8.1/10
16,810
80 user 45 critic

Farewell My Concubine (1993)

Ba wang bie ji (original title)
Trailer
1:15 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

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

Director:

Writers:

(novel) (as Lillian Lee), (screenplay) (as Lillian Lee) | 1 more credit »
Reviews
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 18 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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
Drama
    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
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In pre-unified China, the King of Qin sends his concubine to a rival kingdom to produce an assassin for a political plot, but as the king's cruelty mounts she finds her loyalty faltering.

Director: Kaige Chen
Stars: Li Gong, Fengyi Zhang, Zhou Sun
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
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
Action | Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1920s China, a bandit arrives in a remote provincial town posing as its new mayor, where he faces off against a tyrannical local nobleman.

Director: Wen Jiang
Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Wen Jiang, You Ge
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Set in 1960, the film centres on the young, boyishly handsome Yuddy, who learns from the drunken ex-prostitute who raised him that she is not his real mother. Hoping to hold onto him, she ... See full summary »

Director: Kar-wai Wong
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Maggie Cheung, Andy Lau
Comedy | Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 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, Hongbo Jiang
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A provincial boy related to a Shanghai crime family is recruited by his uncle into cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 1930s to be a servant to a ganglord's mistress.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Baotian Li, Wang Xiaoxiao
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Qi Lü ...
Master Guan
Da Ying ...
Manager
...
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
Edit

Storyline

"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) »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

15 October 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Farewell My Concubine  »

Box Office

Gross:

$5,216,888 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (USA) (theatrical)

Sound Mix:

Color:

(flashback sequence)|

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

John Lone was offered for role of Cheng Dieyi but dropped out. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
A fine movie, truly an epic.
27 May 1999 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

I finally got a chance to see "Farewell my Concubine." I'd been anxious to see it since its initial release in 1993. It surprised me in its depth and technical skill.

Three points make this film outstanding. The first is the technical skill of the director and the luscious taste of the director of photography. The entire film is a feast for the eyes, taking full advantage of elaborate costumes and exotic locations. The second strength is in the actual storytelling. The plot is a fascinating tragedy, it feels almost Shakespearean. The acting is nothing short of incredible. Some of China's finest actors demonstrate their ability to carry a story that covers 52 years. Normally, these two strengths alone would be reason enough to see a film, but "Farewell my Concubine" succeeds in satisfying one more category (the bain of any epic): historical accuracy.

"Farewell my Concubine" is exceptionally accurate in portraying the monumental changes that were sweeping China at the time. The film doesn't just treat these events as background events, but drags them right into the plot and pins the characters into their surroundings. This is interesting when you consider that the story takes place in the Peking Opera, not the most likely place for these events to have effect. Instead, as we see the new China emerge, we watch these vestiges of old society fall, and the work of all involved make this transition an achievement to behold. The power of this film was not missed by Chinese censors who banned, removed, and then banned the film again several times over -debating whether or not its artistic brilliance was worth subversive portrayals of suicide and homosexuality. Unlike "The Last Emperor," this film was made by Chinese film makers and is in tune with its subject. I recommend this film highly!

As one last note, the version I saw was a DVD containing the original 170 minute version of the film, in its wide-screen splendor. From what I understand, the shorter versions released internationally deleted and shortened some opera scenes for fear that they would be lost on Western audiences. Having no prior experience with any Peking Opera, I found the scenes fascinating and integral to appreciating the entire story. Spend the extra time if you can.


77 of 92 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
why isn't this film in the top 250?? mercuria8
Discuss Farewell My Concubine (1993) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?