A Better Tomorrow ()

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


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Sung Tse-Ho (as Ti Lung)
Mark (as Chow Yun Fat)
Sung Tse-Kit
Shing (as Lee Chi Hung)
Father Sung
Inspector Wu
Yanzi Shi ...
Mr. Yiu
Shing's right hand man
Mr. Wang (as Hap Wong)
'Little' Wang
Uncle Chan
Hing-Yin Kam ...
Mr. Mok
Pierre Tremblay ...
Interpol Officer
Music Judge (as Tsui Hark)
Shung Fung Lau ...
Taiwanese Triad
Wei Ho Tu ...
Taiwanese Triad
Taiwanese Triad
Seng-Kwong Chang ...
Taiwanese Triad
Taiwanese Triad
Taiwanese Triad
Triad Member
Hsi-Chun Yang ...
Triad Member in Parking Lot
Wai Tong Wong ...
Shing's Gangster
Te-Wei Chu ...
Shing's Gangster
Shing's Gangster
Shing's Gangster
Brawl Extra
Han-Yuan Ma ...
Brawl Extra (as Hon-Yuen Ma)
Sung Tse-Ho (voice)
Patrick Leung

Directed by

John Woo

Written by

Hing-Ka Chan ... (written by) (as Chan Hing Kai) &
Suk-Wah Leung ... (written by) (as Leung Suk Wah) &
John Woo ... (written by)

Produced by

Hark Tsui ... producer (as Tsui Hark)
John Woo ... producer

Music by

Joseph Koo ... (as Ka-Fai Koo)

Cinematography by

Wing-Hang Wong

Film Editing by

Ma Kam
David Wu

Editorial Department

Simon Broderick ... colorist

Production Design by

Chi Leung Lui

Art Direction by

Bennie Lui

Costume Design by

Gam-Jan Yeung

Production Management

Kuo-Chung Chou ... production manager (as Tony Chow)
Yu-Kin Ng ... production manager
Ga-Man Wan ... production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director

Cylon Or ... action director

Camera and Electrical Department

Lik-Fong Ng ... still photographer
Kim-Kit Wai ... lighting director
Jan-Wah Yuen ... assistant camera

Other crew

Wing-Tuen Chow ... script supervisor
Hark Tsui ... presenter (as Tsui Hark)
Wei Tung ... action director
Ping-Keung Cheung ... cantonese voice dubbing: Shi Yanzi (uncredited)
Gui Chin ... cantonese voice dubbing: Tien Fung (uncredited)
Leung Ching-Ping ... cantonese voice dubbing: Waise Lee (uncredited)
Lo Hung ... cantonese voice dubbing: Kam Hing-Yin (uncredited) / cantonese voice dubbing: Shing Fui-On (uncredited)
Chan Wing Shun ... cantonese voice dubbing: Leung Ming (uncredited)
Doris Lo So-Kuen ... cantonese voice dubbing: Emily Chu (uncredited)
Tinson Lo Tin-San ... cantonese voice dubbing: Hung San-Nam (uncredited)
Stephen Chi-Sing Wong ... cantonese voice dubbing: Ti Lung (uncredited)

Production Companies




Special Effects


Other Companies



Plot Summary

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

Plot Keywords
Taglines The movie that began it all......... See more »
Parents Guide View content advisory »

Additional Details

Also Known As
  • A Better Tomorrow (Hong Kong, English title)
  • The Essence of Heroes (Hong Kong, English title)
  • Ying xiong ben se (Hong Kong, Mandarin title)
  • Rapid Fire (Philippines, English title)
  • A Better Tomorrow (United States)
  • See more »
  • 95 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Mix
Filming Locations

Did You Know?

Trivia This film became so popular, that kids in Hong Kong started wearing long coats, known as "dusters" to copy the lead character in the film. See more »
Goofs The cello playing at the "audition" (c.11 minutes) is inaccurately mimed. See more »
Movie Connections Featured in A Better Tomorrow II (1987). See more »
Soundtracks Sparrowfall See more »
Quotes Mark Gor: You think learning will help you? Don't think reading gangster books will make you the boss. Have you ever had a gun pointed at your head? No. Twelve years ago... twelve years already. For the first time, I went with Ho to bring goods to Indonesia. The boss there treated us to dinner in the night club. I said something wrong to displease the boss. Then there were two guns pointed at my head. I was forced to dring a bottle of whisky. I was so scared, I pissed my pants! Fortunately, Ho drank the whole bottle of whisky for me. But it got even worse after that. Four guns were pointed at my head! You know they made me drink? Piss! Drink piss in a night club! You want to learn? That's learning! That's how we got through out first job.
Ho Tse Sung: That's all in the past. Forget about it.
Mark Gor: No! I have never cried before; that was the first time I cried. I swore I'd never let anyone point a gun at my head again!
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