The list author says: "Asian American Films 1950-1990s: A list of films by, about, starring or made by Asian American from 1950-1999. For films in the 2000s, go to http://www.amazon.com/Asian-American-Films-2000s/lm/R18VUUMOM290ZI/ref=cm_srch_res_rpli_alt_1."
"1950s Hollywood version of story of the 442nd. Saw this on late night TV as a kid with my Dad and brother, before I knew anything about the internment and the 442nd. Although it's obviously not the definitive story of the 442nd, we were thrilled to see Asians on film as the good guys, and fighting too! The definitive film on the 442nd....Lane Nishikawa's Only the Brave? (haven't seen it yet)."
"Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. Stars the woman from Courtship of Eddie's Father (Miyoshi Umeki) (I think she got an Academy Award nomination or the award), Jack Soo who went on to TV's Barney Miller, and beautiful Nancy Kwan. Nancy Kwan could have made a great Emma Peel (Diana Rigg)."
"One of the first Asian American independent films. NY Times critic Vincent Canby praised this film, which helped establish it as a landmark in Asian American film history. It's less a mystery, and more of an exploration of the "mystery" of being Asian American and a satire."
"Not really about Asian America, but it is a facinating true story of one man's escape from Pol Pot's brutal regime and eventual immigration to the U.S. Dr. Haing S. Ngor won an Academy Award in his acting debut for his portray of Dith Pran. He tragically passed away in 1996, murdered near his home."
"Stereotypical portrayals of Asian Americans as gangsters and "China dolls." Horrible dialogue too. Ugh. I put it here since it seems that every essay or course about APAs in film mentions this as an example of racist portrayals of APAs. This is not, of course, the play of the same name by Frank Chin which is available on DVD on Amazon.com featuring George Takei."
"A feature film by Steven Okazaki (mostly known for documentary films). This was one of the few Asian American independent films from the late 80s. Film centers around an Asian American slacker, you did not see that much in 80s."
"Finally, a movie that is not ashamed or embarassed to actually be titled "China Girl." Romeo and Juliet updated to urban New York. We had to go see this in the 80s because it had a central Asian American character, Sari Chang, who has not been heard of since."
"This film is not about Asian America, of course, but it starred many well-known Asian or APA actors like John Lone, and was seen by every AA at the time since there were so few Asian faces on the silver screen. Same with 1990's China Cry with Julia Nickson Soul and other AAs."
"Asian Americans in the West, and it's not Kung Fu. Based on a true story. Stars Rosalind Chao. UPDATE: Saw this again recently on IFC (thank you IFC) and it's actually quite good, not awesome, but quite good. If you a chance to see it, watch it. Too bad there's no DVD."
"Denzel Washington and Sarita Chadhoury fall in love in the rural American South. He's a carpet cleaner, her family owns a small motel. A film by Mira Nair who directed Salaam Bombay, an excellent and very different movie, and later The Namesake."
"Landmark movie in APA film history. Definite "chick flick" but very well done. Some misses: 1) changing the "you have best quality heart" scene, 2) portrayals of APA men have been criticized, and 3) some casting "misses," but still the most well-known APA movie. It's a crime the film didn't get any Oscar nominations, particularly Tsai Chin's portrayal of Auntie Lindo. She nailed it."
"The story of Bruce Lee. Good flick, good love story. Fun chop socky stuff too. Stars Jason Scott Lee and Lauren Holly. It is fictionalized, like all Hollywood movies based on true stories, but still works very well."
"Excellent and hilarious movie by Ang Lee (his best?). I actually think this movie best captures the complex relationship between the 1.0/1.5 and 2.0 generations in the APA community though the parents in this movie live in Taiwan."
"Based on autobiographies by Le Ly Hayslip. Again, not so much about the Vienamese American experience, but more about one woman's experience during the Vietnam War. Directed by Oliver Stone; got mediocre reviews. Will add 2007's "Journey From the Fall" (movie Vietnamese refugee experience) if and when it comes out on DVD. See http://www.journeyfromthefall.com/"
"Beautifully-told story about Japanese plantation workers in Hawaii at the beginning of the century, by Hawaii-born filmmaker Kayo Hatta. Beautiful cinematography. Tamlyn Tomita plays a great character. Appearance by Toshiro Mifune as well."