Year of the Dragon (1985)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  16 August 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 9,910 users  
Reviews: 65 user | 39 critic

A police detective cracks down on organized crime in Chinatown after the murders of Triad and Mafia leaders.



(novel), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ariane ...
Leonard Termo ...
Louis Bukowski (as Ray Barry)
Joey Chin ...
K. Dock Yip ...
Hon-Lam Pau ...
Fred Hung (as Pao Han Lin)
Way Dong Woo ...
Jimmy Sun ...
Daniel Davin ...
Mark Hammer ...
Commissioner Sullivan


Using unprecedented degrees of violence, young Joey Tai becomes the head of Chinese mafia in New York and undisputed leader of the Chinese community. Stanley White, the most decorated cop in New York and a Vietnam veteran, is put in charge of Chinatown. Both men are prone to breaking long-established rules and both men are unlikely to make compromises with each other, which leads to unavoidable and bloody conflict. Written by Dragan Antulov <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


It isn't the Bronx or Brooklyn. It isn't even New York. It's Chinatown...and it's about to explode.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Manhattan Sur  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$24,000,000 (estimated)


$18,700,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Michael Cimino and Oliver Stone first met when Stone approached Cimino to direct Midnight Express. Cimino had to pass, as he was just about to start production on his passion project, The Deer Hunter (1978). Years later, while in pre-production on Year of the Dragon, Cimino remembered how much he loved the script for Midnight Express, and asked Stone to collaborate on the script. See more »


When Connie is in the bathroom before she is killed by intruders, there are 2 red spots on the lens, one on the right and one on the left. These are probably from a previous shot where fake blood got splattered on the camera lens and the operator failed to notice it. See more »


[first lines]
Tracy Tzu: Captain McKenna, any leads in the murder of Jackie Wong?
William McKenna: Nothing at this time.
Tracy Tzu: Do you think this killing means there's some kind of war going on in the Chinatown Tongs?
William McKenna: No, I don't. This is basically a situation where the youth gangs are lashing out at the establishment. The community is cooperating. The situation's under control.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits roll over a squeezed image of the Chinese woman restaurant-singer crooning a Chinese easy-listening ditty. See more »


Referenced in Special Collector's Edition: Calles de fuego (2011) See more »


Dream Dance (Tian Mi Mi)
Composed by Lucia Hwong
Performed and arranged by Yukio Tsuji and Lucia Hwong
Recording engineering by Gene Ricciardi (as Gene Ricardi)
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the more realistic films about Chinese Americans
17 August 2003 | by See all my reviews

When "Year of the Dragon" was released in 1985, it was ripped to pieces by Chinese anti-defamation organizations as being a very racist film. The film was likewise given lot of bad reviews by critics, who probably wanted to be politically correct.

Being a Chinese American who was raised in Boston's Chinatown, I had expected bad things about this film. Even though "The Deer Hunter" is a great film, the depictions of Vietnamese and Chinese in that film are truly horrendous (no, Chinese DID NOT engage in Russian Roulette!!) I expected the same with "Year of the Dragon." I was totally shocked after I saw the film at how realistic the film was about Chinatown. I do understand many Chinese Americans do not want themselves portrayed as drug dealers, gang members, etc. However, I don't think there has been any film in Hollywood history who portrayed the dark side of Chinatown as accurately as this film. I know because I grew up in the area when there lot of Chinese street gangs and mafia activity.

The sad thing is after this film was released, depictions of Chinese Americans has gotten a LOT worse; they are depicted as chopsocky kung fu gangsters (now isn't that ironic!!) in Jet Li and Jackie Chan movies, or as baby killers, rapists, or domineering bigots in "The Joy Luck Club" (by the way, this film is truly truly AWFUL in it's portrayals of Chinese; the ignorant critics however gave this movie great reviews.) Strangely, Chinese anti-defamation leagues has been very silent during these years.

"Year of the Dragon" is Cimino's unappreciated gem. According to my view, it's his second best film. I understand this film has flaws but Cimino was brilliant in showing the side of Chinese Americans that few Americans know. Not all of us Chinese went to CalTech or MIT and became successful software engineers or research scientists.

28 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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