Have you been looking for one of the best language techniques that will help you become perfect in Mandarin? Or maybe being a Sinophile or a Chinophile, you wish to dive further into a captivating world of China. Mandarin films are your best answers. Let’s explore 12 incredible movies to learn Chinese.
Learning the Chinese language comes with many incentives, both in personal and professional life. It offers plenty of career possibilities. No surprise, it is one of the most popular foreign languages to gain.
When you talk about Chinese flicks, household names like Jackie Chan and Jet Li quickly comes to mind. However, there is a lot more in Chinese fantasy movies, epic dramas, animated cartoons, comedy shows, and more that goes beyond such genres and names.
Chinese movies are excellent tools for people studying how to speak Mandarin. You always get to choose the film that intrigues you most. Furthermore, you need not travel to mainland China to learn the Chinese language in the authentic, natural, and immersive mode.
Since Mandarin Chinese is one of the toughest languages to learn, thus, you also need to explore practical Chinese courses, along with books, audio lessons, and other essential resources.
- Why Watching Films Good For Learning Mandarin?
- Where to watch Mandarin Chinese Movies?
- 12 Must-Watch Mandarin Movies to Learn Chinese
- 1. The Blue Kite (Lan Feng Zheng) — 1993
- 2. Lost in Thailand (Ren Zai Jiong Tu: Tai Jiong) — 2012
- 3. The Wedding Banquet (Xi Yan) — (R) 1993
- 4. Farewell My Concubine (Ba Wang Bie Ji) — (R) 1993
- 5. Blind Shaft (Mang Jing) — 2003
- 6. Monster Hunt (Zhuo Yao Ji) — 2015
- 7. Let The Bullet Fly (Rang Zi dan Fei) — 2010
- 8. You Are the Apple of my Eyes — 2011
- 9. The Great Magician (Dai moh Seut si) — 2011
- 10. Secret (Bu Neng Shuo de. Mi Mi) — 2007
- 11. Suzhou River (Su Zhou he) — 2000
- 12. To Live (Huo Zhe) — 1994
- Final Thought on Learning Chinese with Films
Why Watching Films Good For Learning Mandarin?
Apart from the action thrill and awe that Chinese movies evoke, it is an excellent way for foreign language learners to engage themselves in the art of mastering the Mandarin language through a pictorial view of the Chinese society and culture.
Chinese in itself isn’t a straightforward language to learn, so watching movies will help you decode the language pattern and figure of speech, mastering the vocabulary and the different dialects and slangs associated with the language.
Movies can help you get used to all those confusing accents, pronunciations, tones, and sounds, as well as commonly used conversational and colloquial phrases and exclamations. You will enhance your listening and speaking skills by hearing to the specific rhythm and flow of the Mandarin.
Whether you are aiming for the cultural nuances relating to the everyday speech of the language, you will find them in movies because films exhibit the raw culture of a language.
The origin of everyday metaphors, semantics, and words or the base root of idioms embedded in a language is an integral part of the history and culture of the people who speak it. With Chinese cinemas, you will discover and understand the best aspects of the culture and traditional history of the Chinese people.
Where to watch Mandarin Chinese Movies?
There are many websites and online streaming that has a substantial and great selection of movies, dramas, and video shows to get you started! On-demand services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube Premium, Baidu video, and other online streaming allow you to see an abundance of Chinese cinemas.
Besides online services, there are several websites where you can view the legit repository of Chinese titles at your convenience and comfort. Many online platforms like Netflix also produce lots of original and exclusive programs for their more widespread audience.
12 Must-Watch Mandarin Movies to Learn Chinese
China is the home of the most massive film production, film studios, and one of the fastest-growing film markets across the world. There are plenty of good Mandarin movies coming from China. However, it can be hard finding the right films to watch.
So, below are twelve movies that will help Chinese learners to learn more about the language. These movies are fabulous to watch not only to learn Mandarin but also understand Chinese customs, culture, tradition, local slangs, and enthralling history.
1. The Blue Kite (Lan Feng Zheng) — 1993
Here is a movie whose story describes the fluctuating experiences of different families in China during the period of the Cultural Revolution.
The thing that makes this movie unique is the narration of the story from the perspective of a small boy (Tietou).
Tietou, the central character, has a charming personality that makes viewers attached to him as he goes through his childhood years having to cope with three separate fathers.
The Blue Kite (Lan Feng Zheng) movie is pack full of lots of conversations between the child and family members. Additionally, the communications between the adults are simple to grasp. It is a fabulous film for people who are just learning how to speak Chinese.
2. Lost in Thailand (Ren Zai Jiong Tu: Tai Jiong) — 2012
Xu and Bo, two rival scientists, traveled to Thailand in search of their boss, who was living at a Buddhist temple. The intention was to be the first scientist to get a patent and market a new chemical additive.
On their way, Xu meets a pancake sales representative named Wang, who comes from Beijing and set on achieving many dreams in Bangkok as a traveler with no experience in traveling.
Following some funny turn of events, both of them make the team and try to locate Xu’s boss in Thailand.
The plot of the movie is uncomplicated and makes the comedy even more appealing. It is fun and following it is very easy. It is a great introduction movie for a beginner learning Chinese who are planning to appear for the Mandarin Proficiency exam.
3. The Wedding Banquet (Xi Yan) — (R) 1993
For the lovers of romantic comedy, The Wedding Banquet is a talkie that evokes strong characters and in-depth care.
The story focuses on Gao, a handsome-looking gay Taiwanese who is living in the Manhattan suburbs. He married a Chinese woman from the mainland so she can get a green card.
But, when his parents came to the US to help in the marriage preparations, things started becoming complicated. The movie was all-thrilling as we saw Gao doing all that is possible to make sure Simon, his American boyfriend, doesn’t know the truth.
Shot in New York, the language includes a bit of English here and there. Notwithstanding, you will enjoy the Mandarin spoken.
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4. Farewell My Concubine (Ba Wang Bie Ji) — (R) 1993
Based on the novel written by Lillian Lee, this movie is coming from Hong Kong. It reveals the suspense story of two of Beijing’s renowned opera male stars, and the charming woman that came to separate them.
Farewell My Concubine set in the middle of the 1800s. It is a historical drama film directed by Chen Kaige. It narrates the story of the political instability that ravages China in that era and its effect on families, groups, and individuals.
You can say Farewell. My Concubine is the film that put the Chinese language on the international scene. The acting is magnificent, and the visuals are vibrant and spectacular in a historical setting.
5. Blind Shaft (Mang Jing) — 2003
Blind Shaft tells a fascinating story of a group of dedicated miners who set out to make some quick money. To realize their dream, the miners murder a fellow miner and claim the death as an accident. They pretend to be the deceased family members, took the settlement from the insurance policy, and run off to another town.
Relishing the gain from their simple money scheme, the miners replicated their crude act again, this time targeting a teenage, naïve boy. Unfortunately, for them, their plan ran into problems as one of them develops a friendly relationship with the little boy.
If you love stories on social problems, greed, rising wealth, and human emotions, this is a must-watch Chinese movie.
6. Monster Hunt (Zhuo Yao Ji) — 2015
If you love animation, Monster Hunt is one of the best out there in the Chinese movie industry.
Monster Hunt is a movie that portrays in a fictional ancient China at a time when humans and monsters lived together. But, after some time, the humans drove the behemoths out, and a destructive civil war broke out in the monsters kingdom that saw power been taken by a wicked and evil minister.
The film feature Wuba, a baby newly born with half-monster and half-human features, was born as the last and only hoped to re-establish the friendship between monsters and humans.
The humor in the movie and the great martial arts keep you entertain all the time. The vocabulary and syntax are simple to understand and suits the comprehensive skills of beginners Chinese students.
7. Let The Bullet Fly (Rang Zi dan Fei) — 2010
It is a comedy movie packed with lots of actions. It tells the story of a small group of thieves who lay in an ambush on a train only to fight against another group of thieves.
While the movie provides a high level of entertainment comedy, the spoken Mandarin dialect is hard to grasp for beginners. Only advanced language learners can understand it better. This flick will be beneficial if you are planning to appear for the Level V or VI of the Chinese language exam, i.e., HSK test.
8. You Are the Apple of my Eyes — 2011
Here is one of Chinese romantic comedy (Na Xie Nian, Wo Men Yi Qi Zhui de nu hai) at its best, although it comes from Taiwan. The movie is about two high school students (Ko Ching-teng and Shen Chia-Yi) together with their supportive classmates who went through a long life journey and eventually parted ways.
They customize the movie to suit the language education of beginners and suits young adults. It gives you a clue about school and university life in Taiwan and beyond.
9. The Great Magician (Dai moh Seut si) — 2011
This motion picture tells the emotional and the love story of a magician who set out to rescue his lover from the grasp of a general. The fire signs and tricks in this movie make it an exceptional watch for the action-minded language learner.
The central character produces doves and gems all around the women, making him the cynosure of all the women’s eyes in every party he goes to attend. Some scenes are incredible, with the Chinese language at a fast pace.
The vocabulary and sentence formation in Dai moh seut sie is more advanced, and it’s a useful option for lower intermediates and advanced language enthusiasts. Don’t miss the opportunities to hone your Chinese learning skills while enjoying the thrill it brings from this drama.
10. Secret (Bu Neng Shuo de. Mi Mi) — 2007
Jay Chou is the central protagonist in this time-transcending cinema that delivers a great punch and feel for the average Chinese language learner.
Secret tells a haunting and powerful love story of a young and vibrant piano student who overwhelmingly falls into an uncontrollable love with a charming and mysterious girl.
The vocabulary is easy to grasp, thanks to the simple dialect of the Mandarin spoken in the film. If you are a fan of classical music, you will like the engaging soundtrack that plays in the background of this movie. It is funny, romantic, entertaining, and playful.
11. Suzhou River (Su Zhou he) — 2000
The film is a tragic and touching love story set in contemporary Shanghai. Suzhou River is a compelling tale of love and obsession that talks about identity, neediness, and desire.
The river Suzhou that flows through a rapidly expanding Shanghai is a reservoir of filth, detritus, chaos, and poverty, but also a meeting place for memories, mysteries, and secrets.
It has won several awards and nominations at various international film festivals and events. Though well-received overseas, Suzhou River was initially not screened in China. If you’re looking for “real cinema” to help you improve Mandarin, this is a movie to keep on your favorite list.
12. To Live (Huo Zhe) — 1994
Huo Zhe is one of the best Chinese movies ever produced. It is a Chinese drama film directed by Zhang Yimou in 1994, starring Ge You and Gong Li.
The movie to live takes us on a trip to China that will last us from the ’40s through the ’70s. Throughout the film, you will witness the life through the eyes of Fugui and Jiazhen, a husband and wife with two children, as well as Fugui’s mother.
The slow-paced dialogues are ideal for elementary level learners. Also, watching the movie again with or without subtitles will help you understand how phrases and accents you can use and eventually will sink into your brain.
Final Thought on Learning Chinese with Films
So here we have it. It was, of course, not meant to be an exhaustive and complete list of every single Chinese movie out there. Instead, this can be a starting point for some fabulous Mandarin Movies to learn Chinese that gives a glimpse of Chinese cinema.
Watching Chinese movies is a great way to learn the language, and the listed options above can make up your best Mandarin learning tools. If you want more suggestions and additional information, feel free to ask us in the comment session below. Happy Watching! 玩得开心 (Have Fun)