If you are looking for the best Taiwanese movies on Netflix, I have got you covered. I have watched almost every Taiwanese movie on Netflix. I have included a variety of different movie genres, from comedy to horror. There are a lot of great Taiwanese movies, but Netflix’s library leaves a lot to be desired. Hopefully in the future they add more Taiwanese movies and continue to produce new ones.
Your Name Engraved Herein (刻在你心底的名字)
Your Name Engraved Herein is the highest grossing LGBT movie in Taiwanese history. As martial law ends in 1980s Taiwan, two male students fall in love and struggle to deal with family pressure and homophobia.
This is one of the best recent Taiwanese films to come out. I’ve recommended it to all of my family and friends. When I saw it in theaters, the entire audience was in tears. It also has the excellent song done by Crowd Lu (盧廣仲) of the same name. This is a must watch!
Little Big Women (孤味)
Lin Xiu-ying is a famous restaurant owner in Tainan. After her estranged husband’s passing, her three daughters come home to arrange the funeral and come to terms with who their father was.
2020 was a great year for Taiwanese films and this is another great movie. It is set in Tainan, where I live, and I was able to see a lot of familiar places. The family matriarch, Chen Shufang, won the Golden Horse award for best actress because of this film. This is another must watch
A Sun (陽光普照)
A Sun explores the prejudices and pressures two sons face from their parents. One is a delinquent in a juvenile detention center and the other is a promising young student.
A Sun is not one of my favorite Taiwanese movies, but it is good. It won best picture at the 56th Golden Horse Awards.
Dear Ex (誰先愛上他的)
Drama emerges after a woman’s deceased ex-husband gives everything to his lover. His lover happens to be a man. His estranged son seeks out this stranger to learn more about his father.
Dear Ex is another best picture winner. This is a great film. It has one of my favorite actresses, Hsieh Ying-Xuan, who plays the widow. It’s always interesting to see how Taiwanese films deal with themes about being gay. Especially since it is the only Asian country that has legalized gay marriage.
The 9th Precinct (第九分局)
A rookie police officer is saved by a female ghost during an investigation. Insisting that he includes his supernatural experience in his report, he recieves a transfter to the 9th precinct. The 9th precinct is the supernatural unit of the police force, in-charge of dealing with supernatural events and helping ghosts who are unable to leave.
The 9th Precinct is a fun film that touches on the local religion in Taiwan. It has some horror and comedy elements. There are some nice twists towards the end of the movie that keep it interesting.
Cities of Last Things (幸福城市)
Cities of Last Things follows Zhang Dong Ling in reverse chronological order. Opening in the dystopian version of the year 2049, Zhang deals with the collapse of his marriage and jealousy over her infidelity. The second part is a neo noir segment focusing on his career as a young police officer. The third is about Zhang’s childhood and his run in with a local crime boss.
Dark. This is a really dark film. If you are a fan of Black Mirror, then I definitely recommend this film. There is Taiwanese series on Netflix, On Children, that is Taiwan’s version of of Black Mirror. You can find it here.
The Bridge Curse (女鬼橋)
A group of college students test an urban legend about a female ghost that haunts a campus bridge. The group decides to live stream the challenge. What they didn’t expect is that the ghost would show up. Four years later, a reporter shows up to investigate what happened to the students.
This is a decent horror film. There are some pretty good twists towards the end. The movie keeps your interest.
Mon Mon Mon Monsters (報告老師！怪怪怪怪物!)
Lin Shuwei is a straight-A student who is bullied by his classmates. After being accused of stealing class funds, he is sent to detention where he meets the class gang. Wanting to feel like he is part of the group, Lin Shuwei goes with the gang to an old apartment building to steal from an elderly man.
At the apartment, the find two female ghouls eating the forgotten residents. The youngest of the two attempts to pursue them and is struck by a car. The gang takes it back to their school and begin experimenting on it.
This is one of the funnier movies on the list. It uses the, “humans are the real monsters,” trope, but does it in a unique and interesting way. I would definitely take the time to watch this one.
Yi Yi (一一)
Yi Yi explores the emotional struggles of a middle class family living in Taipei. The movie folows three generations of the Jian family. The father, NJ, is a computer engineer who is dissatisfied with his company. NJ’s teenage daughter, Ting-Ting, is dealing with the guilt over her grandma collapsing after taking out that trash that Ting-Ting was supposed to take out. The youngest son, Yang-Yang, is bullied and picked on by his teachers and classmates.
Yi Yi is an Edward Yang classic, it is perhaps his most famous movie. Yang won Best Director at Cannes Film Festival because of this film. This film is in the must watch category. I prefer Yang’s A Taipei Story, but that is not on Netflix.
Paradise in Service (軍中樂園)
Set in Kinmen in the 1960s and 1970s, the film focuses on a military brothel run by the Republic of China (ROC) Army, Unit 831. Lo Pao-tai transfers to Unit 831 after underperforming in his training and helping one of his officers. Lo befriends and eventually falls in love with Girl #7, Nini. He struggles to deal with his feelings for Nini and her past.
This is one of my favorite Taiwanese movies. I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Lo Pao-tai is a great character. The drama between the military officers is captivating. It is really interesting to see what life is like for the Taiwanese in the military and those on Kinmen.
A Brighter Summer Day (牯嶺街少年殺人事件)
A Brighter Summer Day follows Xiao Si’r. Xiao is a boy from a middle class family who veers into involvement with delinquency and gangs. Xiao joins the Little Park Boys, a gang of the children of civil servants, and starts to hang out with Ming, the gang leader’s girlfriend.
Another Edward Yang classic and part of Taiwan’s New Cinema movement. This film is a 4-hour epic. Unfortunately, there aren’t English subtitles available on Netflix. It is definitely worth checking out if you understand Mandarin or can find an alternative source with English subtitles.
The Great Buddha+ (大佛普拉斯)
Set in Southern Taiwan, The Great Buddha+ is a dark comedy about Pickle, a security guard who works at a buddha factory and his friend Belly Button, a recyclables collector. They stumble into a web of dark secrets after watching the factory bosses dash cam.
This movie is not for everyone, but it is great. I remember thinking this is art, while watching this movie. It is a slow burn but incredibly interesting and shows a different side of Taiwanese culture that is not usually shown in movies.
Who Killed Cock Robin (目擊者)
Who Killed Cock Robin is a neo-noir crime film. The film follows journalist Hsiao-chi, who witnessed a hit-and-run crash on a mountain road nine years ago. Years later, Hsiao-chi discovers that his second hand car is connected to the accident. He begins his search to uncover the truth behind the hit-and-run crash that left a deep impact on him.
This is a dark thriller that has one of the most disturbing scenes I have ever seen in a Taiwanese movie. The acting is great and it has Wei-Ning Hsu, one of Taiwan’s most famous actresses. This one is a must watch.
Gatao, is a Taiwanese gangster film. It follows Xiong, who is out of prison and now given control of a traditional market by his boss, Yong. Life after prison is looking good for Xiong, until Michael, a US-educated and rival gang leader shows up. Michael in intent on developing the transforming the land Xiong’s market is on and a gang feud insues.
Gatao is a classic Taiwanese gangster film. It’s a great introduction into Taiwanese gangster culture and if you enjoy the film, there is a sequel on Netflix.
Tshiong follows A-tek and his quest to save his rural hometown from Chinese capitalism. A-tek is a fan of the heavy metal band, Cthonic. After finding out about the takeover of his hometown by Chinese investors, A-tek seeks out the aid of the pro-Taiwanese independence band to perform a protest concert.
Tshiong is another one of my favorite Taiwanese movies. It has heavy metal, Taiwanese nationalism, and the main character is from a village in Tainan. Tshiong is produced by a heavy metal band, Cthonic, who are pro Taiwanese independence. Their singer is a member of Taiwan’s parliament. Randy Blythe, the singer for Lamb of God is also in this movie. If you only watch one movie from this list, it should be this one.
The Tag-Along (紅衣小女孩)
The Tag-Along is a Taiwanese horror film based on actual events. Ho Chih-wei is a property agent whos lives with his grandmother. After his grandmother suddenly disappears, he finds her camera containing footage of his grandma and her friends hiking in the mountains. In the background, Chih-wei spots a little girl in a red dress following the group. Chih-Wei slowly discovers the mystery surrounding his grandma’s disappearance.
This film is a cultural classic. Ask anyone about the girl in red and they will know what you are talking about. The Tag-Along is such a classic film because it is based on a true story. This is the Taiwanese horror film.