7.7/10
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61 user 47 critic

Bullet in the Head (1990)

Die xue jie tou (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

Show more on IMDbPro »

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

John Woo rewrote much of the script to incorporate his reaction to the massacre in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Woo has described this project as his equivalent of Apocalypse Now (1979), as it had the same exhausting and draining effect on him as that film had on Francis Ford Coppola. See more »

Quotes

Ben: In Vietnam Fai was like a wild animal, you know why? A bullet in the head... why couldn't you shoot straight? Why make him suffer so much?
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 'Mei Ah' VCD uses an alternate shorter ending where Bee kills Sai Wing in the office as opposed to the longer gun-duel finale which features on the majority of versions available today. This shorter finale is available as a bonus feature on the 'Hong Kong Legends' DVD - However, it's incorrectly in Mandarin (instead of Cantonese). See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystic River (2003) 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

 
Best movie I've ever seen. It's also completely insane.
20 August 2002 | by Mr. SuperbadSee all my reviews

How can you not like a movie that starts out with a bloody street fight to an instrumental version of The Monkees "I'm a believer"?

When you start watching this you'll probably laugh at some of the sentiment of the beginning, (the three main guys jump rope, ride bikes, and sing together for instance. Go ahead, try not to snicker, you won't succeed.) This is all a perfect setup for the following sucker punch of the most brutally and entertainingly violent and horrifying series of events ever put on film. People are shot in their head, people explode, demonstrators are shot, exploding Cuban cigars, etc. The thing is that this mix of melodrama, action, and violence comes together into a cohesive whole and works amazingly well.

By the end of the film will drain you physically and emotionally from what you have seen, which is probably why so many people would prefer the shorter ending of this movie. The ending fight is one of the best ever filmed, but by the time you get to it you'll be exhausted. Personally, I like the long ending.

Honestly, this is the best movie I have ever seen. It is the best mix of melodrama and violence ever put on film. It's over the top in almost every way imaginable. It's suprisingly moving. I love it.


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