IMDb > Shanghai Triad (1995)
Yao a yao, yao dao wai po qiao
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Shanghai Triad (1995) More at IMDbPro »Yao a yao, yao dao wai po qiao (original title)

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Shanghai Triad -- US Home Video Trailer from Sony


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7.2/10   4,344 votes »
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Bi Feiyu
Li Xiao (novel)
View company contact information for Shanghai Triad on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
22 December 1995 (USA) See more »
In 1930's Shanghai violence was not the problem. It was the solution.
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Oscar. Another 5 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A film of both aesthetic beauty and immense heart See more (38 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Li Gong ... Xiao Jingbao
Baotian Li ... Tang, the Gang Boss
Xiaoxiao Wang ... Shuisheng, the boy

Xuejian Li ... Liu, 6th Uncle
Chun Sun ... Song, Tang's No. 2
Biao Fu ... Zheng, Tang's No.3
Shu Chen ... Shi Ye
Jiang Liu ... Fat Yu
Baoying Jiang ... Cuihua, the Widow
Qianquan Yang ... Ah Jiao
Ying Gao
Weiming Gao
Shuliang Lian
Ya'nan Wang
Zhang Yayun
Guo Hao
Jiasheng Zhen
Ni Zengshao
An Xing
Jia Shijun
Jiankang Jiang
Jiangang Yu
Li Dou
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Xijun Gu
Hao Kuo
Min Wang
Jiankuo Yu

Directed by
Yimou Zhang 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Bi Feiyu 
Li Xiao  novel

Produced by
Yves Marmion .... producer
Jean-Louis Piel .... producer
Wei Wang .... executive producer
Yigong Wu .... producer
Yongde Zhu .... executive producer
Original Music by
Guangtian Zhang 
Cinematography by
Yue Lü 
Film Editing by
Yuan Du 
Production Design by
Juiping Cao 
Art Direction by
Xin Ming Huang 
Yongming Ma 
Costume Design by
Huamiao Tong 
Makeup Department
Xiaoling Cai .... hair stylist
Chuan Li .... hair stylist
Zide Mi .... makeup artist
Yang Yu .... makeup artist
Production Management
Zhenyan Zhang .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Yan Changsheng .... assistant director
Nie Chunsheng .... assistant director
Véronique Demaret .... assistant director
Xiaodan Yang .... assistant director
Sound Department
Jing Tao .... sound
Camera and Electrical Department
Li Chang .... assistant camera
Peter Rosenfeld .... Steadicam operator
Peter Rosenfeld .... camera operator: "b" camera
Min Wang .... assistant camera
Editorial Department
Katsuto Asahi .... negative cutting
Other crew
Agnès Chabot .... press attache: Cannes
Kim Yu .... publicist: Canada

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Yao a yao, yao dao wai po qiao" - France (original title)
See more »
Rated R for some language and images of violence
Canada:108 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

This was a difficult film for Yimou Zhang to make. His relationship with his leading lady Li Gong was coming to an acrimonious end and the Chinese authorities were deliberately hassling him with complicated and elusive work permits. That was mainly because they were still annoyed with him for submitting his previous film To Live (1994) to the Cannes Film Festival without their permission.See more »
Xiao Jingbao:You know the rule - your ass is your own, but if you get fondled in here, the money is mine.See more »
Movie Connections:
Referenced in Film Geek (2005)See more »


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7 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
A film of both aesthetic beauty and immense heart, 6 October 2000
Author: jeff_stryker from Hampshire, England

When I first saw Zhang Yimou's wonderful 'Raise the Red Lantern', I missed all but the last 30 minutes. This is the most regretful episode of my life for the film has now been deleted. My life was honestly changed as that half an hour was a real time anomoly, obeying the theory of relativity and breaking that particular convention by immersing me so fully that it seemed to last forever and yet, not long enough. 'Shanghai Triad' does not contain that one off quality, however, it is in itself a fascinating film. The colour scheme, of many Yimou films remains, his use of colour is deeply moving as it becomes sublime and almost 'old school'. You can see movies of the studio system being played out again but in a whole new style. Red is so prominent once again and for reasons we can only speculate. Personally I see the colour red as an exciting colour, it conveys to me a sense of a past in which I did not belong to, how I did not exist. The fascination I have in history pre-1982 and more importantly the early 20th century glamour and ancient history.

The splendour of the whole thing is beyond belief, it could almost have the production values of a Hollywood mainstream movie. It shows that perhaps you can create a better effect with lower production values. The Tang household is splendid, but it's vastness perfectly encapsulates a lonely feeling that puts you in the place of the child as well as any cliched point of view shots ever could. It is moments like these that prove Yimou's background as a cinematographer, he is a master of the visual, able to simply show a character's mood in an implicit sweep of camera and minutely fine detail within the mise-en-scene excluding cliche from his work completely. This is the sort of filmmaking we would associate with Ridley Scott, Scott is a visualist, he works with far darker tones than Yimou, which from a personal point of view, makes Yimou my prefered choice, but Scott himself blended both dark and light in 'Thelma and Louise' like Yimou has done for most of his career. The characters themselves have layers of light and dark which are conveyed well in all of their surroundings.

This comparison with Scott brings me to the point in Triad when the empathy shifts from the boy to be shared by him and Bijou. This does echo a bit of the Roy Batty syndrome which was probably the reason for 'Blade Runner's' limited success on it's original release, or so says Robert McKee. But Gong Li's performance is outstanding. She nails Bijou's nasty streak to a tee and then compels us to believe that she is more than that. Of course it is helped when the viewer feels that the situation she is in is a frightening one, not unlike mountaineering where one false step could end up in death, at what ever height you are at. Li is one of the finest actresses in the world, not to mention that her beauty is unparalleled. (Despite the fact that she is just four years younger than my mother) The film may not be seen as very moral but it is clear that it has heart as we feel so bad about the events that end the film. Li shows her hardness of character and complete vulnerability then finally her loss of control, shame and regret. This heart is not made of solid stone, rather a quite flexible rubber.

It requires a period of reflection, one that does not equal that of 'Raise the Red Lantern' but is the only film to have such a numbing effect since. By now though, I have Lantern in such a high regard that it borders on gaining a mythical quality as I have yet to see it in it's entirety. It's not every day that a heavily opinionated young man will be reduced to a pathetic single syllable, but when Triad is finished, many of you will be reduced to it too, lay back and just clear your head of anything other than the film, all that enters the head will be "Wow".

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