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Dragon Seed (1944)

Passed | | Drama, History, War | August 1944 (USA)
2:55 | Trailer

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The lives of a small Chinese village are turned Upside down when the Japanese invade it. And heroic young Chinese woman leads her fellow villagers in an uprising against Japanese Invaders.


(novel), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ling Tan
Ling Tan's Wife
Wu Lien
Lao Er Tan - Middle Son
Lao San Tan - Youngest Son
Japanese Kitchen Overseer
Third Cousin's Wife
Third Cousin
Lao Ta Tan - Eldest Son
Capt. Sato
Orchid Tan - Lao Ta's Wife
Jacqueline deWit ...
Wu Lien's Wife
Clarence Lung ...
Fourth Cousin
Neighbor Shen


Ling Tang and his family live on his prosperous farm in rural Southern China and have not yet felt the impact of the Japanese invasion in the North. Tang's two oldest sons, Lao Ta Tan and Lao Er Tan are married and hard working while youngest son Lao San Tan remains a free spirit. Er's wife Jade is also willfully unconventional and desires to exercises her literacy skills by reading books, a most unfeminine practice in 1930's China. Tang's only daughter is married to Wu Lien, a city merchant who profits from selling Japanese goods. When the dreaded invasion reaches their village, the family is scattered as the sons join the resistance while Wu Lien survives by collaborating with the enemy. Written by duke1029@aol.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War


Passed | See all certifications »




Release Date:

August 1944 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les fils du dragon  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(copyright length) | (Turner library print)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)



Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


"March of the Volunteers" is sung by the resistance workers as they are resting on the Tan estate. The soundtrack has an orchestral version in several other scenes. It was in fact a popular song in China during the period portrayed. Since 1982 it has been officially recognized as the national anthem of the People's Republic of China. See more »


Lao Ta Tan - Eldest Son: [rhetorically] Do you not know that in a woman eagerness passes for weakness?
See more »


Featured in Los Angeles Plays Itself (2003) See more »


Chee Lai
Composer unknown
Sung by Eugene Dorian and Wong Artarne as part of the score
See more »

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User Reviews

Has spare, beautiful moments, with the horrors of war vividly portrayed
13 June 2004 | by (las vegas, nv) – See all my reviews

When hard-working China is attacked by the power-hungry Japanese, a pre-feminist Chinese woman struggles with her family for survival; eventually she and her husband become fighters in the Resistance and help to influence their family and fellow villagers to join them. Hollywood product, with intentions that seem sincere, adapted from a Pearl Buck novel and starring...Katharine Hepburn? Actually, Kate is not flossy or "regal" here; she's nobody's fool and probably knows she's miscast, but her Asian make-up is commendable and she tries (not in vain) to find a character. In support, Walter Huston and Aline MacMahon, as Hepburn's Old World in-laws, are excellent. The movie has beautiful cinematography and absorbing passages, but its length is self-defeating and there are some howlers in the script and in much of the casting. Not a hit at the box-office, but by this time people were so used to Hepburn's hit-or-miss choices that it didn't hurt her. **1/2 from ****

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