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Chan Is Missing (1982)

 |  Drama, Mystery  |  4 June 1982 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 787 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 13 critic

Two cabbies search San Francisco's Chinatown for a mysterious character who has disappeared with their $4000. Their quest leads them on a humorous, if mundane, journey which illuminates the... See full summary »


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Title: Chan Is Missing (1982)

Chan Is Missing (1982) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Complete credited cast:
Wood Moy ...
Marc Hayashi ...
Laureen Chew ...
Peter Wang ...
Henry the Cook
Presco Tabios ...
Frankie Alarcon ...
Judi Nihei ...
Ellen Yeung ...
Mrs. Chan Hung
George Woo ...
Emily Woo Yamasaki ...
Chan's Daughter Jenny (as Emily Yamasaki)
Virginia Cerenio ...
Jenny's Friend
Roy Chan ...
Mr. Lee
Leong Pui Chee ...
Mr. Fong


Two cabbies search San Francisco's Chinatown for a mysterious character who has disappeared with their $4000. Their quest leads them on a humorous, if mundane, journey which illuminates the many problems experienced by Chinese-Americans trying to assimilate into contemporary American society. Written by Rick Ferncase <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery






Release Date:

4 June 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Chan ist verschwunden  »

Box Office


$20,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


Picked by Entertainment Weekly magazine as one of the "50 Greatest Independent Films" in a special supplement devoted to independent films that was only distributed to subscribers in November 1997. See more »


Jo: This mystery is appropriately Chinese: what's not there seems to have just as much meaning as what is there.
See more »


Referenced in Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? (1983) See more »


Sabor a mí
Written by Álvaro Carrillo
Performed by Los Lobos
Played at the Senior Center
See more »

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User Reviews

A wonderful character study
20 September 2009 | by (San Francisco, CA) – See all my reviews

These comments come as a counterpoint to the user review left some years ago, an opinion with which I completely disagree.

I think this was a wonderful examination of the Chinese American character, at least in the eyes of a Mexican American (me). While the film addresses assimilation, as the previous reviewer expressed, that just scratches the surface of what it's telling you.

This film highlights the depth of cultural differences, the conflicts faced by immigrants or those of immigrant background. But these are not just grandiose, operatic conflicts; they are daily, constant, and felt in both the major and minor issues of life. They are confronted in matters of life and death or musical preferences.

This grand theme is presented in a lighthearted, often very funny, but subtly so, way. I found the storyline to be very interesting and exciting, not at all boring. It was a mystery, clues and leads leading to other leads or dead ends, interesting characters along the way. Yes, the search for Chan is secondary to the subtext, but it makes it no less entertaining.

Car crashes? No. Shootouts? No. Sex and violence? No. But the film gives the viewer an alternate view of what is real, and an alternate context for the evaluation. Is it real, or is it not unreal? To me, this is both extremely funny and a brain burner.

All this aside from the fact that this was a film made with seemingly real Chinese Americans, not big screen actors playing routine stereotypes. Look at Joe, and then listen to him speak, and see if it doesn't contradict some stereotypes burned into your head by Hollywood.

This is a very good film.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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