7 Inspirational Chinese Movies You Should Watch
Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon are two of the most iconic Chinese films. What other outstanding Chinese productions can you consider, other than Ang Lee’s breathtaking masterpiece?
These are seven amazing titles that you should check out.
Chinese Movies List
Some viewers may find Zhang Yimou, a Chinese director,’s Rashomon-like bid to win an Oscar a bit too ambitious. Hero, despite its visual beauty, is one of the best Chinese films to be filmed in recent times. The whole extravaganza is full of color metaphors and thrilling martial arts duels.
The story revolves around the attempted assassination by Qin Shihuang (the notoriously brutal first emperor) of China. Heriot, following the Chinese historical movie trend, also tries to justify the brutality of the First Emperor by explaining that such acts were necessary for China’s continued unification and growth as an Empire. You can get chinese names using the chinese name generator.
2. “The Last Emperor”
The 1987 masterpiece by Bernardo Bertolucci is not a Chinese production. It was also disliked by some Chinese audiences at its release. This was mainly due to the fact that it was directed and edited by Europeans. There were several contentious scenes such as Puyi sucking his nanny.
I have seen this epic production many times and read about Puyi’s life. However, I can confidently state that the movie overall is a very reasonable interpretation of the life of the last Emperor. I doubt that anyone, not even his wives ever understood what Puyi really thought or felt. Bertolucci may have been a bit too direct in his words, but it is fair to say that he is neither wrong nor intentionally provocative.
3. “Red Cliff” (Chi Bi )
Red Cliff is named after one of the most important battles in Chinese history. Its outcome led to the formation of the Three Kingdoms (AD 220 – 280).
This historical movie is split into two parts and features dozens of historical characters. It can be confusing for viewers not used to Oriental names. It is still a good introduction to the history of the Three Kingdoms. It’s thrilling, with many awe-inspiring battle scenes.
4. “Farewell My Concubine!”
China’s decades before the Second World War were turbulent and tragic. The country was engulfed by western imperialism, internal strife, and remnants of medieval beliefs.
The 1993 production earned an Oscar nomination. It highlights one of the greatest tragedies of that era, namely. Boys were forced to perform feminine roles in Chinese opera. The life and identity conflicts that result from this training are clearly shown by following the example of one such character. It is also a disturbingly detailed account.
5. “Lai Shi: China’s Last Eunuch”
Eunuchs are a common phenomenon in Chinese history. They often rule the imperial court. There were many instances of eunuchs manipulating imperial politics from the Qin Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. It is no surprise that the Chinese terms for “eunuchs”, taijian, and huanguan still have very negative connotations in Mandarin. These connotations can be described as sycophantic or scheming, and even downright spiteful.
The 1988 Hong Kong production paints a different picture than other Chinese movies about these emasculated eunuchs. It depicts them as the hapless victims in a brutally feudalistic society. The movie shows a deeper truth: for every powerful, emperor-controlling “gong”, there were thousands who lived their entire lives in servitude or humiliation.
6. “Swordsman 1990”
The amazing world of sword fighting, and the spectacular martial arts. Since the 1960s, hundreds of Wuxia films and television series have been made in Hong Kong. For the uninitiated, however, it is difficult to know which Wuxia movie would be a good introduction. This would be an excellent choice for anyone new to the concepts of honor and medieval Chinese chivalry.
This Hong Kong production, released in the 90s at the beginning of a revival of Wuxia films within Chinese cinemas, is highly recommended. Swordsman 1990, based on extracts from Jin Yong, a Wuxia writer, is neither too dated nor too complicated in its story. In fact, the effects look great even today.
The movie also serves as a summary of what you can expect from a Wuxia movie. These elements include incredible acrobatics and complicated conspiracies to power. Honor in the face of death is another important aspect.
7. “Zu Warriors of the Magic Mountain”
Tsui Hark, a Hong Kong director,’s 1983 supernatural adventure in Hong Kong is noteworthy for two reasons.
Its use of special effects was revolutionary.
It revitalized a genre that had been much neglected by Wuxia. The Zu Warriors of the Magic Mountain successfully reintroduced Chinese audiences into the Xianxia genre.
Xianxia, which is a form of martial arts, is similar to Wuxia and other films that feature magic. Xianxia incorporates a key trope from the classic Chinese novel, Investiture of the Gods. This is the idea of characters wielding unique artifacts of their power. These artifacts can be traditional weapons such as swords or more exotic items such as mirrors, parasols, and spindles. These relics are often the most interesting to watch. While Xianxia fans might forget the names of their protagonists, it is very unlikely that they would forget the names of their artifacts.
If you are interested in Chinese movies and China, the Zu Warriors of the Magic Mountain is a must-see movie. The magic mountain is a reference to the Sichuan mountain ranges, which are remote regions rich in myths and oriental legends. Xianxia also draws heavily on Buddhism and Taoism. Artifact names often use exotic religious terminology.
This is a great movie to see if you want to explore the world of Chinese mythical fiction. The best part is that you can find many Xianxia novels, games, and movies to continue your journey. Many of these can be found online, even in translated versions. You can also download many Xianxia apps for your smartphone.
These opinions are solely those of the author. This content is true and accurate to the best knowledge of the author. It should not be used as a substitute for objective facts or advice in legal or political matters.