IMDb > Shanghai Surprise (1986)
Shanghai Surprise
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Shanghai Surprise (1986) More at IMDbPro »

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Up 12% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
John Kohn (screenplay) &
Robert Bentley (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Shanghai Surprise on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
29 August 1986 (USA) See more »
A romantic adventure for the dangerous at heart.
Glendon Wasey is a fortune hunter looking for a fast track out of China. Gloria Tatlock is a missionary... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 5 nominations See more »
(40 articles)
Awfully Good: Shanghai Surprise
 (From JoBlo. 18 March 2015, 3:30 AM, PDT)

Rebel Ha: Madonna's 10 Funniest Moments
 (From Hitfix. 10 March 2015, 1:50 PM, PDT)

In a Year of 26 Festivals
 (From MUBI. 3 January 2015, 6:03 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
Dreary, dreadful romantic comedy See more (26 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Sean Penn ... Glendon Wasey

Madonna ... Gloria Tatlock

Paul Freeman ... Walter Faraday

Richard Griffiths ... Willie Tuttle
Philip Sayer ... Justin Kronk

Clyde Kusatsu ... Joe Go
Kay Tong Lim ... Mei Gan
Sonserai Lee ... China Doll

Victor Wong ... Ho Chong
Professor Toru Tanaka ... Yamagani San
Michael Aldridge ... Mr. Burns
Sarah Lam ... China Doll's Maid
George She ... Wu Ch'En She
Won Gam Bor ... Rickshaw King
To Chee Kan ... China Doll's Boatman
David Li ... Doorman at Zig-Zag Club
Keith Bonnard ... Maitre'D at Zig-Zag Club
Claire Lutter ... Prostitute
Pamela Yang ... Prostitute
Michael Chow ... Street Barker
Samuel Tsao ... Street Barker

Philip Tan ... Ship's Officer

George Harrison ... Night Club Singer

Directed by
Jim Goddard 
Writing credits
John Kohn (screenplay) &
Robert Bentley (screenplay)

Tony Kenrick (from the novel "Faraday's Flowers")

Produced by
Robin Douet .... co-producer
George Harrison .... executive producer
John Kohn .... producer
Denis O'Brien .... executive producer
Sara Romilly .... associate producer
Original Music by
George Harrison 
Michael Kamen 
Cinematography by
Ernest Vincze  (as Ernie Vincze)
Film Editing by
Ralph Sheldon 
Casting by
Judy Dennis 
Ann Fielden 
Patricia Pao  (as Pat Pao)
Production Design by
Peter Mullins 
Art Direction by
David Minty 
John Siddall 
Costume Design by
Judy Moorcroft 
Makeup Department
Christine Beveridge .... makeup supervisor
Sallie Evans .... assistant makeup artist: UK
Graham Freeborn .... assistant makeup artist: Hong Kong
Kai Shing Lau .... assistant makeup artist: Hong Kong
Paolo Mantini .... hair stylist
Simon Thompson .... supervising hair stylist
Julien Young .... assistant hair stylist: Hong Kong
Production Management
Matthew Binns .... unit manager: Hong Kong
David Brown .... production manager
Titus Ho .... production manager: Hong Kong
Peter Kohn .... production manager
Virginia Lok .... production manager: Hong Kong
Po-Nan Wen .... production manager: Hong Kong (as Pak Nam Wan)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
To Chee Kan .... assistant director: Hong Kong
May Leung .... assistant director: Hong Kong
Gino Marotta .... assistant director
Patty Chan Morrison .... first assistant director: Hong Kong (as Patty Chan)
Rupert Ryle-Hodges .... third assistant director
Gerry Toomey .... second assistant director
Kevin Westley .... additional third assistant director (uncredited)
Art Department
Amanda Ackland-Snow .... assistant set dresser
Frank Adam .... stand-by painter
Barry Arnold .... propman
Brian Blues .... supervising carpenter
Desmond Crowe .... assistant art director
Derek Dackombe .... supervising painter
Tony Graysmark .... construction manager
Lee Tai Hang .... art department assistant: Hong Kong
Bill Hargreaves .... stand-by propman
Raymond Hawtree .... supervising carpenter
Dave Jordan .... property master
Horace Ma .... art department assistant: Hong Kong
Brian Mitchell .... stand-by stagehand
Con Murphy .... stand-by rigger
John Park .... construction manager
Lee Tin Pong .... painter: Hong Kong
Ray Staples .... supervising plasterer
Jack Stephens .... set dresser
Ted Stickley .... propman
Wally Tomlinson .... property buyer
Tommy Westbrook .... stand-by carpenter (as Tom Westbrook)
Dean Coldham .... plasterer (uncredited)
Sound Department
Chris Barnes .... dialogue editor
Andrew Boulton .... sound mixer
Rodney Glenn .... foley editor
Graham Harris .... sound effects editor
David Pearson .... boom operator
Clive Pendry .... assistant dubbing mixer
John Pitt .... sound maintenance
John Poyner .... sound editor
Hugh Strain .... dubbing mixer
Tim Partridge .... dolby sound consultant (uncredited)
Special Effects by
David Beavis .... special effects technician (as Dave Beavis)
Chan Hau Chung .... special effects assistant: Hong Kong
Paul Knowles .... special effects technician
David H. Watkins .... special effects supervisor
Visual Effects by
Geoff Axtell .... opticals
Andy Bradford .... stunts
Terry Cade .... stunts
Steve Dent .... stunts (as Stephen Dent)
Tracey Eddon .... stunts
Alf Joint .... stunt coordinator
Terence Plummer .... stunts (as Terry Plumer)
Camera and Electrical Department
David Atkinson .... clapper loader
Neil Binney .... camera operator
Peter Butler .... grip
John Clark .... best boy
George Cole .... gaffer
Clive Coote .... still photographer
Frederick Crawford .... chargehand rigger
Alfie Emmins .... electrician (as Alfred Emmins)
Terry Fu .... assistant camera: Hong Kong
Timothy Hoh .... assistant camera: Hong Kong
Graham Holley .... generator operator
Robert Huke .... camera operator (as Bob Huke)
Cheuk Man Ko .... gaffer: Hong Kong
Ron Lenoir .... chargehand rigger
Raymond Mills .... electrician
Brian Smith .... electrician
Martin Testar .... focus puller
Nigel Seal .... clapper loader (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Colette Koo .... wardrobe assistant: Hong Kong
Keith Morton .... wardrobe master
Elsa Soustre .... wardrobe assistant: Hong Kong
Sue Wain .... wardrobe mistress
Editorial Department
Peter Baldock .... assistant editor
Roy Benson .... assistant editor
Clive Hartley .... assistant editor
Stefan Henrix .... assistant editor
Michael Redfern .... assistant editor (as Mike Redfern)
John Stanborough .... color timer
Bettina Woolgar .... assistant editor
Music Department
William Diver .... music editor
Richard Dodd .... music engineer
Eric Tomlinson .... music engineer
Tom Boyd .... oboe soloist (uncredited)
Ray Cooper .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Transportation Department
John Hollywood .... unit driver
Other crew
Maurice Binder .... title designer
Bobby Blues .... production accountant (as Bob Blues)
Laurie Borg .... location manager: UK
Lesley Broderick .... assistant accountant
Wai-Chung Chan .... location manager: Hong Kong (as Alice Chan)
Diane Chittell .... production coordinator
Marina Choi .... liaison: Macau
Gordon Davis .... assistant accountant
Wong Tai Ho Dickie .... assistant accountant: Hong Kong
Jacky Holding .... accounting secretary
Mark Layton .... production assistant
Ringo Lee .... traffic captain: Hong Kong
Peter Leung .... marine coordinator
Andy Ma .... location manager: Hong Kong
Bruce Osborne .... vintage cars supplier
Kingston Shek .... location assistant: Hong Kong (as Shek Sui Lun)
Pang Shing .... location assistant: Hong Kong
Guy Tannahill .... security consultant
Ann Tasker .... unit publicist
Moon Yiu Wah .... location assistant: Hong Kong
Angela Wharton .... script supervisor (as Angela Noakes)
Wong Yiu .... location assistant: Hong Kong
Kathy Sykes .... production coordinator (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
97 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Lead stars Madonna and Sean Penn were married at the time the movie was made and released.See more »
Errors in geography: During the bathhouse scene Justin tells Glendon that the Chinese use tomato juice to remove the stench of skunks. Of course there are no skunks in China. Skunks live only in North America.See more »
[first title card]
Title Card:Shanghai 1937
Title Card:The Year of the Japanese Occupation
See more »
Movie Connections:
Shanghai SurpriseSee more »


This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
22 out of 29 people found the following review useful.
Dreary, dreadful romantic comedy, 25 May 1999
Author: Rob Keenan ( from Tacoma, WA

"Shanghai Surprise" is an idiotic, out-of-date, poorly-acted, campy action film that wants to be a romantic comedy. Madonna, in her second starring role, had about enough acting talent at this point as a doll. Unfortunately, the doll in this movie comes off looking better than she does.

Madonna, playing a missionary (!) nurse (!!) for a Shanghai mission, is in search of opium (!!!) for medicinal purposes (!!?!!) approaches Sean Penn, an American soldier-of-fortune type who happens to speak Chinese. Penn and Madonna, who were married at the time this film were made, are obviously uncomfortable with the material and do little to justify the film's existence. Penn mugs his way through and attempts to crach a few weak jokes, while Madonna stamps her foot and places her hands on her hips as she squeaks (yes, she squeaks, and you must hear it to believe it) in frustration.

The plot is absolutely ridiculous -- Madonna and Sean Penn chasing after a mysterious cargo of opium known as "Faraday's Flowers" (incidentally, the name of the book this movie is based on) must run from a Chinese gangster with porcelain hands, have a romantic interlude with an Imperial concubine, teach baseball skills to another Chinese gangster, and (boy, aren't we surprised) sleep together to seal a deal.

This movie, like "Mommie Dearest" or "Plan Nine From Outer Space" has immense camp value because it's so deliciously awful. Utterly predictable, insipid, and full of instantly forgettable lines, this movie is the equivalent of the yellow stuff they stick on your nachos at the movie theatres -- it's not really good enough to be real cheese, but it's much cheaper and tastes pretty much the same anyway. This movie isn't even cheesy enough to be cheesy.

Avoid "Shanghai Surprise" unless, like me, you like Madonna WAY too much or if you're just a fan of bad movies.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (26 total) »

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Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Shanghai Surprise (1986)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
this movie is NOT as bad as people say pudwhacker
Maybe I should try this again? rob-hart
Not the worst movie ever stephaniebrown
Goofy choice of words marshall_neal
Justin Kronk mojo_60s
As an actor, I . . . . pitiwitz
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