CantoneseClass101.com Blog
Learn Cantonese with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

10 Famous Cantonese Movies You Don’t Want to Miss!

Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Stephen Chow… Even though Hong Kong is a really small city (roughly one-twelfth the size of New York), it gave birth to quite a few good movies and movie stars. Do you want to learn Cantonese in a fun way while also understanding more about Hong Kong culture? Here are ten famous Cantonese movies for you to work through in your spare time! We’ve even gone to the effort of translating some of the most memorable Cantonese movie quotes so that you can get a taste of what each film’s about before picking and choosing your favorites! Here are some tips to improve your pronunciation while watching movies in Cantonese.

Ways to improve pronunciation

Table of Contents

  1. In the Mood for Love
  2. Infernal Affairs
  3. Shaolin Soccer
  4. Fist of Fury
  5. Police Story
  6. A Simple Life
  7. A Better Tomorrow
  8. Ip Man
  9. Love in the Puff
  10. Ten Years
  11. Bonus: A Local Cantonese Cartoon that Warms Your Heart
  12. Conclusion

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese

Movie genres


1. In the Mood for Love (2000)

  • Cantonese Title: 花樣年華
  • Romanization: faa1 joeng6 nin4 waa4
  • Director: Kar-Wai Wong
  • Stars: Tony Chiu-Wai Leung; Maggie Cheung

In the Mood for Love is arguably one of the best Hong Kong movies in centuries. Directed by the internationally renowned filmmaker Kar-Wai Wong, the movie paints the love story of two middle-aged Hong Kongers in the 1960s, starring the handsome Tony Leung Chiu-wai and the elegant Maggie Cheung Man-yuk. Both betrayed by their partners, the lonely next-door neighbors are eager to seek comfort in each other—but are hesitant to go further.

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Written Form): 那個時代已過去。屬於那個時代的一切,都不存在了。
  • Romanization: naa5 go3 si4 doi6 ji5 gwo3 heoi3. suk6 jyu1 naa5 go3 si4 doi6 dik1 jat1 cai3,dou1 bat1 cyun4 zoi6 liu5.
  • English Meaning: That era is gone. Everything that belongs to that era no longer exists.


2. Infernal Affairs (2002)

  • Cantonese Title: 無間道
  • Romanization: mou4 gaan3 dou6
  • Director: Wai-Keung Lau; Alan Mak
  • Stars: Andy Lau; Tony Chiu-Wai Leung; Anthony Chau-Sang Wong

Infernal Affairs is a Cantonese undercover police thriller that has earned high praise and inspired an Oscar-winning remake (Martin Scorsese’s The Departed). Starring an abundance of famous Hong Kong movie stars, this 100-minute Cantonese thriller is a journey of finding out who the mole is, and who the cop is.

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Speech Form): 出嚟行,遲早要還 。
  • Romanization: ceot1 lei4 hang4, ci4 zou2 jiu3 waan4.
  • English Meaning: This is expected.


3. Shaolin Soccer (2001)

  • Cantonese Title: 少林足球
  • Romanization: siu3 lam4 zuk1 kau4
  • Director: Stephen Chow
  • Stars: Stephen Chow; Wei Zhao; Yat-Fei Wong

Most, if not all, Hong Kongers have watched Stephen Chow’s comedies and can quote a few lines immediately. Perhaps one of the best and most well-known of Stephen Chow’s movies, Shaolin Soccer mixes the popular movie theme—kung fu—with another popular sport (soccer), in a ridiculous plot that’s sure to make you laugh hard. The quote introduced below has become part of everyday language and is still used excessively seventeen years later!

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Speech Form): 做人如果無夢想,同條鹹魚有咩分別呀?
  • Romanization: zou6 jan4 jyu4 gwo2 mou4 mung6 soeng2, tung4 tiu4 haam4 jyu2 jau5 me1 fan1 bit6 aa3?
  • English Meaning: If we don’t have any dreams in life, we are no different than a salted fish.


4. Fist of Fury (1972)

  • Cantonese Title: 精武門
  • Romanization: zing1 mou5 mun4
  • Director: Wei Lo
  • Stars: Bruce Lee; Nora Miao; James Tien

Fist of Fury (also known as The Chinese Connection) is a Cantonese action film starring the greatest martial arts icon Bruce Lee in his second major role after The Big Boss (1971). The martial arts master played a student of Huo Yuanjia, who fought to defend the honor of the Chinese against foreign aggression and to seek revenge for his master’s death.

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Speech Form): 我少讀書,你唔好呃我 。
  • Romanization: ngo5 siu2 duk6 syu1, nei5 m4 hou2 aak1 ngo5.
  • English Meaning: I am not well educated. Don’t lie to me.


5. Police Story (1985)

  • Cantonese Title: 警察故事
  • Romanization: ging2 caat3 gu3 si6
  • Director: Jackie Chan; Chi-Hwa Chen
  • Stars: Jackie Chan; Maggie Cheung; Brigitte Lin

Police Story is a Cantonese action film written and directed by the famous Jackie Chan, who also starred in the lead role. In the movie, Jackie (the cop) is framed and has to prove his innocence with both wit and power. A cool fact: The theme song of this movie, The Story of a Hero, has become one of the songs that represents the actual Hong Kong Police Force!

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Written Form): 你别管我,命是我的,我有分寸。
  • Romanization: nei5 bit6 gun2 ngo5, meng6 si6 ngo5 dik1, ngo5 jau5 fan1 cyun3 。
  • English Meaning: Leave me alone; this is my life, I know what I’m doing.


6. A Simple Life (2011)

  • Cantonese Title: 桃姐
  • Romanization: tou4 ze2
  • Director: Ann Hui
  • Stars: Andy Lau; Deanie Ip

A Simple Life (also known as Sister Peach) depicts the relationship between a man and his aging maid. This heart-warming movie has earned numerous awards and its lead actress, Deanie Ip, won the Best Actress Award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival.

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Written Form): 即使沒有別人給你理由,生命依然值得堅持。
  • Romanization: zik1 sai2 mut6 jau5 bit6 jan4 kap1 nei5 lei5 jau4, sang1 ming6 ji1 jin4 zik6 dak1 gin1 ci4.
  • English Meaning: Even if there is no reason to, life is still worth living.


7. A Better Tomorrow (1986)

  • Cantonese Title: 英雄本色
  • Romanization: jing1 hung4 bun2 sik1
  • Director: John Woo
  • Stars: Lung Ti; Leslie Cheung; Yun-Fat Chow

Starring the handsome Yun-Fat Chow and the multi-talented Leslie Cheung, A Better Tomorrow centers around the tension between an ex-gangster and his policeman brother. It became a blockbuster not only in Hong Kong, but also in other parts of Asia. Proof? The most famous game show host in Korea, Yoo Jae Suk, can still recite some of its most famous quotes and its Cantonese theme song after almost thirty years! (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y95U6UE6YpA)

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Speech Form): 「你信唔信有神?」 「信,我咪係神 !」
  • Romanization: 「nei5 seon3 m4 seon3 jau5 san4?」 「seon3, ngo5 mai6 hai6 san4!」
  • English Meaning: “Do you believe in god?” “Yes, I am god.”


8. Ip Man ( 2008 )

  • Cantonese Title: 葉問
  • Romanization: jip6 man6
  • Director: Wilson Yip
  • Stars: Donnie Yen; Simon Yam; Siu-Wong Fan

Ip Man is a martial arts movie based on the real life of Bruce Lee’s teacher, who fought for dignity during the Sino-Japanese War. Donnie Yen’s portrayal of Ip Man has earned him international attention and he soon became a new martial arts icon.

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Speech Form): 我要打十個!
  • Romanization: ngo5 jiu3 daa2 sap6 go3!
  • English Meaning: I want to fight with ten people at the same time!


9. Love in the Puff (2012)

  • Cantonese Title: 春嬌與志明
  • Romanization: ceon1 giu1 jyu5 zi3 ming4
  • Director: Ho-Cheung Pang
  • Stars: Miriam Chin Wah Yeung; Shawn Yue

Love in the Puff is a Cantonese romantic comedy sequel to the 2010 film Love in a Puff, featuring Miriam Yeung and Shawn Yuen as an ex-couple, who find it difficult to get over each other. As the story is relatable and the lines are colloquial, this movie became an instant hit in the city.

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Speech Form): 成世人流流長,總會愛上幾個人渣。
  • Romanization: seng4 sai3 jan4 lau4 lau4 coeng4, zung2 wui2 oi3 soeng5 gei2 go3 jan4 zaa1.
  • English Meaning: Life is long, no wonder we would fall in love with a few bastards in our lifetimes.


10. Ten Years (2015)

  • Cantonese Title: 十年
  • Romanization: sap6 nin4
  • Director: Jevons Au; Zune Kwok; Chow Kwun-Wai; Ka-Leung Ng; Fei-Pang Wong
  • Stars: Jevons Au; Fun-Kei Chan; Peter Chan

Ten Years is a Cantonese speculative fiction movie composed of five different short films. It envisions Hong Kong in the year 2025, with diminished freedom of speech and human rights. Even though it was produced under a tight budget, this movie was a hit when it was released and influenced the city both culturally and politically.

  • Famous Quote from Movie (Cantonese Written Form): 我不想做到這一刻,才放棄原則。
  • Romanization: ngo5 bat1 soeng2 zou6 dou3 ze5 jat1 hak1, coi4 fong3 hei3 jyun4 zak1.
  • English Meaning: I don’t want to give in and betray what my beliefs after all the efforts.


11. Bonus: A Local Cantonese Cartoon that Warms Your Heart

McDull, Prince de la Bun (2004)

  • Cantonese Title: 麥兜菠蘿油王子
  • Romanization: mak6 dau1 bo1 lo4 jau4 wong4 zi2
  • Director: Toe Yuen

McDull is the “flawed” mascot of Hong Kong. He’s a cute and kind piglet cartoon character that was featured in several TV shows and movies. Even though he’s not very smart, his warm nature has captured the hearts of both kids and adults. If you’re looking for a touching movie with strong local Hong Kong elements, this is your movie!


12. Conclusion: How CantoneseClass101 Can Help You Learn More Cantonese

Want to level up your Cantonese after watching these movies? No worries. With CantoneseClass101.com, you can have your daily dose of Cantonese whenever and wherever you want, through your mobile apps, desktop software, and our website. We offer entertaining, engaging, and effective lessons on various aspects of the Cantonese language and culture.

Until now, we’ve delivered more than 750,000,000 lessons to thousands of happy students from all around the globe. You can learn Cantonese with over 1060 audio and video lessons delivered by our knowledgeable and energetic hosts, detailed PDF lesson notes, abundance of vocabulary learning tools, spaced repetition flashcards, and a lively community to discuss the lessons with fellow learners. What are you waiting for? Download our lessons, enjoy our audio and video files, and start learning now!

Start with a bonus, and download the Must-Know Beginner Vocabulary PDF for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Cantonese