For decades, Asian-American voices have graced cinema with many memorable films. Whether they feature Asian-American protagonists, stories that delve into the inner depths of the Asian-American experience, or both, there’s something magical about Asian-American movies.

To celebrate their spirit, here are some of the best Asian-American movies of all time that span a variety of genres.

The Joy Luck Club (1993)

The Joy Luck Club is an American classic that delves into the struggles of Chinese immigrant mothers and daughters who have formed a club in San Francisco’s Chinatown. This award-winning film stars Ming-Na Wen, Rosalind Chao, Amy Hill and Lauren Tom, among other amazing Asian-American actors. Its adaptation of the bestselling novel by Amy Tan is considered to be the classic representation of Asian-American life and culture.

Better Luck Tomorrow (2002)

This crime drama explores the world of Asian-American “model kids,” the adults they become and their subsequent slide into a world of crime. Starring John Cho, Parry Shen, Jason Tobin and Sung Kang, this movie brings together varying nuances of the Asian-American experience, showing how both culture and parental expectations shape the lives of these characters and the choices they make.

Crazy Rich Asians (2018)

This rom-com stars an all-Asian cast, as a New Yorker visits Singapore for the wedding of her boyfriend, who’s from an ultra-wealthy and influential family. When she discovers how vast the family’s wealth and power is, she must navigate a realm of politics and circles that are completely unknown to her. Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina and Ken Jeong star in this vibrant story of a fish out of water.

Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

From road trips to taco runs, this classic comedy follows two Asian-American friends, Harold and Kumar, as they embark on an epic quest to satisfy their cravings for White Castle burgers. Along the way, they encounte many obstacles, wacky events and encounters that only enhance the hilarity. John Cho and Kal Penn star in this classic cult favorite.

Yellow Rose (2019)

This drama follows an undocumented Filipina teenage singer as she dreams of becoming a star in the country music space, while navigating the threats of deportation that her immigrant family faces. Eva Noblezada stars as the young protagonist of this story, as she embarks on her own dream journey through Texas.

The Farewell (2019)

Japanese-American actress Awkwafina stars in The Farewell, a movie based on a true story. The movie follows her character, Billi, as she travels to China with her family to attend her grandmother’s wedding, which her family has established as a ruse to hide the fact that their matriarch has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. This heartfelt movie deals with culture clashes and tough family decisions, as Billi grapples with the news of her grandmother’s impending death.

The Beauty Inside (2015)

Unlike the other movies on this list, The Beauty Inside is a romantic-drama-fantasy hybrid. This film stars charming Asian-American actor Ken Narita, as the protagonist encounters various people in his life, all of whom look different yet strangely familiar. As his relationships progress, he must grapple with the fact that his physical form and identity are constantly shifting.

Saving Face (2004)

This romantic comedy-drama touches on the delicate subject of being an unmarried pregnant woman in a conservative Asian family. Michelle Krusiec stars as Wil, a Chinese-American lesbian doctor living in New York, who must come to terms with her unexpected pregnancy while hiding her sexual orientation from her traditional family. Furthermore, when her mother gets embroiled in a scandalous love affair, Wil must help her navigate the shame of their newfound circumstances – all while rediscovering their bond.

From the dramas of Better Luck Tomorrow and Saving Face to the comedy of Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, the best Asian-American movies of all time provide ample evidence of the talent, skill and innovation of this group of cinematic geniuses. These movies touch our hearts and minds, plus represent the culture, traditions and struggles of the Asian-American experience in a truly unique fashion.

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