Shanghai Triad (1995)
"Yao a yao, yao dao wai po qiao" (original title)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  22 December 1995 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.2/10 from 4,104 users  
Reviews: 36 user | 27 critic

A provincial boy related to a Shanghai crime family is recruited by his uncle into cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 1930s to be a servant to a ganglord's mistress.



, (novel)
Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $9.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Peiqi Liu, Liuchun Yang
Ju Dou (1990)
Drama | Mystery | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband's nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband's heir without ... See full summary »

Directors: Yimou Zhang, Fengliang Yang
Stars: Li Gong, Wei Li, Baotian Li
To Live (1994)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Ben Niu
The Road Home (1999)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

Prompted by the death of his father and the grief of his mother, a man recalls the story of how they met in flashback.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Honglei Sun, Hao Zheng
Not One Less (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Minzhi Wei, Huike Zhang, Zhenda Tian
Red Sorghum (1987)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1930s China a young woman is sent by her father to marry the leprous owner of a winery. In the nearby red sorghum fields she falls for one of his servants. When the master dies she finds... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Wen Jiang, Rujun Ten
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A Japanese father travels to China's Yunnan province in the place of his ailing son to film a famous folk-opera star.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ken Takakura, Kiichi Nakai, Shinobu Terajima
Biography | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Yu-liang leaves a brothel in a small Chinese town, to become the second wife of Mr. Pan. While Pan is away at the revolution in Yunnan, Yu-liang ... See full summary »

Directors: Shuqin Huang, Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Fang Cen, Shichang Da
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He
Happy Times (2000)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Zhao is an aging bachelor who hasn't been lucky in love. Thinking he has finally met the woman of his dreams, Zhao leads her to believe he is wealthy and agrees to a wedding far beyond his ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Lifan Dong, Benshan Zhao, Jie Dong
Keep Cool (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A spurned lover seeks a rich man for revenge. A random onlooker -- who witnessed the public assault committed by the rich man against the lover -- seeks for monetary compensation for his ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Wen Jiang, Gang Jiao
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.6/10 X  

Aircraft hijacking with Chinese special forces rescue. Gong Li as a heroic stewardess.

Directors: Fengliang Yang, Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Zhaoji Jia


Cast overview, first billed only:
Xiao Jingbao
Baotian Li ...
Tang, the Gang Boss
Wang Xiaoxiao ...
Shuisheng, the boy
Liu, 6th Uncle
Chun Sun ...
Song, Tang's No. 2
Biao Fu ...
Zheng, Tang's No.3
Shu Chen ...
Shi Ye
Jiang Liu ...
Fat Yu
Baoying Jiang ...
Cuihua, the Widow
Qianquan Yang ...
Ah Jiao
Ying Gao
Weiming Gao
Shuliang Lian
Ya'nan Wang
Zhang Yayun


Uncle Liu brings his cousin to Shanghai to work for 'Boss,' the leader of a powerful drug empire in the 1930's. Shuisheng, a simple country boy is awed and overwhelmed by the opulence and immense wealth he is suddenly surrounded by. He is to be the attendant of Xiao Jingbao, the new mistress of 'Boss.' While he fumbles with the demands of his new role, much intrigue is going on around him, well beyond his bewildered perception. Xiao Jingbao is having a tumultuous affair, Fat Yu is starting a gang war, and 'Boss' is beginning to suspect that one of his trusted men is not loyal. Written by Tad Dibbern <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In 1930's Shanghai violence was not the problem. It was the solution.


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and images of violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

22 December 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Shanghai Triad  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


SGD 780,000 (Singapore)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This was a difficult film for Yimou Zhang to make. His relationship with his leading lady Li Gong was coming to an acrimonious end and the Chinese authorities were deliberately hassling him with complicated and elusive work permits. That was mainly because they were still annoyed with him for submitting his previous film To Live (1994) to the Cannes Film Festival without their permission. See more »


Tang, the Gang Boss: Do you think I've been twiddling my thumbs since we got here?
See more »


Featured in The 68th Annual Academy Awards (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A stunner in every respect
23 January 2004 | by (Brooklyn, NY) – See all my reviews

Here's something you don't see every day - a mobster movie that focuses on the evil of criminals, instead of their coolness. "Shanghai Triad" shows you how mob violence destroys the life of a gangster's moll and endangers her innocent, fresh-from-the-country servant. It's exactly the kind of story you wouldn't see in a Hollywood movie - which is, I suppose, why we watch this weird foreign stuff!

Gong Li is, as ever, forceful and compelling, with a role that's infinitely more interesting than what America's "lead" actresses usually get. She's very glamorous here, and totally unlike the peasant characters she played in "To Live" and several other films. What a wonderful, versatile actress.

The film's other strengths include gorgeous, award-winning cinematography, interesting point-of-view shots, and an effective shift from an urban to a country setting that's pulled off very smoothly. It's a shame that this is the last film that director Zhang Yimou and Gong Li made together, but at least it caps off their collaboration on a high note.

22 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
ohhh Gong Li Paraguay7
region 2 aliela
Discuss Shanghai Triad (1995) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: