Action/Adventure, Best Movies, Director Filmography Rankings, Drama, Family, Filmography By First Name, Filmography By Last Name, First Name: W-Z, Foreign-Language, History, Last Name: W-Z, Movie Ranking, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, War

Ranking All Of Director Zhang Yimou’s Movies

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

We took all of the movies directed by Zhang Yimou and looked at their Rotten Tomato Critic, Rotten Tomato User, Metacritic, Metacritic 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 Zhang Yimou



24 ) Codename Cougar (1989)

Codename Cougar (1989)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 18
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 19
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 24
  • Letterboxd User Score: 23

The film follows a commercial airliner on a routine flight between Taipei and Seoul that is hijacked and taken to mainland China by the fictional Taiwan Revolutionary Army Front. Communist authorities cannot seize the plane because of the presence of an important business figure on the flight, and agree to cooperate discreetly with Taiwanese authorities to defuse an already tense situation.



23 ) A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009)

A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 18
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 19
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 9
  • IMDB User Review Score: 23
  • Letterboxd User Score: 21

Wang is a gloomy, cunning and avaricious noodle shop owner in a desert town in China. His neglected, sharp-tongued wife is involved in a secret affair with Li, one of Wang’s employees. A timid man, Li reluctantly keeps the gun his lover has bought to kill her husband. But Wang is watching their every move. He bribes patrol officer Zhang to murder the illicit couple. It seems like a perfect plan: the affair will come to a cruel, bloody but satisfying end… or so he thinks. The equally wicked Zhang has an agenda of his own. As the plot twists, more blood will flow, and ever greater violence will erupt…



22 ) The Great Wall (2016)

The Great Wall (2016)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 17
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 18
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 9
  • IMDB User Review Score: 22
  • Letterboxd User Score: 22

European mercenaries searching for black powder become embroiled in the defense of the Great Wall of China against a horde of monstrous creatures.



21 ) To Each His Own Cinema (2007)

To Each His Own Cinema (2007)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 18
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 19
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 21
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

A collective film of 33 shorts directed by different directors about their feeling about cinema.



20 ) Keep Cool (1997)

Keep Cool (1997)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 18
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 17
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 16
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

China, the 1990s. A young bookseller is in love with a woman. The woman is now with another guy, a rich man. The rich man sends his people to beat the bookseller. In the fight, the laptop computer from a man looking at the scene gets broken. Who will pay for the computer? The bookseller wants revenge. Will it be useful? The bookseller and the laptop owner are from different ages and classes. They are two different points of view, two different Chinas. How will they fight for justice?



19 ) Puccini: Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing (1999)

Puccini: Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing (1999)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 18
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 19
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 5
  • Letterboxd User Score: 23

Turandot at the Forbidden City is a 1998 live production of Puccini’s opera Turandot directed by Zhang Yimou. The opera was performed by Giovanna Casolla, Audrey Stottler, and Sharon Sweet alternating as Princess Turandot; Kristján Jóhannsson, Sergej Larin and Lando Bartolini as Calàf; and Barbara Frittoli, Angela-Maria Blasi and Barbara Hendricks as Liù, with Zubin Mehta conducting the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino.



18 ) Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 15
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 16
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 9
  • Metacritic User Score: 6
  • IMDB User Review Score: 20
  • Letterboxd User Score: 20

During China’s Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.



17 ) Under the Hawthorn Tree (2010)

Under the Hawthorn Tree (2010)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 18
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 13
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 18
  • Letterboxd User Score: 11

The daughter of a right-winger, schoolgirl Jing Qiu (Zhou Dong-Yu) is sent to the countryside for reeducation, and tasked to help write a textbook. There she meets Lao San (Shawn Dou), a young soldier with a bright future ahead. Despite the class divide and parental disapproval, romance blooms against turbulent times.



16 ) Shanghai Triad (1995)

Shanghai Triad (1995)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 9
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 15
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 16
  • Letterboxd User Score: 11

A provincial boy related to a Shanghai crime family is recruited by his uncle into cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 1930s to be a servant to a ganglord’s mistress.



15 ) Happy Times (2000)

Happy Times (2000)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 14
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 12
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 10
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 13
  • Letterboxd User Score: 11

Zhao is an old laid-off worker who’s dreaming of getting married. After trying unsuccessful proposals, he finally pair off with a gargantuan divorcée with two children. She, however, demands a lavish wedding and that Zhao finds a job and another place to stay for her blind step-daughter. Pretending he’s the General Manager of a non-existent posh hotel “Happy Times”, Zhao had to find ways and means of keeping both mother and stepdaughter happy.



14 ) Beijing 2008: Olympics Opening Ceremony (2008)

Beijing 2008: Olympics Opening Ceremony (2008)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 18
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 19
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 1
  • Letterboxd User Score: 7

The 2008 Summer Olympics opening ceremony was held at the Beijing National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest. It began at 8:00 pm China Standard Time (UTC+8) on August 8, 2008, as 8 is considered to be a lucky number.The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture. The stadium was full to its 91,000 capacity according to organizers.The final ascent to the torch featured Olympic gymnast Li Ning, who appeared to run through air around the membrane of the stadium. Featuring more than 15,000 performers, the ceremony lasted over four hours and was reported to have cost over US$100 million to produce.The opening ceremony was lauded by spectators and various international presses as spectacular and spellbinding and by many accounts “the greatest ever”.



13 ) Shadow (2018)

Shadow (2018)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 5
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 19
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 2
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 18
  • Letterboxd User Score: 11

About a king who attempts to lead his displaced people out of exile, and those who play a role in his mysterious plans.



12 ) The Flowers of War (2011)

The Flowers of War (2011)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 16
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 14
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 7
  • Metacritic User Score: 8
  • IMDB User Review Score: 9
  • Letterboxd User Score: 11

A Westerner finds refuge with a group of women in a church during Japan’s rape of Nanking in 1937. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.



11 ) Red Sorghum (1987)

Red Sorghum (1987)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 12
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 12
  • Letterboxd User Score: 7

An old leper who owned a remote sorghum winery dies. Jiu’er, the wife bought by the leper, and her lover, identified only as “my Grandpa” by the narrator, take over the winery and set up an idealized quasi-matriarchal community headed by Jiu’er. When the Japanese invaders subject the area to their rule and cut down the sorghum to make way for a road, the community rises up and resists as the sorghum grows anew.



9 ) Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005)

Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 13
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 11
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 5
  • Metacritic User Score: 4
  • IMDB User Review Score: 13
  • Letterboxd User Score: 11

Takada, a Japanese fisherman has been estranged from his son for many years, but when the son is diagnosed with terminal cancer his daughter-in-law, Rie, summons him to the hospital. Through a series of obstacles and relationships, he is brought unexpectedly closer to both an understanding of himself and of his son.



9 ) Coming Home (2014)

Coming Home (2014)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 6
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 8
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 4
  • Metacritic User Score: 7
  • IMDB User Review Score: 15
  • Letterboxd User Score: 17

Lu and Feng are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. He finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife no longer remembers him.



8 ) The Story of Qiu Ju (1992)

The Story of Qiu Ju (1992)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 7
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 9
  • Letterboxd User Score: 7

The Story of Qiu Ju is a 1992 Chinese comedy-drama film. The film was directed by Zhang Yimou and, as in many of his films, stars Gong Li in the title role. The screenplay is an adaption of Chen Yuanbin’s novella The Wan Family’s Lawsuit. The film tells the story of a peasant woman, Qiu Ju, who lives in a rural area of China. When her husband is kicked in the groin by the village head, Qiu Ju, despite her pregnancy, travels to a nearby town, and later a big city to deal with its bureaucrats and find justice.



7 ) Ju Dou (1990)

Ju Dou (1990)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 1
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 5
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 7
  • Letterboxd User Score: 4

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband’s nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband’s heir without revealing his parentage in this circular tragedy. Filmed in glowing technicolour, this tale of romantic and familial love in the face of unbreakable tradition is more universal than its setting.



5 ) To Live (1994)

To Live (1994)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 10
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 1
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 1
  • Letterboxd User Score: 2

Fugui and Jiazhen endure tumultuous events in China as their personal fortunes move from wealthy landownership to peasantry.



5 ) House of Flying Daggers (2004)

House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 8
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 10
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 1
  • Metacritic User Score: 1
  • IMDB User Review Score: 9
  • Letterboxd User Score: 7

In 9th century China, a corrupt government wages war against a rebel army called the Flying Daggers. A romantic warrior breaks a beautiful rebel out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.



4 ) Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 2
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 2
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 11
  • Metacritic User Score: 11
  • IMDB User Review Score: 3
  • Letterboxd User Score: 1

China in the 1920s. After her father’s death, 19 year old Songlian is forced to marry the much older lord of a powerful family. With three wives already, each living in a separate house within the great castle, there is fierce competition for his attention and the privileges that are gained. This competition gets out of hand…



3 ) The Road Home (1999)

The Road Home (1999)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 6
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 3
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 7
  • Metacritic User Score: 3
  • IMDB User Review Score: 5
  • Letterboxd User Score: 4

Prompted by the death of his father and the grief of his mother, a man recalls the story of how they met in flashback.



2 ) Not One Less (1999)

Not One Less (1999)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 3
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 3
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 5
  • Metacritic User Score: 5
  • IMDB User Review Score: 7
  • Letterboxd User Score: 4

Teacher Gao loves the students in his poor village and is devoted to educating them in the hope of their greater futures. When he is called away to tend to his dying mother for a month, the Mayor calls in an inexperienced 13 year-old replacement, Wei Minzhi; much to Teacher Gao’s dismay. Teacher Gao cannot stand the thought of losing anymore students: he has already lost twelve to ever-increasing attrition, and he promises Wei an extra 10 yuan if she succeeds in ensuring that upon his return, there will be not one less. Wei’s difficult mission to fulfill Teacher Gao’s wish and her own concern for the welfare of the children begins.



1 ) Hero (2002)

Hero (2002)

Review Website Ranks:

  • Rotten Tomatoes Critic: 3
  • Rotten Tomatoes Users: 6
  • Metacritc Critic Score: 3
  • Metacritic User Score: 1
  • IMDB User Review Score: 4
  • Letterboxd User Score: 3

One man defeated three assassins who sought to murder the most powerful warlord in pre-unified China.



Zhang Yimou’s Best Movies



Zhang Yimou Review Website Filmography Rankings

FilmRT CriticRT UserMC CriticMC UserIMDBLetterboxdOveral Rank
Hero (2002) 3 6 3 1 4 3 1
Not One Less (1999) 3 3 5 5 7 4 2
The Road Home (1999) 6 3 7 3 5 4 3
Raise the Red Lantern (1991) 2 2 11 11 3 1 4
To Live (1994) 10 1 11 11 1 2 5
House of Flying Daggers (2004) 8 10 1 1 9 7 5
Ju Dou (1990) 1 5 11 11 7 4 7
The Story of Qiu Ju (1992) 10 7 11 11 9 7 8
Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2005) 13 11 5 4 13 11 9
Coming Home (2014) 6 8 4 7 15 17 9
Red Sorghum (1987) 12 8 11 11 12 7 11
The Flowers of War (2011) 16 14 7 8 9 11 12
Shadow (2018) 5 19 2 11 18 11 13
Beijing 2008: Olympics Opening Ceremony (2008) 18 19 11 11 1 7 14
Happy Times (2000) 14 12 10 11 13 11 15
Shanghai Triad (1995) 9 15 11 11 16 11 16
Under the Hawthorn Tree (2010) 18 13 11 11 18 11 17
Curse of the Golden Flower (2006) 15 16 9 6 20 20 18
Puccini: Turandot at the Forbidden City of Beijing (1999) 18 19 11 11 5 23 19
Keep Cool (1997) 18 17 11 11 16 17 20
To Each His Own Cinema (2007) 18 19 11 11 21 17 21
The Great Wall (2016) 17 18 11 9 22 22 22
A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop (2009) 18 19 11 9 23 21 23
Codename Cougar (1989) 18 19 11 11 24 23 24

You Might Also Like