Movies & TV That Highlight the Bravery and Resilience of Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Communities

"The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all," according to the emperor in Mulan. It's true that times of distress can often force people into moments of inspiration and tenacity, a sentiment the Asian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities know well. And with recent increases in anti-Asian hate crimes, it's important for families to reflect on the resilience of AANHPI communities. From daring rescues to awe-inspiring feats and courageous activists, the movies and TV shows on this list will help your family celebrate the successes while remembering the tribulations. Looking for other media that honors AANHPI communities? Take a look at our recommendations for heritage and culture and heroes and competitors.

From up on Poppy Hill Poster Image
MOVIE

From up on Poppy Hill

age 9+

Inspiring, romantic coming-of-age tale about '60s teens.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2013)
See full review
The Perfect Candidate Poster Image
MOVIE

The Perfect Candidate

age 10+

Hopeful, candid drama about an ambitious young Saudi woman.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
See full review
The Breadwinner Poster Image
MOVIE

The Breadwinner

age 11+

Powerful, intense animated tale of life under Taliban rule.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2017)
See full review
Rabbit-Proof Fence Poster Image
MOVIE

Rabbit-Proof Fence

age 11+

Powerful drama about racism OK for tweens and up.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2002)
See full review
The Rescue Poster Image
MOVIE

The Rescue

age 11+

Inspiring, gripping doc full of real-life lessons; language.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
See full review
The Revolutionary Optimists Poster Image
MOVIE

The Revolutionary Optimists

age 11+

Indian slum kids stand up for themselves in poignant docu.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2013)
See full review
Whale Rider Poster Image
MOVIE

Whale Rider

age 11+

Excellent, gorgeous drama with uplifting messages.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2003)
See full review
Writing with Fire Movie poster
MOVIE

Writing with Fire

age 11+

Inspiring, powerful docu about Indian women journalists.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
See full review
Gandhi Poster Image
MOVIE

Gandhi

age 12+

Brilliant biopic engages, educates, and inspires.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1982)
See full review
He Named Me Malala Poster Image
MOVIE

He Named Me Malala

age 12+

Inspiring, deeply affecting docu explores teen icon's life.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
See full review
14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible Poster Image
MOVIE

14 Peaks: Nothing Is Impossible

age 13+

Language, physical risks in inspiring Nepali climber docu.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
See full review
Minari Poster Image
MOVIE

Minari

age 13+

Thoughtful, inspiring drama promotes family understanding.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
See full review
Pachinko-tv-poster
TV

Pachinko

age 13+

Provocative historical drama has drinking, gambling.

Network: Apple TV+ (2022)
See full review
Three Songs for Benazir Poster Image
MOVIE

Three Songs for Benazir

age 13+

Afghan couple share dreams and despair in poignant docu.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2022)
See full review
To Be Takei Poster Image
MOVIE

To Be Takei

age 13+

In upbeat docu, equality for all is the final frontier.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2014)
See full review
Try Harder! Poster Image
MOVIE

Try Harder!

age 13+

Insightful doc about overachieving high schoolers; language.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
See full review
Yellow Rose Poster Image
MOVIE

Yellow Rose

age 13+

Poignant, powerfully performed tribute to country music.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
See full review
Boy Poster Image
MOVIE

Boy

age 14+

Coming-of-age comedy has language, underage drinking, pot.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2012)
See full review
Blue Bayou Poster Image
MOVIE

Blue Bayou

age 14+

Powerful indictment of U.S. immigration system; language.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
See full review
Cousins Poster Image
MOVIE

Cousins

age 14+

Moving nonlinear Maori family drama has language, racism.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
See full review