Chinese movies are an excellent resource for those who want to learn Mandarin. Fortunately, there are many interesting Chinese movies on Netflix and other platforms. For this article, we’ve made a list of some of our favorites. Whether you’re a martial arts lover or you prefer drama-filled plots, get your popcorn ready for our selection of Chinese movies!
When it comes to Chinese movies today, classic Bruce Lee movies are hardly all that come to mind. It’s true that many of these are still popular — especially among those who like martial arts. But today we have access to a much larger number of Chinese productions. And there are many, many great Chinese movies to choose from. So if you’re learning Mandarin and are looking for resources to practice your vocabulary and listening skills, check out some of the good Chinese movies on Netflix.
By the way, you might want to brush up on some key Chinese movie vocabulary, like how to say “movie theater” in Chinese:
- to go to the movie theater – 去看电影 (qù kàn diàn yǐng)
- Do you want to go to the movies? – 你想去看电影吗？(Nǐ xiǎng qù kàn diàn yǐng ma?)
In our list, we’ve included some of the best Chinese movies on Netflix, as well as a few that aren’t available to stream but that still warrant a watch.
Our Picks for the Best Chinese Movies on Netflix (and Amazon)
If you’re new to using Netflix as a resource for language learning, check out these tips on how to make the most of your monthly subscription. (The article is about learning English, but most of the tips apply to other foreign languages, too.)
⚠️ If you’re watching Netflix from a country other than the United States, some of these titles might not be available. Also, Netflix updates its catalog regularly, which unfortunately means that these films might not be offered forever. So watch them now while you can! We update our articles as often as possible to reflect these changes. However, if you come across a Chinese movie that is no longer offered, we’d be grateful if you’d leave us a comment below so that we can update the link.
Once you’ve set up your language preferences and turned on the subtitles if needed, browse the lists below of our favorite Chinese movies on Netflix from every genre and add a few to your “must-watch” list!
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon tells the story of a warrior who, tired of life inside a monastery, leaves his mountain retreat to give up his sword — the Green Destiny. This film, directed by Ang Lee, was a mixed production that brought together talent from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and the United States. In 2001, it received 10 Oscar nominations and was the most-watched foreign language film in the United States.
If you’re a fan of Matrix-style fight scenes, you don’t want to miss the fantastic gravity-defying chases and fights in this movie!
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny (2006)
This sequel of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is a Netflix production. The story takes place 18 years after the death of Li Mu Bai, the warrior who gave up the Green Destiny. The sword, forged during the Qin dynasty, has a reputation of being the most powerful sword of its time. In this movie, it becomes the target of a dangerous local despot who sends a young thief to steal it. But he didn’t expect that the sword would be protected by two guardians.
The story of a wealthy martial artist who is forced to leave his home and his way of life when the city of Foshan is occupied by Japanese forces during the Second Sino-Japanese War. This visually stunning Chinese movie also has a lot of great martial art scenes and is loosely based on the true story of Yip Man, a Wing Chun grandmaster and Bruce Lee’s teacher.
Another pearl full of lyricism and fantasy on our list of great Chinese movies. The film takes place in 8th century China when many rebel factions fight for power to stand up to a corrupt government. The “House of Flying Daggers” is one such faction, and its members are masters at throwing daggers and hitting their target in the blink of an eye.
This $12 million film was directed by Zhang Yimou, another acclaimed Chinese director. And it made more than 8 times that amount at the box office!
A more recent release, and an interesting option for science fiction fans, The Wandering Earth is inspired by a book written by Liu Cixin — considered the best work of science fiction by a contemporary Chinese author. In the story, scientists create a system to redirect the Earth’s orbit, preventing the planet from being destroyed by gaseous discharge launched by the sun. Although the mechanism is successful, its use brings “side effects,” such as the end of ethics and morality, among others.
The most recent film on our list is one of the most recurring genres in contemporary Chinese cinema: action and fantasy. Adapted from the mobile game “Onmyoji,” it features eye-popping costumes and art direction. The film follows the adventures of the Yin Yang master. Amidst conspiracies and fights between different kingdoms, he teams up with a fallen guard to fight a demonic threat.
It’s hard not to start with this film, which ranks 7th on Cinemaholic‘s list of the 100 best movies of all time. Many cinema critics and viewers consider In the Mood for Love the best love story ever told on film. This Chinese movie talks about the vulnerability of love while telling the complex romance between two ordinary individuals. With beautiful cinematography and a top-notch soundtrack. In the Mood for Love was released in 2000, directed by Wong-Kar-Wai.
This is actually a Chinese TV series 🤫 but you’ll binge-watch both seasons so quickly that it’ll feel like a movie! More on the chick-flick side of things, Well Intended Love shows what happens when a B-movie actress is diagnosed with leukemia and agrees to falsify a marriage with a young CEO in order to secure a bone marrow transplant sooner…
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This delicate film, which involves complex socio-cultural situations, begins in 1925 Beijing. Set against a backdrop of political revolutions, the film tells the story of two boys who grow up together. Poor and homeless, they both learn the art of acting at the “All Luck and Happiness” academy. As the years go by, the two become famous actors at the Peking Opera, but are then swept up the drama of the Second Sino-Japanese War. Eventually, they come to a crossroads that puts their lifelong friendship in check.
The film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and won a Golden Globe for best non-English language film in 1993.
Another Chinese classic directed by Zhang Yimou, this film takes place in China during the 1920s. In the age of warlords, 19-year-old Songlian has no choice. She must marry wealthy Master Chen to escape poverty, becoming his fourth wife.
Every day, the husband chooses a wife by lighting a red lantern in front of her chambers. He shares his bed with his chosen wife, who also becomes his hostess during the day. Gradually, a fierce rivalry begins between the four wives, each trying to increase her influence over him.
First and foremost, a fun movie. Cook Up a Storm is a fairly successful Chinese dramatic comedy. Produced in Hong Kong, the film is about two chefs vying for the title of “God of Cooking.” Sky Ko was born in China and as a child was bullied by his chef father, who didn’t believe his son could become a talented chef. Paul Ahn (Jung Yong-hwa), on the other hand, is a young Korean who studied modern cuisine in Europe, and decides to open a contemporary restaurant on the same street where Sky’s traditional restaurant operates.
This madcap heist comedy was immensely popular in Mainland China and in Hong Kong. A man discovers a precious stone in his outhouse, sparking intense competition between several incompetent groups who want to steal it. The script uses a combination of several dialects, including Henan, Chongqing, and Cantonese, and features lots of puns and other wordplay.
Chinese Horror Movies
In this recent Taiwanese horror film, young couple Jia-wei and Shu-yi try to make a viral video by filming a mysterious rope ritual. According to legend, when someone commits suicide by hanging, a curse remains on the rope. The only way to undo the curse is to burn the rope. Instead, they unleash an angry spirit and fall under a deadly curse that consumes them and feeds off of old secrets from Shu-yi’s school days.
In this Hong Kong-produced supernatural thriller, a group of University students set out to demystify the curse surrounding a campus bridge and several mysterious disappearances. According to urban legend, the bridge was cursed by the spirit of a young woman who committed suicide there.
This brand-new heartwarming Chinese movie follows the story of teenager Din who dreams of reconnecting with his childhood friend. When he meets a (totally adorable) wish-granting dragon, all kinds of things become possible! Directed by Chris Appelhans and produced in part by Jackie Chan.
Competitors threaten a Chinese family’s small restaurant in this animated Chinese movie. Gods in the Spirit World are facing an existential crisis. When one of the gods ventures into the human world, both groups begin to learn how they can help each other through their problems.
Now we want to hear from you! Leave a review of your favorite Chinese flick in the comments, and be sure to let us know if we missed any classics!
Finally, if you’d like to go even deeper than the best Chinese movies on Netflix, you can also check out: