As a language model, I cannot browse Reddit, but I can provide you with a list of 10 essential Asian movies that have gained critical acclaim and popularity over the years:

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these films represent a diverse range of styles, themes, and cultures from across Asia and have been widely recognized for their impact on cinema.

Best Asian Movies – Introduction

Asia is home to a rich and diverse cinema culture, with a long history of producing some of the world’s most innovative and influential movies.

From the epic dramas of Japan and the psychological thrillers of South Korea, to the colorful musicals of India and the action-packed martial arts films of Hong Kong, Asian cinema offers something for every taste and interest.

Some of the most well-known and critically acclaimed Asian movies include classics like “Rashomon” and “Seven Samurai” from Japan, the vibrant and emotional dramas of India’s Bollywood film industry, and the intense and suspenseful thrillers of South Korea’s “New Wave” cinema.

More recent movies such as “Parasite” and “Minari” have also gained international recognition, showcasing the continued impact and relevance of Asian cinema in today’s global film landscape.

Best Asian Movies

Asian movies often explore complex themes such as family, tradition, identity, and social justice, while also pushing the boundaries of visual storytelling through innovative techniques and cinematic style.

From the Golden Age of Japanese cinema to the current wave of genre-defying South Korean films, Asian cinema has had a profound impact on the art of filmmaking and continues to inspire and influence filmmakers around the world.

1. Parasite (2019)

“Parasite” is a South Korean movie directed by Bong Joon-ho that was released in 2019. The film tells the story of two families, one wealthy and one poor, and the ways in which their lives become intertwined.

The movie is a dark comedy that explores themes such as class struggle, social inequality, and the human condition. It features an intricate plot that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, with unexpected twists and turns that challenge viewers’ perceptions of the characters and their motivations.

One of the most notable aspects of “Parasite” is its cinematography. The film makes use of clever camera angles and lighting to create a sense of claustrophobia and tension, which contributes to the movie’s unsettling atmosphere. The movie’s use of sound is also notable, with a haunting musical score that adds to the film’s eerie tone.

The acting in “Parasite” is outstanding, with the cast delivering powerful and nuanced performances that bring the characters to life. The movie’s characters are complex and multifaceted, with their actions often driven by desperation and survival instincts.

“Parasite” has received critical acclaim and won numerous awards, including the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The movie’s success has brought attention to the thriving South Korean film industry and has cemented Bong Joon-ho’s reputation as one of the most innovative and talented filmmakers working today.

2. In the Mood for Love (2000)

In the Mood for Love is a 2000 Hong Kong romantic drama film directed by Wong Kar-wai. The film is set in 1960s Hong Kong and tells the story of two neighbors, Mr. Chow (Tony Leung) and Mrs. Chan (Maggie Cheung), who develop a close relationship after suspecting that their spouses are having an affair.

The film is known for its lush cinematography, intricate plot, and evocative use of music. It explores themes of love, desire, loneliness, and regret, as Mr. Chow and Mrs. Chan navigate their complex feelings for each other and grapple with the social expectations of their time.

   

In the Mood for Love has been widely acclaimed by critics and is considered one of the greatest films of the 21st century. It has been praised for its visual style, emotional depth, and masterful storytelling.

The film won numerous awards, including the Grand Prix at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival, and has influenced filmmakers and artists around the world.

In the Mood for Love (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ping Lam Siu (Actors)
  • Kar-Wai Wong (Director) - Kar-Wai Wong (Writer) - Gilles Ciment (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

3. Oldboy (2003)

“Oldboy” is a South Korean neo-noir action thriller film directed by Park Chan-wook and released in 2003. The movie tells the story of Oh Dae-su, a man who is inexplicably imprisoned in a small hotel room for 15 years without any contact with the outside world.

When he is finally released, he sets out on a mission to find the person responsible for his captivity and to seek revenge.

The film explores themes such as vengeance, morality, and the consequences of our actions. Oh Dae-su’s quest for revenge leads him down a dark path, as he confronts the truth about his past and the events that led to his imprisonment.

“Oldboy” was praised for its stylish direction, its intense action sequences, and its powerful performances, particularly by Choi Min-sik as Oh Dae-su.

The film was also noteworthy for its unique narrative structure, which blends elements of mystery, suspense, and psychological drama to create a truly unforgettable cinematic experience.

“Oldboy” was a critical and commercial success, winning numerous awards at international film festivals and earning widespread acclaim for its bold and unflinching approach to storytelling. The film has since become a cult classic, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest examples of South Korean cinema.

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Oldboy [DVD]
  • Min-sik Choi, Ji-tae Yu, Hye-jeong Kang (Actors)
  • Chan-wook Park (Director)
  • English, Spanish, Korean (Subtitles)
  • Audience Rating: R (Restricted)

4. Chungking Express (1994)

“Chungking Express” is a Hong Kong romantic drama film directed by Wong Kar-wai and released in 1994. The movie tells two separate stories of love and loss, both of which take place in the Chungking Mansions, a popular gathering spot for travelers and expatriates in Hong Kong.

The first story follows a police officer named He Qiwu who is heartbroken after being dumped by his girlfriend. He becomes enamored with a mysterious woman in a blonde wig who frequents a fast food restaurant he visits.

The second story follows a lonely, lovesick woman named Faye who works at a snack bar in the Chungking Mansions and becomes infatuated with a recently heartbroken policeman.

“Chungking Express” is notable for its innovative cinematography, unconventional narrative structure, and use of pop music. The film was a critical and commercial success and is widely regarded as a classic of Hong Kong cinema.

The film’s themes of love, loss, and loneliness have resonated with audiences worldwide, and it has been cited as an influence by numerous filmmakers, including Quentin Tarantino and Sofia Coppola.

Chungking Express [DVD]
  • Brigitte Lin, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Tony Leung Chiu Wai (Actors)
  • Kar Wai Wong (Director) - Kar Wai Wong (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)

5. The World of Apu (1959)

“The World of Apu” (original title: “Apur Sansar”) is a 1959 Indian movie directed by Satyajit Ray. It is the third and final installment in Ray’s “Apu Trilogy,” which also includes “Pather Panchali” (1955) and “Aparajito” (1956).

The film tells the story of Apu, a young man from a poor family in Kolkata, India, who struggles to make a living as a writer. After losing his wife and child in childbirth, Apu becomes disillusioned with life and withdraws from society. However, a chance encounter with a former acquaintance leads Apu to reconsider his choices and re-enter the world.

“The World of Apu” is widely considered to be one of the greatest Indian movies ever made and is regarded as a masterpiece of world cinema. It is celebrated for its poignant and poetic portrayal of life in India, as well as for its innovative storytelling and nuanced character development.

The film’s themes of love, loss, and the struggle for self-discovery have resonated with audiences around the world, making it a timeless and enduring classic.

6. The Chaser (2008)

“The Chaser” is a South Korean thriller film directed by Na Hong-jin and released in 2008. The movie follows a former detective turned pimp named Joong-ho, who discovers that several of his prostitutes have gone missing. He soon realizes that a serial killer is targeting his girls, and decides to take matters into his own hands.

The film is known for its intense pacing and suspenseful plot. The storyline is dark and gritty, with realistic and disturbing violence. The cinematography is also noteworthy, with impressive camera work that captures the tense atmosphere of the film.

The acting in “The Chaser” is superb, with Kim Yoon-seok delivering a powerful performance as Joong-ho. The character is complex and multifaceted, and the actor skillfully portrays his transformation from a selfish and violent pimp to a determined and empathetic hero.

The movie also explores themes of morality, justice, and redemption. It raises questions about the nature of good and evil, and whether violence can ever be justified in the pursuit of justice.

Overall, “The Chaser” is a masterful thriller that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats. It is a well-crafted film that explores complex themes and features outstanding performances from its cast. The movie has received critical acclaim and is considered a classic of South Korean cinema.

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The Chaser
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Seo Yeong-heui, Kim Yoo-Jung, Kim Yoon-seok (Actors)
  • Na Hong-jin (Director) - Kim Sujin (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

7. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

Gangs of Wasseypur is a 2012 Indian crime film directed by Anurag Kashyap. The film is set in the coal-rich town of Wasseypur in the state of Jharkhand and tells the story of a decades-long feud between two rival families, the Khans and the Singhs. The film spans several generations and explores themes of power, revenge, and social change.

Gangs of Wasseypur is known for its gritty realism, dynamic characters, and sprawling narrative. The film features a large ensemble cast, including Manoj Bajpayee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, and Richa Chadha, and is notable for its use of regional dialects and local music.

The film was critically acclaimed and became a commercial success in India and internationally. It has been praised for its innovative approach to the gangster genre and its nuanced portrayal of violence and social dynamics in contemporary India.

Gangs of Wasseypur has been compared to epic crime dramas like The Godfather and has been credited with helping to redefine the possibilities of Indian cinema.

Gangs of Wasseypur Part 1 (2012) (Hindi Movie / Bollywood Film / Indian Cinema DVD)
  • Manoj Bajpayee, Piyush Mishra, Jameel Khan (Actors)
  • Anurag Kashyap (Director)
  • English (Subtitle)

8. I Saw the Devil (2010)

“I Saw the Devil” is a South Korean psychological thriller film directed by Kim Jee-woon and released in 2010. The movie tells the story of a secret agent named Kim Soo-hyun, who sets out to avenge the brutal murder of his fiancée by a serial killer named Jang Kyung-chul.

The film explores themes such as revenge, violence, and the consequences of our actions. As Kim Soo-hyun embarks on his quest for revenge, he becomes increasingly obsessed with Jang Kyung-chul, leading him to question the morality of his actions and the toll they are taking on his own psyche.

“I Saw the Devil” was praised for its intense and visceral depiction of violence, its powerful performances, and its thought-provoking exploration of complex themes.

The film was also noteworthy for its stylish direction and its ability to keep audiences on the edge of their seats with its unpredictable twists and turns.

“I Saw the Devil” was a critical and commercial success, winning numerous awards at international film festivals and earning widespread acclaim for its innovative approach to the revenge thriller genre. T

he film has since become a cult classic and is widely regarded as one of the greatest examples of South Korean cinema.

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I Saw the Devil [Blu-ray]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Lee Byung-hun, Choi Min-Sik (Actors)
  • Kim Jee-Woon (Director)
  • English, Spanish (Subtitles)
  • English (Publication Language)

9. Yi Yi (2000)

“Yi Yi” is a Taiwanese drama film directed by Edward Yang and released in 2000. The movie follows a middle-class family living in Taipei and their struggles with work, love, and relationships.

The film tells the story of NJ, a businessman struggling to find meaning in his life; his wife Min-min, who is dealing with her mother’s illness; their teenage daughter Ting-ting, who is experiencing her first love; and NJ’s brother-in-law A-Di, who is struggling with a failing marriage.

As the family navigates these challenges, they come to realize the importance of family, love, and connection.

“Yi Yi” was a critical and commercial success and has been widely regarded as one of the greatest Asian films ever made. The film was praised for its naturalistic performances, innovative cinematography, and deep exploration of human relationships and emotions.

The film won numerous awards, including the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival, and has been cited as an influence by numerous filmmakers worldwide.

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Yi Yi (The Criterion Collection) [DVD]
  • Factory sealed DVD
  • Nien-Jen Wu, Elaine Jin, Issei Ogata (Actors)
  • Edward Yang (Director) - Edward Yang (Writer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • English (Publication Language)

10. Memories of Murder (2003)

“Memories of Murder” is a 2003 South Korean crime-drama movie directed by Bong Joon-ho. The film is based on the true story of the first serial killer case in South Korea in the 1980s and follows two detectives with contrasting personalities who are trying to solve the case.

The film is highly acclaimed for its storytelling, direction, cinematography, and acting. It has been noted for its ability to capture the socio-political landscape of South Korea in the 1980s, as well as its themes of power, corruption, and justice.

“Memories of Murder” was also one of the highest-grossing movies in South Korea at the time of its release and helped establish Bong Joon-ho as one of the most important filmmakers in the country.

The movie’s success helped pave the way for the Korean New Wave, a movement of highly acclaimed and internationally recognized Korean movies.

Sale
Memories of Murder (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]
  • Song Jae-Ho, Song Kang-ho, Kim Rwe-ha (Actors)
  • Bong Joon-ho (Director) - Cha Seung-chae (Producer)
  • English (Subtitle)
  • Audience Rating: NR (Not Rated)

3 Characteristics of Asian Movies

Asian movies are known for their unique style and characteristics that set them apart from other film industries. Here are three key characteristics of Asian movies:

Visual Style: Asian movies often feature a distinctive visual style, characterized by vibrant colors, intricate sets, and stylized camera work.

The films often make use of imaginative and surreal visuals, creating a dreamlike atmosphere that draws viewers in. Asian filmmakers also use creative editing techniques and visual effects to enhance the film’s impact.

Emotion and Intensity: Asian movies often explore intense emotions and relationships, depicting characters who are driven by powerful desires and motivations.

The films can be highly emotional and often delve into complex themes such as love, loss, and sacrifice. The actors in Asian movies are known for their ability to convey a wide range of emotions, often using subtle and nuanced performances to create an intimate connection with the audience.

Cultural Identity: Asian movies often reflect the cultural identity of the countries in which they are produced, showcasing local customs, traditions, and values.

The films often feature a strong sense of community and emphasize the importance of family and social relationships. Asian movies also often address social and political issues, providing insight into the experiences of the people who live in these countries.

Overall, Asian movies are known for their distinctive visual style, intense emotions, and cultural identity. These characteristics have contributed to the popularity and critical acclaim of Asian cinema, making it a vital and dynamic part of the global film industry.

3 Reasons To Watch Asian Movies

There is no single “Asian” style of filmmaking, as the continent is home to many different countries and cultures with their own distinct cinematic traditions. However, here are three characteristics that are commonly associated with Asian movies:

Emphasis on visuals: Many Asian films are known for their stunning cinematography, striking use of color and composition, and innovative visual effects.

From the neon-lit cityscapes of Hong Kong action films to the sweeping landscapes of Japanese samurai epics, Asian filmmakers often prioritize the look and feel of their films as a way to create a powerful emotional impact on viewers.

Focus on storytelling: Asian films are often praised for their complex narratives, nuanced characters, and attention to detail.

Many Asian filmmakers prioritize story over spectacle, crafting intricate and thought-provoking narratives that explore a wide range of themes and emotions.

Asian films often embrace ambiguity and subtlety, challenging viewers to think deeply about the issues and ideas presented on screen.

Cultural specificity: Asian films often reflect the unique cultural and historical contexts of their countries of origin.

From the traditional values and customs of South Korean dramas to the social and political concerns of Iranian cinema, Asian films offer a window into the complexities and diversity of Asian societies.

Many Asian films also explore the tensions and contradictions between traditional and modern values, as well as the impact of globalization and cultural exchange on Asian cultures.

Best Asian Movies – Wrap Up

In conclusion, Asian cinema is a vast and varied landscape that encompasses a wide range of films from across the continent. From historical epics to intimate dramas, Asian movies offer a unique perspective on the human experience, with a focus on the cultural and social issues that shape our lives.

Some of the best Asian movies include “Rashomon,” a Japanese classic that explores the nature of truth and perception, “In the Mood for Love,” a Hong Kong romance that examines the complex dynamics of love and desire, and “Parasite,” a South Korean dark comedy that exposes the class divide in modern society.

Other noteworthy Asian films include “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” a Chinese martial arts epic that blends action, romance, and philosophy, “The Host,” a South Korean monster movie that blends horror and satire, and “A Tale of Two Sisters,” a South Korean psychological thriller that explores the dynamics of family and memory.

Overall, Asian cinema is a vital and exciting part of the global film landscape, with a wealth of talent and creativity waiting to be discovered by audiences around the world.

Whether you are interested in classic films or cutting-edge contemporary cinema, there is something for everyone in the world of Asian movies.