10 Best Chinese War Movies That You Must Watch

War movies have evolved into a distinct genre. Chinese war films significantly influenced Chinese culture and the Chinese film industry, particularly in the latter half of the 20th century.

Beyond China’s preoccupation with military sacrifice and heroism, the war movie subgenre has started to give us a closer look at war’s moral ramifications.

These 10 war movies range from dramatic historical dramas to action-packed reenactments. Scroll down for more!

1. Assembly (2007)

Assembly is more than merely a war movie. Assembly follows Gu Zidi, the captain of the 139th regiment, as he leads them into battle and the challenges he encounters afterward to ensure his troops receive the respect they earn.

It is the story of the reckless company commander who dedicates his life to obtaining full appreciation of his men’s valor, beginning with an extensive, pyrotechnically spectacular combat sequence.

Besides having excellent technical standards, the movie uses additional plot and characters to take the audience on a journey based on a true story.

It’s unlike any other thanks to the ambitious and sincere efforts of director Xiaogang Feng. Each moment is palpable to us, along with their violence, selflessness, madness, and despair.

2. Back to 1942 (2012)

In “Back to 1942,” the Chiang Kai-government mainly ignored the catastrophic famine that ravaged Henan Province during China’s war with Japan, resulting in 3 million deaths from hunger.

Although the disaster’s causes aren’t clear in the movie, it becomes evident that the Nationalist establishment’s corruption, ineptitude, and open brutality have severely worsened the situation.

This film accounts for unremitting suffering, despair, and human depravity. Most of Feng’s portrayals of the refugees’ struggles are skillfully done and are very memorable.

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3. Purple Sunset (2001)

Despite their mutual mistrust for one another, a Chinese farmer, a Soviet officer, and a Japanese schoolgirl must make their way out of a jungle after World War II.

Feng emphasizes the dreadful futility of war and the need for his characters to discover shared humanity in their battle to trust one another and live together.

The director staged a rollicking naval battle with exploding battleships and dogfights during exciting war moments, including a fantasy sequence.

It is a classic, full-throttle combat film that appeals to the masses, taking up the public prize at the Hawaii Film Festival in 2001.

4. The Flowers of War (2011)

During the Japanese invasion of Nanking in 1937, a group of ladies and Americans found safety in a church. He tries to guide the women to safety by pretending to be a priest.

Everything comes together at the movie’s end, and the moral message is well conveyed. The brutality in this film may make it challenging to see, but it is still worthwhile to do so for the well-written, well-acted, and excellent heroic and redemption tale.

5. City of Life and Death (2009)

“City of Life and Death,” a dramatized account of the Nanjing Rape. There are two scary faces that serve as the film’s unmistakable bookends.

The first belonged to Lu (Liu Ye), who was picked up by Japanese troops and hundreds of other soldiers during an uprising. The screen is filled with a close-up of Lu’s expressionless face, buried in unsaid emotion.

After countless deaths and heroic and barbaric deeds, a woman’s face will similarly fill the screen in a close-up. Her agitated eyes widened because of what she had seen.

These faces reflected the thousands of troops and civilians tortured and slaughtered during the mass murder. It may be difficult to watch because of the atrocities it portrays.

Cao Yu captured the scene in flawless black and white, accurately reflecting the dreary and decaying surroundings.

With several awards from various international festivals, this masterwork finally received the recognition and respect that the tale deserves so well.

6. Sky Hunter (2017)

Sky Hunter is a clear and overt example of military propaganda, co-produced by the political division of the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. It aims to reinforce communist ideas, foster a strong feeling of national pride.

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Due to the involvement of the actual Chinese Air Force, there is plenty of military equipment in the movie. They used wide-angle lenses and slow-motion hero shots to shoot everything.

Overall, the movie does not disappoint those looking for an action blockbuster involving dogfights.

7. Cow (2009)

The Second Sino-Japanese War is the backdrop for the tale of Niu’er, a clumsy peasant tasked with caring for a problematic Dutch cow. Niu’er is stubbornly dedicated to his cow-herding task despite the turmoil around him and the battle between the Japanese, Communists, and Nationalists for control of his hamlet.

By concentrating intently on a more specific human narrative, the movie develops into one of China’s most complex meditations on the psychological toll of war. It’s quirky yet surprisingly deep.

8. The Eight Hundred (2020)

A historical incident is the subject of this movie. It has a very patriotic viewpoint and may be slightly overblown and overstated.

It’s 1937 when Japanese soldiers have assaulted Shanghai. Among the city’s devastation, the foreign concessions emerge as an island of civilized existence.

Across a canal from the concession area, 800 Chinese soldiers have protected a warehouse. Months pass as they resist overwhelming Japanese soldiers in front of the world’s media and their fellow Chinese people.

There is a lot of blood, and the injuries and deaths are brutally shown. It is one of the best Chinese battle movies.

9. Death and Glory in Changde (2010)

The movie Death and Glory in Changde was enjoyable. The settings, costumes, and weaponry all looked fantastic.

The romance subplot had a few trite parts, but generally, the narrative was strong. The action is nicely done and occasionally becomes heated.

When Chinese movies deal with historical issues, they are very intriguing. This movie is a must for everyone who likes foreign war movies.

10. Wolf Warrior (2015)

In the brutally patriotic movie “Wolf Warriors,” an elite People’s Liberation Army unit fights against foreign invaders. The incredible combat prowess of director-star Jacky Wu Jing will wow you.

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The Wolf Warriors and Shi’s previous unit from Leng are engaged in mock combat. Leng and Shi’s history of animosity toward one another, together with Shi’s current competition with Long, a young upstart, raise the possibility of character-driven friction.

It will appeal more to the audience that grew up adoring loud action movies from the 1980s and 1990s. It’s hardly a cutting-edge movie, but it has more action and better VFX overall than the Cannon movies from the 1980s.

Enjoy the movie here!

FAQs

What is considered the most realistic war movie?

  • Restrepo – 2010
  • Platoon – 1986
  • Saving Private Ryan – 1998
  • We Were Soldiers – 2002
  • Generation Kill – 2008
  • Apocalypse Now – 1979
  • Hacksaw Ridge – 2016
  • Band of Brothers – 2001

Are there any Vietnam War movies?

  • Apocalypse Now (1979)
  • The Deer Hunter (1978)
  • Platoon (1986)
  • Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
  • Full Metal Jacket (1987)
  • Hamburger Hill (1987)
  • Casualties of War (1989)
  • Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

What are the five perfect movies?

Five perfect movies, according to Twitter, include:

  • Amelie
  • Free Solo
  • Dead man’s shoes
  • Control
  • The wind shakes the barley

What is the top 1 movie of all time?

It’s Avatar (2009).

Final Thoughts

War films may intend to show war’s horrific violence and futility, but they may also be indulgent in illusions about the brave, noble warriors who fight them.

Depending on the conflict, they may also serve as propaganda, leading us to believe that the troops we are following are defending good or are battling evil.