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Ranking All Of Director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Movies

Hou Hsiao-hsien Filmography Movie Ranking Movies

“What are Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Best Movies?” We looked at all of Hsiao-hsien’s directed filmography and ranked them against one another to answer that very question!

We took all of the movies directed by Hou Hsiao-hsien and looked at their Rotten Tomato Critic, Rotten Tomato User, IMDB, and Letterboxd scores, ranking them against one another to see which movies came out on top. The movies are ranked in our list below based on which movies have the highest overall score between all 6 review sites in comparison with all of the other movies by the same director. The process is all very scientific with no flaws at all.

The full ranking chart is also included below the countdown on the bottom of the page.

Happy Viewing!



The Top Film’s Of Hou Hsiao-hsien



20 ) Lovable You (1980)

 Lovable You (1980) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 17
  • IMDB User Review Score: 20
  • Letterboxd User Score: 20

The daughter of a rich man, Wen helps out with her father’s business and also takes French lessons so that she can go to France with her fiancé. But she falls in love with a poor young man, Da-gang, who is studying civil engineering. Clashing with her father, she decides to leave home and go and stay with her aunt in the countryside. On a peaceful country road, she meets Da-gang again, who happens to be working there. Their relationship can now blossom. Later, when they get married and Wen gets pregnant, it turns out Da-gang also comes from a rich family…

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19 ) Play While You Play (1981)

 Play While You Play (1981) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 17
  • IMDB User Review Score: 19
  • Letterboxd User Score: 18

A romantic drama about a blind man and a somewhat self-indulgent television producer.

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18 ) 10+10 (2011)

 10+10 (2011) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 17
  • IMDB User Review Score: 17
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

10+10 is a project initiated by the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival to demonstrate the solidarity between Taiwanese film-makers. 20 directors are invited to make a 5-minute short film each on the theme of the “Uniqueness of Taiwan,” but allowed total freedom in all other aspects.

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16 ) The Assassin (2015)

 The Assassin (2015) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 9
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 16
  • IMDB User Review Score: 18
  • Letterboxd User Score: 15

A female assassin during the Tang Dynasty who begins to question her loyalties when she falls in love with one of her targets.

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16 ) The Green, Green Grass of Home (1982)

 The Green, Green Grass of Home (1982) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 15
  • IMDB User Review Score: 15
  • Letterboxd User Score: 18

Da-Nian is a young man from Taipei. He goes to a remote village and works as a substitute teacher. He and Su-Yun, another teacher at the school, fall in love. There are several students in his class who are like the naughty “three musketeers”, and a sad, silent boy Xiang-Wang, who’s parents are divorced. Besides, in order to support the family, Xian-Wang’s father kills the fish in the river with electricity, which is against the law and causes a lot of damage to the natural resources. Because of this, Xian-Wang has been teased by other school children. At last, he becomes so upset and runs away from home…

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15 ) Flight of the Red Balloon (2007)

 Flight of the Red Balloon (2007) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 7
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 14
  • IMDB User Review Score: 15
  • Letterboxd User Score: 13

The first part in a new series of films produced by Musée d’Orsay, ‘Flight of the Red Balloon’ tells the story of a French family as seen through the eyes of a Chinese student. The film was shot in August and September 2006 on location in Paris. This is Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s first Western film. It is based on the classic French short The Red Balloon directed by Albert Lamorisse.

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14 ) The Boys from Fengkuei (1983)

 The Boys from Fengkuei (1983) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 17
  • IMDB User Review Score: 5
  • Letterboxd User Score: 10

Ah-Ching and his friends have just finished school in their island fishing village, and now spend most of their time drinking and fighting. Three of them decide to go to the port city of Kaohsiung to look for work. They find an apartment through relatives, and Ah-Ching is attracted to the girlfriend of a neighbor. There they face the harsh realities of the big city.

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13 ) Good Men, Good Women (1995)

 Good Men, Good Women (1995) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 8
  • Letterboxd User Score: 10

Intended as the concluding film in the trilogy on the modern history of Taiwan began with Beiqing Chengshi (1989), this film reveals the story through three levels: a film within a film as well as the past and present as linked by a young woman, Liang Ching. She is being persecuted by an anonymous man who calls her repeatedly but does not speak. He has stolen her diary and faxes her pages daily. Liang is also rehearsing for a new film that is due to go into production soon. The film, entitled Haonan Haonu, is about a couple Chiang Bi-yu and Chung Hao-tung who returns to China to participate in the anti-Japanese movement in China in the 1940s and are arrested as communists when they go back to Taiwan.

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11 ) Café Lumière (2003)

 Café Lumière (2003) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 4
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 9
  • IMDB User Review Score: 11
  • Letterboxd User Score: 13

Making her way through life by forming superficial relationships, Yoko (Japanese pop idol Yo Hitoto) keeps everyone at arm’s length, whether it’s her father (Nanji Kobayashi) and stepmother (Kimiko Yo) or Hajime (Tadanobu Asano), the owner of a small bookstore who could be the father of her unborn child. Yoko seems most at home when she’s riding the train, speeding around the city with only her thoughts to entertain her.

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11 ) The Sandwich Man (1983)

 The Sandwich Man (1983) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 2
  • IMDB User Review Score: 10
  • Letterboxd User Score: 15

Composed of three separate stories, the film vividly portrays Taiwan during the cold war period when the country developed its economy with help from the United States.

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10 ) Millennium Mambo (2001)

 Millennium Mambo (2001) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 7
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 13
  • IMDB User Review Score: 11
  • Letterboxd User Score: 5

Taipei. A voice off-camera looks back ten years to 2000, when Vicky was in an on-again off-again relationship with Hao-Hao…

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9 ) Three Times (2005)

 Three Times (2005) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 6
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 12
  • IMDB User Review Score: 11
  • Letterboxd User Score: 5

There are three stories of women and men: in “A Time for Love” set in 1966, a soldier searches for a young woman he met one afternoon playing pool; “A Time for Freedom,” set in a bordello in 1911, revolves around a singer’s longing to escape her surroundings; in “A Time for Youth” set in 2005 Taipei, a triangle in which a singer has an affair with a photographer while her partner suffers is dramatized. In the first two stories, letters are crucial to the outcome; in the third, it’s cell-phone calls, text messages, and a computer file. Over the years between the tales, as sexual intimacy becomes more likely and words more free, communication recedes.

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8 ) Daughter of the Nile (1987)

 Daughter of the Nile (1987) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 1
  • IMDB User Review Score: 11
  • Letterboxd User Score: 10

The eldest daughter of a broken and troubled family works to keep the family together and look after her younger siblings, who are slipping into a life of crime.

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7 ) Goodbye South, Goodbye (1996)

 Goodbye South, Goodbye (1996) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 5
  • IMDB User Review Score: 8
  • Letterboxd User Score: 5

Gao (Jack Kao) is riding the train to Pinghsi to set up a 10 day gambling den with his friend Hsi (Hsi Hsiang).

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6 ) Dust in the Wind (1986)

 Dust in the Wind (1986) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 6
  • IMDB User Review Score: 3
  • Letterboxd User Score: 5

A-yuan and A-yun are both from the small mining town of Jio-fen. In the city, A-yuan is an apprentice by day and goes to night school, and A-yun works as a helper at a tailors. Everyone thinks they are meant for each other, so do they. They fail to see time and fate are beyond their control.

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4 ) Flowers of Shanghai (1998)

 Flowers of Shanghai (1998) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 6
  • Letterboxd User Score: 2

Women struggle in a Shanghai brothel where everything only appears to be beautiful.

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4 ) The Puppetmaster (1993)

 The Puppetmaster (1993) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 9
  • IMDB User Review Score: 6
  • Letterboxd User Score: 5

In the first half of this century, young Li Tienlu joins a travelling puppet theatre and subsequently makes a career as one of Taiwan’s leading puppeteers.

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3 ) A Summer at Grandpa’s (1984)

 A Summer at Grandpa's (1984) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 4
  • IMDB User Review Score: 2
  • Letterboxd User Score: 2

A coming-of-age story about a young brother and sister whom spend a pivotal summer in the country with their grandparents.

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2 ) A Time to Live, a Time to Die (1985)

 A Time to Live, a Time to Die (1985) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 7
  • IMDB User Review Score: 3
  • Letterboxd User Score: 2

The semi-autobiographical film on director Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s childhood and adolescence, when he was growing up in Taiwan, living through the deaths of his father, mother and grandmother.

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1 ) A City of Sadness (1989)

 A City of Sadness (1989) Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 2
  • IMDB User Review Score: 1
  • Letterboxd User Score: 1

Soon after Japan relinquishes control of Taiwan in 1945, the Lin brothers face hardships from the changing culture. Bar owner Wen-heung (Chen Sown-yung), the eldest brother, falls foul of local gangsters, Wen-sun disappears, and Wen-leung, scarred by his experiences in the war, ends up in an insane asylum. Deaf-mute photographer Wen-ching (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), the youngest brother, decides to make a stand and fight the Kuomintang government from China that is assuming power.

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Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Best Movies



Hou Hsiao-hsien Review Website Filmography Rankings

Film RT Critic RT User IMDB Letterboxd Overal Rank
A City of Sadness (1989) 1 2 1 1 1
A Time to Live, a Time to Die (1985) 1 7 3 2 2
A Summer at Grandpa’s (1984) 10 4 2 2 3
Flowers of Shanghai (1998) 5 8 6 2 4
The Puppetmaster (1993) 1 9 6 5 4
Dust in the Wind (1986) 10 6 3 5 6
Goodbye South, Goodbye (1996) 10 5 8 5 7
Daughter of the Nile (1987) 10 1 11 10 8
Three Times (2005) 6 12 11 5 9
Millennium Mambo (2001) 7 13 11 5 10
Café Lumière (2003) 4 9 11 13 11
The Sandwich Man (1983) 10 2 10 15 11
Good Men, Good Women (1995) 10 11 8 10 13
The Boys from Fengkuei (1983) 10 17 5 10 14
Flight of the Red Balloon (2007) 7 14 15 13 15
The Assassin (2015) 9 16 18 15 16
The Green, Green Grass of Home (1982) 10 15 15 18 16
10+10 (2011) 10 17 17 17 18
Play While You Play (1981) 10 17 19 18 19
Lovable You (1980) 10 17 20 20 20

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