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Bullet in the Head (1990)

Dip huet gai tau (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Crime, Drama | 17 August 1990 (Hong Kong)
When three close friends escape from Hong Kong to war-time Saigon to start a criminal's life, they all go through a harrowing experience which totally shatters their lives and their friendship forever.

Director:

John Woo
Reviews
1 win & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung ... Ben / Siu Bun (as Tony Chiu Wai Leung)
Jacky Cheung ... Frank / Fai Jai
Waise Lee ... Paul / Sau Ming
Simon Yam ... Luke / Lok
Yolinda Yam ... Sally Yan Sau Ching
Chung Lam ... Mr. Y.S. Leong (as Chung Lin)
Fennie Yuen ... Jane / Siu Jan
Kan-Wing Tsang Kan-Wing Tsang ... Jane's father
Hang Shuen So ... Jane's mother
John Woo ... Policeman
Hee Ching Paw ... Ben's mother
Tseng Chang ... Paul's father
San-Yan Siao San-Yan Siao ... Mr. Shing
Paco Yick Paco Yick ... Ringo (as Tin Hung Yee)
Yun Pei Yun Pei ... Frank's mother
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Storyline

In 1967, on the way to the wedding of a friend a young man is accosted by a local gang member. Later, the three friends administer justice, in the process of which the gang member is killed, so they leave Hong Kong to avoid the police and the gang. They run black market supplies to Saigon and get embroiled in the war, being arrested as Viet Cong, then later captured by the Viet Cong, and find that their friendship is tested to the limits as they try to escape. Written by Ed Sutton <esutton@mindspring.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong

Release Date:

17 August 1990 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Bullet in the Head See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (heavily cut) (video)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

Was originally planned to be a prequel to A Better Tomorrow (1986) but a falling out between John Woo and producer Hark Tsui prevented this from happening. Woo reworked the script into what it is today, and Tsui made his own prequel, A Better Tomorrow III: Love and Death in Saigon (1989). See more »

Quotes

Paul: Today I saw a soldier kill a man and I learnt something. In this world, we can do anything if we have guns!
See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2001, 'Bullet In The Head' has been released uncut on DVD in Germany (rated FSK 18). Although the box says it runs 97 mins, it nearly has the full running time of 126 mins (like the UK version) and is only missing the end credits. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Irma Vep (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm a Believer
Written by Neil Diamond
Performed by The Monkees
S.E. Asia Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The greatest HK movie ever made
17 January 2005 | by LibretioSee all my reviews

BULLET IN THE HEAD (Die Xie Jie Tou)

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Sound format: Mono

Fleeing from a murder rap during the political turmoil of 1960's Hong Kong, three devoted friends (Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Jacky Cheung and Waise Lee) seek their fortunes in war-torn Vietnam and are ripped apart by greed and betrayal.

John Woo's ambitious movie - an operatic valentine to his youth in HK and his love of David Lean epics, and a response to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989 - went over-schedule and flopped at the local box-office when released in 1990, but has since been recognized as one of the finest productions in HK film history. Newcomers Leung, Cheung and Lee are terrific as the three friends whose lives are devastated by the violence they encounter in a foreign land, and they're matched throughout by Simon Yam as the Eurasian hit-man who rescues them from the worst of their experiences. For all its explosions and gun play, however, BULLET IN THE HEAD is a very human drama, played out against the vast backdrop of the Vietnam conflict, and invested with a palpable sense of love and compassion for its leading characters. Cinematography and editing are world-class, and Woo's dark-hearted script (co-written by Patrick Leung and Janet Chin) incorporates the themes of loyalty and brotherhood which have shaped and defined all of his films since A BETTER TOMORROW (1986). Cheung's final scene is absolutely heartbreaking; classic score by James Wong and Romeo Diaz.

(Cantonese dialogue)


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