A Better Tomorrow (1986)
"Ying hung boon sik" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  2 August 1986 (Hong Kong)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 15,060 users  
Reviews: 88 user | 57 critic

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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Cast overview, first billed only:
Lung Ti ...
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 ...
Hsieh Wang ...
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  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


John Woo chose gangsters as the heroes because he felt there were no other viable "men of action" in the Hong Kong popular consciousness. See more »


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


Shing: There's nothing better than having one of your own on the force.
See more »


Featured in Films of Fury: The Kung Fu Movie Movie (2011) See more »


Brian Eno
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User Reviews

John Woo: Simply The Best
9 November 2000 | by (Salem, Oregon) – See all my reviews

The relationship between two brothers on opposite sides of the law, and the loyalty of friends is explored in `A Better Tomorrow,' an action/drama directed by John Woo. As with any Woo film there's plenty of action here, but at the heart of the film is the story itself; and that's what sets Woo apart from all other so-called `action' directors. Woo frames the drama with some astoundingly intricate and well choreographed action sequences (gun play and hand to hand fighting), but integrates the story seamlessly, which raises this film, as with all of his films, levels higher than the average action movie. In this one, older brother Ho (Lung Ti) is a high ranking member of a crime syndicate specializing in counterfeit money; his younger brother, Kit (Leslie Cheung) is beginning his career as a detective. Complicating matters is the death of their father (Feng Tien) and the involvement of Ho's best friend and colleague, Mark (Chow Yun-Fat), and Kit's girl, Jackie (Emily Chu). In the end, at the core of the action, it becomes a story of love and loyalty, and the sacrifices sometimes necessary in life to make it work and give meaning to it all. Woo has impeccable timing, not only in the action sequences, but with the drama as well; he knows how to use the camera to heighten the emotional impact of a pivotal moment, and successfully injects a caesura at just the right time, which maintains the perfect amount of tension that extends the drama and serves to hold the audience enthralled. That he can employ these techniques equally within the action and dramatic sequences is why his movies have such wonderful flow and rhythm; it creates a `whole' as opposed to merely a series of scenes strung together to tell a story. Directors of all genres would be well served to study Woo's techniques. Woo gets the most out of his actors as well. Lung Ti gives tremendous depth to the character of Ho, successfully conveying the inner struggle of this man attempting to make amends with the brother he loves, while the charismatic Chow Yun-Fat gives a riveting performance as Ho's closest friend. His screen presence is dynamic and commanding. Woo firmly establishes the depth of loyalty between the two, and skillfully the actors make it convincing and credible, which makes the final heroics all the more believable. An exciting, memorable film, `A Better Tomorrow' is thoroughly entertaining, and a tribute to a truly great director, John Woo, who seems to get better with every film he makes. For a combination of action and drama, there isn't another director in the history of movies that does it better than Woo. I rate this one 9/10.

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