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The Emperor and the Assassin (1998)

Jing Ke ci Qin Wang (original title)
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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.


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Credited cast:
Dan, Prince of Yan
Xiaohe Lü ...
General Fan Yuqi
Zhiwen Wang ...
Marquis Changxin
Yongfei Gu ...
Queen Mother
Haifeng Ding ...
Qin Wuyang
Changjiang Pan ...
Prison Official
Blind Girl
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dong Han ...
Qin cart driver
Zhi Qi ...


In the 3rd Century BC, Ying Zheng, heir to the Kingdom of Qin, seeks to dominate the remaining six Chinese kingdoms. Ying's strategy is to seem invincible. Ying sends his concubine Zhao to the Han Kingdom as a spy, to enlist an assassin he can conquer. Zhao persuades Jing Ke, but falls in love. Written by <ssrich@cityu.edu.hk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

king | concubine | death | murder | temple | See All (38) »


Drama | History

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:




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Release Date:

14 November 1998 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Emperor and the Assassin  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$47,295 (USA) (17 December 1999)


$1,328,435 (USA) (7 July 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The Xianyang palace was reconstructed in its entirety in the city of Dongyang in Zhenjiang province. Much of the film, including the final scene, was shot there. It is now being preserved as a theme park drawing large numbers of tourists. In addition, the capital cities of the other kingdoms featured in the film, Yan Zhao and Han, were constructed as several sights across China. All have been meticulously built to scale with special attention paid to their historical accuracy. See more »


References Throne of Blood (1957) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Love, death and moral choices in a historical epic of China
24 December 1999 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Based on the actual event , this epic, is set in the year 221 B.C and tells the true story of the unification of China. Action packed and filled with intrigue, passion, betrayals and unforgettable battle sequences, it held my attention throughout in spite of its 160 minute length.

The king, Ying Zeng, played by Li Xuejian is obsessed with unifying the seven kingdoms of China and becoming its first Emperor. His lover, Lady Zhao, played by the beautiful actress Gong Li, devises a plot whereby she will travel to the neighboring kingdom of Yan to set a fake assassination plot in motion which will give the king an excuse to invade Yan. However, she falls in love with the assassin as the king becomes more and more ruthless.

There are subplots, and tragedy and constant high drama. There are scenes of great beauty and of abject cruelty. There is great cinematography and brilliant use of physical space.

The deep characterization made me think of Shakespeare. And tragic events that call to mind Greek drama. And yet it is totally Chinese as it deals with age-old questions of whether the ends justify the means. And raises the questions dealing with life and death and good and evil and all the blurred edges in between.

It is the story of individuals against the backdrop of history, a history that has shaped China for the past two thousand years. I was swept up in the story as well as the moral questions raised. There are no easy answers and this was one of the strengths of the movie.

Recommended. But be prepared for the violence and gore.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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