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Best Movies Starring Asian or Pacific Islanders

In the United States, May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. To celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, here are 20 Best Movies Starring Asian or Pacific Islanders. You can find various selections, which include Movies About Hawaii featuring the culture and heritage of Asian or Pacific Islanders. 

About Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in the United States will begin on May 1 and end on May 31. It's an annual celebration that recognizes the historical and cultural contributions of individuals and groups of Asian and Pacific Islander descent to the United States.

How to Celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to the UWCI, 8 Ways to Celebrate Asian/Pacific Heritage Month:
  1. Explore AAPI History. 
  2. Read Books with AAPI Connections. 
  3. Watch a Movie. 
  4. Support Central Indiana's Asian/Pacific Communities. 
  5. Explore Asian/Pacific Art. 
  6. Discover Asian/Pacific Horticulture. 
  7. Try Asian/Pacific Gourmet. 
  8. Learn about Indianapolis' Three Asian Sister Cities.

Best Movies Starring Asian or Pacific Islanders

Minari
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan Kim (Actors)

Minari

A Korean-American family weathers the challenges of starting a new life when they move to an Arkansas farm in search of the American dream.
Far Western
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Charlie Nagatani, Masuo Sasabe, Ryukichi Hayakawa (Actors)

Far Western

As Japan awakened from the horrors of WWII, the bittersweet sounds of American country music began drifting across the radio airwaves. Seventy years later, a devoted group of Japanese musicians pursued a lifelong passion for country music in honky-tonks from Tokyo to Nashville.
Parasite
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Kang Ho Song, Sun Kyun Lee, Yeo Jeong Cho (Actors)

Parasite

Greed and class discrimination threaten the relationship between the wealthy Park family and the destitute Kim clan in Bong Joon Ho's darkly hilarious modern fairytale.

Seven Samurai (English Subtitled)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima (Actors)

Seven Samurai

One of the most thrilling movie epics of all time, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai tells the story of a sixteenth-century village whose desperate inhabitants hire eponymous warriors to protect them from invading bandits.
The Joy Luck Club
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Lisa Lu, Tsai Chin, Kieu Chinh (Actors)

The Joy Luck Club

Young women explore the difficulties of mother/daughter relationships.

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Whale Rider

Whale Rider is a beautiful and empowering film; this critically acclaimed audience favorite is good for the whole family.
Crazy Rich Asians
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Michelle Yeoh (Actors)

Crazy Rich Asians

Based on the acclaimed worldwide bestseller. Native New Yorker Rachel Chu accompanies her boyfriend to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore and meets his family for the first time.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (4K UHD)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chow Yun Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi (Actors)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

An epic set against the breathtaking landscapes of ancient China, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon combines the exhilarating martial arts choreography by Yuen Wo-Ping (The Matrix) with the sensitivity and classical storytelling of an Ang Lee film. The result is something truly unexpected: romantic, emotionally powerful entertainment.
Mulan
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Eddie Murphy, Ming-Na Wen (Actors)

Mulan

A girl pretends to be a man and takes her father's place in the army.

To continue learning, check out the Mulan Movie Study

 

 
Life of Pi
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gerard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, Tabu (Actors)

Life of Pi

A shipwreck leaves a boy lost at sea aboard a lifeboat with a massive Bengal tiger in Ang Lee's visually stunning Oscar(R)-winner.
Abominable
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Chloe Bennet, Tenzing Norgay Trainor, Albert Tsai (Actors)

Abominable

When friends Yi (Chloe Bennet), Jin, and Peng discover a Yeti, they name him Everest and embark on a journey across China to reunite the magical creature with his family.
Moana
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Auli'i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House (Actors)

Moana

Moana sets sail on a daring mission to save her people. Along the way, she meets the once-mighty demigod Maui–together they cross the ocean on a fun-filled, action-packed voyage.
Always Be My Maybe
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Gerald Anderson, Arci Muñoz, Jane Oineza (Actors)

Always Be My Maybe

Jake (Gerald Anderson) and Tintin (Arci Munoz) are both reeling from bad breakups and sadly, are not over their exes. They decide to use each other physically to heal faster from them for nothing serious.
 
But what happens, if one of them does want to take it to a serious turn and define the relationship? “Always Be My Maybe” is a Filipino romantic comedy film from Star Cinema.
Lilo & Stitch
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Daveigh Chase, Christopher Michael Sanders, Tia Carrere (Actors)

Lilo & Stitch

A girl adopts a puppy that turns out to be a mischievous alien.

Over the Moon

Fueled by memories of her mother, resourceful Fei Fei builds a rocket to the moon on a mission to prove the existence of a legendary moon goddess. | Stream on Netflix

Yesterday (4K UHD)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino (Actors)

Yesterday

A struggling musician awakens to discover that he is the only person alive who knows who the Beatles are.
Jiro Dreams of Sushi
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Jiro Ono (Actor)

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

An enthralling portrait of 85-year-old Jiro Ono, the most famous sushi chef in Tokyo, whose award-winning eatery is a destination spot for sushi lovers everywhere.
Kubo and the Two Strings [4K]
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Charlize Theron, Art Parkinson, Ralph Fiennes (Actors)

Kubo and the Two Strings

Kubo mesmerizes the people of a local fishing village with his magical gift for spinning wild tales with origami.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (4K UHD)
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng'er Zhang (Actors)

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) must face the past he thought he left behind and confront his father, the leader of the dangerous Ten Rings organization.

Turning Red

Mei Lee is a 13-year-old girl who is torn between being her mother's obedient daughter and the chaos of her youth. As if that were not enough, she turns into a big red panda when she gets too excited. | Stream on Disney+

RELATED:  10 Movies About Hawaii

Finding ‘Ohana

A summer in rural Oahu takes an exciting turn for two Brooklyn-raised siblings when a journal pointing to long-lost treasure sets them on an epic adventure with new friends, and leads them to reconnect with their Hawaiian heritage.| Stream on Netflix

If you enjoyed this list of movies, I have a monthly membership for parents and educators that want to teach or supplement lessons with shows and movies.

“I absolutely love sharing movies with my kids as a way to teach them valuable lessons. It's like this awesome bonding experience where we all snuggle up on the couch with some popcorn, and I get to see their little faces light up with curiosity. Whether it's a classic with timeless morals or a new animated flick with hidden gems of wisdom, it's a fantastic way to impart important life lessons in a fun and engaging way. Plus, the post-movie discussions are priceless – hearing their take on the characters and the story adds a whole new dimension to our family time.” –a Homeschooling parent

With Homeschooling with Shows and Movies membership, you will get resources every month, including:

  • List of This Month’s Suggested Themes
  • List of Monthly Observances
  • List Of Movies for Unit Study
  • Unit Study Resource
  • Seasonal Activities (minimum of three)
  • (BONUSES) Resources for you, the teacher
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These resources are worth it if you'd like to easily incorporate shows and movies into your homeschooling.

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