Life is full of irresistible indulgences.
Do you want extra whipped cream on your fancy coffee drink? Obviously.
Do you need gold flakes in your face cream? Of course. Your pores are worth it.
Would you like fries with that? Yes, bro. Gild that lily.
But there are some indulgences that you deserve to enjoy every single day. One such indulgence is Chinese movies.
Not only are Chinese movies incredibly fun to watch, but you can actually learn Chinese through movies so you develop real-world skills through your favorite pastime.
But sometimes you want to watch movies when you’re not home. Sometimes you just don’t want to sit on the couch. Sometimes you need a more flexible option.
When you’re living an on-the-go lifestyle, Chinese movie apps might be the tool you need to enjoy your indulgence every day. With these six Chinese movie apps, you’ll have all you need to live in the lap of Chinese-learning luxury.
How to Get the Most out of Chinese Movie Apps
Try several apps to see which you like best.
There are a number of different apps on the market. They vary in format, price and even offerings. On some apps, you may find new Chinese movies, while in other apps, you may find classics. Trying out several apps will help you find out which option best fits your unique needs and preferences.
Pay attention to subtitling options.
Different apps offer various subtitling options. However, even within an app, these options may vary, so pay careful attention. Depending on the app and movie, you may be able to use English subtitles, Chinese subtitles or remove the subtitles altogether.
For instance, Chinese movies on Netflix usually offer English subtitles with Chinese audio. However, with some of the Netflix original movies, you’ll have more options. A prime example is “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny,” which was originally in English but also offers Mandarin dubbing, along with subtitles in English, simplified Chinese and/or traditional Chinese.
Have a translator handy on your phone or device for quick lookups.
Inevitably, you’ll encounter some vocabulary you don’t know well as you watch your favorite movies. Even if you’re watching Chinese movies based on novels, you might encounter some words that just weren’t in your favorite novel.
Luckily, since you’ll be watching from a phone or device, you have an easy option to look up words. Simply keep a translator or dictionary handy on your phone. That way, you can look up any unfamiliar words or phrases right away.
Supplement your language learning with more videos.
If you’re a movie lover, then it sounds like watching movies, TV and videos could be your ideal way to study Mandarin in general. Find more video resources so you can keep learning long after your Chinese movie marathon is over.
If you like learning Chinese through videos, you’ll love FluentU!
Not only will you have tons of videos at your fingertips, but you’ll also have flashcards, exercises and personalized quizzes that evolve as you learn.
Mandarin Movie Marathon: 6 Entertaining Chinese Movies Apps
Vidfish is a subscription service designed to give users easy access to Chinese movies and TV shows.
With thousands of hours of HD, ad-free viewing, Chinese language students will have no shortage of awesome material to choose from. And with English subtitles available, students shouldn’t be in too far over their heads. Vidfish even intends to allow users to download material in the future, giving you a great way to enjoy your favorite movies even when you don’t have access to Wi-Fi.
Vidfish offers a number of great movie options, like “28岁未成年” — “Suddenly Seventeen.”
But there’s more for language learners to love about Vidfish than movies alone! There’s a comments section below each video, giving you a terrific opportunity for reading and writing practice.
Youku is a popular Chinese streaming provider that offers TV series, documentaries and, of course, movies.
While Youku has a lot to offer Chinese students, it’s best for intermediate-level learners and above because everything, including the app interface, is in Chinese.
The Youku app is free to download and some movies are available for free, though subscription options are necessary to unlock more material.
This Taiwanese app gives users access to great TV shows and movies. While the app is based in Taiwan, it offers both Chinese and Taiwanese movies.
Since the iQiyi app and its content are entirely in Chinese, this is a better option for intermediate and advanced learners. Additionally, some users report the app not working consistently in the United States and others report issues with payments, so be careful with this.
However, since the initial app is free to download, it may be worth a shot to see if it works for you. Plus, if it does, having the iQiyi app will provide a fantastically immersive learning experience, encouraging you to practice both your reading and listening skills. And with a visually-appealing format, the app is hard to resist.
You can download iQiyi for free, but in-app purchases are necessary to unlock additional materials and features.
Viki is a popular service that gives users access to a wide range of Asian content, including TV shows and movies from China, Taiwan and other Asian countries (most notably Japan and Korea).
One of Viki’s most exciting features is the subtitling options. Viki offers subtitles in over 200 languages, giving you all the subtitling options you’ve been dreaming about.
Viki offers some content for free, but a premium membership can remove ads and give you access to more material.
地瓜影视 – 免费电影、电视及综艺
Android (No longer available)
地瓜影视 – 免费电影、电视及综艺 — “Sweet Potato Film – Free Movie, TV and Variety” is a free app that advertises a whopping 40,000 film options from all over the world. However, regardless of where the film comes from, be warned: This app is very Chinese intensive. The app interface and the majority of the content (including descriptions) are in Chinese, so make sure your Chinese skills are on point before you attempt this.
If your Chinese skills are up to the task, though, you have a lot to gain. Some videos are even available for download.
Netflix is often seen as the be-all and end-all of streaming services for good reason: it has a lot to offer. And with its app, you can enjoy all its Chinese movies from the convenience of your favorite devices.
All movies have English subtitles, which you can also turn off for a greater challenge. Some movies, particularly Netflix originals, even have Chinese subtitles, though most of these feature audio that isn’t originally in Chinese. Dubbing options can allow you to listen in Chinese, however, while following along with Chinese subtitles.
While you won’t be watching movies with the Douban app, you can read all about them! That’s because the Douban app is a place for Chinese movie fans to discuss their favorite and least favorite films.
You can look up movie reviews for some quick, fun reading practice. Looking for some writing practice? Try writing your own reviews! Because of its different focus, Douban pairs nicely with any app you’re using to watch Chinese movies, allowing you to use movies for more well-rounded language practice.
Indulge your passion for Chinese learning. Maybe you can even indulge in a little popcorn and soda while you’re at it. Have a fun movie night with these Chinese movie apps!
And One More Thing...
If you want continue learning Chinese with interactive and authentic Chinese content, then you'll love FluentU.
FluentU naturally eases you into learning Chinese language. Native Chinese content comes within reach, and you'll learn Chinese as it's spoken in real life.
FluentU has a wide range of contemporary videos—like dramas, TV shows, commercials and music videos. In fact, below you'll even see the song "Let It Go" from the hit movie "Frozen":
FluentU brings these native Chinese videos within reach via interactive captions. You can tap on any word to instantly look it up. All words have carefully written definitions and examples that will help you understand how a word is used. Tap to add words you'd like to review to a vocab list.
FluentU's Learn Mode turns every video into a language learning lesson. You can always swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you're learning.
The best part is that FluentU always keeps track of your vocabulary. It suggests content and examples based on the words you're learning. You have a 100% personalized experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Chinese with real-world videos.