment.

Note: My favorite movie directed Kar Wai Wong. It is a very beautiful movie with a very mesmerizing story, directing and acting.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 152 Average listal rating (81 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.8
Boiling Point (1990)
Original Title: '3-4 x jûgatsu'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Takeshi Kitano

With: Takeshi Kitano

Plot: Two members of a Japanese junior baseball team get mixed up with the local yakuza. After their coach is severely injured by the gangsters, the two boys set off to Okinawa to purchase a gun in order to get revenge. While in Okinawa they get befriended by a psychotic yakuza outcast who is planning a revenge of his own.

Note: In the 90's, I was a big fan of Takeshi Kitano and I watched all his movies. This movie was my favorite one. It was funny, entertaining, weird and very poetic at the same time. A typical Kitano flick.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 1063 Average listal rating (619 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.2
Ring (1998)
Original Title: 'Ringu'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Hideo Nakata

Plot: A mysterious video kills whomever views it, unless that viewer can solve its mystery.

Note: I was so scared by this one... One of my favorite horror movies. It's a shame that the remake is much more famous than this one. A fascinating story and very competent directing. A must see for horror fans.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 129 Average listal rating (78 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.4
Dodes'ka-den (1971)
Original Title: 'Dodesukaden'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Plot: A movie consists of episodes from the lives of a group of Tokyo slum-dwellers.

Note: This is one of the most underrated movies directed by Akira Kurosawa. I think it is an amazing movie with a great directing and very good acting. The whole thing has a mesmerizing feeling.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 2022 Average listal rating (1174 ratings) 8.6 IMDB Rating 8.6
Seven Samurai (1954)
Original Title: 'Shichinin no samurai'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

With: Toshiro Mifune

Plot: A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Note: Even though it is not my favorite movie directed by Kurosawa, it is still a great classic. Much better than the remake which is still a worthy movie though.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 161 Average listal rating (86 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.3
To Live (1994)
Original Title: 'Huo zhe'

Country: China

Directed by: Zhang Yimou

With: Gong Li

Plot: After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China.

Note: It was such a fascinating tale which was, at the same time, actually pretty simple and yet it was still told on a epic scale and this combination was quite amazing. Basically, it was the story of an average family trying to simply live but you had to witness them experiencing the impact of some major events on their lives through decades of Chinese history as a background. You could argue that it did feel like a Communist propaganda film at times, especially in the beginning, when the main character found salvation only when he became poor after losing all his fortune. Anyway, if you would think that this movie was too sympathetic to the Communist ideology, you would be mistaken as this movie has always been banned in China.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 560 Average listal rating (282 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.5
Lust, Caution (2007)
Original Title: 'Se, jie'

Country: China

Directed by: Ang Lee

With: Tony Leung Chiu Wai

Plot: An espionage thriller set in WWII-era Shanghai, in which a young woman, Wang Jiazhi, gets swept up in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with a powerful political figure, Mr. Yee.

Note: I didn't expect it but the plot was rather similar to "Zwartboek" directed by Paul Verhoeven. I heard about the infamous sex scenes and indeed, they were rather .... graphic. Eventually, even though the story is not always great and even confusing at some points, I thought the directing was amazing and the acting from both leads as well. Definitely worth a look.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 392 Average listal rating (191 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
Original Title: 'Ba wang bie ji'

Country: China

Directed by: Chen Kaige

With: Leslie Cheung, Gong Li

Plot: The story of two men, who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and stayed friends for over 50 years.

Note: I have to admit that it turned out to be a tough watch though. Indeed, even though I have myself always been interested in Asian movies, it still struggled to connect with this tale which lasted almost 3 hours. Furthermore, it didn't help that the beginning was rather confusing and messy. Still, when it was finished, I had to admit to that the whole thing was still a fascinating epic tale. I did remind me of 'Stage Beauty' which was made 10 years later but even though they both shared some elements, this movie was definitely from another level. Indeed, the scope was so much bigger, with so many layers, it was just fascinating to behold.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 143 Average listal rating (81 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4
Original Title: 'Mùi du du xanh - L'odeur de la papaye verte'

Country: Vietnam

Directed by: Anh Hung Tran

Plot: Mui is a maid and goes to live and work for a pianist who has a fiancée. The pianist and Mui have a relationship, and he teaches her how to read.

Note: This movie is pretty much forgotten but it's too bad because it is really worth it. It is not for the impatient viewer and it is quite mesmerizing.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 255 Average listal rating (153 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.3
Original Title: 'Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Nagisa Ôshima

With: David Bowie, Takeshi Kitano

Plot: In 1942 British soldier Jack Celliers comes to a japanese prison camp. The camp is run by Yonoi, who has a firm belief in discipline, honour and glory.

Note: Years before becoming an amazing film director, Takeshi Kitano appeared in this movie. It seems as well that David Bowie could have been an amazing actor if he chose this direction. Anyway, this is a unique war movie.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 1034 Average listal rating (557 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.2
Ran (1985)
Original Title: 'Ran'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Plot: An elderly lord abdicates to his three sons, and the two corrupt ones turn against him.

Note: If I recalled correctly Akira Kurosawa spent decades prepping for this movie. For example, Kagemusha was just 'practice' before creating this. Anyway, this is definitely a very good movie and is considered as Kurosawa's last masterpiece.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 2143 Average listal rating (1360 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.6
Battle Royale (2000)
Original Title: 'Batoru rowaiaru'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Kinji Fukasaku

With: Takeshi Kitano

Plot: In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

Note: The plot of this movie is rather preposterous and over the top but still it has some fascinating aspects and Takeshi Kitano is once again amazing in this. It is now considered as a cult classic.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 325 Average listal rating (197 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 7.5
Sonatine (1993)
Original Title: 'Sonatine'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Takeshi Kitano

With: Takeshi Kitano

Plot: Several yakuza from Tokyo are sent to Okinawa to help end a gang war. The war escalates and the Tokyo drifters decide to lay low at the beach.

Note: This must be, with Hana-Bi, the most famous movie directed by Takeshi Kitano. It is not my favorite of his movies but still it is very good. A typical Kitano flick.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 3069 Average listal rating (2018 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8
Original Title: 'Wo hu cang long'

Country: Hong Kong / China

Directed by: Ang Lee

With: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang

Plot: Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically-skilled, teenage nobleman's daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life.

Note: This movie is really gorgeous and was something really unexpected by Ang Lee, considering he just directed a Western (Ride with Devil), a 70's drama (The Ice Storm) and a period piece (Sense and sensibility).

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 1628 Average listal rating (1031 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
Original Title: 'Shi mian mai fu'

Country: Hong Kong / China

Directed by: Yimou Zhang

With: Ziyi Zhang

Plot: A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.

Note: Directed by Zhang Yimou who's also responsible for "Hero", it is rather similar in style to his previous picture but it is still very interesting and worth a look.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 339 Average listal rating (167 ratings) 8.1 IMDB Rating 8.1
Original Title: 'Yi Yi'

Country: Taiwan

Directed by: Edward Yang

Plot: Each member of a family in Taipei asks hard questions about life's meaning as they live through everyday quandaries.

Note: Honestly, I have seen this movie once someting like 10 years ago but it left a very lasting impression on me. The directing is very nice and it is definitely worth a look.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 403 Average listal rating (199 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Nobody Knows (2004)
Original Title: 'Dare mo shiranai'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Hirokazu Koreeda

Plot: In Tokyo, the reckless single mother Keiko moves to a small apartment with her twelve years old son Akira Fukushima and hidden in the luggage, his siblings Kyoko, Shigeru and Yuki. When Keiko finds a new boyfriend, she leaves the children alone, giving some money to Akira and assigning him to take care of his siblings.

Note: The story is really heartbreaking but the directing and acting are very good.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 241 Average listal rating (111 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 6.9
Taboo (1999)
Original Title: 'Gohatto'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Nagisa Ôshima

With: Takeshi Kitano

Plot: Set during Japan's Shogun era, this film looks at life in a samurai compound where young warriors are trained in swordfighting. A number of interpersonal conflicts are brewing in the training room, all centering around a handsome young samurai named Sozaburo Kano. The school's stern master can choose to intervene, or to let Kano decide his own path.

Note: First of all, it is a really gorgeous movie and all the members of the cast give very good perfomances. The story was just fascinating, even though, it dragged a little bit at the end. Definitely worth a look.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 384 Average listal rating (207 ratings) 8.7 IMDB Rating 8.5
High and Low (1963)
Original Title: 'Tengoku to jigoku'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

With: Toshiro Mifune

Plot: An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom.

Note: In its own genre (kidnapping/ransom), it is easily the best movie ever made. No shootings, no chases, no explosions,.... Just a captivating story brought by an amazing cast and it shows that Kurosowa is a director with a very wide range. A must see for any Kurosawa fan.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 616 Average listal rating (407 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5
Original Title: 'Zatôichi'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Takeshi Kitano

With: Takeshi Kitano

Plot: The blind masseur/swordsman comes to a town in control of warring gangs, and while bunking with a farming family, he meets two women with their own agenda.

Note: Probably, the most commercially successful movie directed by Takeshi Kitano. It deals with a well known (at least in Japan) fictional figure. Anyway, it looks good, it is damned entertaining and as usual, Takeshi Kitano steals the show. What else do you need ?!?

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 249 Average listal rating (137 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
Original Title: 'Xi yan'

Country: Taiwan

Directed by: Ang Lee

Plot: To satisfy his nagging parents, a gay landlord and a female tenant agree to a marriage of convenience, but his parents arrive to visit and things get out of hand.

Note: Way before Brokeback Mountain, Ang Lee directed this gay-themed jem. Thanks to this movie and its critical success, his career took off and he was then able to create all this following amazing features. The movie itself is a comedy but a sensitive one and it deals very well with the subject and it is simply very entertaining.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 261 Average listal rating (147 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 7.9
Stray Dog (1949)
Original Title: 'Nora inu'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

With: Toshiro Mifune

Plot: During a sweltering summer, a rookie homicide detective tries to track down his stolen Colt pistol.

Note: This is the oldest movie directed by Akira Kurosawa that I have seen and it is really an amazing film noir. A simple tale but masterly told with awesome directing. Definitely worth a look.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 219 Average listal rating (134 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.3
Original Title: 'Monsoon Wedding'

Country: India

Directed by: Mira Nair

Plot: A stressed father, a bride-to-be with a secret, a smitten event planner, and relatives from around the world create much ado about the preparations for an arranged marriage in India.

Note: This is a very interesting study of the middle class in India. The story makes it sounds like a soap but it is much more than that. In a certain way, it shows where the Indian society stands nowadays, between tradion and modernity.


johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 92 Average listal rating (42 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.6
Original Title: 'Qiu Ju da guan si'

Country: China

Directed by: Zhang Yimou

With: Gong Li

Plot: A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of the hierarchy and travels farther and farther away from the countryside the viewer is also provided with a look at the changing Chinese society through the verite camera used in most scenes.

Note: If I recall correctly, this is the first movie I saw with Gong Li in it. Quite late in her career, she decided to play in Western movies. It's a shame that she waited for so long to take the decision and above all, it's a shame that none of those movies (Hannibal Rising, Miami Vice, Memoirs of geisha,...) never reach the level of her Asian productions such as this flick. Here. she gives an amazing perfomance, the directing is very good too and the story is realistic and really captivating at the same time.


johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 136 Average listal rating (79 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
The Namesake (2007)
Original Title: 'The Namesake'

Country: Inda

Directed by: Mira Nair

With: Kal Penn, Jacinda Barrett

Plot: American-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to fit in among his fellow New Yorkers, despite his family's unwillingness to let go of their traditional ways.

Note: Actually, most of the action take place in the U.S.A. but since it's dealing with immigrants, I still think it fits this list. Anyway, personally, I thought the story was just fascinating. It has probably to do with the fact that my Dutch father moved to France where I was born and then later on in my life I went to the live in the Netherlands. The directing was very good and all the actors provided good perfomance and it was kind of surprising to see Kal Penn providin such a good dramatic perfomance considering he usually shows up in average American comedies. An underrated and unknown gem.


johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 348 Average listal rating (197 ratings) 8.3 IMDB Rating 8.3
Dersu Uzala (1975)
Original Title: 'Deruzu uzâra'

Country: Japan

Directed by: Akira Kurosawa

Plot: A Russian army explorer who is rescued in Siberia by a rugged Asian hunter renews his friendship with the woodsman years later when he returns as the head of a larger expedition. The hunter finds that all of his nature lore is of no help when he accompanies the explorer back to civilization.

Note: Again, another movie directed by Akira Kurosawa... I´m pretty sure they will all end up on this list! Anyway, this one is a great epic, the directing, the story, everything was rather spellbinding.

johanlefourbe's rating:
People who added this item 254 Average listal rating (144 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.8
Original Title: 'Yin shi nan nu'

Country: Taiwan

Directed by: Ang Lee

Plot: A senior chef lives with his three grown daughters; the middle one finds her future plans affected by unexpected events and the life changes of the other household members.

Note: It is the last movie Ang Lee directed before going West with "Sense and Sensibility" and then his career really took off. Anyway, this is a rather small and intimate picture but the human emotions and relationships are very well depicted and the whole thing is just fascinating.

johanlefourbe's rating:

I don't think I'm an expert on the subject but I do love Asian movies.

When the list gets promoted, I will add some extra movies but I won't add any Japanese animated movies.

Also, these are my favorite movies and I put only movies that I like.

When I was a kid, I loved Bruce Lee's movies but it was a long time ago and I need to rewatch them before adding them to this list.

If you want to check another country, please check this list :
- My favorite movies from all over the world -

Added to

37 votes
World Cinema - Vol 1- General Lists (36 lists)
list by jaytoast
Published 8 years, 11 months ago 5 comments



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