Country: China
Director: Ang Lee
Screenwriters: Wang Hui-Ling, James Schamus, Tsai Kuo-Jung
Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen, Cheng Pei-pei

Martial arts is a thriving genre in Asia, with crops of action heroes rise to stardom like athletes do in America. Prior to Ang Lee's international smash, wire work and fight coordination lived mostly in warehouses and dojos and featured the kind of stories reminiscent of serials in the paper.

Here, director Ang Lee and fight coordinator Yuen Wo Ping make all the right moves, using an internationally known cast of Chinese actors and bringing the fight scenes outdoors (including the unforgettable sword fight on trees limbs). With a sincere love story, impeccable cast, and enough fight scenes for genre fanatics, this movie went off like a bomb, becoming the most successful foreign film in America. Like Amour, it is one of the rare foreign films to get an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. —GT