Vietnam’s beauty, culture, and customs not only could be seen through travel guides, pictures, or clips but also through movies. Either you are picking a family night movie or your family plans to travel to Vietnam one day, here are 7 best Vietnamese movies to watch.

 

1. Sweet 20 – Em la ba noi cua anh

2015 – Comedy – 127 mins

IMBd rating: 7.4/10

What is Sweet 20 about?

Sweet 20 is a comedy remake of the 2014 South Korean movie “Miss Granny”. After being released in 2015, it became the highest grossing Vietnamese film at the Vietnamese box office.

 

Sweet 20 cover

 

The story is about a 70 years old grandma sees her life as a failure. One day, she wakes up as a 20 years old young lady she was in her youth. She seeks to not take granted of  her second chance and live the best out of it. However, her old fashioned sense of style and manner cause her some trouble, especially when being in a relationship.

 

Article Sweet 20 cast

 

Why should travelers watch it?

Sweet 20 is a portrait of modern Vietnam life. If you and your family seek for something funny, light and sweet to relax and watch together on a Saturday, Sweet 20 should be on your list.

2. The Vietnam War Series

2017 – American TV series

Director: Ken Burns and Lynn Novick

 

The Vietnam War cover

 

What is The Vietnam War Series about?

The Vietnam War is a 10-part, 17-and-a-quarter-hour American television documentary series about the Vietnam War written by Geoffrey C. Ward and directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. The series tell story of one of the most consequential, divisive, and controversial events in history  through the testimony of nearly 80 witnesses.

 

The Vietnam War is overflowing with information
A riot scene in the series

 

Why should travelers watch it?

Even though it is a complicated watch overflowing audiences with information, the series will bring an insightful and comprehensive portrait of a tragic chapter in history.

 

3. Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass – Toi thay hoa vang tren co xanh

2015 – Drama/History – 103 mins

Director: Victor Vu

IMBd rating: 7.8

 

Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass

 

What is Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass about?

Set in Vietnam in 1989, this movie explores the relationship between two young brothers as they strike to uncover the truth about the myth of the princess of the enchanted forest and the white tiger that guards her. Yellow Flowers on the green grass is a touching tale of innocent love, friendships and brotherhood.

 

2 young brothers and the princess

Why should travelers watch it?

Another great choice for a family movie night. The beautiful and cinematic views of Vietnam nature will not only bring joy but also capture the audience’s hearts at the end.

 

4. Owl and the sparrow – Cu va chim se se

2007 – Drama/Romance – 98 mins

Director: Stephane Gauger

IMBd rating: 7.5/10

 

Owl and the sparrow cover

 

What is Owl and the Sparrow about?

The movie portrays a child’s resilience and the kindness of strangers. Ten-year-old orphan Thuy  runs away to Saigon, Vietnam in order to escape from the bamboo factory run by her strict uncle, who steals the little money she makes.

 

Thuy sells flowers on the street to earn money

 

As she tries to survive on the street, Thuy ended up making friends with a flight attendant and a zoo keeper. One was stuck in relationship with the captain who was married. One locked himself up in the world of animals trying to get over his ex girlfriend. As the trio slowly forms a sort of family, young Thuy plays as a matchmaker to the lovelorn adults.

 

Hai-the zookeeper in the movie

 

Why should travelers watch it? This is not a must-see type movie. However, the light and friendly setting could make it a great choice for a family movie of travelers who going to Vietnam.

5. The scent of green papaya – L’Odeur de la papaye verte – Mui du du xanh

1993 – Drama – 104 minutes

Director: Tran Anh Hung

IMBd rating: 7.4/10

What is The Scent of Green Papaya about?

The movie itself is a calm and soothing music piece. The setting takes place in late 1940s and early 1960s. A little orphan girl, Mui, went to a house as a new servant. The mother still mourns the death of her daughter, who would have been Mui’s age. In her mind she treated Mui as her daughter.

 

Mui working as a servant

 

10 years later Mui (now a young woman) was sent to another family, a young pianist and his fiancee. The musician fell in love with the peasant and teach her literacy and manners, hoping that one day they could get married.

 

Khuyen and Mui in the movie

 

Why should travelers watch it?

Tourists will have a sense of Saigon in the period before the Vietnam War. Also, the movie is truly a masterpiece, as the director claimed that it is impossible to make a film of this type in today Vietnam.

 6. The buffalo boy – Le Gardien des Buffles – Mua len trau

2004 – Drama – 102 minutes

Director: Vo Nguyen Minh

IMBd rating: 7.1/10

 

The buffalo boy

 

What is The Buffalo Boy about?

The movie is about lives of southern farmers in the beginning of 20th century. Every year in Mekong delta, in the water floating season, there are people doing job called “Len trau, which mean taking buffaloes to find grass and survive the flooding season. In the movie, Kim, a 15 years old boy, works with a buffalo herder whose past is entangle with Kim’s parents and makes friends with people who will lead him to his place in the world.

 

Taking buffaloes to find grass

 

Why should travelers watch it?

The movie will show audience South Vietnam’s society and life of Vietnamese peasant in 1940s through the lens of boy named Kim.

7. When the Tenth Month Comes – Bao gio cho den thang 10

1984 – Drama – 95 min

Vietnamese with French subtitles

Director: Dang Nhat Minh

IMBd rating: 7.8/10

 

When the Tenth Month Comes

 

What does When the Tenth Month Comes about?

The movie was considered by many international critics to be one of greatest Vietnamese movies ever made. The setting in the movie takes place at the end of the war where Duyen, a young widow, struggle to take care of her young son and sick father-in-law while hiding the truth that her husband is dead in the battle. Later on, Duyen became friend with the village schoolmaster, Khang, who later agree to fabricate letters from her dead husband in order to spare her family from sorrow.

 

When the Tenth Month Comes

 

Why should travelers watch it?

Watching this movie, tourists not only get a view of the lives of Vietnamese people after the war but also see the traditional Vietnamese precepts of duty and sacrifice.

 

Read more:

Some culture and customs you should know when traveling to Vietnam

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