IMDb > To Live (1994)
Huo zhe
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To Live (1994) More at IMDbPro »Huo zhe (original title)

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8.3/10   11,114 votes »
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Wei Lu (screenplay)
Hua Yu (novel)
View company contact information for To Live on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 December 1994 (USA) See more »
After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An emotional, rewarding experience See more (87 total) »


  (in credits order)

You Ge ... Xu Fugui

Li Gong ... Xu Jiazhen
Ben Niu ... Town Chief

Wu Jiang ... Wan Erxi
Deng Fei ... Xu Youqing
Tao Guo ... Chunsheng
Tianchi Liu ... Xu Fengxia, as an adult
Zongluo Huang ... Fu Gui's Dad
Yanjin Liu ... Fu Gui's Mom
Dahong Ni ... Long'er
Lian-Yi Li ... Sgt. Lao Quan
Xiao Cong ... Xu Fengxia, as a teenager
Zhang Lu ... Fengxia, as a child
Yan Su

Directed by
Yimou Zhang 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Wei Lu  screenplay
Hua Yu  novel
Hua Yu  screenplay

Produced by
Fu-Sheng Chiu .... producer
Funhong Kow .... producer
Christophe Tseng .... producer
Original Music by
Jiping Zhao 
Cinematography by
Yue Lü 
Film Editing by
Yuan Du 
Art Direction by
Juiping Cao 
Production Management
Pingan Wang .... production manager
Zhenyan Zhang .... production manager
Sound Department
Jing Tao .... sound
Other crew
Joyce Pierpoline .... publicist

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Huo zhe" - China (original title)
See more »
125 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Clint Eastwood's personal favorite of the competition entries at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival where Eastwood was Jury President.See more »
Xu Fugui:What did you name our son?
Xu Jiazhen:"Don't Gamble".
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in The Turandot Project (2000)See more »


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74 out of 77 people found the following review useful.
An emotional, rewarding experience, 26 February 2005
Author: silentcheesedude from Florida, USA

It's a shame that not more people have seen this movie, judging by the amount of user comments and ratings. Now that director Yimou Zhang ('Hero' & 'House of Flying Daggers') has become more popular, I'm hoping this will change.

'Huozhe' or 'To Live' takes us on a trip in China that will last us from the 40's through the 70's. Through that time, we will see life through the eyes of Fugui and Jiazhen, a husband and wife with 2 children, as well as Fugui's mother.

Fugui, the husband, has a gambling problem which will set off a chain of events that will have them lose the house, and eventually separate the family. Jiazhen, his wife, is forced to take a job which will put a strain on her children. Communist and nationalist armies battle each other, and the rise of Chairman Mao will affect them as well. Fugui will go through layers of mishaps that will change him forever. I don't want to detail anything more about the plot, it's much more worth viewing it and experiencing it then anything I can ever say here.

Not once is this movie boring, effectively placing us there, with the family. The acting seems so natural that it feels like you are there, traveling with them, rather then viewing them through a camera. This of course shows the strength of Zhang's directing. You Ge plays Fugui, a popular actor in China, won the award for the Cannes Film Festival. Li Gong is beautiful, and portrays her character with such passion, it's no wonder she has been nominated nearly a dozen times, winning most.

Emotional without being sappy, honest, & historically accurate, the film does have a black shroud covering it. In times of sadness, it's lifted a bit to allow us to see happiness, indeed, life, pull this family together. It even has bits of humor in it, at times, I laughed along with the family as much as I felt their pain. Little details, such paintings in the background that chip away as time goes by, shows how much care went into making this film. Characters that seem unimportant become part of the story later.

What a wonderful film. When I saw it 10 years ago, it not only changed the way I saw foreign movies, it also changed the way I see life and people. Any movie that can do that is one I highly recommend to anyone.

A perfect 10 out of 10.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for To Live (1994)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Your reviews make me wonder if i saw the same film.. Trickyrich
How did Fengxia die?? its-hard-to-explain
Is Long'er Japanese? ahoymematey2000
Soundtrack chuckatomic
Has anyone read the book? vietdawg
Fugui's name and symbolism jeremy_alan36
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