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House of Flying Daggers (2004)

Shi mian mai fu (original title)
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A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 19 wins & 60 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Xiao Mei (as Zhang Ziyi)
Hongfei Zhao ...
Jun Guo ...
Shu Zhang ...
Jiusheng Wang ...
Zhengyong Zhang ...
Yongxin Wang ...
Dong Liu ...
Qi Zi ...
Xuedong Qu ...
Liping Tian ...
Hongwei Zhao ...


During the reign of the Tang dynasty in China, a secret organization called "The House of the Flying Daggers" rises and opposes the government. A police officer called Leo sends officer Jin to investigate a young dancer named Mei, claiming that she has ties to the "Flying Daggers". Leo arrests Mei, only to have Jin breaking her free in a plot to gain her trust and lead the police to the new leader of the secret organization. But things are far more complicated than they seem... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sequences of stylized martial arts violence, and some sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

14 January 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

House of Flying Daggers  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


CNY 100,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$892,536 (Hong Kong) (16 July 2004)


$11,041,228 (USA) (1 April 2005)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Yimou Zhang has said that he will rewrite the screenplay to remove Anita Mui's character following the veteran star's death. This is meant to be a sign of respect for Mui. It was earlier reported that Michelle Yeoh or Brigitte Lin would be cast instead. See more »


Early in the final battle between Jin and Leo, it switches between them holding each other's swords away at the sides to their swords being crossed in front of them while they're on the ground. See more »


Jin: I came back, for you.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Chinese theatrical release has a Chinese translation of the ending song (which has lyrics in English) on the left side of the screen during the credits. See more »


Referenced in The Codes of Gender (2010) See more »


Beauty Song (Jia Ren Qu)
Written by Li Yannian
Performed by Ziyi Zhang
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Following on from HERO with another visually arresting feature...
20 November 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

After absolutely loving 'Hero', I couldn't wait for Zhang Yimou's latest Wuxia Pien feature to arrive on DVD. After watching it, I'm happy to say I wasn't disappointed, as it is another sumptuous, stylistic feature, which deserves all the accolades it is likely to receive.

The plot of the film is told in a more linear narrative when compared to that of 'Hero', but that is not to say it is any more straightforward. Set in the Tang Dynasty, the basic premise is nothing to write home about, featuring government officials on the trail of an underground rebel alliance 'The House of Flying Daggers'. However, there is enough characterisation and depth to hold your attention, while the (sometimes predictable) plot twists keep you guessing. Unfortunately, there is nothing entirely new about this story and it's probably familiar ground to fans of the wuxia genre. Nevertheless, it flows at a decent pace and is punctuated with enough stylistic action sequences that the 2-hour running time is quickly exhausted.

As with Yimou's impressive previous feature, Tony Ching Siu-tung takes over the action direction, producing another sterling performance. In my opinion, he is currently the top fight choreographer around after spending so many years being considered second fiddle to the likes of Yuen Wo-ping and Sammo Hung; he now deserves to be considered above them on his current output. In this instance, much of the overt stylisation evident in Hero is played down in favour of more grounded, natural martial artistry. There is still plenty of wire work and a spattering of CGI to aid the sequences, however, it is plain to see that much of the action displayed is a mix of genuine swordplay and actual technique. All the performers acquit themselves well considering none of them are formally trained in martial arts – especially Zhang Ziyi who performs impressively from start to finish.

As you would expect from a Zhang Yimou film, the visuals are majestic, with primary colours and panoramic landscapes making up much of what we see. Unfortunately, many people do not seem to take to this artistic approach, and will label the film another case of style over substance. I would disagree, as I believe it contains plenty of both with a strong cast, interesting characters and high quality action to provide the foundation for the kind of bold, sumptuous visuals, which are rare to find in modern film.

Overall, I personally prefer 'Hero' but know of plenty who would disagree. As a result, I recommend it as a definite purchase to any fan of films from this genre.

119 of 156 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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