21 Chinese Movies to Learn Chinese
There are so many options out there, it is completely normal to feel lost when looking for the best Chinese movies to learn Chinese nowadays.
But we got you!
We have prepared just for you, a list of 21 Chinese movies to help you learn the language, find out more about the Chinese culture and history, life in mainland China and Taiwan or even dating in China.
Follow the guide, click on the links to read our complete reviews, let us know in the comments the best Chinese movies you ever watched, and enjoy!
#1 Chinese Movies – Where to Watch?
#2 Chinese Movies – Action Movies
#3 Chinese Movies – Historical Movies
#4 Chinese Movies – Romance Movies
#5 Chinese Movies – Comedy Movies
#6 Chinese Movies – FAQ’s
#1 Where to Watch Chinese Movies?
The time where we would search the internet for Chinese movies with subtitles and end up on shady streaming websites is over.
Learning Chinese with Chinese movies has never been easier, and we can now find a lot of them on secure and safe streaming platforms, Chinese and international, at the tip of our fingers.
A simple search on YouTube will offer many results and is a great start to look for Chinese movies, especially with the large number of options offered on this platform.
However, it is difficult to find them by name as they are often labeled as “Chinese Movies”.
That is why Chinese streaming platforms such as Youku, iQiyi and MGTV are also very popular.
All of them offer lots of Chinese movies for free with English and Chinese subtitles, and their paid subscription is so low, you’ll be able to enjoy hundreds of movies for very little money. Even international movies!
Nowadays, the most popular streaming platform to watch Chinese movies with quality subtitles in many different languages is definitely Netflix.
💡 TIP 1 – Look for a specific movie title or type in “Chinese Movie” into the search bar to get a selection of many movies to enjoy.
💡 TIP 2 – Install an extension such as Language Learning with Netflix on Chrome to get access to translations and examples of a word by highlighting words and you got yourself a pretty great tool to learn Chinese while having fun.
#2 Chinese Movies – Action Movies
Hidden Man (2018), 邪不压正 xié bù yā zhèng in Chinese, tells the story of Zhu Qianlong (朱潜龙 zhūqiánlóng), who, to help Japanese grow opium, betrays his master and kills his master’s whole family.
But another important character, Li Tianran (李天然 lǐ tiānrán) manages to escape and is saved by Lan Qingfeng (蓝青峰 lán qīngfēng).
Fifteen years later Li, who has been living in San Francisco, returns to China and is seeking to kill Zhu for revenge.
But, Zhu has become the city’s police chief and is now seen as a good guy.
Read our full review of Hidden Man.
Hidden Man (2018) // Is This Movie Worth The Watch?
If you are thinking about learning Chinese as a second language, watching Chinese films and TV shows are a great way to learn.
Let the Bullets Fly
Let the Bullets Fly (2010), in Chinese 让子弹飞 ràng zǐ dàn fēi is a comedy thriller.
Set in Sichuan in the 1920’s, we follow the story of Ma Bangde, a county governor who claimed to be a simple counsellor to save his life after a train attack from a group of bandit that killed his bodyguards and counsellor.
He offers his help to the bandits in exchange for his life and says he will impersonate governor Ma to help take over the town and its finances.
Read our full review of Let the Bullets Fly.
Let the Bullets Fly (让子弹飞) – Our Review
Let the Bullets Fly Review – This was released in 2010 and is 132 minutes long. Check out our review and discover more about this comedy/action classic.
Wolf Warrior (2015), or 战狼 zhàn láng in Chinese, is an intense action movie, often described as the “Chinese Rambo”.
The main character, Lengfeng 冷锋 (lěngfēng), works for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
During a raid on a drug smuggling operation, he defies orders from his superiors and kills the leader of the smuggling operation.
As punishment for defying orders he is in danger of being expelled from the PLA, but is unexpectedly approached by Long Xiaoyun (龙小云 Lóng xiǎo yún), the commander of the Wolf Warriors, a special branch of the PLA, and invites Lengfeng to join them.
Read our full review of Wolf Warrior.
Wolf Warrior Review (2015) – Learn Chinese on TV
Wolf Warrior (战狼 zhàn láng) is a good choice to introduce you to Chinese action movies. We review it here.
The Tai-Chi Master
The Tai-Chi Master (1993), or 太极张三丰 tàijí zhāngsānfēng in Chinese, is a martial arts movie starring Jet Li.
During the end of Song dynasty, two young monks meet in a Shaolin Temple and become good friends, like brothers.
One is kind and wants nothing but a peaceful mind, while the other will do whatever it takes to achieve his goal.
The two monks are kicked out of Shaolin Temple due to some mistakes made by the latter. What will they do now?
The movie is available in English, Mandarin and Cantonese.
Read our full review of The Tai-Chi Master.
The Tai-Chi Master (1993) – A Kung Fu Classic with Jet Li
Improve your Chinese with this 1993 Jet Li Classic movie. It is called 太极张三丰 tàijí zhāngsānfēng and the English name is The Tai-Chi Master.
The Wandering Earth
The Wandering Earth (2019), or 流浪地球 liúlàng dìqiú in Chinese is an action sci-fi film, but it’s also a horror movie.
It is based on how the untimely demise of humans may come, instigated not by greenhouse gas emissions and rising temperatures but by the expansion of the Sun.
The Earth’s rotation is stopped and propelled away from the Sun through tens of thousands of engines across the globe.
Although this movie has not received many good critics, it is interesting to see the development of Chinese cinema, and the budget allocated for them.
The movie cost nearly $50 million to make !
Read our full review of The Wandering Earth.
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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (卧虎藏龙 wò hǔ cáng lóng) is a 2000 action martial art movie by Ang Lee.
The movie is set during the Qing dynasty. A girl called Yu Jiaolong, the daughter of an important official, is supposed to marry a man chosen by her parents.
However she has a secret kung fu master teaching her kung fu, which gives her an ambition to explore whatever she wants in the world.
She steals a special sword and escapes from her wedding, planning to do whatever she wants in life. But things won’t go as planned…
Read our full review of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 🎥 Watch Movies, Learn Chinese
One of the best ways to learn a language is by watching Movies. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a great way to learn Chinese and discover the culture.
#3 Chinese Movies – Historical Movies
The Last Emperor
The Last Emperor, 末代皇帝 mòdài huángdì in Chinese, is a 1987 movie, originally in English but can also be found in Mandarin.
This movie is an extremely important resource to learn about the Chinese culture and history, especially the Imperial Court traditions and the end of the Qing dynasty.
The story of the movie is based on real events, from the last emperor’s autobiography and shows his whole life throughout 20th century Chinese history.
If you are looking for a movie about Chinese history, this is the one.
Read our full review of The Last Emperor.
The Last Emperor (1987) Review – Learn Chinese History Through Film
The Last Emperor was the first, and may end up being the only film that was allowed to be shot inside The Forbidden City.
Farewell My Concubine
Farewell My Concubine, 霸王别姬 bàwáng bié jī in Chinese, is an acclaimed movie from 1993, that received a lot of recognition globally and even won the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm Award) in the 46th Cannes Film Festival.
The movie is the adaptation of the novel of the same name, and is set during the politically unstable China of the 20th century, in the early years of the Republic of China.
We follow the story of two stage brothers of the Beijing Opera, and the woman who comes between them.
The topics of sexual identity and blurred lines between real life and the story played on stage, as well as political and societal issues are widely discussed.
At first, Farewell My Concubine was removed from theatres in mainland China for its depiction of homosexuality and suicide, but was finally on screen after a couple of months.
Read our full review of Farewell My Concubine.
Farewell My Concubine (1993) // An All Time Class Movie in China
The Complete Guide & Review of Farewell My Concubine Welcome to our Farewell My Concubine Review, the Chinese Movie from 1993. Farewell My Concubine – 霸王别姬 Bàwáng bié jī I am talking about a lifetime, one year, one month, one…
Mulan, we all know the Disney movie but have you watched the 2020 movie?
When her sick father is called to join the war against the Northern enemies, Mulan takes his place in the army and disguises herself as a male soldier.
She has to hide her true identity and fight battles to save her country, a very intricate story even more so, knowing it is based on true events.
You might not learn too much Chinese vocabulary in this movie, but it is a great way to learn more about Chinese legends and myths, history, culture and filial piety.
Read our full review of Mulan.
In the Heat of the Sun
In the Heat of the Sun (阳光灿烂的日子 yángguāng cànlàn de rìzi) is a historical drama from 1994.
It won numerous awards both in China and internationally, such as Coppa Volpi Best Actor at the 51st Venice International Film Festival.
Synopsis: Rival gangs battle for supremacy on the streets of Beijing during the Cultural Revolution.
Read our full review of In the Heat of the Sun.
In the Heat of the Sun ☀️ A Great Film Set in Beijing
In the Heat of the Sun – Our latest Chinese movie review. The film won a lot of awards. Such as Coppa Volpi Best Actor at the 51st Venice Film Festival.
#4 Chinese Movies – Romance Movies
Suzhou River (苏州河 sūzhōu hé) is a 2000 film set in Shanghai in the end of the 1990’s, and depicts a tragic love story.
Suzhou River focuses on the intertwined love story of the four main characters, two of whom are played by the same actress.
The first part of the film focuses on Mardar who is being paid to transport Moudan, the daughter of a local crime lord around the city.
The two become fond of each other, but things end up taking a bad turn.
The second part of the film is set many years later with Mardar desperately trying to find Moudan.
Read our full review of Suzhou River.
Suzhou River – Movie Review for Chinese Learners
Suzhou River Review – Our Guide for Chinese Learners Our next film recommendation for Chinese learners is Suzhou River. The film is set in Shanghai in the late 1990’s and focuses on contemporary China’s gritty urban experience. The dialogue in…
Us & Them
Us and Them, 后来的我们 hòu lái de wǒ men is a 2018 romantic drama directed by Taiwanese singer-actress Rene Liu.
The film follows the lives of Lin Jianqing (林见清 lín jiànqīng) and Fang Xiaoxiao (方小晓 fāng xiǎoxiǎo) who are from the same hometown and are both trying to find success in Beijing.
What emerges is a very touching film about struggles of Jianqing and Xiaoxiao as they navigate through life in China in the late 2000s.
Read our full review of Us and Them.
Us and Them 2018 – Not Your Usual Chinese Romantic Drama
Us and Them Review (2018) Learn Chinese with this touching romantic drama Us and Them 2018. Have you tissues at the ready though, it’s a bit of a tearjerker! Us and Them – IntroductionUs and Them – Main CharactersUs and…
The movie Adoring (宠爱 chǒng’ài) is a romantic comedy movie released in 2019 and tells the stories of six characters and their pets, and their journey to find love in their lives.
To direct the movie in the best way possible, the director of Adoring, Yang Zi (杨子 yáng zi), got in touch with the animal trainer of the Japanese movie Hachi to help him.
Read our full review of Adoring.
Adoring Review 宠爱 – A Romantic Chinese Movie
The movie tells six stories of people and their pets and how they find love in their lives.
Love Is Not Blind
Love Is Not Blind, 失恋三十三天 (shīliàn sānshísān tiān) in Chinese, is a 2011 romantic comedy adapted from an online novel with great popularity on the internet.
In the movie we follow the story of Xiaoxian Huang (黄小仙 huángxiǎoxiān), who lives in Beijing and has been in a relationship with her boyfriend for 7 years.
She is very happy, has the best boyfriend and an awesome best friend, her life is GREAT. But things start to change when she finds out her boyfriend kissed her best friend!
Read our full review of Love Is Not Blind.
Love Is Not Blind – Chinese Movie Review
Learn Chinese with the Romantic Comedy Love Is Not Blind For Chinese learners who love a romantic comedy the movie Love Is Not Blind is a great choice! It’s good for both learning Chinese and for learning about love in…
#5 Chinese Movies – Comedy Movies
Golden Globe winning movie The Farewell, 别告诉她 (bié gàosù tā) in Chinese, is a 2019 comedy drama film written and directed by Lulu Wang.
The film follows a Chinese-American family who find out that their grandmother (奶奶 nǎinai) has terminal lung cancer and only has a few months left to live.
They decide not to tell her and instead organise a family gathering so that they can say goodbye.
Read our full review of The Farewell.
The Farewell // A Tear Jerker (But Great For Learning Chinese)
The Farewell is a great film to watch for Chinese learners. Our review guide will show you how the film can improve your Chinese.
The Wonderful Wedding
The Wonderful Wedding, 大喜临门 dà xǐ lín mén in Chinese, is a 2015 romantic comedy telling the story of a Taiwanese girl, Shu Fen, and a boy from mainland China, Gao Fei, who want to get married.
First, they have to persuade their parents and try to overcome the cultural differences between Taiwan and China.
Wedding traditions and customs in mainland China and Taiwan are not the same, so it makes for a very interesting and insightful story.
Read our full review of The Wonderful Wedding.
The Wonderful Wedding (2015) Review – A Popular Taiwanese Comedy Movie
The Wonderful Wedding tells the story of a Taiwanese girl named Shu Fen and a boy from mainland China called Gao Fei who want to get married.
The Faces of My Genes
The Faces of My Gene, 祖宗十九代 (zǔzōng shíjiǔ dài) in Chinese, is a 2018 comedy movie.
Xiao Bei (小贝 xiǎo bèi) is an unsuccessful young writer, and blames it all on the fact that is he isn’t good looking enough.
Wondering what his ancestors looked like, he finds an old family tree and accidentally ends up travelling through time, getting to meet his ancestors.
He meets with his ancestors from the early 20th century, the Qing Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty as well as the Jin dynasty, leading to LOTS of funny events.
Read our full review of The Faces of My Genes.
The Faces of My Gene (2018) – Chinese Movie Review
Why You Should Watch The Faces of My Gene 等风来不如追风去 Děng fēng lái bù rú zhuī fēng qù It’s better to chase after the wind instead of waiting for it I am so excited to recommend the comedy movie The…
Goodbye Mr Loser
Goodbye Mr Loser, 夏洛特烦恼 (xià luò tè fánnǎo) in Chinese, is a 2015 comedy movie, and a great introduction to Chinese comedy and humour.
Xia Luo (夏洛 xià luò) is an unemployed amateur musician and is supported by his wife.
After being invited to his high school crush’s wedding he fakes having a successful life, but his mascarade is revealed to everyone by his own wife.
Xiao Luo is so angry that he goes to the toilet and passes out in a fit of rage.
When he awakes, it is 1997 again, when he was in high school. Then what follows is a series of incredible events.
Read our full review of Goodbye Mr Loser.
Goodbye Mr Loser – Should I Watch This Movie to Help my Chinese?
Goodbye Mr Loser – Reviewed and Rated Here is a short movie review of the Chinese comedy film Goodbye Mr Loser, or to call it by it’s Chinese name 夏洛特烦恼 (xià luò tè fánnǎo). Goodbye Mr. Loser – Theme SongGoodbye…
Dear Ex, 誰先愛上他的 (shuí xiān ài shàng tā de), is a 2018 romance comedy Taiwanese movie.
The story is about a teenage boy and his mother, which lives fall apart when they discover his father’s life insurance is to be received by his lover.
Not only will this movie will make you more familiar with the Taiwanese accent and way of speaking, it will also give insights as to how is homosexuality perceived in Taiwan.
Read our full review of Dear Ex.
Dear Ex Review (2018) // A Taiwanese Movie to Watch
This is a Taiwanese comedy-drama produced in 2018 by that won many awards such as Best Movie Editing at the 55th Golden Horse Awards.
Hello Mr Billionaire
Hello Mr Billionaire (西虹市首富 xī hóng shì shǒufù) is a trending Chinese comedy movie from 2018.
The story is pretty simple yet atypical: a young man has to spend a whopping 1 billion yuan in a month in order to inherit his rich uncle’s fortune.
BUT! His Uncle further challenges him and set restrictions on how the money can be spent.
Read our full review of Hello Mr Billionaire.
Hello Mr. Billionaire (2018) – A Popular Chinese Comedy Movie
Hello Mr. Billionaire tells the story of a lousy goalkeeper. Unexpectedly, his uncle offers him his fortune only if he can spend 1 billion yuan in a month.
Dying to Survive
Dying to Survive (我不是药神 wǒ búshì yàoshén) is a comedy-drama from 2018 based on the real story of Lu Yong 陆勇 lù yǒng.
Synopsis: A leukemia patient smuggles cheap but untested pharmaceuticals from India to help hundreds of Chinese people suffering from cancer.
The movie won Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, Best new director awards at the 55th Golden Horse Awards.
Read our full review of Dying to Survive.
Dying to Survive Review 🎬 Is the Film a True Story?
Since it was released, Dying to Survive has made more than 3 billion CNY at the Chinese box office! Check out our in depth Dying to Survive review
There we have it, the best Chinese movies you need to watch… but you want more right?
Why stop at movies when you can get stuck into a good old drama?!
So, on that note, enjoy this…
Learn Chinese with Movies – FAQ’s
Where can I watch Chinese Movies?
Can I watch Chinese Movies on Netflix?
Yes, you can!
Netflix has lots of Chinese movies and dramas from all genres, so you’ll definitely find something you like.
If you don’t know the name of the movie you wish to watch, or are looking for options, just type in “Chinese movies” in the search bar and you’ll be offered lots of results.
What are some of the best historical Chinese movies?
The Last Emperor is definitely the all-time favourite Chinese movies when it comes to historical movies. The best one to learn about Chinese history, dynasties and China’s past events.
Farewell My Concubine is also a classic amongst Chinese movies, where you’ll learn more about Chinese traditions, Beijing Opera, relationships and life in the early years of the Republic of China.
Can I really learn Chinese watching Chinese movies?
Not only watching Chinese movies will help you with your listening skills, but you’ll also be able to pick up some new vocabulary, daily expressions and slangs.
If you enable the Chinese subtitles, you can also learn a few characters!
Speaking about subtitles, did you know that you can watch Netflix with subtitles in TWO languages?
Download the Chrome extension Language Learning with Netflix to help you with learning Chinese while watching movies.
Besides watching Chinese movies, what other tips are there to learn Chinese?
There are many things you can do to learn and improve your Chinese level, for example:
– Listen to Chinese songs
– Read Chinese comics
– Use apps to review some vocabulary
– Find Chinese penpals to communicate with
– Listen to Chinese podcasts
– Stick post-it with vocabulary all over the house
– Join our FREE classes on Facebook
– Read our blogs about useful vocabulary and subscribe to our newsletter to always be up to date with our content
The most important thing is, you need to find the method that suits YOU the best, and just stick with it!
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