Asian Films to See Before You Die

organized by highest IMDb rating first (i.e. top)
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1.
Seven Samurai (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves. (207 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
2.
Spirited Away (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches, and spirits, and where humans are changed into beasts. (125 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
3.
Harakiri (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
An elder ronin samurai arrives at a feudal lord's home and requests an honorable place to commit suicide. But when the ronin inquires about a younger samurai who arrived before him things take an unexpected turn. (133 mins.)
 
4.
Rashomon (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A heinous crime and its aftermath are recalled from differing points of view. (88 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
5.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime. (134 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
6.
Oldboy (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days. (120 mins.)
Director: Chan-wook Park
 
7.
Yojimbo (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town. (110 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
8.
Ikiru (1952)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A bureaucrat tries to find a meaning in his life after he discovers he has terminal cancer. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
9.
Ran (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In Medieval Japan, an elderly warlord retires, handing over his empire to his three sons. However, he vastly underestimates how the new-found power will corrupt them and cause them to turn on each other...and him. (162 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
10.
Dersu Uzala (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
The Russian army sends an explorer on an expedition to the snowy Siberian wilderness where he makes friends with a seasoned local hunter. (144 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosava
“ Okay, so this one is a Soviet-Japanese coproduction, but it's still directed by Akira Kurosawa. ” - MatthewGist
 
11.
Red Beard (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In 19th century Japan, a rough tempered yet charitable town doctor trains a young intern. (185 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
12.
Throne of Blood (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle. (110 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
13.
Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household. (125 mins.)
Director: Yimou Zhang
 
14.
Sanjuro (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A crafty samurai helps a young man and his fellow clansmen save his uncle, who has been framed and imprisoned by a corrupt superintendent. (96 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
15.
My Sassy Girl (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Based on a series of true stories posted by Ho-sik Kim on the Internet describing his relationship with his girlfriend... (123 mins.)
Director: Jae-young Kwak
 
16.
To Live (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China. (133 mins.)
Director: Yimou Zhang
 
17.
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young and truth seeking boy travels to an isolated lake, where an old Buddhist master lives on a small floating temple. (103 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
 
18.
Castle in the Sky (1986)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A young boy and a girl with a magic crystal must race against pirates and foreign agents in a search for a legendary floating castle. (125 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
19.
The Hidden Fortress (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Lured by gold, two greedy peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general. (139 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
20.
3-Iron (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A transient young man breaks into empty homes to partake of the vacationing residents' lives for a few days. (88 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
 
21.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young Chinese warrior steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a man mysterious past in the frontier of the nation. (120 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
 
22.
Kagemusha (1980)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place. (180 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
23.
The Chaser (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A cash-strapped pimp and former police detective draws upon the skills of his old job to track down his missing stable of prostitutes. (125 mins.)
Director: Hong-jin Na
 
24.
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young witch, on her mandatory year of independent life, finds fitting into a new community difficult while she supports herself by running an air courier service. (103 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
25.
J.S.A.: Joint Security Area (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In the DMZ separating North and South Korea, two North Korean soldiers have been killed, supposedly by one South Korean soldier... (110 mins.)
Director: Chan-wook Park
 
26.
Pairan (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Kangjae, a small time gangster receive a news that his wife Failan is dead. Failan, his wife who he never met. (115 mins.)
 
27.
The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The Clock family are four-inch-tall people who live anonymously in another family's residence, borrowing simple items to make their home. Life changes for the Clocks when their daughter, Arrietty, is discovered. (94 mins.)
 
28.
Chûshingura (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After their lord is tricked into committing ritual suicide, forty-seven samurai warriors await the chance to avenge their master and reclaim their honor. (207 mins.)
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
 
29.
Dreams (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A collection of tales based upon the actual dreams of director Akira Kurosawa. (119 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
 
30.
Fearless (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A biography of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who is the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation. (104 mins.)
Director: Ronny Yu
 
31.
Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Depicts the early life of the legendary warrior Musashi Miyamoto; his years as an aspiring warrior, an outlaw and finally a true samurai. (93 mins.)
Director: Hiroshi Inagaki
“ Count this title as Hiroshi Inagaki's entire Samurai Trilogy, including Duel at Ichijoji Temple (1955) and Duel at Ganryu Island (1956). ” - MatthewGist
 
32.
Fist of Legend (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In 1937, a Chinese martial artist returns to Shanghai to find his teacher dead and his school harassed by the Japanese. (103 mins.)
Director: Gordon Chan
 
33.
Aftershock (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The epic story of a family separated as a result of the Great Tangshan Earthquake of 1976. (135 mins.)
Director: Xiaogang Feng
 
34.
The Good the Bad the Weird (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The story of two outlaws and a bounty hunter in 1940s Manchuria and their rivalry to possess a treasure map while being pursued by the Japanese army and Chinese bandits. (139 mins.)
Director: Kim Jee-woon
 
35.
Red Cliff (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The first chapter of a two-part story centered on a battle fought in China's Three Kingdoms period (220-280 A.D.). (146 mins.)
Director: John Woo
“ Let this title refer to the complete duology, not to the butchered American version. ” - MatthewGist
 
36.
Time (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
To save her relationship, a woman puts herself through extensive plastic surgery. (97 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
 
37.
Samaritan Girl (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Jae-Young is an amateur prostitute who sleeps with men while her best friend Yeo-Jin "manages" her, fixing dates... (95 mins.)
Director: Ki-duk Kim
 
38.
Painted Fire (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
In a time of political and social unrest in nineteenth-century Korea, an uncouth, self-taught painter explores his natural talent amidst the repressive world around him. (120 mins.)
Director: Kwon-taek Im
 
39.
Thirst (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Through a failed medical experiment, a priest is stricken with vampirism and is forced to abandon his ascetic ways. (133 mins.)
Director: Chan-wook Park
 
40.
Silmido (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Based on a true story of 1968 Korean Republic Army plan to assassinate North Korean president Kim Il-Sung... (135 mins.)
Director: Woo-Suk Kang
 
41.
The Quiet Family (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A family opens a mountain inn where their first guest commits suicide. Suddenly all their guests befall horrible fates. (101 mins.)
Director: Kim Jee-woon
 
42.
The Warlords (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
It's a heroic tale of three blood brothers and their struggle in the midst of war and political upheaval... (126 mins.)
 
43.
200 Pounds Beauty (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A talented but obese girl, who ghost-sings for a not-so-talented pop star, undergoes extensive plastic surgery to become a slender beauty with a new identity. (120 mins.)
Director: Yong-hwa Kim
 
44.
Dumplings (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
In Hong Kong, Aunt Mei is a cook famous for her home-made rejuvenation dumplings, based on a millenarian... (91 mins.)
Director: Fruit Chan
 
45.
Swiri (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
South Korean agents Ryu and Lee are tracking a female assassin from North Korea who has mysteriously disappeared. With new killings and the theft of a deadly bomb, time is running out to catch her. (125 mins.)
Director: Je-gyu Kang
 
46.
Heat Team (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
(Cantonese with English subtitles) Hotshot police officers Aaron Kwok and Eason Chan are both full of talent and ego... (99 mins.)
Director: Dante Lam
“ The English title is "Heat Team" or "Ambush." ” - MatthewGist
 
47.
100 Days with Mr. Arrogant (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Ha-yeong is dumped by her boyfriend on the 100th day of their relationship, an important milestone for every couple... (95 mins.)
Director: Dong-yeob Shin