45 user 5 critic

Flower Drum Song (1961)

Approved | | Comedy, Musical, Romance | 9 November 1961 (USA)
A young woman arrives in San Francisco's Chinatown from Hong Kong with the intention of marrying a rakish nightclub owner, unaware he is involved with one of his singers.



(screenplay), (novel)

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »


Credited cast:
Linda Low
Wang Ta
Wang Chi-Yang
'Sammy' Fong
'Auntie' Liang
Helen Chao
Wang San
Kam Tong ...
Doctor Li
Frankie Wing
Soo Yong ...
Madame Ten Fong
Ching Wah Lee ...
Mei Li
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jane Chung ...

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Chinese stowaway Mei Li (Miyoshi Umeki) arrives in San Francisco with her father to meet her fiancé, wealthy nightclub owner Sammy Fong (Jack Soo), in an arranged marriage, but the groom has his eye on his star singer Linda Low (Nancy Kwan). This film version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical is filled with memorable song-and-dance numbers showcasing the contrast between Mei Li's traditional family and her growing fascination with American culture. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Broadway's Most Romantic Musical Comedy comes to the Screen!!! See more »


Approved | See all certifications »





Release Date:

9 November 1961 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Flower Drum Song  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Larry Blyden was nominated for the 1959 Tony Award (New York City) for Actor in a Musical for "Flower Drum Song" for the part of Sammy Fong. See more »


Linda ties her scarf in the car twice. See more »


[first lines]
Tradesman: [in Chinese] What was that?
Tradesman: [in Chinese] I don't know. Must be my stomach.
See more »


Featured in Slaying the Dragon (1988) See more »


Fan Tan Fannie
Performed by Nancy Kwan (dubbed by B.J. Baker) and show girls
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Great Musical from the Early Sixties
23 August 2005 | by (western US) – See all my reviews

This one takes me right back to the sixties when we were young and full of hope for the future. We saw it as a first run movie at Graumann's Chinese Theater in Hollywood and loved it. Even today, on the television set, it holds up well and the overture just jumps out at you. Soon, you hear "A Hundred Million Miracles, with doll-like Miyoshi Umeki, and other great songs like "Love Look Away," and "Sunday." The choreography is as impressive as the music, in particular the erotic dance sequence for "Love Look Away," with beautiful Reiko Sato as Helen. Her unrequited love for Ta (James Shigeta) is never neatly resolved, unlike the film's other romantic relationships, and unfortunately, she died in real life only twenty years later. Nancy Kwan as Linda Low, of course, looks great, sings well, and slinks around very nicely, as do the many other lovely Asian dancers who grace this testament to Chinese American culture and oriental beauty. The funniest and best acting came from old man Wang, played by Benson Fong. He complained to his wife's sister (Juanita Hall) that after five long years of citizenship school, the only thing she could say about America was, "This isn't China!" And when asked to describe the mugger who had robbed him on his doorstep, he replied simply, "How should I know. All white men look alike." James Shigeta and Jack Soo handed in memorable performances, as well. The former became one of the most successful and consistently employed oriental actors in American film and television, while the latter went on to play Nick Yemana on "Barney Miller." Although there are some corny aspects to "Flower Drum Song," these are more than counterbalanced by the many interesting elements that occur throughout the movie. In short, it's a sort of "Joy Luck Club" of the early sixties, on a similar level and released about the same time as "South Pacific" and "West Side Story." A couple of years later, America was again impacted by the Orient. The beautiful song "Sukiyaki," an imported hit from Japan, went to number one on the American pop charts. We had our problems in those days, but culturally speaking, it was a great time to be alive.

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