What are the Top 10 Chinese movies? We won’t criticize you if you’ve been in China for a while and haven’t seen a few Chinese movies. If subtitles aren’t your thing, it might be difficult to break away from HBO and Netflix habits. Our editors have compiled a list of their best selections (in chronological order) for anyone wishing to broaden their foreign cinema horizons.
List of Top 10 Chinese movies:
1. City on Fire (1987)
City On Fire, Ringo Lam’s 1987 crime thriller, depicts the tribulations of a hesitant undercover detective, portrayed by Chow Yun-fat, through Hong Kong’s criminal underbelly in the 1980s. Chow is a cunning and quick-thinking heartthrob who infiltrates a gang of robbers but at a heavy cost. The robbery seems to be going as planned until the police come in and the group barely flees to a warehouse, knowing that one of them is a cop. This film influenced Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs (1992), which expanded on the concept of a group of suspicious criminals locked up together after a failed mission.
2. Farewell My Concubine (1993)
Cheng Dieyi and Duan Xiaolou, two Peking opera performers and longtime friends, are the subjects of this historical play. Cheng has been taught to portray feminine parts, whilst Duan has been trained to play masculine ones. Cheng’s unrequited love for Duan, as well as Duan’s later marriage to Juxian, complicates the love triangle even more. At the 1993 Cannes Film Festival, this was the first Chinese-language film to win the coveted Palme d’Or.
3. The Wedding Banquet (1993)
A Taiwanese-American guy lives happily in New York with his partner and wants to marry a Chinese lady to appease his parents; in exchange, the bride receives a green card. His parents come with no idea what’s going on; what could possibly go wrong?
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4. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
This film is a classic on lists of the “best Chinese movies,” with magnificent martial arts choreography, a brilliant ensemble (Chow Yun-fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi), and an engrossing plot. In nineteenth-century China, a warrior lends his sword to his girlfriend to keep safe. The sword, however, is taken, and the quest for it results in a sequence of epic events. The film was nominated for ten Oscars and won four of them.
5. Infernal Affairs (2002)
You may or may not be aware that The Departed, an Oscar-winning film, is based on this Hong Kong criminal thriller. A seasoned officer is sent undercover to infiltrate the famed Triad criminal organization, while the Triad head sends one of his own to infiltrate the police force. “The movie pays off in a type of emotional intricacy seldom seen in crime pictures,” adds Roger Ebert.
6. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
This funny action/fantasy/martial arts film set in the 1940s is directed and starred by Stephen Chow. Sing (Chow) is a minor burglar who wishes to join the smart and vicious Axe Gang. He ends himself in a slum governed by eccentric landowners who turn out to be some of the best kung fu experts in disguise. The film developed a cult following and was nominated for 16 Hong Kong Film Awards, winning six of them.
7. Ip Man (2008)
Donnie Yen plays Ip Man, a well-known Grandmaster of Wing Chun who lives happily with his family in Foshan, Guangdong. When the Japanese attack, however, everything changes, and Ip Man is compelled to step up and teach everyone how to defend themselves using the secrets of Wing Chun, becoming the hero the people badly need.
8. Detective Chinatown 2 (2018)
If you’re just getting into Chinese cinema, this detective duo film is a great place to start. Yes, we’re jumping forward to the franchise’s second film, which is set in New York. It follows Qin Feng and his rowdy gold-toothed uncle as they seek down a serial murderer on the loose.
9. Dying to Survive (2018)
A dramatic film based on a real tale about a pharmacy shop owner who starts selling inexpensive generic Indian medication to Chinese leukaemia patients who can’t afford the expensive German treatment.
10. Lost in Russia (2022)
This is the third film in the Lost in series, with the first two films grossing a total of USD463 million. Xu is a middle-aged businessman who becomes stranded with his mother on the K3 Beijing-Moscow Trans-Siberian train. The six-day train journey allows Xu and his mother to argue and reconnect. The film was made available online on January 25, barely two days after the city of Wuhan was placed under lockdown because of COVID-19. As millions of Chinese families were cooped up indoors during Spring Festival, this film provided some light relief.