Everyone dreads self-introductions in class, especially in a language class. Your go-to is probably to discuss your hobbies. 

But simply saying “I like listening to music, watching movies, etc.” will not suffice when you are at an intermediate level. But how can you describe the last thing you watched?

Here’s how you say movie genres in Chinese (with sample sentences)!

Some quick grammar rules: If you add 片 (Piàn) after the genres below, it becomes “[genre] movie.” For example, 恐怖+片 is “horror movie.” You write movie titles in 《》(the greater and less than symbols on your keyboard) and the measure word is 部 (Bù).

  1. 1 Action 动作 Dòngzuò


    Action subgenres: Martial arts 武侠 (Wǔxiá),Disaster 灾难 (Zāinàn),Superhero 超级英雄 (Chāojí yīngxióng),Spy 间谍 (Jiàndié)

    Example Sentence:

    In Western countries, one of the most famous Chinese martial arts movies is "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” In 2001, director Ang Lee won the Oscar for Best International Feature Film.

    在西方国家,最有名的中文武侠电影之一是《卧虎藏龙》。在2001年,导演李安获得了奥斯卡最佳国际故事片奖。

    Zài xīfāng guójiā, zuì yǒumíng de zhōngwén wǔxiá diànyǐng zhī yī shì 《Wò Hǔ Cáng Lóng》. Zài 2001 nián, dǎoyǎn Lǐ An huò dé le àosīkǎ zuì jiā guójì gùshìpiàn jiǎng.


  2. 2 Animation 动画 Dònghuà


    Example Sentence:

    The animation and story of "Big Fish and Begonia" are very similar to those of Studio Ghibli. This movie incorporates some Chinese mythology.

    《大鱼海棠》的动画和故事很类似于吉卜力工作室的动画。这部电影也融入了一些中国神话。

    《Dà Yú Hǎitáng》 de dònghuà hé gùshì hěn lèisì yújí bǔ lì gōngzuò shì de dònghuà. Zhè bù diànyǐng yě róngrù le yīxiē zhōngguó shénhuà.

  3. 3 Comedy 喜剧 Xǐjù / Stand-Up 单口喜剧 Dānkǒu xǐjù (or 栋笃笑 in Cantonese)


    Example Sentence:

    When I was younger, I watched many of Stephen Chow’s comedy movies like, “Tricky Brains,” “Forbidden City Cop,” and “The God of Cookery.” Although I laughed loudly, I did not understand it.

    我小时候看了许多周星驰的喜剧电影,例如《整蛊专家》、《大内密探零零发》、《食神》。尽管我大声哈哈笑,但是我其实看不懂。

    Wǒ xiǎoshíhòu kàn le xǔduō Zhōu Xīngchí de xǐjù diànyǐng, lìrú 《Zhěng Gǔ Zhuānjiā》, 《Dànèi Mìtàn Líng Líng Fā》, 《Shí Shén》. Jǐnguǎn wǒ dàshēng hāhāxiào, dànshì wǒ qíshí kàn bù dǒng.

  4. 4 Documentary 记录 (Jìlù)


    Example Sentence:

    While watching “A Bite of China,” I often salivate. This documentary television series introduces China’s food culture. 

    看《舌尖上的中国》时,我通常会流口水。这部电视纪录片介绍中国各地的饮食文化。

    Kàn 《Shéjiān Shàng de Zhōngguó》 shí, wǒ tōngcháng huì liú kǒushuǐ. Zhè bù diànshì jìlùpiàn jièshào zhōngguó gèdì de yǐnshí wénhuà.

  5. 5 Fantasy 奇幻 (Qíhuàn)


    Have you watched “Monster Hunt”? In this fantasy movie’s world, there are monsters. One day, a man becomes pregnant! His “child” is a monster. The man, a monster-hunting woman and the baby embark on an adventure. 

    你看过《捉妖记》吗?奇幻电影的世界里有怪物。有一天,一个男性怀孕了!生的“孩子”是一个怪物。男性、一位怪物猎人的女性以及怪物宝宝去冒险。

    Nǐ kàn guò 《Zhuō Yāo Jì》 ma? Qíhuàn diànyǐng de shìjiè li yǒu guàiwù. Yǒu yī tiān, yīgè nánxìng huáiyùn le! Shēng de “háizi” shì yīgè guàiwù. Nánxìng, yī wèi guàiwù lièrén de nǚxìng yǐjí guàiwù bǎobǎo qù màoxiǎn.

  6. 6 Romance 爱情 (Àiqíng)


    People who recently went through a breakup especially like to watch “Chungking Express.” This romance movie has two stories; the entire film feels nostalgic.

    刚分手的人特别喜欢看《重庆森林》。这部爱情电影里有两个故事,整部电影都有怀旧的感觉。

    Gāng fēnshǒu de rén tèbié xǐhuān kàn《Chóngqìng Sēnlín》. Zhè bù àiqíng diànyǐng li yǒu liǎng gè gùshì, zhěng bù diànyǐng dū yǒu huáijiù de gǎnjué.

  7. 7 More Genres

    Here are some other genres you might come across:

    1. Drama: 剧情 (Jùqíng)
    2. Horror: 恐怖 (Kǒngbù)
    3. Mystery: 悬疑 (Xuányí) or 推理 (Tuīlǐ, reasoning)
    4. Detective: 侦探 (Zhēntàn)
    5. Crime: 犯罪 (Fànzuì)
    6. Sci-Fi: 科幻 (Kēhuàn)
    7. Thriller: 惊悚 (Jīngsǒng)
    8. Historical: 历史 (Lìshǐ)
    9. Biopic: 传记 (Zhuànjì)
    10. War: 战争 (Zhànzhēng)

    Can’t decide what movie to watch? Take our quiz to get a suggestion from this year’s New Year’s movies here!


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Vivien Cheng

Vivien Cheng is a student pursuing a B.A. in Mandarin and a minor in international relations. She hopes to aid in policy-making.
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