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Noble House 

Ian Struan Dunross is chairman of Struan & Company, the oldest and largest of the British-East Asia trading companies. To the Chinese, that also makes him "Tai-Pan" ("supreme leader") of ... See full summary »
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Episodes

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1  
1988  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Series cast summary:
Pierce Brosnan ...  Ian Dunross 4 episodes, 1988
Deborah Raffin ...  Casey Tcholok 4 episodes, 1988
Ben Masters ...  Linc Bartlett 4 episodes, 1988
John Rhys-Davies ...  Quillan Gornt 4 episodes, 1988
Julia Nickson ...  Orlanda Ramos 4 episodes, 1988
Khigh Dhiegh Khigh Dhiegh ...  Four Finger Wu 4 episodes, 1988
Gordon Jackson ...  Supt. Armstrong 4 episodes, 1988
Burt Kwouk ...  Philip Chen 4 episodes, 1988
Nancy Kwan ...  Claudia Chen 4 episodes, 1988
John Van Dreelen ...  Jacques DeVille 4 episodes, 1988
Ping Wu ...  Paul Choy 4 episodes, 1988
Kay Tong Lim Kay Tong Lim ...  Brian Kwok 4 episodes, 1988
Lisa Lu ...  Ah Tam 4 episodes, 1988
Damien Thomas ...  Lando Mata 4 episodes, 1988
Dudley Sutton ...  Commissioner Roger Crosse 4 episodes, 1988
Ric Young ...  Tsu-Yan 4 episodes, 1988
Tia Carrere ...  Venus Poon 4 episodes, 1988
Steven Vincent Leigh Steven Vincent Leigh ...  John Chen 4 episodes, 1988
John Houseman ...  Sir Geoffrey Allison 4 episodes, 1988
Denholm Elliott ...  Alastair Struan 4 episodes, 1988
Harris Laskawy Harris Laskawy 4 episodes, 1988
Leon Lissek ...  Christian Toxe 4 episodes, 1988
Keith Bonnard Keith Bonnard ...  Tip Tok-Toh 4 episodes, 1988
Edward Petherbridge ...  Jason Plumm 4 episodes, 1988
Bennett Ohta Bennett Ohta ...  Richard Kwang 4 episodes, 1988
Brian Fong Brian Fong ...  Goodweather Poon 4 episodes, 1988
Helen Funai Helen Funai ...  Mrs. Kwang 4 episodes, 1988
Irene Tsu 4 episodes, 1988
David Shaughnessy David Shaughnessy 4 episodes, 1988
John Fujioka ...  Baldhead Kin 4 episodes, 1988
Richard Durden ...  Havergill 4 episodes, 1988
David Henry David Henry ...  Bruce Johnjohn 4 episodes, 1988
George Innes ...  Travkin 4 episodes, 1988
Choy-Ling Man Choy-Ling Man ...  Mary Li 4 episodes, 1988
Pip Miller Pip Miller ...  Inspector Smyth 4 episodes, 1988
Duncan Preston Duncan Preston ...  Pugmire 4 episodes, 1988
Michael Siberry ...  Linbar Struan 4 episodes, 1988
Vincent Wong Vincent Wong ...  Lim Chu 4 episodes, 1988
Galen Yuen Galen Yuen ...  Smallpox Kin 4 episodes, 1988
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Storyline

Ian Struan Dunross is chairman of Struan & Company, the oldest and largest of the British-East Asia trading companies. To the Chinese, that also makes him "Tai-Pan" ("supreme leader") of the "Noble House". Unfortunately, with his power, he inherits ancient promises, dark secrets, and deep financial problems on a small island full of people, who want to see Struan fall, so they can become the Noble House. Dunross' worst enemy is the vicious Quillan Gornt, a lesser tai-pan, and he's doing everything in his power to bring the Noble House to ruin. Drawn into the fight between Gornt and Dunross, is an upstart American billionaire, who tries to gain a foothold on the Hong Kong market, and has made a deal to steal something that will give him power, even over the Noble House. Unfortunately, that something has fallen into the hands of a powerful Chinese overlord. "Everybody was watching (and cheating on) everybody." Who will succeed in the end? Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de> and Phoenix Roberts

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In one explosive moment, nothing matters but survival


Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 February 1988 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

James Clavell's Noble House See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Rhys-Davies worked with three James Bonds. Pierce Brosnan in this miniseries, Timothy Dalton in The Living Daylights (1987) and Sir Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). See more »

Quotes

Ian Dunross: [reading from the legacy of company founder, Dirk Struan, in the family Bible] "To whomsoever gives me the other half of any of these coins, I will grant one favor."
See more »

Connections

Follows Tai-Pan (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

A creditable adaptation of a great novel
18 July 2002 | by arumboldSee all my reviews

I still remember looking forward anxiously to seeing this miniseries when it first aired -- I had considered "Noble House" James Clavell's masterpiece, even greater than "Shogun." I had come away from reading the book with the sense of knowing the characters as if they were real people, and missing them when the book was finished.

In some cases, the characterizations in the miniseries hit the mark. Pierce Brosnan does an excellent job as the supremely self-confident Ian Dunross, John Rhys-Davies gives a truly inspired performance of charming villainy as Quillan Gornt, Burt Kwouk is very convincing as the compradore of the Noble House, and Gordon Jackson did a fine turn as the committed, conflicted Superintendent Armstrong. I also thought Julia Nickson Soul really heated up the screen; she was much better than a young Tia Carrere (in her pre-"Wayne's World" days).

Unfortunately, I thought the American performances were weak. Deborah Raffin was OK as K.C. Tcholok, but I would have preferred it if they had stuck to the story and not had her wind up romantically involved with Ian Dunross. The weakest in my opinion, though, was Ben Masters as Linc Bartlett. While Mr. Masters may be a good actor, I didn't think he carried this role off very well. In the book, Bartlett is a cool, calculating, and yet personable man who comes across as opportunistic but respectful of Hong Kong business and cultural traditions. Clavell wrote him as a friendly, likable man who moves easily into the circles of power in the Colony but who is an unknown, unpredictable quantity to all of the vying factions. I thought that Mr. Masters overplayed the part as too cocky, too brash, and too shallow to be a likable or sympathetic figure. In the novel, I thought Bartlett was an intriguing character on a par with Dunross. In the miniseries, I generally thought he was just a jerk.

That aside, while the miniseries has to trim a lot of the interesting sub-plots in the interest of time, it does a good job of remaining true to the spirit of Clavell's novel. I'd agree with the observation that you should watch the miniseries, then read the novel to see what the story was REALLY about.


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