I have watched 33 Chinese movies so far in my unusual quest to learn Mandarin, and I would highly recommend 11 of them: Hero, Journey to the West, Dragon (Wu xia), Shower, House of Flying Daggers, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Shanghai Triad, The Emperor and the Assassin, A Touch of Sin, The Road Home, and Fearless. I have made a table in which I compile, rate, and comment on each of these films, which I update regularly on my blog (here is one of my posts specifically about films), but I'm also attaching the complete table here. chinese_film_table.xlsx

I would be very glad to get your recommendations of other high quality films in Mandarin that are not on my list.

I am conducting an experiment in which I try to learn to oral Mandarin (listening only) exclusively by watching authentic videos. Normally, of course, I would advocate a more balanced approach that includes conversation classes and study of characters (and reading), but I do think that watching a lot of authentic video is highly beneficial even at lower levels.

I also hope to begin using Anki cards / subs2srs with the movies I'm watching (but without subtitles), though this is a new idea for me and I will have to see how it works.

Please respond with your thoughts and especially Chinese (Mandarin) film recommendations.

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1)  Some Links in your  "Qiao Hu Study guides" are pointing to a closed down Youtube account.  (  We have the same problem every so often here on this site (SMC) also ).

2)  On SMC we did a top 50 ( really more by cheating ) Chinese movies.  They are in the Blog section and can be found by typing "movies" in the search window upon entering the Blog section.  There were 6 entries posted by me from Sept 14 2012 to Oct 1 2012.  There were some other movie related Blogs by Wood, Brandon, Zhang Wenzhuo and Grace (Feng),  I had "The Emperor and the Assassin (1998)" as the #1 movie with Fearless, A Beautiful New World, The Forbidden Kingdom and Hero as the next best.  Many comments were generated since this is very subjective and many other titles were suggested.

3)  Some recent movies have more than 1 spoken language.  For example the comedy movie " Driving Miss Wealthy" has lines in Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Tagalog (Filipino) and Japanese.

Thank you Thomas! I'm going to try to find new links to those Qiao Hu episodes and correct the guides.

I will definitely check out those movie suggestions and in particular the blog section on the top 50.

I've noticed with interest (and occasionally a bit of dismay from the point of view of a beginner learner) how current Chinese movies are mixing languages a lot!


I have corrected them all and added new Study Guides.

I have seen more than 100 Chinese movies, some are from youtube too. If you count the operas too! I really enjoy watching them and not all of them all beneficial to my learning, some are just for fun. I would like to recommend you some: 紫日is about a Chinese man who travels with some Russians.

菊豆 is also a very good one 

有話好好說 Is another good one I recommend. If you want any others, just let me know, I'll be happy to share them with you!

Erin, I am interested in all of your suggestions - or I should say all of them that are good for someone wanting to learn standard Mandarin.

I'm making note of your three suggestions above, all of which seem like good quality movies - including two by Zhang Yimou. Unfortunately, none of them are available for download on Amazon, which is my preferred my method (no hassles, high quality, I own it). But sooner or later I'll try to buy the DVDs or find a way to watch them on YouTube.

Hi, I was wondering where i could find these movies to download. I know some of these films and love them but i only watched them in english. Even i site that i could watch them online would be much appreciated. Thank you.

Hi Joanna! I have downloaded most of them from Amazon. Of course, you have to pay for them - on average around $8 or $10. But to me it's a small investment, as they are great, enjoyable movies and I can (and have) watched them multiple times for learning purposes.

Many of them are also available on YouTube. You can also go on file sharing (torrent) sites, but I'm no expert on those and generally feel they're not worth the trouble - I'd rather pay a few bucks.

Could you also share the names of these movies in Mandarin for those of us living outside of youtube land (aka mainland China) to find on our own? Thanks!

Can you access Wikipedia? 

Here's a little trick. Search for the movie in English on Wikipedia. For example, type in "Shower (film)". Once the entry comes up, on the panel on the left, click on the link to the corresponding Mandarin article (中文). 

Can you give the Chinese name for Shower as my searches for Shower bring up only porn  :-(  Thanks!

Do you mean 淋浴熊漫狗的电影 ( Línyù xióng màn gǒu de diànyǐng ) Shower Bear Dog Man movie ?

Is there really such a movie ?  I see only this link:


Please see my response to Boz right above.

Using this method, I found the answer to your question 

洗澡 (电影)


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