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Year of the Dragon (1985)

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A police detective cracks down on organized crime in Chinatown after the murders of Triad and Mafia leaders.

Director:

Michael Cimino

Writers:

Robert Daley (novel), Oliver Stone (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rourke ... Stanley White
John Lone ... Joey Tai
Ariane ... Tracy Tzu
Leonard Termo ... Angelo Rizzo
Raymond J. Barry ... Louis Bukowski (as Ray Barry)
Caroline Kava ... Connie White
Eddie Jones ... William McKenna
Joey Chin Joey Chin ... Ronnie Chang
Victor Wong ... Harry Yung
K. Dock Yip K. Dock Yip ... Milton Bin
Hon-Lam Pau ... Fred Hung (as Pao Han Lin)
Way Dong Woo Way Dong Woo ... Elder
Jimmy Sun Jimmy Sun ... Elder
Daniel Davin Daniel Davin ... Francis Kearney
Mark Hammer Mark Hammer ... Commissioner Sullivan
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Storyline

Chinatown, New York City. There has long been an unofficial agreement that the NYPD will leave the traditionally run Chinese triad alone to manage the crime issue in the neighborhood, the triad who is the face of organized crime of Chinatown. The triad also has an unofficial agreement with the Italian mafia, still seen as the major player in organized crime in the city, to be cooperative in a win-win situation in their illegal activities. However, the Chinese youth gangs are disregarding these unofficial agreements, being another violent player in the crime scene in Chinatown, they who take a stand by killing Jackie Wong, the head of the triad. To deal with the matter, the NYPD reassign Captain Stanley White from Brooklyn to Chinatown. Stanley, of Polish heritage, is not averse to slinging slurs toward his adversaries, most of those of a racial nature. This reassignment will not help the already deteriorating marriage he has to his long suffering wife, Connie. While Stanley is ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It isn't the Bronx or Brooklyn. It isn't even New York. It's Chinatown...and it's about to explode.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Manhattan Sur See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$24,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,093,079, 18 August 1985, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$18,700,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cimino was approached multiple times to direct the film and turned it down repeatedly. One of the reasons was his belief that he still holds "that very few people really know anything about the subject matter of Triads in America." He finally relented on the condition that he be allowed to write the screenplay. He realized after committing to the film that the studio already had a firm start date for production, and knowing that he couldn't possibly do the writing, research, and other pre-production work alone he brought in his friend Oliver Stone "one of the great writing talents." He adds James Toback, Raymond Carver, Gore Vidal, and Robert Bolt to the short list as well. . See more »

Goofs

The first time Stanley is shown on screen his hair is gray and white all over. The next time Stanley is shown in the police station his hair is brown with gray only visible on his temples. In other scenes of the film his hair changes color from gray/white to brown with graying at the temples. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tracy Tzu: Captain McKenna, any leads in the murder of Jackie Wong?
William McKenna: Nothing at this time.
Tracy Tzu: Do you think this killing means there's some kind of war going on in the Chinatown Tongs?
William McKenna: No, I don't. This is basically a situation where the youth gangs are lashing out at the establishment. The community is cooperating. The situation's under control.
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Crazy Credits

The end credits roll over a squeezed image of the Chinese woman restaurant-singer crooning a Chinese easy-listening ditty. See more »

Connections

Referenced in At the Movies: 25 Years of Margaret & David (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Resurrection Symphony #2 (Fifth Movement)
Written by Gustav Mahler (uncredited)
By Bernard Haitink and Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest
Courtesy of PolyGram Special Projects, a division of PolyGram Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Absolutely blistering cop film. An underrated classic.

Michael Cimino's Year Of The Dragon is a visceral blast of pure Americana as only the man could bring us. It kills me that he suffered through that whole Heaven's Gate fiasco (which is actually a really good movie, but that's another story and argument entirely) because it extinguished any hopes of him making future films, and in doing so the studios effectively committed genocide against their own. Sure the guy was crazy as hell, but damn could he ever make a great film. This one is one of the most criminally overlooked cop flicks of all time, partly due to Cimino's scorching direction and partly due to a a performance of monolithic grittiness from Mickey Rourke as Captain Stanley White, the cop who won't stop. White is fresh out of Nam and mad as hell, launching a unilateral crusade of racist violence and self righteous fury against the Chinese crime syndicate in New York City, particularly a young upstart in their organization named Joey Thai (John Lone). Thai is as ruthless as White is determined, and the two clash in ugly spectacle, causing leagues of collateral damage on either side and inciting them both to roar towards an inevitable, bloody conclusion. Thai's elderly superiors warn him of men like White, men who are fuelled purely by anger, bitterness and nothing else, smelling the fire and brimstone in the air and wisely stepping out of the way. Thai is of a younger, more petulant generation and foolishly decides to meet the beast head on by essentially kicking the hornet's nest. White is warned by his caring wife (Caroline Kava) and fellow cop and friend Lou (Raymond J. Barry is excellent, firing Rourke up further with his work) not to mess with such a dangerous crowd. He has a volatile relationship with a beautiful Chinese American reporter (Arianne is the only weak link in the acting chain) who puts herself on the line for him by digging around in dangerous corners. The intensity level of this film is something straight from the adrenal gland; even in episodic scenes of introspect we feel the hum of the character's emotions, and when the conflict starts again, which it does in fast and furious amounts, the actors are simply in overdrive. Rourke has never been better than he was in the 80's, it was just his zenith of power. This isn't a role that gets a lot of recognition, but along with Angel Heart, Rumble Fish and Pope Of Greenwich Village, I think it's his best. He puts so much of himself into Stanley White that the edges which separate performer from performance begin to blur and waver, until we are locked into his work on a level that goes beyond passive consumption of art and elicits something reflective in us. Not to sound too hippie dippy about it, but the guy is just that good. On the calmer side of the coin, John Lone brings both evil and elegance to Joey, a slick surface charm that's constantly disturbed by Rourke's hostility, leading to an eventual meltdown that's very cool to see in Lone's expert hands. This is one for the ages and should be in the same pantheon with all timers like Heat, Serpico, The French Connection and others. Rourke fires on all cylinders, as do his colleagues of the craft, and Cimino sits cackling at the switchboard with a mad calm, yanking all the right levers in a frenzy of unhinged genius. Not to be missed.


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