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Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
"Wong Fei Hung" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 12,042 users  
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Set in late 19th century Canton this martial arts film depicts the stance taken by the legendary martial arts hero Wong Fei-Hung (1847-1924) against foreign forces' (English, French and ... See full summary »

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Title: Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Biao Yuen ...
Rosamund Kwan ...
Jacky Cheung ...
Kent Cheng ...
Kam-Fai Yuen ...
Kai
Shi-Kwan Yen ...
Iron Robe Yim (as Yee Kwan Yan)
Shun Lau ...
Naval Commander Lau
Ma Wu ...
Jian-Guo Chiu ...
Shaho Gang Leader
Cheung-Yan Yuen ...
Yim's Opponent
Chi Yeung Wong ...
Commander Man
Shun-Yee Yuen ...
Honorable Manchu Soldier
Xin Xin Xiong ...
Shaho Gang Member
Jonathan Isgar ...
Jackson
Edit

Storyline

Set in late 19th century Canton this martial arts film depicts the stance taken by the legendary martial arts hero Wong Fei-Hung (1847-1924) against foreign forces' (English, French and American) plundering of China. When Aunt Yee arrives back from America totally westernised, Wong Fei-Hung assumes the role of her protector. This proves to be difficult when his martial arts school and local militia become involved in fierce battles with foreign and local government. As violence escalates even Aunt Yee has to question her new western ideals, but is it possible to fight guns with Kung Fu? Written by Michele Wilkinson, University of Cambridge Language Centre, <mw125@cus.cam.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Never was a Hero needed more...


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

15 August 1991 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Once Upon a Time in China  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jet Li badly damaged his knee when Wong Fei Hung jumps out of the tea shop using his umbrella. For this reason a lot of the final fight was performed while Li was in plaster, meaning he had to be doubled for some of the moves. A lot of the shots are from the waist and above, to hide his plaster. See more »

Goofs

During the fight scene at the theater, when Aunt Yee is helping the Jesuit over the railing, the Jesuit's shoes are clearly seen to have a modern tread. See more »

Quotes

Yim: No matter how good our kung-fu is, it will never defeat guns.
See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Chicken Run (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
"A Beautifully Told Ballad About One Of The Greatest Heroes Of All Time."
1 April 1999 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

"Wong Fei Hong" may be dismissed as "yet another Hong Kong Kung Fu Film" at first glance. But when one looks at it deeper, it is one of the most triumphant films of all time. Rarely is the histoical splendour of the Late Qing Dynasty decipted as tragically beautiful as in this movie. The acting and the characters are achingly humane, as are the interaction between the characters. To say that the action in this movie is awesome is to commit the gross crime of severe understatement. The final confrontation between Wong Fei Hong and Yen Zhe Don in the forrest of ladders within the American Fort is arguably most electrifying and intense action narrative in cinema history. Painstakingly detailed and tightly paced, it is Martial Arts Action at its finest, thanks to the incredible talents of Choreographer Yuen Woo Ping.

Most of all, "Wong Fei Hong" is one of the rare films these made these days that is truly about honour and caring about people. Master Wong represents the courage, nobility, honour, compssion and the sorely lacking justice that our world desperately needs. Wong Fei Hong is possibly the best role model for our children, whose souls are constantly rotted by selfish, nasty, so-called heroes like Blade and Spawn. The theme music of this film, "Be a hero", truly brings out the spirit of this nobility, and is one of the most moving tunes ever composed. The HERO of this film makes me proud that I am an Asian like him.

Tsui hark is truly a great man for making this film, and deserves better than to have his talent wasted on Van Damme.


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