The Opium War (1997)
"Yapian zhanzheng" (original title)

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Historical Drama starting in 1839 in Guangzhou where British merchants dealing with opium are to be executed because the opium is destroying the Empire. After the burning of 20,000 boxes of... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Guoan Bao ...
Debra Beaumont ...
Rob Freeman ...
Emma Griffiths Malin ...
Mary Denton
Jiang Hua ...
Guan Tianpei
Captain White
Hsiang Ting Ko ...
Yi Shan
Shilong Li ...
Han Zhaoqing
Weixin Li ...
Deng Tingzhen
Liankun Lin ...
Qi Shan
Sihung Lung ...
He Jingrong (as Xiong Lang)


Historical Drama starting in 1839 in Guangzhou where British merchants dealing with opium are to be executed because the opium is destroying the Empire. After the burning of 20,000 boxes of opium by the Chinese England declares war, because the burned opium was the property of the British commercial attache who had bought it from the British merchants. Written by Marco Radke <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | War


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Release Date:

13 June 1997 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

The Opium War  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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User Reviews

nationalistic anti-western propaganda

Using thousands of extras, great vistas, panoramic view-scopes of harbors filled with ships, lavish costumes, the motion picture describes the Opium War events that led to the british occupation of what is now Honk Kong. Ironic how exactly those lavish emperors and lifestyles that were once the target from Communist China are now used by the same Communist China to instill nationalistic feelings. While the motion picture is a big budget endeavor, it is not artistic. Some of the text captions are too educative, as if the audience were in kindergarden (for example, a slow view of an opium smoking den was indeed capioned with bright while lettering "Opium Den" as if the audience couldn't figure that out). That is what I meant as not being artistic: stating too evidently what is already too obvious. Everything is spelled out. But to its credit, I really appreciated its authenticity in regards of languages spoken, where two languages were spoken. The english tongues were precise, including an american tongue. Couldn't verify wether the chinese characters in the movie spoke Mandarin or Cantonese, nor can I comment on wether at the time (1839) which one was spoken in the regions where the story takes place.

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