Tai-Pan (1986)

R  |   |  Adventure  |  7 November 1986 (USA)
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Tai-Pan is Chinese for "supreme leader". This is the man with real power to his hands. And such a Tai-Pan is Dirk Struan who is obsessed by his plan to make Hong Kong the "jewel in the ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (novel), 1 more credit »
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Credited cast:
Dirk Struan
John Stanton ...
Tyler Brock
Bill Leadbitter ...
Gorth Brock
Gordon Chen
Katy Behean ...
Mary Sinclair
Tess Brock
Shevaun Tillman
Norman Rodway ...
Aristotle Quance
John Bennett ...
Derrick Branche ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Drunken Sailor
Brecks's Crew
Phil Chatterton Tongplaw ...


Tai-Pan is Chinese for "supreme leader". This is the man with real power to his hands. And such a Tai-Pan is Dirk Struan who is obsessed by his plan to make Hong Kong the "jewel in the crown of her British Majesty". In 1841 he achieves his goal but he has many enemies who try to destroy his plans. Will they succeed? Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Smuggler. Prince. Murderer. Father. Sinner. Saint. See more »




R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

7 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

James Clavell's Tai-Pan  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)


$4,007,250 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Though an American production of the USA, the picture had two top-billed lead male stars who were both Australian actors, they being Bryan Brown and John Stanton. See more »


In a scene, set in 1841, several of the ladies were wearing bright mauve outfits. That would have been most unlikely for the wives of middle class traders at that time as the color purple was prohibitively expensive before the invention of analine dyes in London - in 1856. By 1870 these gaudy colors had become so cheap and commonplace that it became a status symbol to mimic the subtler, paler colors of the pre analine dye days. See more »


Referenced in Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010) See more »


Music by Adrien Talexy
Arranged by Trevor L. Sharpe
See more »

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User Reviews

A crushing disappointment
22 February 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

It's worth pointing out that I came to this film having read James Clavell's excellent novel, TAI-PAN, on which this is based. If I hadn't read the book beforehand, I probably would have enjoyed this adaptation a lot more.

Sadly, I was left feeling that the filmed TAI-PAN is a crushing disappointment, purely because it cuts so very much out of the story. The whole background is missing, the Triad stuff, the politics, the trade with the Chinese. The story is reduced to the human relationships and particularly the family rivalries between the main characters, but there was so much more to it than that.

I do understand that films are very different to books and that adaptations have to cut material out, but TAI-PAN has a two hour running time and a lot of it is slow-paced. If it had told events at a much faster pace, it would have been able to include a lot more of the details and subtleties that are missing here. As it is, there are elements of greatness - plus the novelty of seeing Bryan Brown in a leading role - but it could have been so much more. A miniseries would suffice better, I think.

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