How Do I Choose the Best Chinese Movies?

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  • Written By: Mark Wollacott
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 18 October 2019
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You choose the best Chinese movies by matching your tastes with the films available from Chinese cinema. Any "best of" list is, by its very nature, subjective. This means that what is best for other people might not be best for you. Remember your tastes and your opinions are just as valid as any critic when choosing the best Chinese movies.

In order to be considered a Chinese movie, the film must be made in a Chinese language, funded by a Chinese company or filmed in China. Films can also be considered Chinese if they are filmed in Taiwan, also known as Chinese Teipei, Hong Kong and Macau. A Chinese movie made in another country also counts.

Check out other lists of best Chinese movies compiled by other people. Movie database and shopping sites will no doubt have such lists. These are other people’s ideas, but if you are new to Chinese cinema, they will offer a glimpse of what other people consider to be good movies. Many lists will be broken down by genres such as ‘the best kung-fu movies’ or the best ‘historical action movies.’ Find the genres you like most.

Do your research when choosing the best Chinese movies. Chinese cinema has a long history. It is nearly impossible to watch every movie made in Chinese; however, it is possible to do exhaustive research so that you know as many films as possible.


It is a natural state of affairs that only a tiny fraction of any country’s cinematic output makes it into the English-speaking digital video disk (DVD) or cinema market. This means the vast majority of films will not be available where you are and even if ordered from China will probably not have English subtitles. This means that any selection for the best Chinese movies has already been made by someone else.

Selecting the best of anything is a subjective action. Be comfortable with selecting the best Chinese movies that interest you, if you are making your own list. If you want to make a general list, then take into account other factors such as availability, sales and awards. In the latter circumstance, remember that different people hold differing opinions on the importance of commercial and critical success, especially as the two rarely go hand in hand.

Chinese movies can be broken down into the works of specific directors, genres and actors/actresses. Consider beginning with films by directors like Zhang Yimou, Ang Lee and John Woo. Alternatively, consider actors and actresses like Chow Yung Fat, Jackie Chan, Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh. Then consider leading genres including the historical dramas or horror movies and the martial arts films.


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Post 3

Does anyone know how big the movie industry in China is when compared to America? After all, I'm sure there are a ton of Chinese movies most non-Chinese people don't even know about. Even the article notes the Chinese cinema has a long history.

Post 2

When most Americans think of movies, the first thing that comes to mind is those mindless summer blockbusters produced by Hollywood. However, what we tend to forget (myself included) is that people all over the world enjoy movies, and in different languages as well. In the past, I've watched a lot of foreign movies. While they were quite a shock to me, they were fairly interesting, and definitely stretched my view of the movie industry.

Post 1

For those who are into Chinese films, but don't speak the same language, subtitles are always a good solution. One problem I find with this though is depending on what movie you're watching, the subtitles may not be accurate enough, and they might make the story even harder to follow. For example, last year in one of my college courses called Aspects of Cinema, we were watching a movie that was entirely Chinese. While it did have some pretty high production values, the subtitles were translated poorly, and most of the class had a hard time following what was going on.

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