astronauts from chinese movie "wandering earth"

Top 16 Chinese Movies on Netflix You Need to Stream [February 2024]

Netflix is one of the best international resources for Chinese dramas, which can reach to more than 50 episodes. But if you’re looking for something short and sweet, it also has a growing library of Chinese movies.

They’re diverse, too! Get some wuxia action with “The Yin-Yang Master,” experience wacky comedy as you watch “Marry My Dead Body” or enjoy the touching cinematography in “Us and Me.”

Here’s your updated guide to the best Chinese movies on Netflix right now—featuring both iconic films and new releases:

Contents

1. The Yin-Yang Master (2021)

Chinese Title: 侍神令
Genre: Fantasy
Lead Actors: Chen Kun, Zhou Xun

Admittedly, I watched this because I’m a Chen Kun fan, but I also enjoyed the action and spectacular visual effects—it’s based on a Japanese RPG, after all.

Qingming is a yin-yang master who can communicate with spirits and monsters. The kingdom where he lives is facing a looming demonic threat, so he’s summoned to the capital for a protection ceremony.

However, he soon discovers a conspiracy there—involving dark magic, scheming royalty and multigenerational feuds. Together with Boya, a commander of the guard, he joins an epic battle to save the world from being destroyed.

2. Incantation (2022)

Chinese Title:
Genre: Horror
Main Cast: Tsai Hsuan-yen, Huang Sin-ting, Kao Ying-hsuan

This is—hands down—one of the scariest movies I’ve ever seen.

Ronan, a documentary filmmaker, is investigating the rituals of a mysterious cult, but then she accidentally commits a religious taboo. This results in her and her loved ones getting cursed.

Years later, her daughter is targeted by the curse and becomes extremely sick. Ronan desperately tries to find a way to reverse the curse as she herself starts to experience breakdowns.

To add to the fear factor, this movie generated an uproar because it tricks viewers into saying a mysterious chant (and getting “cursed” themselves).

3. Little Big Women (2020)

Chinese Title: 孤味
Genre: Drama
Lead Actors: Chen Shufang, Hsieh Ying-hsuan, Vivian Hsu

“Little Big Women” shows just how complicated family can get. Lin Shoying, the family matriarch, is celebrating her 70th birthday when she learns that her estranged husband has died. Despite his absence and infidelity, his death still brings in mixed emotions. Shoying and her three daughters, each dealing with their own personal struggles and unresolved feelings, must come together to arrange his funeral.

To make it even more complicated, the family uncovers hidden truths about his life, including a secret relationship.

The story is very true-to-life, and it got me feeling emotional, especially since their family issues are very relatable.

4. Us and Them (2018)

Chinese Title: 后来的我们
Genre: Romance
Lead Actors: Jing Boran, Zhou Dongyu

“Us and Them” is a must-watch drama that shows a love story spanning several years—and how it finally ends.

Jianqing and Xiaoxiao accidentally meet on a train during the busy New Year period in China. They eventually start dating and then living together in Beijing, where they’ve decided to pursue their dreams. As time passes, though, differences in their career and personal goals start to strain their relationship.

I love the constant switching between present-day scenes and flashbacks because it makes the movie even more poignant and heart-wrenching. In fact, this has the same cinematographer as “In the Mood for Love.”

5. Marry My Dead Body (2022)

Chinese Title: 关于我和鬼变成家人的那件事
Genre: Mystery
Lead Actors: Greg Hsu, Austin Lin, Gingle Wang

You might have heard of Chinese ghost marriages, but “Marry My Dead Body” takes it to a whole new level.

Minghan is a policeman who finds himself in a strange situation: he’s forced to marry a ghost named Mao, who supposedly died in a hit-and-run accident. To add to the wackiness, Mao is gay, while Wu is homophobic (and scared of ghosts).

The two are forced to team up, though, because Mao’s death is related to the cases that Minghan is trying to solve. They then slowly start to piece together what really happened to Mao.

It’s definitely a funny and adorable film, but it delves into deeper themes like friendship and acceptance as well.  

6. Man in Love (2021)

Chinese Title: 当男人恋爱时
Genre: Romance
Lead Actors: Roy Chiu, Tiffany Hsu

“Man in Love” is a Taiwanese remake of the original 2014 Korean film. The main characters here are an unlikely pair: A-cheng, a debt collector, falls in love with the daughter of one of his debtors—Hao-ting. Instead of collecting her father’s hefty debt, he asks her to date him instead.

Roy Chiu—the same actor in hit movies “Dear Ex” and “Detective Chinatown”—gives a top-notch performance as A-cheng. I liked A-cheng as a character because he’s far from what you would expect for a gangster. He tries to give people money to help them out, and he’s surprisingly empathetic and sensitive.

7. The Falls (2021)

Chinese Title: 瀑布
Genre: Drama
Lead Actors: Alyssa Chia, Gingle Wang

Released in 2021—when the COVID-19 pandemic was still in full swing—”The Falls” features a mother-daughter pair who have to go through lockdown together. Pin-Wen is a single mother and executive, but her mental health gets progressively worse because of work stress and her longing for her ex-husband. Although the daughter, Xiao Jing, is still a high school student, she’s forced to step up and support her mom.

There’s a constant blue tint to the scenes, which adds to the sense of being trapped inside. I was reminded of my own experiences during the pandemic! 

8. New Gods: Nezha Reborn (2021)

Chinese Title: 新神榜:哪吒重生
Genre: Fantasy

This 3D animated film is an absolute visual treat, to the point that I sometimes felt like I was watching a video game.

In classic superhero style, the main character (Yunxiang) seems like an ordinary delivery guy at first. He lives in a bustling city that’s dominated by the De family, who are corrupt industrial moguls.

It turns out, though, that the soul of the legendary Chinese warrior, Nezha, lives inside him. When he awakens it accidentally, he becomes the target of the De family. Their ancestors saw Nezha as a major rival 3,000 years ago, and now they must settle the feud—with the fate of the city at stake.

9. A Chinese Odyssey: Part One (1995)

Chinese Title: 大話西游
Genre: Fantasy
Lead Actors: Stephen Chow, Karena Law, Ng Man-Tat

If you want to explore Hong Kong cinema, this is one of the first films that I’d recommend. It’s based on “Journey to the West,” a major Chinese classical novel.  

Stephen Chow stars as Joker, a gang leader who doesn’t know that he’s the Monkey King, a famous immortal being in Chinese mythology. A magical device allows him to travel back in time—at first to find his lost love, but then ultimately to make peace with his true self.  

In signature Stephen Chow style, there’s a lot of slapstick humor. Some scenes even had me laughing so hard I had to hit pause. It’s a three-part series, so check out Part II and Part III too.

10. The Wandering Earth (2019)

Chinese Title: 流浪地球
Genre: Sci-Fi
Lead Actors: Wu Jing, Qu Chuxiao, Li Guangjie 

If you’re a sci-fi fan, then this is a must-watch. It’s based on a novella by Liu Cixin, who wrote the sci-fi masterpiece “The Three-Body Problem,” and it’s one of China’s highest-grossing films.

Set in a distant future where the sun is about to turn into a red giant and engulf the Earth, humanity comes up with a bold solution: move the Earth to a new star system. This means making massive thrusters across the globe.

The science here isn’t completely accurate, but I couldn’t stop watching because of how creative the plot is. The visuals are epic too, with an all-out budget.

11. Dear Ex (2018)

Chinese Title: 谁先爱上他的
Genre: Comedy
Lead Actors: Joseph Huang, Roy Chiu, Hsieh Ying-xuan

Just from the premise alone, you know that this is a comedy: it’s about a woman (Liu Sanlian) and her dead husband’s gay lover (Jay) fighting over who gets the insurance money. The teenage son (Song Chengxi) gets involved and sides with his mother at first, but then surprisingly forms a connection with the male lover.

It’s not pure hilarity, though. The film resonated with me on a deeper level too because it explores the perspectives of all three main characters, with emotions like anger and grief. Each of them is forced to change and reflect while grappling with the complicated process of forgiveness.   

12. Cities of Last Things (2018)

Chinese Title: 谁先爱上他的
Genre: Comedy
Lead Actors: Jack Kao, Lee Hong-chi, Louise Grinberg

In this movie, time goes in reverse. It starts with a striking scene: Dong-ling, a former police officer, kills himself by jumping out a window.

You’ll then be thrown back to three different periods in his life—first, as a middle-aged man struggling with a failing marriage and turns violent, then next as a young police officer who’s already troubled. Finally, he’s shown as a teenager, with striking revelations about what drove him to become the person he is.

The narration forms an intriguing psychological puzzle, with different actors and even cinematography for each segment.

13. American Girl (2021)

Chinese Name: 美國女孩
Genre: Drama
Lead Actors: Karena Lam, Kaiser Chuang, Caitlin Fang

Based on the director’s own experiences, this realistic film gives a very relatable depiction of what it’s like to be an immigrant—and the culture shock and identity struggles that come with it. Fen, a Taiwanese-American teenager, has to suddenly move back from Los Angeles to Taipei because her mother needs cancer treatment.

In Taiwan, Fen doesn’t settle in easily at all. Although she speaks Chinese, she’s caught between her American upbringing and the Taiwanese culture that’s part of her heritage. On top of this, she has a love-hate relationship with her mother, who’s struggling emotionally with her sickness.

14. A Beautiful Life (2011)

Chinese Title: 不再让你孤单
Genre: Romance
Lead Actors: Shu Qi, Liu Ye

Peiru is a materialistic and ambitious woman who works in a real estate office in Beijing. She leads a fairly reckless life, even dating her married boss.

But then after a night of drinking, she meets Zhendong, who rescues her from a fight. In contrast, Zhendong is an honest, kind-hearted police officer from a small town.

Even though they’re very different, they keep on running into each other, and then sparks start to fly. The lead actors have excellent chemistry, with Peiru changing for the better because of Zhendong. I didn’t want it to end and wish there’d been a sequel!

15. A Sun (2019)

Chinese Title: 阳光普照
Genre: Drama
Main Actors: Wu Chien-ho, Greg Hsu, Chen Yi-wen, Samantha Ko

This movie is an underrated gem. You might not have heard of it before, but it’s absolutely brilliant, from the cinematography to the acting.

Even though the Chen family seems normal from the outside, they’re actually plagued with turmoil. The older son, Hao, is a model student, but then the younger son, Ho, has to go to juvenile detention because he committed a violent crime. Out of frustration, the father focuses all of his attention on the older son, while the mother tries to hold their family together.  

It portrays family expectations in Chinese culture very well, along with the intricacies of family relationships.

16. Your Name Engraved Herein (2020)

Chinese Title: 刻在你心底的名字
Genre: Romance
Main Actors: Edward Chen, Tseng Jing-hua

“Your Name Engraved Herein” is the top-grossing Taiwanese LGBT film of all time. I couldn’t get over it even a few months after watching because it’s beautiful and bittersweet, with compelling characters.

Two high school boys, Jia-han and Birdy, are close friends, but they secretly have feelings for each other.

To complicate the situation, both of them study at a Catholic school. The film is set in the 1980s, when martial law had just ended in Taiwan. Still, despite all of the progressive political changes, society was far from being accepting of same-sex relationships. 

 

These Chinese-language films are all memorable and high-quality, and they might get you addicted to checking out new Chinese movies on Netflix! Tune in right now to discover some potential favorites.

Of course, Chinese movies are also a great way to immerse in the language and learn more about Chinese culture. FluentU helps you work up to watching full Chinese movies by letting you practice with shorter clips first. 

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

FluentU Ad

Enter your e-mail address to get your free PDF!

We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe

Close