4 user 4 critic

Painted Faces (1988)

Qi xiao fu (original title)
TV-PG | | Drama | 10 November 1988 (Hong Kong)
The story of Beijing Opera School, its teacher Master Yu and his students.


Alex Law


Mabel Cheung (as Yuen-Ting Cheung), Alex Law
11 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung ... Master Yu
Ching-Ying Lam ... Wah
Pei-Pei Cheng ... Ching
John Sham ... Stagehand (Guest star)
Wu Ma ... Film Director (Guest star) (as Ma Ng)
Tien-Hsing Li Tien-Hsing Li ... Cheng Lung's mother (Guest star) (as Mary Li)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Chi-Jing Chan Chi-Jing Chan
Jackie Chan ... Self
Pui-Yin Chan Pui-Yin Chan
Wen-Lung Chang Wen-Lung Chang ... Cheng Lung, 'Chan' as teenager
Wai-Ming Cheng Wai-Ming Cheng ... (as Wai-Ming Jeng)
Chan-Nin Chow Chan-Nin Chow
Wai-Ming Chu Wai-Ming Chu
Yam-Fai Chu Yam-Fai Chu
Chin-jen Chung Chin-jen Chung ... Samo, 'Big brother' as teenager


This is a story about the Peking Opera School that Jackie Chan, Samo Hung and Yuen Biao (the Lucky Stars) attended as young men. The story is about their teacher Master Yu and his school. Written by Joyce Uyeno <joycemu@earthlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




TV-PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Ching-Ying Lam, who plays the role of Master Yu's brother in this film, was also a former Peking Opera student, albeit under the tutelage of Madame Fan Fok-Fa, the other main opera school in Hong Kong at the time. See more »

Alternate Versions

Some prints include an epilogue members of the original Peking Opera School in Hong Kong troupe, including Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Jackie Chan, Biao Yuen and Corey Yuen, attending a party for the real Master Yu. See more »


Featured in The Incredibly Strange Film Show: Jackie Chan (1989) See more »

User Reviews

Very well done. Some truth, some fiction. Excellent Sammo Hung.
13 January 2013 | by mariecxSee all my reviews

Sammo Hung delivers an excellent dramatic performance as Master Yu. This movie is well done and at times very sad. It borrows a lot from Jackie Chan's autobiography on his years at the China Drama (Opera) Academy with Sammo and Yuen Biao.

This film follows the lives of the Opera Academy students and Master Yu who led them during the 1960's. It focuses more on their performance life than the harsh realities of life at the school. It also focuses more on the Master himself than his students, as if it's more about his side of the experience.

Jackie Chan has said that the depiction of Master Yu was sympathetic and that life at the school was a lot harder than the way it was depicted in this film. His book certainly tells of a lot of harsh treatment and punishments they all received on a regular basis, including learning how to do their acrobatics out of fear of getting whipped by the master's, or Big Brother's cane. But this film is clearly not about that, and seems to be intended as "fact-based" tale rather than an exposé, so there's a mix of reality and fiction. The funny thing is that all of their real names are used - sort of. Early in the film a new student arrives, Chan Kong-sang - Jackie Chan's real name. Sammo is also referred to as Sammo and Yuen Biao as Biao. Sammo didn't actually take that name until he had left the school and was working in film. And even though the kids teased Jackie and called him "Big Nose" he did have a name, Yuen Lo, that Master Yu called him and he was known as. The nickname is kind of used to the extreme in this movie as opposed to his proper name. So it strikes me as quite mixed up - it's sort of a fictionalized story borrowing on some of the realities, using their actual names but not entirely accurately. Weird.

Some factual tidbits include the performance where the pants got in the way, the bus incident (though Jackie says they all had to sneak off and jump off the bus while it was moving!), and Jackie's mother bringing hot water to the school to bathe him.

The ending is quite touching, and again fictionalized as it doesn't match Jackie's description. He says that the students gradually left on their own, Sammo first, then him, then Yuen Biao when the school closed.

I'm pointing all of these differences out in order to clarify to anyone who might be curious where the lines of fiction and reality lie, not to criticize the film. In fact the film itself is well done and compelling. And as mentioned, a very strong performance from Sammo. Many beautiful shots and some fun performances by the opera students as well.

Also to note, Jackie Chan is listed as one of the actors on IMDb, but he does not actually appear in the film.

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Hong Kong


Cantonese | English

Release Date:

10 November 1988 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Painted Faces See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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