Top10 Asian Movies of All Time

10 movies that made Asia proud on the world stage. Each, a masterpiece in its own – transcended through generations & time to be rendered classics. Story, characterization, acting, cinematic shots, angles, editing, action, dialogues (or lack of it) – have made these feature films masterpieces. Generated lots of fan following and won countless awards, felicitations and commendations worldwide. So, without further ado, here’s the list of 10 Asian Movies to watch before you die (in no order of preference):

1. Film: Seven Samurai
Language: Japanese
Year: 1954
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Genre: Adventure Drama
Note: Probably the best Asian movie ever made, also voted in ‘Best 10 Movies Ever Made‘, and always in top10 movie lists of every director on earth. A movie which remains iconic and became an inspiration for Hollywood spaghetti westerns later – The Magnificent Seven, The Guns of Navarone, The Dirty Dozen, Sholay (one of India’s most famous and epic multi-starrer) and numerous others. This definitely is Kurosawa’s life’s masterpiece.

2. Film: Sonatine
Language: Japanese
Year: 1993
Director: Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano
Genre: Neo-realistic Action
Note: Written, Directed, Edited & Starring Kitano, this is definitely rated as one of the best Asian movies ever; one of the finest neo-realistic action genre movies of all time. Winner of multiple awards, coupled with unbelievable sound tracks from Joe Hisaishi, this is Takeshi Kitano’s 2nd best movie ever (the best being Hana-bi). Here’s my [SONATINE MOVIE REVIEW].

3. Film: Hana-bi (aka Fireworks)
Language: Japanese
Year: 1997
Director: Takeshi ‘Beat’ Kitano
Genre: Neo-realistic Drama
Note: A masterpiece from Takeshi Kitano, this is considered to be Kitano’s life’s most famous work. Winner of numerous awards worldwide, a movie that will keep you riveted to the seat, when its over. A movie that every director on earth should see and learn from – how to make a neo-realistic masterpiece without dialogues. First 40 minutes into the movie – the character(s) hardly ever utter a word. A minimalist nihilistic masterpiece to blow your mind away.

4. Film: Pather Panchali (aka Song of the Little Road)
Language: Bengali
Year: 1955
Director: Satyajit Ray
Genre: Italian Neo-realistic Drama
Note: A movie that portrayed Indian heritage and movie-making at its finest on the world stage. Winner of multiple awards & commendations, this is Ray’s life’s finest work – his life’s masterpiece. A movie which is now member of the ‘Hall of Fame’ for the greatest movies ever made. 1 of only 2 movies from India which are considered to be masterpieces.

*Sight & Sound, the British Film Institute‘s film magazine, listed Pather Panchali several times in its Critics’ Poll of all-time greatest films, in 1962 (ranked #11), 1982 (ranked #79), 1992 (ranked #6) and 2002 (ranked #22). Pather Panchali was included in various other all-time greatest film lists, including Time Out magazine‘s “Centenary Top One Hundred Films” in 1995, the San Francisco Chronicle “Hot 100 Films From the Past” in 1997, the Rolling Stone “100 Maverick Movies of the Last 100 Years” in 1999, and the British Film Institute’s Top Fifty “Must See” Children’s Films in 2005. In 1996, The World of Apu was included in Movieline Magazine’s “100 Greatest Foreign Films”. In 2002, Pather Panchali and The World of Apu featured in “The New York Times Guide to the Best 1,000 Movies Ever Made”. The Apu Trilogy as a whole was included in film critic Roger Ebert‘s list of “100 Great Movies” in 2001 and in Time magazine‘s All-Time 100 best movies list in 2005. It was also ranked #17 in Empire magazine’s “The 100 Best Films Of World Cinema” in 2010. *data from

5. Film: Meghe Dhaka Tara (aka The Cloud-Capped Star)
Language: Bengali
Year: 1960
Director: Ritwik Ghatak
Genre: German Expressionism
Note: In 2002, Meghe Dhaka Tara was ranked at #231 on the Sight & Sound critics’ and directors’ poll for all-time greatest films.The movie is also listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. One of the finest portrayals of Expressionism in movie-making, this is Ritwik Ghatak’s life’s masterpiece – which made him immortal. A movie that is so great, even death has lost its meaning when the movie finishes. One of the only 2 movies (other being Ray‘s Pather Panchali) from India which are considered to be the 2 greatest Indian movies ever made and helped establish India on the world stage.

6. Film: Oldboy
Language: South Korean
Year: 2003
Director: Park Chan-wook
Genre: Action
Note: One of the greatest South Korean movies ever, Oldboy has been remade into all major languages. Winner of multiple awards, this is a classic. Now considered into ‘Top 10 Asian Movie ever made’ list by CNN.

7. Film: Sympathy for the Underdog
Language: Japanese
Year: 1971
Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Genre: Action
Note: A film from legendary Japanese director, Kinji Fukasaku – this is definitely Fukasaku’s masterpiece. This movie is the inspiration for Takeshi Kitano’s epic movie – Sonatine (1993). Thus, it had to be included in this list here. One of the best action movies ever, this is a classic Yakuza culture movie. A masterpiece that will bring tears to your eyes when the credits start rolling.

8. Film: Children of Heaven
Language: Persian
Year: 1997
Director: Majid Majidi
Genre: Adventure-comedy-drama
Note: Jafar Panahi & Majid Majidi are the 2 most famous and iconic film directors from Iran, ever. Extremely talented, this is Majidi’s masterpiece. Winner of multiple International Awards, this movie has been remade into numerous languages.

9. Film: A Bittersweet Life
Language: South Korean
Year: 2005
Director: Kim Ji-woon
Genre: Action
Note: Directed by Kim Ji-woon and starring Lee Byung-hun, this is a South Korean masterpiece. Nominated for and winner of multiple National, International & Asian awards, this is one of those movies which you wish never ended, when the credits start rolling. A classic revenge drama, with intense action and fight scenes, this movie portrays ethical codes in the Korean mob and how they clash with personal morality. A must watch! Here’s my [A BITTERSWEET LIFE MOVIE REVIEW].

10. Film: Ajossi (aka The Man from Nowhere)
Language: South Korean
Year: 2010
Director: Lee Jeong-beom
Genre: Action
Note: Starring Won Bin, this is one of the most recent South Korean movies that took the world by storm. Winner of multiple National, International & Asian awards, this is a masterpiece in its own. Am sure hardcore film critics would disagree with me immensely, since keeping this very movie in the same class of Kurosawa, Kitano, Ray and others looks too haughty – but am sure this movie can stand the test of time, and be a classic in 20 years from now. There’s particularly one shot in the movie, wherein the camera follows through with the actor when he jumps through a first-floor building window, lands on the road, and keeps on running. The camera follows through with the person. This is amazing camera work and as per the critics, this definitely is one of the best camera works in Asian movies in the past 10 years or so! A must watch! Here’s my [THE MAN FROM NOWHERE MOVIE REVIEW].

So, that’s my personal list of Top10 Asian Movies of All Time. You may agree or disagree with it, completely. Do leave a comment if you wish… Which one is your favorite Asian Movie and WHY? I would love to listen from you guys… Maybe catch a few movies that I haven’t watched myself. 🙂

8 thoughts on “Top10 Asian Movies of All Time”

  1. You look to have captured a great range of film genres here, and I’ll be searching around to get some of these titles. We can learn so much from foreign films, from the acting to the directing. Are they available with English subtitling? Or am I going to have to use some of my own subtitle software

    1. Hi Richard, technically, all of these are so famous, most of the DVDs would have multiple subtitles in it. or better to download from torrent sites, which also have subtitles in it. Either way, u can find subtitles for these movies on different subtitles related sites. Subhasish

    1. hi, thanks for the comment… yes, these are iconic asian movies… so if someone’s a movie buff, he/she has to like these ones… am sure… yes, checked out your blog as well… very very informative and structured… subscribed to it. some of the movies on your blog are excellent… looks like have to watch them… and look forward for your posts! best regards, subhasish

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