Farewell My Concubine (1993)
"Ba wang bie ji" (original title)

R  |   |  Drama, Music, Romance  |  15 October 1993 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 8.1/10 from 16,416 users  
Reviews: 79 user | 45 critic

The story of two men, who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and stayed friends for over 50 years.



(novel) (as Lillian Lee) , (screenplay) (as Lillian Lee) , 1 more credit »
Watch Trailer
0Check in

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

To Live (1994)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Ben Niu
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Peiqi Liu, Liuchun Yang
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

A story of four teenagers during Cultural Revolution in Beijing.

Director: Wen Jiang
Stars: Yu Xia, Xiaogang Feng, Le Geng
Red Sorghum (1987)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1930s China a young woman is sent by her father to marry the leprous owner of a winery. In the nearby red sorghum fields she falls for one of his servants. When the master dies she finds... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Wen Jiang, Rujun Ten
Ashes of Time (1994)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A broken-hearted hit man moves to the desert where he finds skilled swordsmen to carry out his contract killings.

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Leslie Cheung
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Yiu-Fai and Po-Wing arrive in Argentina from Hong Kong and take to the road for a holiday. Something is wrong and their relationship goes adrift. A disillusioned Yiu-Fai starts working at a... See full summary »

Director: Kar Wai Wong
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Chen Chang
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A young journalist (Lespert) helps the French President compile his memoirs.

Director: Robert Guédiguian
Stars: Michel Bouquet, Jalil Lespert, Philippe Fretun
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

During the Japanese occupation of China, two prisoners are dumped in a peasant's home in a small town. The owner is bullied into keeping the prisoners until the next New Year, at which time... See full summary »

Director: Wen Jiang
Stars: Wen Jiang, Kenya Sawada, Yihong Jiang
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

After another cardiac arrest, Armand knows he doesn't have long to live. But after more than 70 years in the same house, he doesn't want to die anywhere else. His wife, Rose, has secretly ... See full summary »

Director: Jean Pierre Lefebvre
Stars: Marthe Nadeau, J. Léo Gagnon, Marcel Sabourin
The Novena (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Director: Bernard Émond
Stars: Elise Guilbault, Patrick Drolet, Marie-Josée Bastien
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Marcel, recently released from prison, attempt to rebuild his relationship with his girlfriend Julie (now a prostitute) and especially his father Albert (who thinks he's been away on a long... See full summary »

Director: Jean-Claude Lauzon
Stars: Gilles Maheu, Roger Lebel, Corrado Mastropasqua


Cast overview, first billed only:
Qi Lü ...
Master Guan
Da Ying ...
Chun Li ...
Xiao Si (in his teens)
Han Lei ...
Xiao Si (adult)
Di Tong ...
Zhang the Eunuch
Mingwei Ma ...
Douzi as a Child
Yang Fei ...
Shitou as a Child
Zhi Yin ...
Douzi as a Teenager
Hailong Zhao ...
Shitou as a Teenager
Dan Li ...
Laizi / Peking Opera schoolboy
Wenli Jiang ...
Douzi's Mother


"Farewell, My Concubine" is a movie with two parallel, intertwined stories. It is the story of two performers in the Beijing Opera, stage brothers, and the woman who comes between them. At the same time, it attempts to do no less than squeeze the entire political history of China in the twentieth century into a three-hour time-frame. Written by Michael Kim <leda@imsa.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

opera | school | friend | boy | prostitute | See All (171) »


The passionate story of two lifelong friends and the woman who comes between them.


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and strong depiction of thematic material | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

15 October 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Farewell My Concubine  »

Box Office


$5,216,888 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (USA) (theatrical)

Sound Mix:


(flashback sequence)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Leslie Cheung was The first Hong Kong actor who acted in a mainland China film. See more »


In the streets on the eve of the Communist takeover (1948), Dieyi and Xiaolou watch the chaos unfold while seen between them in the background is Master Zhang the Eunuch. The next shot reveals Master Zhang sitting across the street from them. See more »


Master Yuan: A smile ushers in the spring.
Master Yuan: A tear does darken all the world.
Master Yuan: How truly does this befit you. To you... only you are possessed of such charm.
See more »


Referenced in Melrose Place: Farewell, Mike's Concubine (1996) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A Tremendous Story on Many Levels
19 May 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As an WASP American married a lady from Mainland China, I have a great interest in and curiosity about China. My wife's mother and father actually saw these men perform. I have discussed this movie with many Chinese friends, most of whom saw it before coming to this country. Some of them knew the story from real life as well as the movie. They are quick to point out the accuracy of the story in its detailing of Chinese history from the end of the last dynasty until its end during the Cultural Revolution. They also claim that the major happenings in the movie are real events, not the norm for most of Hollywood's "real life" stories. One point of conjecture in the movie is the sexually of Dieyi. It is presumed he is/becomes a homosexual. However, from what I have learned about the Peking/BeiJing Opera through reading and discussions, it is more likely that Dieyi was virtually unaware of his own sexuality. As opposed to being a hetero or homosexual, he was asexual in a way like it had be surgically removed from his being. It had been taken from him through the rigors of his training and years of performance. His love for Xiaolou is powerful, maybe even surpassing ordinary man/woman love, but platonic in as much as his mind is devoid of its sexuality. He suffers the same jealous anger and sense of betrayal as might be found when a wife discovers the cheatings of her husband, and reacts, unfortunately, accordingly (Heroin). His real, enduring love is performing. It is the one constant that has seen him through. He throws himself into it, being willing to perform for anyone, even as it drives the story to the end. The end of the movie is not satisfying to everyone. It was not a Hollywood ending. However, it was reality.

64 of 90 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Strange Question Reemawi
Dieyi's death... opinions? anhthu-1
what happened to Xiaolou and Juxian mitulh
the oscars do it again smithure
I'm not gay, i'm not bi, but spamandbacon
Master Zhang ikyouto
Discuss Farewell My Concubine (1993) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: