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A Better Tomorrow (1986)

Ying hung boon sik (original title)
A reforming ex-gangster tries to reconcile with his estranged policeman brother, but the ties to his former gang are difficult to break.



(as Chan Hing Kai), (as Leung Suk Wah) | 1 more credit »

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6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Sung Tse-Ho (as Ti Lung)
Mark (as Chow Yun Fat)
Emily Chu ...
Waise Lee ...
Shing (as Lee Chi Hung)
Feng Tien ...
Father Sung
Yanzi Shi ...
Mr. Yiu
Fui-On Shing ...
Mr. Wang (as Hap Wong)
Chi Fai Chan ...
'Little' Wang
Ming Leung ...
Uncle Chan
Hing-Yin Kam ...
Mr. Mok
Pierre Tremblay ...
Interpol Officer


This story is the tale of two brothers: one a successful counterfeiter and the younger a fledgling graduate of the HK police academy. The plot revolves around the split when the younger brother learns the other is a criminal and the efforts of the criminal brother to reform. Along the way are plenty of heists, double-crosses, and shoot outs. Written by Victor R. Volkman <sysop@hal9k.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The movie that began it all......... See more »


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Release Date:

2 August 1986 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

A Better Tomorrow  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Even though he is now universally known as an action hero, one of the main reasons John Woo wanted to cast Yun-Fat Chow because he didn't look like one. See more »


The cameraman can be seen in the reflections of peoples' sunglasses throughout the film. See more »


Ken: If you live by principles, you have nothing to fear. Be strong.
See more »


Referenced in Wolf's Rain: Otokotachi no aika (2003) See more »


Birdy's Flight
Written and performed by Peter Gabriel
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User Reviews

Mr Chow has achieved what no one else could: He looked cool in the 80's
19 August 2002 | by (Sheffield) – See all my reviews

When this film was made in the 1980's Hong Kong cinema was dominated by wushu films and bizarre swordplay movies involving people flying around and other acid flashback inducing scenarios. John Woo was a young director who had done a string of martial arts films, comedies, and musicals. In 1981 he split from Golden harvest and joined Cinema city, after a couple of comedies, He directed the modern day action film "Sunset Warrior" and it was held on the shelf and not released. After the failure of "Sunset Warrior" he was sent to Taiwan and directed another two comedies. Returning to Hong Kong, Woo had always wanted to make a modern day gangster film. Teaming up with friend and producer Tsui Hark, they made a film that would inspire countless films for years to come. Casting Chow Yun Fat who was mainly a television actor as one lead, an old school Kung Fu actor in another and a singer in the third lead role, it was a risky venture which paid off. The script is great featuring lines such as "Do you believe in God?" "sure i'm one, you are, a god is someone who controls their own destiny". There is strong characterisation of the characters, aided on by perfect performances from the actors, The action choreography was excellent and inspired virtually every film made involving guns ever since. It makes you realise that the only thing "the matrix" didn't take from this film and it's sequels is the plot. This is one of my favourite films of all time, and if everyone in the world saw this, I guarantee that the sales of matchsticks and toothpicks would soar.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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