Temptation of a Monk (1993)
"You Seng" (original title)

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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 291 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 3 critic

Near the beginning of the Tang dynasty, in 7th century China, General Shi Yan-sheng is tricked into leaving the crown prince unguarded. The crown prince is murdered by one of his brothers ... See full summary »



(screenplay) (as Ling Ching Fong) , (screenplay) (as Lilian Lee) , 1 more credit »
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6 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Hsing-Kuo Wu ...
General Shi Yan-sheng / Jing-yi (as Hsin Kuo Wu)
Ming-yang Li ...
Shi's Mother
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


Near the beginning of the Tang dynasty, in 7th century China, General Shi Yan-sheng is tricked into leaving the crown prince unguarded. The crown prince is murdered by one of his brothers who then becomes emperor. Shi retreats to a monastery, perhaps to hide, perhaps to plan a coup. When his loyal troops as well as the princess he desires are slain, he seeks refuge in a remote, abandoned monastery where an aged abbot schools him with practical, earthy teachings. The emperor's forces pursue Shi: first a woman, then a general seek to overpower him with lust and might. Over the course of the film, the reds of battle give way to blues of meditation. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:






Release Date:

25 August 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Temptation of a Monk  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Joan Chen had her head completely shaved for the role of Qingshou (Violet). See more »


The Abbot: How do you know her heart? Do you know your heart?
See more »

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User Reviews

The subtlety of plot and the extravagant costumes MAKES this film
18 May 1999 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Temptation of a Monk is a treat for those viewers who value character development and self discovery. The movie is the story of a army general who strives to transcend the trappings of his position, social expectation and his current state of existence. He enters a monastery which shakes his social foundations (an elder brother monk, 10 years old ordering an ex-general around), but the teachings are ineffective because of his hidden motivations in joining the monastery. After a traumatic event, he moves on to another monastery, where his life begins to change. His newfound learnings and knowledge are again tested to determine whether he perseveres.

The subtlety of the plot and the gradual development of the character is wonderful, much like the metamorphosis of a caterpillar. This is the strength of the film, enticing viewers to watch on to find out whether the protagonist perseveres. The contemporary style of the costumes is another feature of this film adding to the beauty of the landscape. Overall, Temptation of a Monk is an oriental treat -- displaying both the beauty of the land and of the human soul.

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