7.6/10
17,922
94 user 62 critic

A Better Tomorrow (1986)

Ying hung boon sik (original title)
A reforming ex-gangster tries to reconcile with his estranged policeman brother, but the ties to his former gang are difficult to break.

Director:

John Woo

Writers:

Hing-Ka Chan (as Chan Hing Kai), Suk-Wah Leung (as Leung Suk Wah) | 1 more credit »
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6 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lung Ti ... Sung Tse-Ho (as Ti Lung)
Yun-Fat Chow ... Mark (as Chow Yun Fat)
Leslie Cheung ... Sung Tse-Kit
Emily Chu ... Jackie
Waise Lee ... Shing (as Lee Chi Hung)
Feng Tien ... Father Sung
John Woo ... Inspector Wu
Yanzi Shi Yanzi Shi ... Mr. Yiu
Kenneth Tsang ... Ken
Fui-On Shing ... Shing's right hand man
Hsieh Wang ... Mr. Wang (as Hap Wong)
Chi Fai Chan ... 'Little' Wang
Ming Leung Ming Leung ... Uncle Chan
Hing-Yin Kam Hing-Yin Kam ... Mr. Mok
Pierre Tremblay Pierre Tremblay ... Interpol Officer
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Storyline

This story is the tale of two brothers: one a successful counterfeiter and the younger a fledgling graduate of the HK police academy. The plot revolves around the split when the younger brother learns the other is a criminal and the efforts of the criminal brother to reform. Along the way are plenty of heists, double-crosses, and shoot outs. Written by Victor R. Volkman <sysop@hal9k.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The movie that began it all......... See more »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Language:

Cantonese | Mandarin | English

Release Date:

2 August 1986 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

A Better Tomorrow See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Cinema City,Film Workshop See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono | Dolby (5.1 Surround Sound)| DTS (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) (Blu-ray release)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie is actually a remake of a 1967 Cantonese film called Ying xiong ben se (1967) (Story of a Discharged Prisoner). Hark Tsui had been toying with the idea since his days in the TV business, but because of an overwhelming workload, had to pass the directorial reigns to John Woo. See more »

Goofs

The cello playing at the "audition" (c.11 minutes) is inaccurately mimed. See more »

Quotes

Ken: [handing cookies to his workers] Break time!
United Taxi Co. Co-worker: Thank you, Ken.
Ken: Don't thank me. It's deducted from your salary.
United Taxi Co. Co-worker: You're so mean!
United Taxi Co. Co-worker: Hey, I've got a wife to support.
See more »

Alternate Versions

German TV and Video-Versions are heavily cut for violence. The full uncut version was re-released by Astro-Video (Screenpower) and features all the violence. The Laserdisc-Release is also uncut See more »

Connections

Referenced in FLCL (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Love of the Past Years
Composed by Joseph Koo
Lyrics by James Wong
Performed by Leslie Cheung
See more »

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User Reviews

 
John Woo: Simply The Best
9 November 2000 | by jhcluesSee all my reviews

The relationship between two brothers on opposite sides of the law, and the loyalty of friends is explored in `A Better Tomorrow,' an action/drama directed by John Woo. As with any Woo film there's plenty of action here, but at the heart of the film is the story itself; and that's what sets Woo apart from all other so-called `action' directors. Woo frames the drama with some astoundingly intricate and well choreographed action sequences (gun play and hand to hand fighting), but integrates the story seamlessly, which raises this film, as with all of his films, levels higher than the average action movie. In this one, older brother Ho (Lung Ti) is a high ranking member of a crime syndicate specializing in counterfeit money; his younger brother, Kit (Leslie Cheung) is beginning his career as a detective. Complicating matters is the death of their father (Feng Tien) and the involvement of Ho's best friend and colleague, Mark (Chow Yun-Fat), and Kit's girl, Jackie (Emily Chu). In the end, at the core of the action, it becomes a story of love and loyalty, and the sacrifices sometimes necessary in life to make it work and give meaning to it all. Woo has impeccable timing, not only in the action sequences, but with the drama as well; he knows how to use the camera to heighten the emotional impact of a pivotal moment, and successfully injects a caesura at just the right time, which maintains the perfect amount of tension that extends the drama and serves to hold the audience enthralled. That he can employ these techniques equally within the action and dramatic sequences is why his movies have such wonderful flow and rhythm; it creates a `whole' as opposed to merely a series of scenes strung together to tell a story. Directors of all genres would be well served to study Woo's techniques. Woo gets the most out of his actors as well. Lung Ti gives tremendous depth to the character of Ho, successfully conveying the inner struggle of this man attempting to make amends with the brother he loves, while the charismatic Chow Yun-Fat gives a riveting performance as Ho's closest friend. His screen presence is dynamic and commanding. Woo firmly establishes the depth of loyalty between the two, and skillfully the actors make it convincing and credible, which makes the final heroics all the more believable. An exciting, memorable film, `A Better Tomorrow' is thoroughly entertaining, and a tribute to a truly great director, John Woo, who seems to get better with every film he makes. For a combination of action and drama, there isn't another director in the history of movies that does it better than Woo. I rate this one 9/10.


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