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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I have been studying Mandarin for about 7 or 8 years. I currently take Chinese at my university, but there aren't many opportunities outside of class to work on listening skills. I found this TV show called "Dad, Where Are We Going?" 《爸爸去哪儿》. The main characters are young children and their fathers, which means that a lot of the vocabulary you learn while watching is useful and easier to understand because the level of Chinese is not super advanced. This show really helped me with my conversational skills.

It also helps to watch the shows in Chinese, with Chinese subtitles, that way you can listen and read at the same time, which will increase your character recognition.



Thanks for the suggestion. I listened for a couple of minutes and though I still understand little due to my extremely low level, it seems to be much easier than any listening source except for toddler shows like Qiao Hu and Momo. It's even easier than Boonie Bears, I think (though slightly less entertaining).

I liked your blog! I didn't see how to follow it, but I'm soon going to add links to my own blog and I expect to include yours.

Glad I could be of help. And thanks for the blog feedback! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out.

Yes, that is a lovely show on Hunan TV, and also i suggest you another TV show, <天天向上> i think translation into english is Day Day up (which the shows prompt it) 

Hi, as a beginner learner myself, which films would say are the more appropriate for beginner/intermediate learners?

Ideally I am looking for something more suitable for a childs level of mandarin, so cartoons would be great. 

Hope you can help. 

Hi Danny,

The best video source for beginners and small children is Qiao Hu. Countless episodes are easily available on YouTube. I make study guides which may be somewhat helpful and are available on my blog.

Another very good source for kids, a bit older (like my seven-year-old) are the Boonie Bears. The Mandarin is far, far more difficult than Qiao Hu, and way above my beginner level, but the episodes are entertaining and slapstick funny, so it's easy viewing to gradually train your ear.

Dubbed Disney movies are also great. I just wrote a blog post specifically about them. I have purchased several Mandarin-language Disney DVDs from US Amazon. You can find lots of Mandarin versions of Disney movie songs on YouTube as well.

Great family-friendly Chinese movies that are good for picking up Mandarin words include: Not One Less, The Road Home, and Shower.

Great movies in which I found it easier to decipher new words, due to slow, easier dialogue include Hero and Fearless.

I hope that helps.

I am currently watching a cartoon series "The adventures of Tom Sawyer" which is in Mandarin and has Chinese character sub titles. The dialog is not difficult yet no where near being too simple. Plus its fun to watch. It has 18 disks so I found that my ear starts to tune in the more I watch. 



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