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The Best Hong Kong Films Ever postmortem - Full list + stats + apology

WARNING: If this is your first exposure to this list of THE BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER then you need to stop reading and head back to the very beginning by reading this post. If you start at the beginning, you can witness the suspense and utter verbosity as we count down from film #200 all the way to film #1. But if you start reading with this list of full results, you’ll ruin the whole thing by seeing #1 first. And you know, nobody likes it when you ruin the whole thing.

We mean it: go back to the beginning or you’ll regret it later.


“Trust us. Go back to the beginning. We wish we could.”

Still here? Okay, let’s end this thing.

After many weeks, we’re finally bringing you the full list of results from our BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER reader vote. Sorry for the delay, but during the original 24-day run of the BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER (Back in December 2012!), I found out that my wife was expecting our first child. So after I rushed to finish the results of the reader vote I ditched nearly all distractions besides work, the occasional film review, sleep and BIOSHOCK INFINITE in order to deal with his arrival.

The upcoming birth of my son is why I’ve let this blog and the main LoveHKFilm website go to seed. The site and its associated activities — which include but are not limited to film festivals, film-related freelance work and most of my friends — will likely be pushed to the side after he’s born so I can be something resembling a responsible parent. Chances for success are slim but it’s not like there are any other options.

The upside to this whole fatherhood thing is that I finally have someone I can pass LoveHKFilm to. I originally thought I’d be handing it off to one of the site contributors but that dream died a few years back. With the next generation on its way, LoveHKFilm.com will one day boast film reviews by someone named “Kozo Jr.” Yay! LoveHKFilm.com will survive until 2046!

Yeah, like that would ever happen. I should never expect my son to have an interest in LoveHKFilm.com, nor that he’ll keep it going until 2046. Donnie Yen knows the score:

So enough about me. Let’s get to the complete list of THE BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER.

In case you need a refresher: sometime in November 2012, we asked LoveHKFilm.com’s readers to send in their lists of the Best Hong Kong Films Ever, pulled from the sum totality of all the Hong Kong films they had seen. 166 people answered and we came up with our 24 day-long BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER countdown, which ran from December 2012 through January 2013. The countdown basically sapped all our time and again reaffirmed why I am not a statistics or mathematics major. On the plus side, I’ve gotten really good at searching in Chinese for images.

Quick reminder on this list: all Mainland China films released after 1997 and receiving play in Hong Kong via video or cinema do count in this list. So please don’t ask why we allowed GREEN TEA to stay on this thing.

So below you’ll find the first 200 films, and then the following 279. Some titles have been bolded because I’ve added some annotations (or bad jokes) on their selection. Sorry, no links to LoveHKFilm.com or HKMDB reviews but you can use the handy site search box located way up the page to the left. At the bottom are some notes and small trivia and then that’s it. This feature will finally be over and the monkey will finally be off our back.

Here we go:

The Top 200

1. CHUNGKING EXPRESS (1994), 636 points, 24 first place votes
2. INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002), 573 points, 14 first place votes
3. A BETTER TOMORROW (1986), 489.5 points, 10 first place votes
4. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (2000), 475 points, 7 first place votes
5. THE KILLER (1989), 397 points, 10 first place votes
6. HARD BOILED (1992), 384.5 points, 5 first place votes
7. POLICE STORY (1985), 348.5 points, 3 first place votes
8. A CHINESE GHOST STORY (1987), 277.5 points, 5 first place votes
9. PEKING OPERA BLUES (1986), 275 points, 4 first place votes
10. SHAOLIN SOCCER (2001), 269.5 points
11. THE MISSION (1999), 248.5 points, 2 first place votes
12. DAYS OF BEING WILD (1991), 239 points, 4 first place votes
13. BULLET IN THE HEAD (1990), 236 points, 4 first place votes
14. DRUNKEN MASTER 2 (1994), 210.5 points, 3 first place votes
15. RUNNING OUT OF TIME (1999), 195 points, 2 first place votes
16. COMRADES, ALMOST A LOVE STORY (1996), 183.5 points, 1 first place vote
17. ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA (1991), 176.5 points, 2 first place votes
18. ASHES OF TIME (1994), 163.5 points, 2 first place votes
19. FALLEN ANGELS (1995), 162.5 points, 3 first place votes
20. KUNG FU HUSTLE (2004), 156 points, 1 first place vote
21. EXILED (2006), 155.5 points
22. A CHINESE ODYSSEY (1995), 147 points
23. ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA 2 (1992), 134.5 points
24. GOD OF COOKERY (1996), 133 points, 4 first place votes
25. THROW DOWN (2004), 128 points, 1 first place vote
26. A MOMENT OF ROMANCE (1990), 124 points, 1 first place vote
27. FIST OF FURY (1972), 122.5 points, 3 first place votes
28. CROUCHING TIGER HIDDEN DRAGON (2000), 122.5 points, 1 first place vote
29. GOD OF GAMBLERS (1989), 122 points, 2 first place votes
30. PROJECT A (1983), 119 points, 1 first place vote
31. HERO (2002), 118 points, 1 first place vote
32. FONG SAI YUK (1993), 111 points
33. RED CLIFF (2008), 110 points, 2 first place votes
34. ELECTION (2005), 110 points
35. AN AUTUMN’S TALE (1987), 102.5 points
36. INFERNAL AFFAIRS 2 (2003), 100.5 points, 2 first place votes
37. MR. VAMPIRE (1985), 96.5 points, 1 first place vote
38. COME DRINK WITH ME (1966), 95 points
39. HAPPY TOGETHER (1997), 88.5 points, 1 first place vote
40. FIST OF LEGEND (1994), 84.5 points, 1 first place vote
41. 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN (1978), 82.5 points, 1 first place vote
42. ELECTION 2 (2006), 82.5 points
43. SWORDSMAN 2 (1991), 80.5 points
44. THE PRIVATE EYES (1976), 80.5 points
45. CITY ON FIRE (1987), 80 points
46. BEAST COPS (1998), 79.5 points, 2 first place votes
47. MADE IN HONG KONG (1997), 76 points, 1 first place vote
48. ROUGE (1988), 74.5 points
49. PEDICAB DRIVER (1989), 73 points, 1 first place vote
50. EASTERN CONDORS (1987), 71 points, 1 first place vote
51. 2046 (2004), 70 points, 1 first place vote
52. ONE NITE IN MONGKOK (2004), 68 points, 1 first place vote
53. KING OF COMEDY (1999), 68 points
54. IP MAN (2008), 67 points
55. DRUNKEN MASTER (1978), 65.5 points
56. SHANGHAI BLUES (1984), 64 points, 2 first place votes
57. NEEDING YOU… (2000), 63 points
58. RUNNING ON KARMA (2003), 62.5 points
59. ZU: WARRIORS FROM THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN (1983), 57 points
60. MAD DETECTIVE (2007), 55.5 points
61. THE PRODIGAL SON (1981), 54.5 points, 1 first place vote
62. THE BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR (1993), 54 points
63. A SIMPLE LIFE (2011), 53 points
64. PROJECT A II (1987), 53 points
65. IRON MONKEY (1993), 50.5 points
66. FULL CONTACT (1992), 50 points
67. DANGEROUS ENCOUNTER - 1ST KIND (1980), 49.5 points
68. FLIRTING SCHOLAR (1993), 48.5 points, 2 first place votes
69. THE BLADE (1995), 48.5 points
70. DRAGON INN (1992), 48.5 points
71. LOST IN TIME (2003), 48 points
72. LONG ARM OF THE LAW (1984), 48 points
73. BOAT PEOPLE (1982), 48 points
74. ON THE RUN (1988), 47.5 points
75. THE LONGEST NITE (1998), 47 points
76. HE’S A WOMAN, SHE’S A MAN (1994), 46.5 points, 2 first place votes
77. THE WAY WE ARE (2008), 45 points, 1 first place vote
78. CRIPPLED AVENGERS (1978), 45 points
79. DIRTY HO (1979), 45 points
80. LUST, CAUTION (2007), 44.5 points
81. PRISON ON FIRE (1987), 43.5 points
82. SPL (2005), 43 points
83. THE WAY OF THE DRAGON (1972), 43 points
84. CENTRE STAGE (1992), 42 points
85. LIFE WITHOUT PRINCIPLE (2011), 41.5 points, 2 first place votes
86. FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE (1994), 41 points
87. THE BIG BOSS (1971), 38.5 points
88. THE MILLIONAIRES’ EXPRESS (1987), 37.5 points, 1 first place vote
89. THE LOVE ETERNE (1963), 36.5 points, 1 first place vote
90. BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS (2009), 36.5 points
91. ALL ABOUT AH LONG (1989), 36.5 points
92. HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE’S MY FATHER! (1993), 35.5 points, 1 first place vote
93. LOVE ON DELIVERY (1994), 35.5 points
94. THE WILD, WILD ROSE (1960), 35.5 points
95. TOO MANY WAYS TO BE NO. 1 (1997), 35 points
96. DRAGONS FOREVER (1988), 35 points
97. THE HEROIC TRIO (1993), 33 points
98. HERO NEVER DIES (1998), 33 points
99. SNAKE IN THE EAGLE’S SHADOW (1978), 33 points
100. WHEELS ON MEALS (1984), 32.5 points
101. GREEN SNAKE (1993), 31 points
102. PTU (2003), 30.5 points
103. NAKED KILLER (1993), 29.5 points, 1 first place vote
104. FULL ALERT (1997), 29.5 points
105. ONCE A THIEF (1991), 28.5 points
106 (TIE). POLICE STORY 2 (1988), 28.5 points
106 (TIE). SPOOKY ENCOUNTERS (1980), 28.5 points
108. ENTER THE DRAGON (1973), 28.5 points
109. THE ARCH (1968), 28 points, 1 first place vote
110. YOUNG AND DANGEROUS (1996), 28 points
111. FEARLESS (2006), 27.5 points
112. PERHAPS LOVE (2005), 27.5 points
113. AS TEARS GO BY (1988), 27 points
114. TIME AND TIDE (2000), 27 points
115 (TIE). JULY RHAPSODY (2001), 26.5 points
115 (TIE). THE FIVE VENOMS (1978), 26.5 points
115 (TIE). WILD SEARCH (1991), 26.5 points
118. SONG OF THE EXILE (1990), 26.5 points
119. OUR SISTER HEDY (1957), 26 points, 1 first place vote
120. HEROES OF THE EAST (1978), 26 points
121. CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER (2006), 26 points
122 (TIE). CHICKEN AND DUCK TALK (1988), 25.5 points
122 (TIE). MY LEFT EYE SEES GHOSTS (2002), 25.5 points
124. FORBIDDEN CITY COP (1996), 25.5 points
125. POLICE STORY 3: SUPERCOP (1992), 25 points
126. DUEL TO THE DEATH (1983), 24.5 points
127. DR. MACK (1995), 24 points, 2 first place votes
128. ALL’S WELL END’S WELL (1992), 24 points
129. THE YOUNG MASTER (1980), 24 points
130. THE CHINESE FEAST (1995), 24 points
131 (TIE). LOST AND FOUND (1996), 23.5 points
131 (TIE). MEN SUDDENLY IN BLACK (2003), 23.5 points
133. FINAL VICTORY (1986), 23.5 points
134. MIRACLES (1989), 23 points
135. WU XIA (2011), 22.5 points
136. CHINESE ODYSSEY 2002 (2002), 22.5 points
137. PROTÉGÉ (2007), 22.5 points
138. A FIGHTER’S BLUES (2000), 22.5 points
139. ROYAL TRAMP I & ROYAL TRAMP II (1992), 22 points
140. JIANG HU: THE TRIAD ZONE (2000), 22 points
141. C’EST LA VIE, MON CHERI (1993), 21.5 points
142. THE BEAST STALKER (2008), 21 points
143. AH YING (1983), 21 points
144. THE DEAF AND MUTE HEROINE (1971), 21 points
145. THE EAGLE SHOOTING HEROES (1993), 20.5 points, 1 first place vote
146. THE BIG HEAT (1987), 20.5 points, 1 first place vote
147. METADE FUMACA (1999), 20.5 points
148. THE MAGNIFICENT BUTCHER (1979), 20.5 points
149. EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED (1998), 20.5 points
150. ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN (1967), 20 points
151. ALL FOR THE WINNER (1990), 20 points
152. JUSTICE, MY FOOT! (1992), 20 points
153. GOD OF GAMBLERS 2 (1991), 19.5 points
154 (TIE). MY HEART IS THAT ETERNAL ROSE (1989), 19.5 points
154 (TIE). NOMAD (1982), 19.5 points
156. FUTURE COPS (1993), 19 points, 1 first place vote
157. BIG BULLET (1996), 19 points
158. WINNERS AND SINNERS (1983), 19 points
159. MAMBO GIRL (1957), 19 points
160. INTIMATE CONFESSIONS OF A CHINESE COURTESAN (1972), 18.5 points
161. FULLTIME KILLER (2001), 18 points
162. BOXER FROM SHANTUNG (1972), 17.5 points, 1 first place vote
163. SCHOOL ON FIRE (1988), 17.5 points
164. MCDULL, PRINCE DE LA BUN (2004), 17.5 points
165 (TIE). THE TAI-CHI MASTER (1993), 17 points
165 (TIE). YOUNG AND DANGEROUS 3 (1996), 17 points
167. AIR HOSTESS (1959), 16 points, 1 first place vote
168. THE STOOL PIGEON (2010), 16 points
169 (TIE). A BETTER TOMORROW 2 (1987), 16 points
169 (TIE). SUMMER SNOW (1995), 16 points
171. THE BARE-FOOTED KID (1993), 16 points
172. YOUNG AND DANGEROUS: THE PREQUEL (1998), 16 points
173. ODD COUPLE (1979), 15.5 points, 1 first place vote
174. THE BLOOD BROTHERS (1973), 15.5 points
175 (TIE). ACCIDENT (2009), 15.5 points
175 (TIE). JUST ONE LOOK (2003), 15.5 points
175 (TIE). THE ODD ONE DIES (1997), 15.5 points
178. REIGN OF ASSASSINS (2009), 15.5 points
179. JULIET IN LOVE (2000), 15 points
180. THE TWINS EFFECT (2003), 15 points
181. SO CLOSE (2002), 14.5 points, 1 first place vote
182. THE 8 DIAGRAM POLE FIGHTER (1983), 14.5 points
183. MY YOUNG AUNTIE (1981), 14.5 points
184. SEX AND ZEN (1991), 14 points
185. SPARROW (2007), 14 points
186. GALLANTS (2010), 14 points
187 (TIE). CAGEMAN (1992), 14 points
187 (TIE). THE CASE OF THE COLD FISH (1995), 14 points
187 (TIE). THE MAGIC BLADE (1976), 14 points
190. KING BOXER (1972), 13.5 points, 1 first place vote
191. MY LIFE AS MCDULL (2001), 13.5 points
192. OUT OF THE DARK (1995), 13 points, 1 first place vote
193. STORY OF RICKY (1992), 13 points
194. HONG KONG 1941 (1984), 13 points
195. AFTER THIS, OUR EXILE (2006), 13 points
196. OVERHEARD (2009), 12.5 points
197. THE DIARY OF A BIG MAN (1988), 12.5 points
198 (TIE). LAST HURRAH FOR CHIVALRY (1979), 12.5 points
198 (TIE). LEGENDARY WEAPONS OF CHINA (1982), 12.5 points
200. IN THE LINE OF DUTY 4 (1989), 12 points

Everything Else:

201. DREADNAUGHT (1981), 12 points
202. FLY ME TO POLARIS (1999), 11.5 points
203. KILLER CONSTABLE (1980), 11.5 points
204. TOKYO RAIDERS (2000), 11.5 points *I like TOKYO RAIDERS, but this is way too high for a film staring Ekin Cheng as an interior designer and wushu champion. Hey, did you know Kou Shibasaki appeared in this film?
205. INFERNAL AFFAIRS 3 (2003), 11.5 points
206. RUMBLE IN THE BRONX (1995), 11.5 points
207. THE FATE OF LEE KHAN (1973), 11.5 points
208. WARRIORS TWO (1978), 11 points
209. ACES GO PLACES (1982), 11 points *Should have made Top 200, if only for legacy.
210. ECHOES OF THE RAINBOW (2009), 11 points
211. THE STORY OF A DISCHARGED PRISONER (1967), 11 points
212. TWIN DRAGONS (1992), 11 points
213. A WAR NAMED DESIRE (2000), 10.5 points, 1 first place vote
214. MOTORWAY (2012), 10 points, 1 first place vote *Guaranteed this would be higher if we voted today.
215. THE BULLET VANISHES (2012), 10 points, 1 first place vote
216. CRAZY ‘N THE CITY (2005), 10 points
217. THE EYE (2002), 10 points *If the Pang Brothers had delivered on THE EYE’s early promise, this film would probably rank Top 100. Too many movies like IN LOVE WITH THE DEAD and SLEEPWALKER ended any hope of that.
218. YESTERDAY ONCE MORE (2004), 10 points
219. BEYOND HYPOTHERMIA (1996), 9.5 points
220. MY NAME IS FAME (2006), 9.5 points
221. MAN ON THE BRINK (1981), 9.5 points *VCD for the win! Because you won’t find Alex Cheung’s crime thriller, the proto-INFERNAL AFFAIRS and one of the HK Film Archive’s Must See Hong Kong Movies, on DVD.
222. ONE ARMED BOXER (1971), 9.5 points
223. THE GREATEST CIVIL WAR ON EARTH (1961), 9.5 points
224. WING CHUN (1994), 9.5 points
225. AV (2005), 9.5 points *Featuring an appearance by Tim Youngs, who voted in this reader poll. I don’t remember if he voted for AV.
226. HONG KONG NOCTURNE (1967), 9.5 points
227. RUN AND KILL (1993), 9.5 points
228. BULLETS OVER SUMMER (1999), 9 points *Back when Wilson Yip was an exciting filmmaker, he turned in this cop soap opera gem. I’d give five IP MAN movies for two more films like BULLETS OVER SUMMER or BIO-ZOMBIE.
229. DUMPLINGS (2004), 9 points
230. HERO (1997), 9 points *It’s the “other” HERO. Comedy-drama mix is uneven, but the action is strong stuff. One of the last films to be made with that late 80s-early 90s HK Cinema verve. Plus this is the second teaming of Takeshi Kaneshiro and Yuen Biao. Name the first.
231. THE DETECTIVE (2007), 9 points
232. YOU SHOOT, I SHOOT (2001), 9 points
233. LEE ROCK (1991), 9 points
234. LOVE IN THE TIME OF TWILIGHT (1995), 9 points *Yet another weird, wildly creative and also forgotten Tsui Hark film. France has a DVD but Hong Kong only has a VCD. The injustice reigns.
235. MOONLIGHT EXPRESS (1999), 9 points
236. PLAYBOY COPS (2008), 9 points - *Just stop the pain.
237. BORN WILD (2001), 8.5 points - *Patrick Tam turned in one of the greatest supporting performances ever in this film, but everyone forgets because the movie is, well, BORN WILD. Sadly, Jo Koo never became a major actress despite being scads more talented than many of her contemporaries.
238. RED TO KILL (1994), 8.5 points
239. WHISPERS AND MOANS (2007), 8.5 points
240. AUTUMN MOON (1992), 8.5 points *Available on Region 1 DVD from Image Entertainment! Hong Kong could not care less, which is par for the course for a Clara Law film.
241. BOYS ARE EASY (1993), 8.5 points *Cherish your laserdisc of this Wong Jing wackfest because it’s got the triad olympics and bowling musical sequence cut from the later remastered Mei Ah DVD. The all-star cast in this film cannot be beat.

242. DANCE OF THE DRUNKEN MANTIS (1979), 8.5 points
243. GLASS TEARS (2001), 8.5 points
244. THE DAY THE SUN TURNED COLD (1994), 8.5 points
245. THE SPLENDOUR OF YOUTH (1957), 8.5 points
246. THE WINDOW (1968), 8.5 points *Yet another Lung Kong classic that you can only watch on Hong Kong TV late at night. We’ll never see this on DVD, will we?
247. LOVE ON A DIET (2001), 8 points
248. ONE-ARMED BOXER VS. FLYING GUILLOTINE (1975), 8 points
249. TOM. DICK AND HAIRY (1993), 8 points
250. DR. LAMB (1993), 8 points
251. DRAGON SQUAD (2005), 8 points
252. HONG KONG, HONG KONG (1983), 8 points
253. LOVE IN A FALLEN CITY (1984), 8 points
254. PAINTED SKIN (2008), 8 points
255. TASK FORCE (1997), 8 points *Unsung Patrick Leung cop soap opera that’s so underrated that it’s starting to become overrated. Would love to see this remastered but nobody out there cares.
256. THE CONTRACT (1978), 8 points
257. GAMES GAMBLERS PLAY (1974), 7.5 points
258. HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS (2004), 7.5 points
259. PEOPLE’S HERO (1987), 7.5 points
260. THE 14 AMAZONS (1972), 7.5 points
261. THE LOVERS (1994), 7.5 points
262. BALLISTIC KISS (1998), 7.5 points *Donnie Yen as a soulful hitman means instant genre attention. But Yen’s insane direction and over-the-top melodrama make it a comedy classic.
263. BRUCE LEE: MY BROTHER (2010), 7.5 points
264. KILLER CLANS (1976), 7.5 points
265. LAN KWAI FONG SWINGERS (1993), 7.5 points
266. SWORDSMAN 3: EAST IS RED (1993), 7.5 points
267. THE LEGEND OF THE 7 GOLDEN VAMPIRES (1974), 7.5 points
268. ACES GO PLACES 2 (1983), 7 points
269. BEIJING ROCKS (2001), 7 points
270. DOG BITE DOG (2006), 7 points
271. HER FATAL WAYS (1990), 7 points *It is criminal that this Carol Cheng classic ranked so low. Once upon a time, Cheng was Queen of the Box Office, and HER FATAL WAYS was her crown jewel.
272. INSPECTOR CHOCOLATE (1986), 7 points
273. INVISIBLE TARGET (2007), 7 points
274. LAST HERO IN CHINA (1993), 7 points *Yay for funny Wong Fei-Hong movies. One hopes that we will one day see Wong Cho-Lam as the funny Ip Man.
275. MARRY A RICH MAN (2002), 7 points
276. TEDDY GIRLS (1969), 7 points
277. THE KINGDOM AND THE BEAUTY (1959), 7 points
278. THE ROAD HOME (1999), 7 points
279. THE SUN ALSO RISES (2007), 7 points
280. THE WEST CHAMBER (1965), 7 points
281. VENGEANCE (1970), 7 points
282. DURIAN DURIAN (2000), 6.5 points
283. HOOKED ON YOU (2007), 6.5 points
284. LOVE IN A PUFF (2010), 6.5 points
285. VULGARIA (2012), 6.5 points *I bet cash money that if we had run this Reader Vote in November 2013, VULGARIA would easily have cracked the Top 150, if not Top 100.
286. A CHINESE GHOST STORY 2 (1990), 6.5 points
287. ARMOUR OF GOD (1987), 6.5 points
288. LOVE UNDERCOVER (2002), 6.5 points *A shameful finish for this key Hong Kong film of the aughts. Yeah, it’s not gritty genre fare but it does have Hui Siu-Hung as Fong Chung Sir. “Go go go!” is a everyday Hong Kong catchphrase thanks to this film.
289. FESTIVAL MOON (1953), 6.5 points
290. HAVE SWORD WILL TRAVEL (1969), 6.5 points
291. KNOCKABOUT (1979), 6.5 points
292. MERRY GO ROUND (2010), 6.5 points
293. THE LADY PUNISHER (1994), 6.5 points
294. YOUNG AND DANGEROUS 4 (1997), 6.5 points
295. BURNING PARADISE (1994), 6 points
296. INTRUDER (1997), 6 points
297. THE VALIANT ONES (1975), 6 points
298. WU YEN (2001), 6 points
299. 92 LA LEGENDARY ROSE NOIRE (1992), 6 points
300. BURY ME HIGH (1991), 6 points
301. CONNECTED (2008), 6 points
302. GOLDEN CHICKEN (2002), 6 points
303. LACUNA (2012), 6 points
304. STREET OF FURY (1996), 6 points
305. THE STORM RIDERS (1998), 6 points
306. THE TRICKY MASTER (1999), 6 points
307. FAT CHOI SPIRIT (2002), 5.5 points
308. THE LONGEST SUMMER (1998), 5.5 points
309. IN LOVE WITH THE DEAD (2007), 5.5 points *Presumably, someone voted for this film because it features a scene where Stephy Tang eats her own vomit. Otherwise, I got nothing.
310. FIRST LOVE - THE LITTER ON THE BREEZE (1997), 5.5 points
311. GREAT DEVOTION (1960), 5.5 points
312. IF YOU ARE THE ONE (2008), 5.5 points
313. IP MAN 2 (2010), 5.5 points *MISTER TWISTER IS OUTRAGED THAT HIS MOVIE RANKS BELOW FILMS STARRING YELLOW PIECES OF LARD.
314. RAW COURAGE (1969), 5.5 points
315. SIXTY MILLION DOLLAR MAN (1995), 5.5 points
316. SHANGHAI GRAND (1996), 5 points
317. OKINAWA RENDEZVOUS (2000), 5 points
318. SHAOLIN (2011), 5 points
319. A WORLD WITHOUT THIEVES (2004), 5 points
320. ACES GO PLACES 3 (1984), 5 points
321. ANNA MAGDALENA (1998), 5 points
322. EIGHT TAELS OF GOLD (1989), 5 points
323. IMMORTAL STORY (1986), 5 points
324. SEALED WITH A KISS (1999), 5 points
325. THE DRAGON FAMILY (1988), 5 points
326. THE HOUSE OF 72 TENANTS (1972), 5 points
327. THE SECOND WOMAN (2012), 5 points *If it isn’t obvious by now, you should know that a Shawn Yue fan was stuffing the ballot box.
328. THE SOONG SISTERS (1997), 5 points
329. UNDERGROUND BANKER (1994), 5 points
330. THE UNTOLD STORY (1992), 4.5 points *What happened to THE UNTOLD STORY? It’s simply strange that one of Hong Kong’s most celebrated “extreme cinema” experiences would actually end up on a list below IF YOU ARE THE ONE. Anthony Wong and Herman Yau find your lack of faith disturbing.
331. BASTARD SWORDSMAN (1983), 4.5 points
332. FIGHT BACK TO SCHOOL (1991), 4.5 points
333. FIVE SHAOLIN MASTERS (1974), 4.5 points
334. SWORDSMAN (1990), 4.5 points
335. THE VIRAL FACTOR (2012), 4.5 points *Yes, it’s got great action and lots of bombast, but let’s be honest: THE VIRAL FACTOR is not a good film.
336. LONG ARM OF THE LAW II (1987), 4.5 points
337. MASTER OF ZEN (1994), 4.5 points
338. THE SHAOLIN TEMPLE (1976/1982), 4.5 points
339. THE SUPER INFRAMAN (1975), 4.5 points
340. BIO-ZOMBIE (1998), 4 points *Possibly Wilson Yip’s best film. Really!
341. HAPKIDO (1972), 4 points *Angela Mao detests her low ranking on this list. The seventies simply don’t get enough love, especially from this website.

342. COPS AND ROBBERS (1979), 4 points
343. CROSSING HENNESSY (2010), 4 points
344. DOWNTOWN TORPEDOES (1997), 4 points
345. DREAM HOME (2010), 4 points
346. DREAMING THE REALITY (1991), 4 points
347. EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN (1977), 4 points
348. GATES OF HELL (1995), 4 points
349. GREEN TEA (2003), 4 points
350. HER FATAL WAYS III (1992), 4 points
351. HER TENDER HEART (1959), 4 points
352. KING DRUMMER (1967), 4 points
353. LITTLE BIG SOLDIER (2009), 4 points
354. LOVE WITHOUT END (1970), 4 points
355. MEN BEHIND THE SUN (1988), 4 points
356. RAINING IN THE MOUNTAIN (1979), 4 points
357. THE BLACK ROSE (1965), 4 points
358. THE FEARLESS HYENA (1979), 4 points
359. THE NEW-ONE ARMED SWORDSMAN (1971), 4 points
360. THE SINGING KILLER (1970), 4 points
361. ROYAL WARRIORS (1986), 3.5 points
362. ALL THE WRONG SPIES (1983), 3.5 points
363. BISHONEN (1998), 3.5 points
364. HE LIVES BY NIGHT (1982), 3.5 points
365. I CORRUPT ALL COPS (2009), 3.5 points
366. LOVE MASSACRE (1981), 3.5 points *This film contains the best doorstop ever.
367. BLACK MASK (1996), 3 points
368. AH KAM (1996), 3 points
369. ALL THE WRONG CLUES (1981), 3 points
370. BEYOND OUR KEN (2004), 3 points *This film saw the future.
371. CLANS OF INTRIGUE (1977), 3 points
372. COLD WAR (2012), 3 points *This is maybe the only time in recorded history where you’ll ever see super-lauded and quite possibly overrated COLD WAR rated at the same level as ESCAPE FROM BROTHEL.
373. ESCAPE FROM BROTHEL (1992), 3 points
374. LOVE BATTLEFIELD (2004), 3 points
375. MERCENARIES FROM HONG KONG (1982), 3 points *Not the story of 21st century Hong Kong filmmakers in China.
376. SHANGHAI 13 (1984), 3 points
377. THE HEAVENLY KINGS (2006), 3 points
378. THE STORY OF WOO VIET (1981), 3 points
379. THE WARLORDS (2007), 3 points *Possibly the least loved Best Picture winner of the aughts. Critically-acclaimed and a big hit, and yet it can’t muster higher than 3 points. That’s terrible for a Peter Chan film starring Jet Li, Andy Lau and Takeshi Kaneshiro.
380. THE LUNATICS (1986), 2.5 points
381. THE OUTLAW BROTHERS (1990), 2.5 points
382. THE SEVENTH CURSE (1986), 2.5 points
383. VIVA EROTICA (1996), 2.5 points
384. DUEL AT TIGER VILLAGE (1978), 2.5 points
385. ISABELLA (2006), 2.5 points
386. RUNAWAY (2001), 2.5 points *A forgotten Dante Lam comedy before he reinvented himself as Hong Kong’s premier director of overwrought action spectacles.
387. THE BLOOD BROTHERS (2007), 2.5 points
388. THE VICTIM (1980), 2.5 points
389. BREAKING NEWS (2004), 2 points
390. INITIAL D (2005), 2 points
391. LOVING YOU (1995), 2 points
392. MY LUCKY STARS (1985), 2 points
393. ANGEL (1987), 2 points
394. CHINA BEHIND (1974), 2 points *From the director of THE ARCH and one of the Hong Kong Film Archive’s 100 Must-See Hong Kong Movies. Previously banned in China.
395. COMEUPPANCE (2000), 2 points
396. COOLIE KILLER (1982), 2 points
397. DRAGON LORD (1982), 2 points
398. EXECUTIONERS (1993), 2 points
399. FANTASIA (2004), 2 points
400. GEN-Y COPS (2002), 2 points *Someone is definitely trolling here. That same person likely also voted for Paul Rudd as one of the Best Hong Kong Film Performances so they’re apparently a dedicated troll. Whoever you are, trolls everywhere salute you. They’ll see you at the Jumbo.
401. GHOST LANTERN (1993), 2 points
402. GOD OF GAMBLERS 3: BACK TO SHANGHAI (1991), 2 points
403. HONG KONG GIGOLO (1990), 2 points
404. LET THE BULLETS FLY (2010), 2 points
405. LIFELINE (1997), 2 points *The melodrama hasn’t aged well but Johnnie To’s firefighter pic is still a quality Hong Kong film. Noticeably lacks the irony and wit that wins over cynical audiences.
406. NOBODY’S HERO (1989), 2 points
407. ONCE UPON A TIME IN TRIAD SOCIETY (1996), 2 points
408. SUSANNA (1967), 2 points
409. THE BEASTS (1980), 2 points
410. THE DEAD AND THE DEADLY (1982), 2 points
411. THE STORY OF MY SON (1990), 2 points *All you Milkyway Image fans have seen this Johnnie To movie, right?
412. TURN LEFT, TURN RIGHT (2003), 2 points
413. WALK IN (1997), 2 points *While probably not a Top 200 film, this Herman Yau change-up deserves far more love than it receives. Then again, history will probably never get excited about films headlined by Danny Lee and Dayo Wong.
414. YES, MADAM! (1985), 1.5 points
415. BROTHERS FIVE (1970), 1.5 points
416. DETECTIVE DEE AND THE MYSTERY OF THE PHANTOM FLAME (2009), 1.5 points
417. FIVE ELEMENT NINJA (1982), 1.5 points
418. FULL THROTTLE (1995), 1.5 points
419. HAPPY BIRTHDAY (2007), 1.5 points
420. JUDGEMENT OF AN ASSASSIN (1977), 1.5 points
421. NIGHT AND FOG (2009), 1.5 points
422. POLICE STORY 4: FIRST STRIKE (1996), 1.5 points
423. SUMMER HOLIDAY (2000), 1.5 points
424. THE SECRET OF THE DIRK (1970), 1.5 points *LeBron James wishes he had seen this film before participating in the 2011 NBA Finals.
425. THE SWORD (1980), 1.5 points
426. TIGER CAGE 2 (1990), 1.5 points
427. WINTER LOVE (BE MY LOVE) (1968), 1.5 points
428. THE BOXER’S OMEN (1983), 1 point
429. ARMOUR OF GOD 2 (1991), 1 point
430. BORN TO BE KING (2000), 1 point
431. CASINO RAIDERS 2 (1991), 1 point
432. CENTURY OF THE DRAGON (1999), 1 point
433. DR. WAI IN “THE SCRIPTURE WITH NO WORDS” (1996), 1 point
434. FATHER AND SON (1981), 1 point *Whoo. Way too low.
435. FIGHTING FOR LOVE (2001), 1 point
436. FLYING DAGGER (1993), 1 point *Oddly, I support the fact that someone actually voted for this film.
437. GORGEOUS (1999), 1 point
438. HER VENGEANCE (1988), 1 point
439. ITCHY HEART (2003), 1 point
440. LEGEND OF THE FIGHTER (1982), 1 point
441. LOST SOULS (1980), 1 point
442. LOVE IN THE BUFF (2012), 1 point
443. NEW POLICE STORY (2004), 1 point
444. NINTH HAPPINESS (1998), 1 point
445. RETURN TO THE 36TH CHAMBER (1980), 1 point
446. RUNAWAY BLUES (1989), 1 point
447. SEOUL RAIDERS (2005), 1 points - Sorry, just threw up in my mouth a little.
448. SHINJUKU INCIDENT (2009), 1 point
449. TEMPLE OF THE RED LOTUS (1965), 1 point
450. TEMPTING HEART (1999), 1 point
451. THE DELINQUENT (1973), 1 point
452. THE IMP (1981), 1 point *Underrated horror suspense film that amazingly got a remastered DVD released. You can still visit the shopping mall it was filmed in.
453. THE KILLER SNAKES (1974), 1 points *Kam Kwok-Leung stars in Indiana Jones’ least favorite film.

454. THE MIGHTY PEKING MAN (1977), 1 point
455. THREE AGAINST THE WORLD (1988), 1 point
456. TIGER ON THE BEAT (1988), 1 point
457. VENGEANCE (2009), 1 point *Even on a bad day, someone votes for Johnnie To.
458. WOMEN (1985), 1 point
459. YANG +/- YIN: GENDER IN CHINESE CINEMA (1998), 1 point
460. YOUNG AND DANGEROUS 2 (1996), 1 point

The Absolute Bottom
Films that got only a single 20th place vote

461. 20:30:40 (2004), 0.5 points
462. A BATTLE OF WITS (2006), 0.5 points
463. A TRUE MOB STORY (1998), 0.5 points
464. ALWAYS ON MY MIND (1993), 0.5 points
465. CLAUSTROPHOBIA (2009), 0.5 points
466. CONFESSION OF PAIN (2006), 0.5 points *From the same team that brought you the second-best Hong Kong movie ever!
467. DEMON OF THE LUTE (1983), 0.5 points *Haha, I can tell who voted for this without even checking the voting logs.
468. DEVIL FETUS (1983), 0.5 points
469. HERO DREAM (1992), 0.5 points
470. IT HAD TO BE YOU (2005), 0.5 points
471. MONKEY GOES WEST (1966), 0.5 points
472. MOONLIGHT IN TOKYO (2005), 0.5 points
473. PRINCESS D (2002), 0.5 points
474. THE BELLS OF DEATH (1968), 0.5 points
475. THE LEGEND OF ZU (2001), 0.5 points
476. THE MOON WARRIORS (1992), 0.5 points *Andy Lau + a killer whale = instant classic
477. THE WICKED CITY (1992), 0.5 points *A featured title at the 2013 Hong Kong International Film Festival! Really!
478. TWELVE NIGHTS (2000), 0.5 points *Kevin Ma, please give it up. People will never care about this movie.
479. WAI’S ROMANCE (1994), 0.5 points

Some fun stats.

- Total voters: 166 voters
- Total points awarded: 14,943.5 points
- Total number of films voted on: 479 films
- Total number of films voted on in our Eighties Poll: 228; Nineties Poll: 259 films; Aughts Poll: 176
- 91% of all points were given to the films in the Top 200 (13,634 total).
- 28% of all points were given to the top 10 films.
- Film with the most votes (tie): CHUNGKING EXPRESS and INFERNAL AFFAIRS with 84 votes each.
- Number of films that only received 1 vote: 201
- Year with most films nominated: 1993 with 24 films. 584.5 points given to films from 1993.
- Year with the most points given: 1994 with 1274 points for 16 films. 9% of all points given to films from 1994.
- Film with the most amount of first place votes: CHUNGKING EXPRESS, with 24 first place votes.
- Film with the most amount of votes that missed the Top 200: FLY ME TO POLARIS, with 4 votes. Came it at #202.
- Lowest scoring film with a first place vote (tie): MOTORWAY and THE BULLET VANISHES, each with 10 points and 1 vote.
- Highest ranked disqualified film: TOUCH OF ZEN, with 32 points. It would have ranked at #102 but qualifies as a Taiwan film.

Films and points by decade:

2010+: 234 points, 21 films
2000s: 3840 points, 119 films
1990s: 5748 points, 158 films
1980s: 3734 points, 98 films
1970s: 956.5 points, 55 films
1960s: 298.5 points, 21 films
1950s: 87 points, 7 films

Year-by-year list of Top Ranked films

2012 (tie): THE BULLET VANISHES
2012 (tie): MOTORWAY
2011: A SIMPLE LIFE
2010: STOOL PIGEON
2009: BODYGUARDS AND ASSASSINS
2008: RED CLIFF
2007: MAD DETECTIVE
2006: EXILED
2005: ELECTION
2004: KUNG FU HUSTLE
2003: INFERNAL AFFAIRS 2
2002: INFERNAL AFFAIRS
2001: SHAOLIN SOCCER
2000: IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE
1999: THE MISSION
1998: BEAST COPS
1997: HAPPY TOGETHER
1996: COMRADES, ALMOST A LOVE STORY
1995: FALLEN ANGELS
1994: CHUNGKING EXPRESS
1993: FONG SAI YUK
1992: HARD BOILED
1991: DAYS OF BEING WILD
1990: BULLET IN THE HEAD
1989: THE KILLER
1988: ROUGE
1987: A CHINESE GHOST STORY
1986: A BETTER TOMORROW
1985: POLICE STORY
1984: SHANGHAI BLUES
1983: PROJECT A
1982: BOAT PEOPLE
1981: THE PRODIGAL SON
1980: DANGEROUS ENCOUNTER - 1ST KIND
1979: DIRTY HO
1978: 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN
1977: EXECUTIONERS FROM SHAOLIN
1976: THE PRIVATE EYES
1975: ONE-ARMED BOXER VS. FLYING GUILLOTINE
1974: GAMES GAMBLERS PLAY
1973: ENTER THE DRAGON
1972: FIST OF FURY
1971: THE BIG BOSS
1970: VENGEANCE
1969: TEDDY GIRLS
1968: THE ARCH
1967: ONE-ARMED SWORDSMAN
1966: COME DRINK WITH ME
1965: THE WEST CHAMBER
1963: THE LOVE ETERNE
1961: THE GREATEST CIVIL WAR ON EARTH
1960: THE WILD, WILD ROSE
1959: AIR HOSTESS
1957: OUR SISTER HEDY
1953: FESTIVAL MOON

You’ll notice that there are some big gaps in the sixties and fifties, plus we ignore completely anything that was made before 1953. Not surprising, because the participants in this vote are not necessarily film scholars or Hong Kong film lifers. There are some film industry or media types sprinkled throughout, but the voters are mostly just regular fans who may have seen a few hundred Hong Kong films. Or they may have seen just fifty. I didn’t limit participation and the biases and obvious concentrations are all a part of it.

That said: despite the list leaning post-seventies, I’m very happy witih the fact that genre didn’t overwhelm the list. It did play a large part in certain films ranking higher, but there are lots of great choices and minor gems that show up. A big thanks to everyone who took part in this vote. In particular I’d like to thank the following voters, who I may or may not know or have corresponded with in real life: Kevin Ma, Tim Youngs, Valerie Soe, Laura Irvine, Jennifer Young, Maggie Lee, Lorna Tee, Shelly Kraicer, Lisa Roosen-Runge, Michael Wells, Adam Laidig, James Brown, Martin, Simon Booth, Jared King, Andrew Chan, Yin Szeto, Glenn Griffith, Phil Gillon, Vipula Gopal, Marco Sparmberg, Diogo Martins, Tim Chmilewski and Amy Yeung. That’s only a fraction of the respondents we did get, but I appreciate each and every one even if I did not namecheck you here.

That should do it for this vote of the BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER. As I’ve mentioned numerous times, this is the last LoveHKFilm Reader Vote. The “Best Ever” is a fitting swansong because there’s really nowhere to go now. The site will continue to provide occasional reviews of Hong Kong film and if we can we’ll blog or run periodic features. However, the site is officially on the downswing and that’s where it’ll be for a good long while.

Again, thanks for your attention and support. Customary toy photo to end this thing:


“サヨナラ!”

Yep, I own a stone statue of Anpanman, a children’s character with a head made out of bread. This explains a lot about me.

4 Responses to “The Best Hong Kong Films Ever postmortem - Full list + stats + apology”

  1. lee rankin Says:

    I will cop to voting Paul Rudd in Gen-Y Cops as one of the best performances in Hong Kong cinema history, but must make it clear that I did not vote it in my top 20. I ain’t no troll. An outstanding, inspiring, Oscar worthy performance, does not a great movie make. Have you seen The Iron Lady, or ? Just had to clear that up.

    Great job on the list, compiler and voters all. It was a great read and has given me some inspiration for where to go next with my movie viewing.

  2. Lisa in Toronto Says:

    Thanks for the data!
    Very enjoyable indeed.

  3. Ron Says:

    A great shopping list now that so many retail shops have closed.

  4. ColinJ Says:

    Agreed that HER FATAL WAYS should be waaaaaay higher.

    Every Hong Kong actress should study Dodo Cheng in this movie for physical comedy and uncanny timing.

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