Learn Mandarin with Film | 101 Awesome Chinese and Taiwanese Movies

When it comes to learning Mandarin Chinese, consuming Chinese media is essential.

It’s perhaps not the best use of time for beginners to dive straight into watching the movies on this list, but in time, you’ll realise that watching Chinese movies brings numerous benefits:

  • Chinese movies offer a stupendous amount of listening and reading practice.
  • Chinese movies provide a window into Chinese culture.
  • Contrary to what most foreigners say, some Chinese movies are actually quite entertaining and interesting.

Admittedly, there are some absolutely garbage Chinese movies out there. There are terrible movies from every country, but a bad Chinese movie is really bad.

But after a few years of learning and spending some time looking around, I’ve amassed a fairly solid collection of decent Chinese movies I’d like to share with you all.

Before we get into the list, please note the following:

  • This list provides links to the movies. Most are found on YouTube or Youku. Not all links will be the best ones, so make sure you do your own research and search the Chinese names for the movies in Baidu.
  • Google Chrome has a Youku unblocker extension. To get rid of ads and have access to most movies, you’ll have to subscribe to Youku. However, a subscription to Youku is quite cheap.
  • Most movies will have Chinese subtitles. This is pretty common with Chinese movies and TV, and is a great tool for Mandarin learners. A listening and reading combination is very powerful. Some will have English subtitles as well, but not all of them. I will make a note of which subtitles are available for each movie.
  • The movies are categorised by genre. There is definitely some crossover, and some movies are kind of hard to categorise. Make use of the hyperlinks if you’re looking for a specific genre. If you have a complaint about my categorisation skills, write your complaint down and put it in the bin. Any bin, anywhere.
  • The following movies are in Mandarin Chinese and are geared towards native speakers. You don’t have to be a Mandarin wizard to enjoy them, but obviously the higher your Mandarin level, the more you’ll understand.

Thriller | Historical and Dynastical | Romance | Action | Fantasy | Rom-Com | Comedy | Animated | Horror


The Butterfly Murders – 1979 | 蝶变 | Available in dubbed Mandarin with Mandarin subtitles on Youku
A 1979 Hong Kong ‘wuxia’ movie with very few DVD and tape releases in the West. In order to solve a mystery, a journalist, a master martial arts fighter, and a woman reach a mysterious castle that holds poisonous butterflies and a killer.

Queer Beauty – 2016 | 虐爱之古曼童 | Available with English and Mandarin subs on YouTube
A terrifying nightmare brings two men together, but a dark secret comes to light about a tragedy around one of their siblings. A short movie, just over an hour long.

The Soul – 2021 | 緝魂 | Available with English and Mandarin subs on YouTube
While investigating the death of a businessman, a prosecuter and his wife uncover some pretty wild secrets and end up facing a life-and-death situation.

Infernal Affairs – 2002 | 无间道 | Available on Youku and Netflix dubbed in Mandarin (Mandarin and English subs)
An undercover cop joins a triad gang while a gangster joins the same police squad investigating his gang.
This is basically the Hong Kong version of ‘The Departed’.

Helios |
赤道 | Available on Netflix
When the world’s most notorious thief steals the world’s smallest superweapon, it causes the planet to be pushed the planet the brink of disaster.

Line Walker | 使徒行者 | Available on Netflix
Nick Cheung stars again (also in Helios) in this slightly more violent thriller. An unknown figure known simply as ‘Blackjack’ contacts an undercover police offer played by Charmaine Sheh, claiming that they’re also a stranded mole.


Farewell My Concubine – 1993 | 霸王别姬 | Available on YouTube, Youku and Taiwanese Netflix
An absolute classic and one of the best Chinese movies I’ve seen. Set during 20th century China, it’s a story of stage brothers of the Beijing Opera and a woman who comes between them.

Not One Less – 1999 | 一个都不能少 | Available on Google Play, Apple TV, Vudu, and Amazon Prime
A truly heartwarming tale about the relationship between a 13-year-old supply teacher named Minzhi and her students in a rural school. This film is directed by Zhang Yimou, who has directed a few other greats on this list, including…

Raise the Red Lantern – 1991 | 大红灯笼高高挂 | Available on YouTube in English subs and Chinese subs
Songlian becomes the fourth wife of a rich old man after her family is left bankrupt after her father dies. The story shows how the 4 wives compete to please their husband.

The Blue Kite – 1993 | 蓝风筝 | Available on YouTube in English subs and Chinese subs
Narrated from a small boy’s perspective, the story takes you through his childhood where he grows up
with 3 fathers.

Curse of the Golden Flower – 2006 | 满城尽带黄金甲 | Available on Youku
Set during the Tang dynasty, this film features Emporers, incest, suicide, assassins, and golden armored warriors. A true epic not to be missed.

The Grandmaster – 2013 | 一代宗师 | Available on Netflix (in some regions)
A 1930s period drama, the Grandmaster is a biopic of Wing Chun grandmaster Ip Man, who was a great martial artist and teacher of the legendary Bruce Lee.

Platform – 2000 | 站台 | Available on YouTube with Chinese subs
Set in the wake of the Cultural Revolution, this movie covers the social history of China in cultural and economic changes from Maoism to market capitalism, all centered around 3 young performers.

Fearless – 2006 | 霍元甲 | Available on Youku
Inspired by the life of martial artist Huo Yuan-Jia, the film is an emotional tale of loss and redemption in the years preceding the establishment of the Chinese Republic in 1912.

The Banquet – 2006 | 夜宴 | Available in Chinese and English subs on YouTube and Youku
The son of a Chinese Emperor battles to survive assassination attempts planned by his uncle after the murder of his father.

Lust, Caution – 2007 | 色,戒 | Available on Netflix (in some regions)
A group of nationalist students plans the assassination of a Chinese government official who works for the Japanese.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – 2002 | 巴尔扎克与小裁缝 | Available on YouTube (English and Mandarin subs) and Youku
A semi-autobiographical story of how two ‘bourgeois’ boys visit a remote Sichuan Province village for reeducation during the 1960s Cultural Revolution.

Hero – 2002 | 英雄 | Available on HBO, weirdly tough finding links for this one
Set during the First Imperial Dynasty, the film covers the legend of Jing Ke’s attempt to kill the first
emperor of China. Probably the first-ever Chinese movie I watched. The cinematography is beautiful.

City of Life and Death – 2009 | 南京!南京! | Available on YouTube with Chinese subs
Also known as ‘Nanjing! Nanjing!’ This is a dramatisation of the rape of Nanking by the Imperial Japanese Army. There is an earlier version of this film called ‘Don’t Cry, Nanking’ made in 1995, which is by far the most harrowing film I’ve ever seen (I’m serious).

The Warlords – 2007 | 投名狀 | Available on Tencent Video (Chinese subs) and YouTube (English subs)
A brave story of three brothers and the struggles they face in the midst of war and political upheaval.


Us and Them – 2018 | 后来的我们 | Available on Netflix
Lin and Fang come from the same hometown and as they look for success in Beijing, they develop a strong relationship. After they separate, they reconnect and contemplate their relationship.

If You Are the One – 2008 | 非诚勿扰 | Available on Youku in Chinese subs
Not to be confused with the wildly popular Chinese dating show, this film focuses on Qin Fen, a man who returns to China after many years overseas. After getting fed up with being a bachelor, he looks for love online and meets some pretty weird characters, but can a broken-hearted air stewardess win his heart?

Dream of the Red Chamber – 1962 | 红楼梦 | Available on Youku
Another absolute classic, ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’ depicts a love triangle between three young cousins in a once rich family, set against the decadence of Qing society.

Dust in the Wind – 1986 | 恋恋风尘 | Available on Prime Video
During the 1960s, two high-school sweethearts leave their town in search of opportunities in Taipei, where life takes its toll on their relationship.

Coming Home – 2014 | 归来 | Available on Youku and YouTube, (Chinese and Arabic subs), and Netflix
Set during the Cultural Revolution, this story covers separations, family divisions, and reunions. It follows s professor, Yanshi Lu who is wanted by the state.

Suzhou River – 2000 | 苏州河 | Available on Youku
Set in contemporary Shanghai, this is a tale of love and obsession. A man desperately searches for a woman from the past. Set against the chaotic architecture along the Suzhou river instead of the fancy, modern downtown area.

C’est La Vie, Mon Cheri – 1993 | 新不了情 | Available on YouTube in Chinese subs
A story of the musical fallout and relationship troubles faced by a musician named Lau Ching-wan.

Secret – 2007 | 不能说的·秘密 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs), and iQIYI
A young piano student falls in love with a girl, but a secret brings trouble to their relationship.

Summer Palace – 2006 | 颐和园 | Available on YouTube with Chinese subs
Set against the backdrop of the Tiananmen Square massacre, this is the story of Yu Hong who leaves for university in Beijing, indulging in a compulsive relationship with another student. The first movie from Mainland China that shows full-frontal nudity.

The Winter – 1968 | 冬暖 | Hard to find links for this one, YouTube deleted the good version
Hoping to spend his winter in solitude, a man must express his love for his woman before her family
forcibly marries her off.


Red Cliff – 2008 | 赤壁 | Available on YouTube with Chinese subs
This film is about the Battles of Red Cliffs at the end of the Han Dynasty. Some of the fight scenes in this one are truly epic, and the film was originally in two parts. There is a version that’s trimmed down to 148 minutes that was released outside of Asia.

Drunken Master – 1978 | 醉拳 | Available on iQIYI (dubbed Mandarin)
A Hong Kong classic. Wong Fei-hong is sent by his father to his uncle in an attempt to teach him kung-fu. His uncle turns out to be a cruel master and Wong comes back to rescue his father.

Let the Bullets Fly – 2010 | 让子弹飞 | Available on Bili Bili and Netflix (in some regions)
After bandits kill a county governor’s bodyguards and counsellor, one of the bandits manipulates the other bandits by promising to take over the town by impersonating the governor.

House of Flying Daggers – 2004 | 十面埋伏 | Available on Netflix (in some regions)
Shot in rich bamboo forests, mountains, and architecture, this story is about an elusive main character named Mei and her love interest.

Wolf Warrior – 2015 | 战狼 |
Lengfeng works for the People’s Liberation Army and gets punished for defying orders. While he may be
expelled, Wolf Warriors invite him to join them.

The Tai-Chi Master – 1993 | 太極張三豐 | Available on YouTube with Chinese subs
Jet Li stars. Two young monks become friends in a Shaolin Temple but are kicked out due to their silly mistakes.

Hidden Man – 2018 | 邪不压正 | Available on YouTube in Chinese subs
‘Hidden Man’ is often described as the third film of the gangster trilogy which includes ‘Let the bullets fly’ and ‘Gone with the Bullets’. Zhu Qianlong betrays his master to help the Japanese grow opium and kills his master’s whole family. One escapee from the conflict returns for revenge years later.

The Great Magician – 2011 | 大魔术师 | Available on Netflix and YouTube (Chinese subs)
After the collapse of the Qing dynasty, China is a warlord’s bear pit. One of the warlords (Wei Bully) has a butler who uses magic to scare others into joining them. But it’s not until Wei starts to look for a seventh wife when things start to go wrong…

The Assassin – 2015 | 刺客聶隱娘 | Available on Youku (English and Chinese subs) and Netflix (some regions)
In ninth-century China, an assassin has to choose between duty and love on receiving orders to kill a man from her past.

The Way of the Dragon – 1972 | 猛龍過江 | Available on YouTube (Simplified Chinese subbed and dubbed)
A Bruce Lee classic, you can watch this movie dubbed into Mandarin on YouTube with simplified Chinese subtitles. It’s not quite the same, but it’s still pretty good. A man visits his relatives in Italy to help them fight some brutal gangsters, with Bruce Lee fighting a karate champ in the coliseum.


The Painted Skin – 2008 | 畫皮 | Available on YouTube (NO subtitles) and Amazon Prime
A love triangle between a husband, his wife, and a human heart-eating demon.

The Sorcerer and the White Snake – 2011 | 白蛇传说之法海 | Available on YouTube with Chinese subs
A sorcerer fights demon temptresses to save the soul of a man from a serpent who was brought to life as a woman.

The Monkey King – 2014 | 西游记之大闹天宫 | Available on YouTube with Chinese subs and Bflix
A mischievous monkey king is born from the crystals of a goddess who sacrifices her life to save the mortal world. This is one of the bajillions of movies that are based on the legendary story ‘Journey to the West’. Unfortunately, relatively few do the original book justice.

Mural – 2011 | 画壁 | Available on YouTube (Chinese and English subs)
Along with his servant, a poor scholar visits the capital to attempt an important test. On the way, he tries to catch a thief, but he inadvertently enters a world of fantasy.

Jade Dynasty – 2019 | 诛仙 | Available on YouTube (Chinese subs)
After a village massacre, a brave young local boy studies martial arts from three masters, eventually becoming the leader of the realm.


Two Stage Sisters – 1965 | 舞台姐妹 | Available on YouTube (NO subs)
Brought out just before the cultural revolution began, this is considered one of the greatest films ever to come from the Mainland. It follows two opera singers who end up taking very different paths in life. Due to the film’s age, it’s hard finding a copy with subtitles in English or Chinese.

A Touch of Sin – 2013 | 天注定 | Available on YouTube, Amazon, and Google Play (all paid)
Created by Jia Zhangke, arguably China’s best-ever director, this film follows four loosely connected stories spread over different parts of modern-day China. ‘A Touch of Sin’ is often considered Jia Zhangke’s best work, he also has other great films on this list.

Oxhide – 2005 | 牛皮 | Available on Ovid TV and Criterion Channel
Shot on a shoestring budget by a 23-year-old film student using her family as a cast, this is a masterpiece. It’s about life in a cramped Beijing apartment and the difficulties of a family trying to keep their leather goods business alive.

In the Heat of the Sun – 1994 | 阳光灿烂的日子 | Available on YouTube and Youku (Chinese subs)
Based on the novel ‘Wild Beat’ by Wang Shuo. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, a group of young boys uses the streets of Beijing as their playground. ‘Monkey’ and his friends spend the entire summer chasing girls, skipping school, and fighting.

Dying to Survive – 2018 | 我不是药神 | Available on YouTube (English, Chinese, and no subs)
One of the top 5 Chinese movies I’ve seen. A Chinese man sells aphrodisiacs in his shop, but business is bad and his son is being taken away from him. After becoming increasingly desperate, he agrees to a proposal to go to India and bring back vast amounts of a very expensive drug for Leukemia patients.

To Live – 1994 | 活着 | Available on YouTube with Chinese subs
The movie takes you on a trip to China between the ’40s and the ’70s through the eyes of a couple, Fugui and Jiazhen, and their 2 kids.

Father and Son – 2017 | 父子雄兵 | Available on YouTube (Chinese and English subs) and Youku
This film is the story of a boy who wants to build a career around comics and movies, but his father wants him to receive a formal education.

Blind Shaft – 2003 | 盲井 | Available on YouTube (NO subs) and Youku (Chinese subs)
Blind Shaft tells a story of some miners who murder a fellow miner to claim the money by pretending to be the deceased family members. Things go wrong when they don’t let go of their greed and try to kill a little boy.

My Memories of Old Beijing -1983 | 城南旧事 | Available on YouTube (NO subs) and Youku
This classic based on the novel by Lin Haiyin tells the story from the perspective of a girl, Yingzi,
who has a memorable childhood in Beijing.

The Story of Qiu Ju – 1993 | 秋菊打官司 | Available on YouTube (Chinese subs) and Youku
A pregnant peasant woman asks for redressal from the Chinese bureaucracy after her husband faces troubles at the hands of the village chief.

Taipei Story – 1985 | 青梅竹馬 | Available on YouTube in English and Chinese subs
A young woman caught up in the frenzy of Taipei is looking to the future. Her boyfriend, Lung, could be just the right person to build that future with, but Lung’s stuck in the past, and this could lead them both into serious trouble.

Yellow Earth – 1984 | 黄土地 | Available on YouTube (traditional subs) and Youku
A communist soldier visits a remote area of China to stay with a peasant family, where he discovers a community with a very interesting way of life.

A City of Sadness – 1989 | 悲情城市 | Available on YouTube (traditional subs) and Youku
The film is about three brothers and the tragedies of their lives during the end of Japanese Imperial rule and the secession from Mainland China.

Red Sorghum – 1987 | 红高粱 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs) and Youku
This is a classic and often touted as one of the best Chinese films ever. A woman is sent to marry the owner of a winery but she falls for one of his servants. She ends up inheriting the business after the death of the master.

So Young – 2013 | 致我们终将逝去的青春 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs) and Youku
A young girl heads off to university to be close to her childhood sweetheart, only to have him abruptly fly off to the US and leave her all alone. She mends her heartbreak by getting closer to her roommates, and they end up forming a pact to chase a youth that will never fade away.

A One and a Two- 2000 | 一一 | Available on YouTube (simplified Chinese subs)
A Taiwanese film about the lives of the Jian family from the perspectives of 3 family members: father, teenage daughter, and young son.

The Spring River Flows East – 1947 | 一江春水向东流 | Available on YouTube (NO subs)
In 1930’s China, a poor family’s village is taken over by the Japanese army. The story is about the two sons and the rapidly changing events in their lives.

The Terrorizers – 1986 | 恐怖分子 | Available on YouTube (traditional and English subs)
Three groups of people in Taipei have their lives coincidentally intertwined: an emotional writer and a doctor, a young woman with a group of petty criminals, and a photographer who observes the city that surrounds him.

This Life of Mine – 1950 | Available on YouTube (English subs)
Fifty years of Chinese history including revolutions, wars, and politics are all looked at through the story of a Beijing policeman and his family.

Rom Coms

Hello Mr. Billionaire – 2018 | 西虹市首富 | Available on YouTube (Chinese and English subs)
I’m a big fan of absurd humour, and for that reason, this is one of my favourite Chinese films. Shen Teng is cast in the lead role as a middle-aged loser and aspiring goalkeeper (he’s terrible) who’s about to inherit a lot of money. However, if he wants to keep it all, there are some conditions…

Goodbye, Mr. Loser – 2015 | 夏洛特烦恼 | Available on Youku (Chinese and English subs)
Shen Teng stars again (honestly, you’re going to see most of his films on this list) as an unemployed amateur musician. After passing out in the bathroom at his friend’s wedding, he wakes up in his teenage body, reliving his school days trying to woo the prettiest girl in class and becoming a star… But what about his wife?

You Are the Apple of my Eye – 2011 | 那些年,我們一起追的女孩 | Available on YouTube in Chinese subs
A Taiwanese coming-of-age drama about a popular girl in class and a reformed class clown who eventually becomes a writer.

The Wedding Banquet – 1993 | 喜宴 | Available on YouTube (English and simplified subs)
Directed by Ang Lee, this film centers on a Taiwanese-American immigrant named Gao, who marries a woman from China to get her a green card. However, things become much more complicated after his parents arrive. There’s some English in this one, but Ang Lee is a great director so I don’t care.

Love is Not Blind – 2011 | 失恋33天 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs) and iQIYI (Chinese subs)
Huangshu, a wedding planning professional goes from grief to rage to acceptance in a journey of 33 days after a breakup with her cheating boyfriend.

A Wedding Invitation – 2013 | 分手合约 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs) and Youku
QiaoQiao and Xing Li sign a ‘break-up contract’ to marry one another if they fail to find a spouse. Later,
Xing Li finds that the contract was a ruse to cover up QiaoQiao’s secret.

This is Not What I Expected – 2017 | 喜欢你 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs + NO subs)
Billionaire Lu Jin loves great dishes made by chef Gu Shengnan and enjoys sending compliments to the chef. However, after some time he finds out he’s been sending compliments to the chef he dislikes instead.

Love The Way You Are – 2019 | 身为一个胖子 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs)
An Eastern University campus love story about the free-spirited Zhou and socially awkward Fang Yuke.


Never Say Die – 2017 | 羞羞的铁拳 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs)
The highest-grossing comedy film ever in its own domestic box office market. After a journalist and a boxer end up swapping bodies after a lightning strike, they both have to live each other’s lives.

Crazy Alien – 2019 | 疯狂的外星人 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs)
An alien diplomat (Xu Zheng) arrives on planet earth to establish intergalactic diplomatic relations. After a diplomatic spat and an accident with a satellite, the alien’s spaceship falls to earth, landing in an amusement park. The two guys who find it end up having a very funny adventure with the alien.

Detective Chinatown – 2015 | 唐人街探案 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs)
Part of a trilogy. A young student gets rejected from a police college in China and decides to visit his ‘detective supremo’ uncle in Thailand. His uncle, however, turns out to be quite ‘rough around the edges’.

Hi, Mom – 2021 | 你好,李焕英 | Available on Youku (Chinese and English subs)
Another one featuring Shen Teng, and this one genuinely made me cry… I was hungover, though. Still, this film is really heartwarming. After Li Huanying’s mum dies getting hit by a car, she goes back to 1981 to become her best friend and make up for her failings as a daughter.

Lost in Thailand – 2012 | 人再囧途之泰囧 | Available on YouTube (Chinese and English subs)
Two competing scientists searching for their boss in Thailand, reluctantly teaming up with a random tourist along the way.

Go Away Mr.Tumor – 2015 | 滚蛋吧!肿瘤君 | Available on Youku (Chinese and English subs)
Shen Teng strikes again! This time, it’s about a woman who writes an inspiring story for the world whilst fighting a malignant tumor.

The House of 72 Tenants – 1973 | 七十二家房客 | Available on YouTube (NO subs)
A colorful human film about the daily lives of an urban building in Hong Kong split up into many separate units. This is a Cantonese film but there is a dubbed version on YouTube with no subtitles.

Back to Back, Face to Face – 1994 | 背靠背脸对脸 | Available on YouTube (English and NO subs)
Deputy Director Wang works at a cultural centre and is looking for a promotion, but he’s pipped to the post at the last minute by ‘Old Ma’ from the countryside. Wang and his friends then try to use bureaucracy to oust Ma.

The Troubleshooters – 1989 | 顽主 | Available on YouTube (Chinese subs)
The story of three unemployed youngsters who form a company with the sole purpose to help people’s personal lives.

I Am Your Father – 2000 | 冤家父子 | Available on YouTube (Chinese subs)
A widowed father has a lot of trouble raising his young son. His son then begins to try and get him a new girlfriend.

Sanmao Joins The Army – 1994 | 三毛从军记 | Available on YouTube (English and NO subs)
A young orphan joins the army in 1937. After fighting in the battle of Shanghai, he is dropped into the jungle with his comrades but the rescue never arrives. Over time, things get a bit savage…

Crazy Stone – 2006 | 疯狂的石头 | Available on YouTube (Chinese subs)
If you’re a fan of absurd humour (like me), this one is for you. A gang of three idiots hunt for a jade stone and become more desperate as their failures add up.

Pegasus – 2019 | 飞驰人生 | Available on YouTube (English and Chinese subs)
A guy who owns a fried rice stall dreams of his former life as a motor racer. Against all odds, he returns to his former glory.

Jian Bing Man – 2015 | 煎饼侠 | Available on Youku (Chinese subs)
Part comedy, part superhero movie. A struggling actor is forced to star in a movie by a gangsta and bring in a healthy profit.


Princess Iron Fan – 1941 | 铁扇公主 | Available on YouTube (English subs) and Youku (Chinese subs)
The first-ever Chinese animated film. It’s based on the big fight between Princess iron Fan and Sun WuKong in Journey to the West.

Monster Hunt – 2015 | 捉妖记 | Available on YouTube (Chinese and English subs)
In ancient China, monsters and humans exist side-by-side. Peaceful times come to an end after humans force monsters from their land. After a young village mayor becomes pregnant with the Monster Queen’s baby, the mayor and a monster hunter must protect the baby from the ever-increasing hostile world around them.

Ne Zha – 2019 | 哪吒之魔童降世 | Available on Youku (Chinese subs)
Best selling animated movie in China based on the novel Investiture of the Gods. A young boy tries to live a normal life despite being labelled a ‘devil child’ at birth.

Big Fish and Begonia – 2017 | 大鱼海棠 | Available on YouTube (Chinese and English subs)
Set in a mystical world, a girl named Chun ends up getting sent through a water portal to live in the human world… as a red dolphin.

The Kings Avatar: For the Glory | 全职高手之巅峰荣耀 | Available on Youku (Chinese subs)
A prequel to the TV show. An internet bar owner sponsors a group of youngsters to participate in a national esports competition.

Dahufa – 2017 | 大护法 | Available on YouTube (Chinese subs)
Dahufa caused somewhat of a stir in China due to the theme of ‘fighting against an oppressive regime’ thing. It’s basically about a guy who goes to save a prince from a dystopian village.

White Snake: The Origin – 2019 | 白蛇:缘起 | Available on Youku (Chinese subs)
Disguised as a woman, a white-snake demon named Blanca falls for a snake hunter.

The legend of Hei – 2019 | 罗小黑战记 | Available on YouTube (Chinese subs)
A cat spirit is badly hurt after trying to steal a pearl. As a result, the cat (Hei) is then transformed from his humanoid form.

Crystal Sky of Yesterday – 2018 | 昨日青空 | Available on YouTube (Chinese subs)
This story follows the lives of a group of high school students in their hometown in Southern China.


The Wandering Earth – 2019 | 流浪地球 | Available on Youku (Chinese and English subs)
One of China’s highest-grossing films of all time, this movie looks at the future and shows how the aging sun can bring the untimely demise of humans in interesting ways. The Wandering Earth is a great combination of sci-fi and horror.

Silk – 2006 | 詭絲 | Available on Netflix (in some regions)
A scientist and his colleagues discover a child’s ghost who can be the key to an anti-gravity device
the scientist is working on.

The Eye – 2002 | 见鬼 | Available on Youku (Mandarin subs, dubbed)
A blind musician can see again after surgery, but his regained vision brings on some weird shit. A Hong Kong-Singaporean movie in Cantonese, however, there is a dubbed-into-Mandarin version on Youku.

The Bridge Curse – 2020 | 女鬼橋 | Available on Netflix (in some regions) and YouTube (simplified Chinese subs)
A group of university students investigate a haunted bridge and live stream the whole thing. Low and behold, the lady ghost shows up and the students disappear. Four years later, a reporter opens the case up, but will he face the same fate?

The Tag-Along – 2015 | 紅衣小女孩 | Available on YouTube (simplified Chinese and English subs) and Netflix
Probably the most renowned Taiwanese horror film and rumoured to be based on true events. A property agent’s grandmother mysteriously disappears and he goes looking for her. When he disappears too, his girlfriend unearths an urban legend about a girl in red…

Cities of Last Things – 2018 | 幸福城市 | Available on Netflix (in some regions)
This film tells the sequence of events that lead up to a man’s suicide. Most wouldn’t describe this film as a horror, but it’s incredibly dark. If you’re a fan of the TV series ‘Black Mirror’, you’ll enjoy this.


I hope you found this list helpful. As I watch more great Chinese movies and take in more recommendations, I’ll update this list.

If you’re looking for other Chinese learning resources, check out the following links!

Further Reading

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