The best Chinese Mainland films: in numbers

A look at the facts and figures behind our best Mainland films

The facts and figures behind out list of the 100 best Chinese Mainland films of all time.

Flick through our gallery above to discover the just how many minutes does longest film on our list run for, which director stacked up the most entries, when the films were made and more.
556
1/6

556

The number of minutes (9.18 hours) it takes to watch the entirety of epic documentary West of the Tracks.

12
2/6

12

The number of years it took director Zhao Liang to make his documentary Petition.

8
3/6

8

The number of films in the list by Zhang Yimou – more than anyone else. Behind him are Jia Zhangke with seven, then Jiang Wen and Feng Xiaogang with four.

674,000,000
4/6

674,000,000

Amount in RMB taken at the Mainland box office by Let the Bullets Fly, the highest domestically grossing film on ourlist (not adjusted for inflation).

When the films were made
5/6

When the films were made

When the films were made
1930s: six per cent
1950s: three per cent
1960s: four per cent
1970s: one per cent
1980s: 11 per cent
1990s: 23 per cent
2000s: 36 per cent
2010s: 10 per cent

5
6/6

5

The five broad generations of
Chinese cinema

Leftist
Films such as Wu Yonggang’s The Goddess (1934) focus on common people and class struggle.

Second Golden Age
After the Japanese occupation brings Chinese cinema to a halt, filmmaking begins again in earnest in Shanghai in 1947.

Early Communist Era
The PRC’s founding sees cinema used mainly as a propaganda tool.

Cultural Revolution
Film production in China virtually comes to a halt from 1967-72.

The Fifth Generation
The term is used to describe the generation of filmmakers who were first to graduate from the Beijing Film Academy in 1982 following the Cultural Revolution. With more freedom than those who preceded them, directors include Zhang Yimou and Jia Zhangke.

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