What are the top 10 Asian movies of all time? This is a neverending, but enjoyable, debate and it is incredibly difficult to choose from so many amazing Asian movies. In fact, many of them would qualify not just as the best Asian movies but as some of the best movies made of all time. So with no further ado, see below for the movies I believe belong on any list of the top 10 Asian movies of all time. (Apologies in advance to all those who disagree with the 10 movies that made it onto the list. Let me know if you think something else belongs on here.)
From famed South Korean director Chan Wook Park come this humorous, dark, crazy, revenge thriller. With a controversial ending that shocks as much as it amazes, Oldboy will leave an indelible mark on your subconscious. In brief, the story is that, after being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor within five days.
Director: Chan Wook Park
Starring: Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang, Dae-han Ji
In the Mood for Love (2000)
In this stylish entry from Hong Kong director Kar Wai Wong, two neighbors, a woman and a man, form a strong bond after both suspect extramarital activities of their spouses. However, they agree to keep their bond platonic so as not to commit similar wrongs.
Director: Kar Wai Wong
Starring: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu, Tung Cho ‘Joe’ Cheung.
Seven Samurai (1954)
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Starring: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
The Act of Killing (2012)
A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Starring: Anwar Congo, Herman Koto, Syamsul Arifin
A transient young man breaks into empty homes to partake of the vacationing residents’ lives for a few days.
Director: Ki-duk Kim
Starring: Seung-yeon Lee, Hyun-kyoon Lee, Hyuk-ho Kwon
A newly unemployed cellist takes a job preparing the dead for funerals.
Director: Yôjirô Takita
Starring: Masahiro Motoki, Ryôko Hirosue, Tsutomu Yamazaki
Tokyo Story (1953)
An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them.
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
Starring: Chishû Ryû, Chieko Higashiyama, Sô Yamamura
A young and truth seeking boy travels to an isolated lake, where an old Buddhist master lives on a small floating temple.
Director: Ki-duk Kim
Starring: Ki-duk Kim, Yeong-su Oh, Jong-ho Kim
Triad Election (2006)
As election time nears, current Triad chairman Lok (Yam) faces competition from his godsons. At the same time, Jimmy (Koo) looks to increase his business relations with mainland China.
Director: Johnnie To
Starring: Nai-Hoi Yau, Tin-Shing Yip
In director Ang Lee’s foray into martial arts movies, ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon‘ tells the story of a young Chinese warrior who steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man in the frontier of the nation.
Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang