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Back to 1942 (2012)
"Yi jiu si er" (original title)

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  29 November 2012 (China)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 2,198 users   Metascore: 41/100
Reviews: 16 user | 40 critic | 6 from

A deadly drought in 1942 takes its toll on central China's Henan province during the war against Japan.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Master Fan Dianyuan
Brother Sim
Wei Fan ...
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Yuanzheng Feng ...
Xia Lu
Hua Zhi
Li Peiji
Jingyi Yao ...
Jiale Peng ...
Li Qian ...
Master Fan's Daughter-in-Law
Huifang Yuan ...
Master Fan's Wife
Shaohua Zhang ...
Xia Lu's Mother
Ziwen Wang ...
Xing Xing
Shuan Zhu
Yi Zhao ...
Master Fan's Son


A famine with multiple contributing factors and devastating effects during the Second Sino-Japanese war is chronicled from the official perspective of reporters, generals, politicians and real families whose lives were forever altered by drastic measures they were forced to take in order to survive. Alternately ignoring the dire nature of the famine and its subsequent exodus of millions of people from the Hunen province, and minimizing its devastation to the outside world, the Chinese Nationalist government of the time is one which seems to be over burdened by ongoing war efforts and corruption in the distribution of relief supplies. Policy and private life are worlds apart in stopping the devastation shown through the portrayals of those who lived to tell the tale and their accounts of those who were not so lucky, of whom there were many (3 million.) This is a true story based upon Liu Zhenyun's novel "Remembering 1942," Zhenyun himself is the descendant of a survivor of the 1942 ... Written by zandernat-!

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

29 November 2012 (China)  »

Also Known As:

Back to 1942  »

Box Office


$33,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$9,414 (USA) (21 December 2012)


$308,871 (USA) (28 December 2012)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Official submission of China to the Oscars 2014 best foreign language film category. See more »


Referenced in Chelsea Lately: Episode #6.182 (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

Epic and interesting story! 6/10
4 April 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Review: This is an epic and interesting movie about the famine in a place called Henan during the 1942 Japanese war which took 3 million people's life's. It follows a wealthy family who are forced to flee Henan with the rest of the many families who struggle to reach a better place, which will supply them with food and shelter. The journey takes its toll on the many families and the lack of food and freezing weather takes many of there life's. There's a lot of political issues connected to the reasons why they are forced out Henan, which are addressed in the movie but it's the touching story of the family which really made the movie for me. The acting is great from all of the cast and I really can't imagine how it must have been for the real people that were forced into this gruesome situation. I would have liked it dubbed in English so I could have concentrated on the emotional scenes but thats just me being picky. Although the subject matter is quite deep and the storyline was pretty interesting, I did get bored in some parts and it did seem to drag after a while. With that aside, the true story is amazing and I'm surprised that this epic journey about the people of Henan and there search for a better life, wasn't told earlier. Watchable!

Round-Up: This is another one of those films were they put the big names on the poster and there not really in the film. In this case the people are Adrien Brody and Tim Robbins who only had small parts in the movie. To be honest, they were the reason why I rented the movie because I was wondering how they were involved in this epic tale but they wasn't the main characters in the film. Brody did play a massive role in getting the aid to the starving people who took part in this amazing journey but I didn't really see the point in Tim Robbins role. Anyway, I personally enjoy movies were you actually learn something and in this case, it's a piece of Chinese history which I hadn't heard about before. Its a shame that it didn't get the big Hollywood treatment because I'm sure that a lot of people will be shocked when they see what these individuals had to go through. They ended up thinking that dying was a blessing because the journey became too much for the people of Henan and the ones that survived, had to live with the fact that they lost there families and loved ones in such a terrible way.

I recommend this movie to people who are into their epic dramas about the famine in Henan and there epic journey to find a better life, which took 3 million people's life's. 6/10

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