8.2/10
23,803
106 user 54 critic

Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

Da hong deng long gao gao gua (original title)
A young woman becomes the fourth wife of a wealthy lord, and must learn to live with the strict rules and tensions within the household.

Director:

Writers:

(original novel "Wives and Concubines" by), (scriptwriter)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 20 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

To Live (1994)
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

After Fugui and Jiazhen lose their personal fortunes, they raise a family and survive difficult cultural changes during 1940s to 1970s China.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: You Ge, Li Gong, Ben Niu
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

When a leprous winery owner in 1930s China dies a few days after his arranged marriage, his young widow is forced to run the winery to make a living while contending with bandits, her drunkard lover, and the invading Japanese army.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Wen Jiang, Rujun Ten
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A pregnant peasant woman seeks redress from the Chinese bureaucracy after the village chief kicks her husband in the groin in this comedy of justice. As she is frustrated by each level of ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Peiqi Liu, Liuchun Yang
Ju Dou (1990)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A woman married to the brutal and infertile owner of a dye mill in rural China conceives a boy with her husband's nephew but is forced to raise her son as her husband's heir without ... See full summary »

Directors: Yimou Zhang, Fengliang Yang
Stars: Li Gong, Wei Li, Baotian Li
Drama | Music | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

The story of two men, who met as apprentices in the Peking Opera, and stayed friends for over 50 years.

Director: Kaige Chen
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Fengyi Zhang, Li Gong
Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A provincial boy related to a Shanghai crime family is recruited by his uncle into cosmopolitan Shanghai in the 1930s to be a servant to a ganglord's mistress.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Baotian Li, Xiaoxiao Wang
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

During China's Tang dynasty the emperor has taken the princess of a neighboring province as wife. She has borne him two sons and raised his eldest. Now his control over his dominion is complete, including the royal family itself.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Li Gong, Jay Chou
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

Prompted by the death of his father and the grief of his mother, a man recalls the story of how they met in flashback.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Honglei Sun, Hao Zheng
Ying xiong (2002)
Action | Adventure | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Jet Li, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

In a remote mountain village, the teacher must leave for a month, and the mayor can find only a 13-year old girl, Wei Minzhi, to substitute. The teacher leaves one stick of chalk for each ... See full summary »

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Minzhi Wei, Huike Zhang, Zhenda Tian
Gui lai (2014)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Lu and Feng are a devoted couple forced to separate when Lu is arrested and sent to a labor camp as a political prisoner during the Cultural Revolution. He finally returns home only to find that his beloved wife no longer recognizes him.

Director: Yimou Zhang
Stars: Li Gong, Daoming Chen, Huiwen Zhang
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Songlian
... Meishan (Third Wife)
Jingwu Ma ... The Master
Cuifen Cao ... Zhuoyan (Second Wife)
Qi Zhao ... Housekeeper
Lin Kong ... Yan'er
Shuyuan Jin ... Yuru (First Wife)
Weimin Ding ... Songlian's Mother (voice)
Zhengyin Cao ... Old Servant
Zhigang Cui ... Dr. Gao (as Zhihgang Cui)
Chu Xiao ... Feipu
Edit

Storyline

China in the 1920's. After her father's death, nineteen year old Songlian is forced to marry Chen Zuoqian, the lord of a powerful family. Fifty year old Chen has already three wives, each of them living in separate houses within the great castle. The competition between the wives is tough, as their master's attention carries power, status and privilege. Each night Chen must decide with which wife to spend the night and a red lantern is lit in front of the house of his choice. And each wife schemes and plots to make sure it's hers. However, things get out of hand... Written by Mattias Pettersson <seaman@sbbs.se>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

China, 1920. One master, four wives.

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

| |

Language:

Release Date:

18 December 1991 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

Raise the Red Lantern  »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,603,061
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Filmed at the Qiao Family Compound near the city of Pingyao. The complex is now open for tours, however, nowhere is there any mention of the film. See more »

Goofs

Around 01:18:59, there is a lot of smoke in front of the third wife. And there is almost no smoke in front of the second one. See more »

Quotes

The Third Concubine: She has the face of Buddha and the heart of a scorpian
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Turandot Project (2000) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Engrossing from the first moments
3 March 2004 | by See all my reviews

My interest was maintained throughout every minute of this rather long film. I don't remember when I've seen another film in which every single role was played to perfection. (Incidentally, this wonderfully believable acting seems to occur in at least some, if not most, of the roles in every Chinese movie I see, from the mainland or otherwise.)

The story is one of classical simplicity, in in large part presented with the same classical, clear quality. The interplay of passion, jealousy, and revenge is reminiscent of Shakespeare, but, for me, more entertaining--if it's proper to speak of such ultimately somber and even horrifying subject matter as entertainment.

I unhesitatingly gave a vote of ten, and noticed that a full 33% of voters so far had done the same--very unusual.

When Roger Ebert called "Raise the Red Lantern" "breathtakingly beautiful," he wasn't exaggerating. But beyond its beauty, its moral seriousness, the fact that not for a moment is it "dumbed down" in the regrettable Hollywood fashion, its superb acting, and its almost unbelievably perfect pacing, make it a rare, rare experience.

"Red Sorghum," the only other Zhang Yimou film I've seen so far, I found somewhat propagandistic but gripping and visually stunning (even more so than "Raise the Red Lantern.") I will be making an effort to see more of this director's fairly extensive body of work.

It's a shame major theater chains don't schedule movies of this caliber instead of the torrent of commercialized Hollywood trash they foist on the public, which, alas, seems only too eager to wallow in more and more of it.


58 of 69 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 106 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page