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Tonkô (1988)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  31 January 1992 (USA)
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In 1026, students in western China are shanghaied into the forces of crown prince Li Yuanhao of Xi Xia, who wants to control the length of the Silk Road. One student is Zhao Xingde, who ... See full summary »



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Title: Tonkô (1988)

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Credited cast:
Toshiyuki Nishida ...
Zhu Wangli
Kôichi Satô ...
Zhao Xingde
Anna Nakagawa ...
Tsunehiko Watase ...
Li Yuanhao
Tsao Yanhui
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Akira Emoto
Daijirô Harada ...
Weichi Kuang
Yoshiko Mita ...
Woman of Xixia
Yukio Ninagawa
Eisaku Shindô
Mizuho Suzuki
Katsuhiko Watabiki


In 1026, students in western China are shanghaied into the forces of crown prince Li Yuanhao of Xi Xia, who wants to control the length of the Silk Road. One student is Zhao Xingde, who becomes the favorite of his commander, Zhu Wangli. While sacking a fortress, Xingde discovers Tsurpia, princess of the Uighur. He hides her; they fall in love. When he's sent away to study Xixian, he leaves Tsurpia in Zhu's care, but returns to find her engaged to Li. Tragedy follows, and he and Zhu enter a pact to take revenge when Li arrives at Dun-Huang, the region's seat of learning and culture. Against overwhelming odds, they find a surprising way to leave a monument to their life and love. Written by <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




PG-13 | See all certifications »





Release Date:

31 January 1992 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Silk Road  »

Box Office


$123,959 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

aims high, but misses
3 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This supposedly historic Chinese-Japanese co-production presents a panoramic speculation into the origin of several thousand ancient scrolls, dating back to the 11th century, found hidden in a cave in the Gobi Desert. How did they get there? According to some imaginative screenwriters they were hidden by a plucky Song Dynasty scholar after all sorts of romantic, picaresque adventures. The film is an ambitious attempt to make a Hollywood-style epic, but what could have been a sweeping historical action-spectacle is spoiled by ham-fisted direction aiming toward the grandeur of David Lean but settling for the pulp of Cecil B. DeMille. Exotic locales, a cast of thousands, and all the colored banners in Asia can't hide the clichés. The press kit actually called attention to the "seamless mixture of Western narrative values and Asian production values", but think about that for a moment: wouldn't it have made more sense the other way around?

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