Dragon Seed (1944)

Passed  |   |  Drama, History, War  |  August 1944 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.3/10 from 799 users  
Reviews: 30 user | 6 critic

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 »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ling Tan
Aline MacMahon ...
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
Robert Bice ...
Lao Ta Tan - Eldest Son
Robert Lewis ...
Capt. Sato
Orchid Tan - Lao Ta's Wife
Jacqueline deWit ...
Wu Lien's Wife
Clarence Lung ...
Fourth Cousin
Paul E. Burns ...
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?


In January 1944, Harold S. Bucquet took over as director when Jack Conway became ill, and he was awarded co-director credit. See more »


Wu Lien: I am neither for or against anything.
Jade Tan: What you are not for you are against.
See more »


Featured in Slaying the Dragon (1988) 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

horrible chinesey dialog tough to hear
29 March 2015 | by See all my reviews

Ling Tang (Walter Huston) and his extended family live on a peaceful prosperous farm in the south. The Japanese are rampaging in the north and the villagers are unconcerned. The two oldest sons Lao Ta Tan and Lao Er Tan are married. Er's wife Jade (Katharine Hepburn) is willful and not the traditional submissive kind. The youngest son Lao San Tan is unmarried and a free spirit. The only daughter is married to the wealthy Wu Lien who sells Japanese goods in the city. His store is trashed by patriots who burn his goods. The Japanese bomb the city destroying it. Er leaves the farm with his pregnant wife Jade. Ta's wife is raped and killed. Ta and San go off to fight while Wu Lien collaborates.

I'm willing to accept non-Asians playing these roles. It's old Hollywood and Asian actors didn't have a chance back in the day. They did put in some Asian actors in minor speaking roles and that's probably the best that could be hoped for. The most annoying thing about this movie is the odd sounding chinesey English being spoken by everybody. It's a struggle to follow and a grind to listen to. It's not just the flat accent but it's more about the way the dialog is written. The acting is also pretty bad as if the actors were inspired by a Chinese opera. It makes the movie feel unnatural. There is a compelling melodrama of struggle but it's buried by the bad dialog.

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