The Best Asian Movies of the 1970sby Akira_Chimera | created - 26 Mar 2011 | updated - 1 week ago | Public
Although I have already incoporated some of the very best Asian movies cinema has to offer in my best of-lists of a decade there are plenty of films that are more than worthy to be discovered. The reason why I started a new series of listings is simply that many Asian movies are very different of what we came to know of from American or European cinema. To fully appreciate the films on this list you should be open-minded because some of the craziness that asian directors think of goes way beyond that of what Western movie makers churn out every year. But it is exactly that often groundbreaking craziness which makes movies from Asia that much fun.
As ususal, don't hesitate to leave a comment if you feel up to it.
PS: The movies are sorted by year and not necessarily by my preference. This list is by no means complete as I will add new worthwhile films as I stumble across them.
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1. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970)
Not Rated | 115 min | Drama, Action, Adventure
Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?
"Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo"
2. Dodes'ka-den (1970)
Not Rated | 140 min | Drama
Various tales in the lives of Tokyo slum dwellers, including a mentally deficient young man obsessed with driving his own commuter trolley.
3. Zatoichi Goes to the Fire Festival (1970)
Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Adventure, Action
Zatoichi meets an infamous blind leader of a gangster organization as he contends with a gloomy ronin widower.
"Zatoichi: The Festival of Fire"
4. Hîchirimen bâkuto - nôbarydu takahadâ (1970)
Not Rated | 85 min | Action, Drama, Horror
The head of a yakuza gang is being trailed by a mysterious, vengeful blind woman.
"Blind Woman's Curse"
5. The Heroic Ones (1970)
PG-13 | 117 min | Action, Drama, History
A Mogul king decides to take stealthy action to help overpower his greatest rivals. He chooses nine out thirteen of his loyal generals (who he treats as sons) to embark on the mission. ... See full summary »
"The Heroic Ones"
6. Hibotan bakuto: oryû sanjô (1970)
100 min | Drama
Oryu searches for a blind girl she left behind but gets involved in a Yakuza turf war.
"Red Peony Gambler 5: Oryo Returns"
7. Hibotan bakuto: Tekkaba retsuden (1969)
110 min | Action, Crime, Drama
After collecting her sickly follower from jail, Oryu is taken in by a fishing village. Feeling indebed to their generosity, she stays to work for the village and promises to leave her ... See full summary »
"Red Peony Gambler 6: Notorius Gambler"
8. Bakuto gaijin butai (1971)
93 min | Crime, Drama
A yakuza gang gets driven out of Yokohama by a big gang from Tokyo. They relocate to Okinawa to violently start over.
"Sympathy for the Underdog"
9. The Big Boss (1971)
R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear.
"Fists of Fury"
10. King Eagle (1971)
80 min | Action, Drama
Reclusive hero Jin Fei, (Ti Lung) known as the King Eagle, inadvertently gets involved in the internal conflicts of the Tien Yi Tong sociaty, after he falls in love their 7th chief, Yuk Lin (Li Ching)
11. Shin zatô Ichi: Yabure! Tôjin-ken (1971)
Not Rated | 94 min | Drama, Action, Adventure
Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?
"Zatoichi Meets the One-Armed Swordsman"
12. Duel of the Iron Fist (1971)
R | 98 min | Action, Drama
A Kung Fu artist sacrifices everything to avenge his father's execution.
13. A Touch of Zen (1971)
Not Rated | 200 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A lady fugitive on the run from corrupt government officials is joined in her endeavors by an unambitious painter and skilled Buddhist monks.
"A Touch of Zen"
14. Demons (1971)
134 min | Drama, Horror
After being robbed by a geisha, a ronin warrior carves a bloody path to seek revenge.
"Shura - Demons"
15. Xin du bi dao (1971)
R | 102 min | Action, Drama
Lei Li lost his right-arm in a sword duel with the master of a martial arts school, long ago. Now, he is able to defend himself well with just his left arm, and kung fu techniques. That he ... See full summary »
"The New One Armed Swordsman"
16. Hibotan Bakuto: Oinochi Itadaki masu (1971)
Oryu meets villagers whose crops and livelihoods are being damaged by air pollution from a local factory.
"Red Peony Gambler 7: Here to Kill You!"
17. Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion (1972)
Not Rated | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
After being used and betrayed by the detective she had fallen in love with, young Matsu is sent to a female prison full of sadistic guards and disobedient prisoners.
"Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion"
18. Chou lian huan (1972)
R | 92 min | Action, Drama
Chen Kuan-tai exuded incredible power on screen, which his directors used to great advantage in this fight-filled follow-up to the smash hit The Boxer From Shantung -- which culminates in ... See full summary »
"Man of Iron"
19. Hanzo the Razor: Sword of Justice (1972)
94 min | Action
Hanzo Itami is an incorruptible Edo officer who learns that an infamous killer has fled from his island prison. Hanzo begins tracking him down using his unorthodox interrogation techniques.
"Hanzo the Razor: The Sword of Justice"
20. Sacred Knives of Vengeance (1972)
R | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
Hsieh Choun, the Black Dragon, is in trouble with the police since Wang Sien Tien's gang is helping them; he is no longer free to conduct his drugs shipments out of the port freely as he ... See full summary »
"Sacred Knives of Vengeance"
21. Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972)
Not Rated | 83 min | Action, Adventure
The story of a Ronin (i.e. a masterless samurai) who wanders the countryside of Japan with his small child, having various adventures.
"Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance"
22. The Chinese Connection (1972)
R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Romance
A young man seeks vengence for the death of his teacher.
"The Chinese Connection - Fist of Fury"
23. Zatoichi at Large (1972)
Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Action, Adventure
On the road, Zatoichi meets a dying pregnant woman and delivers the child moments before she passes. Honor bound, he sets out to find the next-of-kin who he discovers have their own problems.
"Zatoichi at Large"
24. Female Prisoner Scorpion: Jailhouse 41 (1972)
Not Rated | 90 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
After spending a year in solitary confinement, Matsu escapes from prison with six more convicts, followed by the guards led by the vengeful warden who wants her dead at all costs.
"Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion Part 2 - Jailhouse 41"
Not Rated | 81 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Trailed by a clan of female ninja, Ogami is paid to assassinate a clan traitor accompanied by three killers known as the Gods of Death.
"Lone Wolf and Cub 2: Baby Cart at the River Styx"
26. Boxer from Shantung (1972)
Unrated | 94 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Leaving the poverty of his life in Shantung to seek fortune in Shanghai, The Boxer is instead drawn into a world of corruption, gang warfare and evil... Where his only protection is his famed fighting technique.
"Boxer from Shantung"
27. Zatoichi in Desperation (1972)
Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
After accidentally causing an old lady's death, Zatoichi seeks out her daughter to atone for the tragedy, consequently getting into all sorts of trouble.
"Zatoichi in Desperation"
28. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972)
R | 89 min | Action, Drama
Ogami Itto volunteers to be tortured by the yakuza to save a prostitute and is hired by their leader to kill an evil chamberlain.
"Lone Wolf and Cub 3: Baby Cart to Hades"
29. The Water Margin (1972)
R | 81 min | Action, Drama
Tells the story of the 108 Heroes who stood up against a corrupt government. Each hero has his own unique fighting skill, but they are all willing to die to uphold justice.
"The Water Margin"
30. The Way of the Dragon (1972)
R | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Crime
A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them.
"The Way of the Dragon"
31. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972)
Not Rated | 81 min | Action
Ogami is hired to kill a tattooed female assassin. Gunbei Yagyu, an enemy samurai, happens upon Ogami's son, and sees his chance for revenge.
"Lone Wolf and Cub 4: Baby Cart in Peril"
32. Hibotan bakuto: Jingi tooshimasu (1972)
96 min | Crime
Oryu the Red Peony visits an old dying Boss of an ally family and promises she would help guide the new Boss. Meanwhile a turf war breaks out. When the family is betrayed from within and ... See full summary »
"Red Peony Gambler 8: Execution of Duty"
33. One-Armed Boxer (1972)
R | 89 min | Action, Drama
After his schoolmate and master is killed and he loses an arm, student Tien Lung has to learn the art of one-arm boxing.
"The One-Armed Boxer"
34. Si qi shi (1972)
104 min | Action, Drama
This prime example of director/co-writer Chang Cheh's mastery takes place right after the Korean War, as a kung-fu master, combat instructor, explosives expert, and missle specialist ... See full summary »
35. Chungyo (1972)
110 min | Horror
A schoolgirl goes from braids to bouffant when her mother makes her a bar hostess/prostitute. She cures impotence for Professor Lee and becomes his concubine. His entrepreneurial wife is ... See full summary »
"The Insect Woman"
36. Five Fingers of Death (1972)
R | 104 min | Action, Drama, Romance
Two martial arts schools prepare for an important tournament.
"Five Fingers of Death"
37. The Delightful Forest (1972)
R | 93 min | Action, Adventure
Wu Sung, a military swordmaster, is acused of murdering his adulterous sister-in-law and a thug, and sent to exile in Meng Chou. At the prison camp, Shih En, son of the camp commander, ... See full summary »
"Outlaw of the Forest"
38. Battles Without Honor and Humanity (1973)
Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama
During the violent chaos of post-War Japanese black market, a young gangster called Shozo Hirono has to keep up with the rapid shifts of power between unscrupulous bosses.
"The Yakuza Papers: Battles Without Honor and Humanity"
39. Zatoichi's Conspiracy (1973)
Not Rated | 88 min | Action, Drama
Zatoichi returns to his home village for the first time in over ten years to find much has changed and that corruption abounds.
40. Lady Snowblood (1973)
Not Rated | 97 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
A young girl is born and raised to be an instrument of revenge.
Not Rated | 89 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Five warriors challenge Ogami to duels. Each holds a part of information needed to complete the assassination of a mad clan leader.
"Lone Wolf and Cub 5: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons"
42. Enter the Dragon (1973)
R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover.
Votes: 83,098 | Gross: $25.00M
"Enter the Dragon"
43. Furyô anego den: Inoshika Ochô (1973)
R | 88 min | Action, Crime, Drama
During the Meiji era, a gambler called Ocho takes revenge on three gangsters who killed her father, shelters a wanted anarchist and confronts a British spy.
"Sex & Fury"
44. Gorugo 13 (1973)
104 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
Golgo 13 is assigned to murder a man named Boss Goa.
45. Hanzo the Razor: The Snare (1973)
89 min | Action, Drama
During the currency devaluation by the Edo treasury, officer Hanzo deals with a temple priestess who sells her pupils as prostitutes, and a notorious thief who plans to rob the mint.
"Hanzo the Razor: The Snare"
46. Bôhachi bushidô: Poruno jidaigeki (1973)
81 min | Action, Drama, Thriller
A nihilistic ronin joins the immoral Bohachi clan, which intends to take control over the local prostitution industry.
"Boachi Bushido: Code of the Forgotten Eight"
47. Yasagure anego den: sôkatsu rinchi (1973)
86 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Ocho gets abducted by a yakuza clan that uses a gang of women to smuggle drugs in their vaginas. Finding out that the kingpin had killed the last boss and abducted his daughter, Ocho joins forces with the drug mules against the clan.
"Female Yakuza Tale"
48. Female Prisoner Scorpion: #701's Grudge Song (1973)
Not Rated | 89 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Once again on the lam, Matsu is helped by a strip club worker who holds a grudge against the detective who's trying to find her.
"Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion Part 4 - Grudge Song"
49. Female Prisoner Scorpion: Beast Stable (1973)
Not Rated | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller
Matsu is sheltered by an incestuous prostitute on her run from the police, her ex-prison mate and a cop whose arm she hacked off.
"Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion Part 3 - Beast Stable"
50. Hiroshima Death Match (1973)
Not Rated | 100 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A young criminal joins a yakuza family to kill the gangsters who beat him up, but falls in love with his boss' widow niece, piling up enemies and corpses along his wayward way.
"The Yakuza Papers 2: Deadly Fight in Hiroshima"
51. Proxy War (1973)
Not Rated | 119 min | Action, Drama
Yakuza boss Shozo Hirono must choose his alliances carefully as the local gangster family affiliations prove themselves to be wildly unstable, causing gang conflicts to slowly escalate.
"The Yakuza Papers 3: Proxy War"
52. Zenka onna: koroshi-bushi (1973)
86 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
After her father is exploited and killed by a yakuza gang, a tough woman, fresh out of prison, exacts her revenge over said gang with the help of three girls she met in prison.
"Criminal Woman: Killing Melody"
53. The Street Fighter (1974)
X | 91 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
Tough karate master Terry Tsurugi takes it upon himself to protect a late businessman's daughter from the Yakuza.
"The Street Fighter"
54. Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs (1974)
Unrated | 88 min | Action, Crime, Drama
After a politician's daughter is kidnapped by a ruthless gang, a brutal policewoman is released from jail and sent after them.
"Zero Woman: Red Handcuffs"
55. Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance (1974)
Not Rated | 89 min | Drama, Thriller
Lady Snowblood is caught in the politics of early 20th century Japan.
"Lady Snowblood 2: Love Song of Vengeance"
56. Kozure Ôkami: Jigoku e ikuzo! Daigorô (1974)
Not Rated | 83 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
In the sixth and final film of the Lone Wolf and Cub series, the final conflict between Ogami Itto and the Yagyu clan is carried out.
"Lone Wolf and Cub 6: White Heaven in Hell"
57. Shin jingi naki tatakai (1974)
Not Rated | 98 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
Bunta Sugawara is Miyoshi, a low-level assassin of the Yamamori gang who is sent to jail after a bungled hit. While in stir, family member Aoki attempts to seize power from the boss, and ... See full summary »
"New Battles Without Honor and Humanity"
58. The Castle of Sand (1974)
143 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Detectives investigate the murder of an old man found in a Tokyo rail yard.
"The Castle of Sand"
59. The Last Samurai (1974)
159 min | Action, Drama
Toranosuke Sugi, a brave and loyal Samurai, fights to practice and preserve his master's teachings amid a civil war. With friends on both side will he cave to temptation, or stand on principle and for freedom?
"The Last Samurai"
60. 5 Masters of Death (1974)
R | 105 min | Action, Drama
Five students escape from the destruction of their beloved Shaolin Temple...now each must take revenge and train in their own seperate fighting styles...they will become The Five Shaolin Masters!!
"5 Shaolin Masters"
61. Police Tactics (1974)
Not Rated | 101 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Conflicts between Hirono's family and Yamamori's family (and their allies) are made more tense by the ambitious underlings and the police's efforts to impose a crackdown on the gangs.
"The Yakuza Papers 4: Police Tactics"
62. Final Episode (1974)
Not Rated | 100 min | Action, Crime, Drama
While Hirono is in prison, his rival Takeda turns his own crime organization into a political party, whose two executives stir up new tensions in their thirst for power.
"The Yakuza Papers 5: Final Episode"
63. Tian wang (1974)
122 min | Crime, Drama
64. Jingi no hakaba (1975)
94 min | Action, Crime
A self-destructive man becomes a powerful member of the Japanese mafia but quickly loses his self control. Based on the true story of Rikio Ishikawa.
"Graveyard of Honor"
65. She sha shou (1974)
X | 99 min | Horror
A young man who has been beaten, abused, humiliated and laughed at all his life finds that he has an unusual empathy with snakes. He can talk to them and they understand him, and eventually... See full summary »
"The Killer Snakes"
66. Xue di zi (1975)
Not Rated | 111 min | Action, Drama
Chen Kuan-tai battles assassins that use a deadly, beheading weapon to kill dissidents. Based on true events, the film's weapon was completely fabricated because in real life, no one ever ... See full summary »
"The Flying Guillotine"
67. Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975)
G | 79 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Godzilla comes to the rescue when an alien race rebuilds Mechagodzilla to destroy Earth's cities. A traitorous scientist gives them a second weapon: Titanosaurus.
"Mechagodzilla vs. Godzilla"
68. The Four Assassins (1975)
R | 103 min | Action, Adventure, Biography
Four friends learn kung fu to avenge the death of their friend against the manchus.
69. Head of the Boss (1975)
Not Rated | 94 min | Action, Drama, Comedy
Sugawara is Kuroda, an itinerant gambler who steps in when a hit by drug-addicted assassin Kusunoki goes wrong, and takes the fall on behalf of the Owada family, but when the gang fails to ... See full summary »
"New Battles Without Honor and Humanity 2: The Head of The Boss"
70. Zhong lie tu (1975)
102 min | Action, Drama, History
The emperor dispatches an officer and a small band of men to deal with pirates.
"The Valiant Ones"
71. Dirty Ho (1976)
R | 103 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
A prince enlists a thief to serve as his bodyguard to protect him from assassins.
72. Last Days of the Boss (1976)
Not Rated | 91 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
Sugawara plays Nozaki, a laborer who swears allegiance to a sympathetic crime boss, only to find himself elected his successor after the boss is murdered. Restrained by a gang alliance that... See full summary »
"New Battles Without Honor and Humanity 3: Boss's Last Days"
73. Inugami-ke no ichizoku (1976)
146 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
After the death of the Father , His family are gathered to share Inheritances , but suddenly a woman with a mysterious masked man arrive there , claiming to be the other wife of the man ...
"The Inugami Family"
74. Hausu (1977)
Not Rated | 88 min | Comedy, Horror
A schoolgirl and six of her classmates travel to her aunt's country home, which tries to devour the girls in bizarre ways.
75. Executioners from Shaolin (1977)
R | 98 min | Action, Drama
A couple unite - she is fluent in the crane style of kung fu, he in tiger style. They have a son, but the boy's father is killed by the evil eunuch Bai Mei. Disguised as a girl, his mom ... See full summary »
"Executioners from Shaolin"
76. Empire of Passion (1978)
R | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Romance
A married woman and her lover murder her husband and dump his body into a well. After a while, his ghost comes to haunt them while the local gossip grows stronger.
"Empire of Passion"
77. Shao Lin san shi liu fang (1978)
R | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A man studies kung fu at the Shaolin Temple to fight back against the oppressive Manchu government.
"The 36th Chamber of Shaolin"
78. Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978)
PG | 90 min | Action, Comedy
Jackie Chan is a boy who is used as a janitor at his kung-fu school. Jackie Chan can't fight and is always getting bullied by the teachers and pupils. One day an old man helps Jackie train ... See full summary »
"Snake in the Eagle's Shadow"
79. Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
R | 97 min | Action
The final student of a dying martial arts master is instructed to locate the previous five students and defeat any evil ones among them.
"Five Deadly Venoms"
80. The Demon (1978)
110 min | Drama, Mystery
When Sokichi stops providing his long-time lover Kikuyo enough money to pay for the care of their three young children, Kikuyo leaves the children with Sokichi - and his very surprised and angry wife Oume - and disappears.
81. Clan of Amazons (1978)
88 min | Action, Mystery
Following such hits as Killer Clans and Clans Of Intrigue, the winning team of director Chu Yuan and novelist Ku Lung reunite with revered martial art choreographers Tang Chia and Huang ... See full summary »
"Clan of Amazons"
82. Zhong hua zhang fu (1978)
R | 105 min | Action, Comedy
A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted ... See full summary »
"Heroes of the East"
83. Xiao ao jiang hu (1978)
92 min | Action, Adventure
"The Proud Youth"
84. Tang lang (1978)
R | 96 min | Action, Drama
Shaolin Mantis (Orig. Tang lang) is a 1978 Shaw Brothers film directed by Lau Kar-leung. Starring David Chiang and Liu Chia Hui. Shaolin Mantis tells the story of a man who learns martial arts by observing a praying mantis.
85. Can ku da ci sha (1978)
88 min | Action, Adventure
The heroic Ma Teng has developed a counter to the Flying Guillotines attack, and when word reaches The Emperor, who is more bloodthirsty than ever, he creates a new deadlier version and ... See full summary »
"The Flying Guillotine 2"
86. Can que (1978)
R | 107 min | Action, Drama
Three men, crippled by an evil warlord, become friends and learn kung fu with the help of an old teacher and his idiot pupil.
87. Xue fu rong (1978)
82 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
While Ho Meng-hua didn't direct the like-titled sequel to his internationally popular Flying Guillotine, he did helm this exceptional follow-up, which stars the gorgeous Chen Ping as the ... See full summary »
"The Vengeful Beauty - Bloody Hibiscus"
88. Sonagi (1979)
100 min | Drama, Romance
Country boy Suk-ie learns the meaning of love and loss when he meets city girl Yeon-ie.
89. Vengeance Is Mine (1979)
Not Rated | 139 min | Crime, Drama
Chronological exploits of Iwao Enokizu, a murderous thief on the lam.
"Vengeance is Mine"
90. The Kid with the Golden Arm (1979)
R | 75 min | Action, Drama
Director Chang Cheh reunites the Five Venoms in his second biggest cult hit in the West. It's Lo Meng's most memorable performances whose showdown with fellow Venom Kuo Chue is artistically violent while being graphically artsy.
"The Kid with the Golden Arm"
91. Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1979)
106 min | Action, Drama
A son tries to avenge his father, and gets two sword fighters to help him.
"Last Hurrah for Chivarly"
92. Lin Shi Rong (1979)
PG-13 | 108 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
A plump butcher student of Wong Fei Hung, Lam Sai-Wing (Sammo) gets into trouble with a rival kung-fu school known as Five Dragons and is accused of raping the head of that school's ... See full summary »
"The Magnificent Butcher"
93. Mad Monkey Kung Fu (1979)
R | 116 min | Action, Comedy
A disgraced former Kung Fu expert makes a living as a merchant with the help of a hot headed friend. When the men are harassed by gangsters, the merchant decided to teach his friend monkey boxing so they can defend their business.
"Mad Monkey Kung Fu"
94. Dabide no hoshi: Bishôjo-gari (1979)
Unrated | 100 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller
One dark and stormy night, a middle age prison escapee haphazardly breaks into the luxurious mason of a wealthy and privileged family and rapes the young wife in front of her bound husband.... See full summary »
"Star of David: Beauty Hunting"