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Bullet in the Head (1990)
"Dip huet gaai tau" (original title)

7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 7,052 users  
Reviews: 58 user | 39 critic

When three close friends escape from Hong Kong to war-time Saigon to start a criminal's life, they all go through a harrowing experience which totally shatters their lives and their friendship forever.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Jacky Cheung ...
Waise Lee ...
...
Fennie Yuen ...
Jane
Yolinda Yam ...
Sally Yen
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Paul's father
Yue Ding
Shek Yin Lau ...
Fatso
Chung Lin ...
Y.S. Leong
Siu Hung Ngan
...
Ben's mother
Hang Shuen So ...
Jane's mother
Wai Man Tam ...
(as Wei-min Tan)
Kan-Wing Tsang ...
Jane's father
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Storyline

In 1967, on the way to the wedding of a friend a young man is accosted by a local gang member. Later, the three friends administer justice, in the process of which the gang member is killed, so they leave Hong Kong to avoid the police and the gang. They run black market supplies to Saigon and get embroiled in the war, being arrested as Viet Cong, then later captured by the Viet Cong, and find that their friendship is tested to the limits as they try to escape. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

17 August 1990 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Bullet in the Head  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut) (video)

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Like Woo's previous film, The Killer (1989), this did not do well in Hong Kong because audiences didn't like the allusions to the Tienamen Square massacre during the riot scenes. Woo was deeply affected by the massacre and felt badly that he touched such a raw nerve in people, but at the same time he felt the Chinese people should react and not hide from it. See more »

Goofs

When the action moves to Vietnam the movie posters ('Dien Bien Phu', etc.) shown are films that came out well after the Vietnam war was over. See more »

Quotes

Ben: You're pointing a gun on a good friend you've known for more than a decade!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ip Man 2 (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm a Believer
Written by Neil Diamond
Performed by The Monkees
S.E. Asia Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The greatest HK movie ever made
17 January 2005 | by See all my reviews

BULLET IN THE HEAD (Die Xie Jie Tou)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Mono

Fleeing from a murder rap during the political turmoil of 1960's Hong Kong, three devoted friends (Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Jacky Cheung and Waise Lee) seek their fortunes in war-torn Vietnam and are ripped apart by greed and betrayal.

John Woo's ambitious movie - an operatic valentine to his youth in HK and his love of David Lean epics, and a response to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 - went over-schedule and flopped at the local box-office when released in 1990, but has since been recognized as one of the finest productions in HK film history. Newcomers Leung, Cheung and Lee are terrific as the three friends whose lives are devastated by the violence they encounter in a foreign land, and they're matched throughout by Simon Yam as the Eurasian hit-man who rescues them from the worst of their experiences. For all its explosions and gun play, however, BULLET IN THE HEAD is a very human drama, played out against the vast backdrop of the Vietnam conflict, and invested with a palpable sense of love and compassion for its leading characters. Cinematography and editing are world-class, and Woo's dark-hearted script (co-written by Patrick Leung and Janet Chin) incorporates the themes of loyalty and brotherhood which have shaped and defined all of his films since A BETTER TOMORROW (1986). Cheung's final scene is absolutely heartbreaking; classic score by James Wong and Romeo Diaz.

(Cantonese dialogue)


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