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The Emperor and the Assassin (1998)

Jing Ke ci Qin Wang (original title)
1:26 | Trailer
In pre-unified China, the King of Qin sends his concubine to a rival kingdom to produce an assassin for a political plot, but as the king's cruelty mounts she finds her loyalty faltering.


Kaige Chen
7 wins & 11 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Li Gong ... Lady Zhao
Fengyi Zhang ... Jing Ke the assassin
Zhou Sun ... Dan, Prince of Yan
Xiaohe Lü Xiaohe Lü ... General Fan Yuqi
Zhiwen Wang ... Marquis Changxin
Kaige Chen ... Lu Buwei Prime Minister
Yongfei Gu Yongfei Gu ... Queen Mother
Benshan Zhao ... Gao Jianli
Haifeng Ding Haifeng Ding ... Qin Wuyang
Changjiang Pan ... Prison Official
Xun Zhou ... Blind Girl
Xuejian Li ... Ying Zheng King of Qin First Emperor
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Xu Chu Xu Chu ... 10 State warrior
Dong Han Dong Han ... Qin cart driver
Bing Lin Bing Lin ... 10 State warrior


In the 3rd Century BC, Ying Zheng, heir to the Kingdom of Qin, seeks to dominate the remaining six Chinese kingdoms. Ying's strategy is to seem invincible. Ying sends his concubine Zhao to the Han Kingdom as a spy, to enlist an assassin he can conquer. Zhao persuades Jing Ke, but falls in love. Written by <ssrich@cityu.edu.hk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | History | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The staging of the battle sequences between the forces of Qin and its enemies, Han and Zhao, also proved to be a major logistical feat. Shot on the Bashan plateau, bordering Inner Mongolia, these dramatic scenes involved the coordination of thousands of horses, chariots, stunt people and extras. Huilui was chosen as the site for the exterior shots of the Zhao countryside, while Shidu, southwest of Beijing, served as the location of Jing Ke's fateful farewell at the Yishui river. See more »

Alternate Versions

On the Chinese (region 6) DVD edition (anamorphic with 5.1) Zhou-sun's scene, the blind girl pleading for death after the assassin had killed her whole family, is completely replaced by the assassin's verbal depiction of the incident. The end credits, however, did include Zhou-sun. See more »

User Reviews

Historic Epic that blows away "Patriot" or "Gladiator"
10 December 2000 | by scipio7See all my reviews

After seeing dressed up action films, like the two mentioned above, Emperor and the Assassin was a godsend. This film was such a marvelous blend of action, intrigue, and personality, and I'm sure I'll see it again and again in years to come.

Some of the complaints about the movie have been the golden/brown tint and the quick, disorienting editing. However, I loved both of these qualities in the movie, though the editing did take some time to get used to. A great example of it, is when we're introduced to Jing Ke, the assassin. He is offered an assignment for five thousand, and we see a close up of his face as he demands ten thousand. The next shot shows him with sword drawn, in the house of his victims. That whole introduction to the assassin was marvelously edited, in my opinion. You have to realize that in order to fit the epic plot into just under three hours, a lot of tiny details needed to be cut out. The quick editing also makes the movie seem much shorter than it really is.

Someone said that the swordfighting in the movie (what little of it there was) seemed like high school drama, but I strongly disagree. Most of the action is captured in a few shots, making it seem much more realistic. In so many american films, we see a a flash of a dozen close ups, without getting a feel for what is even happening! Also, the constant use of slow motion in many movies gets so old. By having the fighting in this movie fast and furious, it is much more affecting.

I won't give away the ending, but it was really suspenseful and surprising. I had no idea what would happen (being unfamiliar with Chinese history helped), and was on the edge of my seat! So, to conclude, if you like sweeping historical epics, make sure to see this! I really like the films of Kurosawa, and saw some similarities here, so also if you like his movies, see this!!

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Frequently Asked Questions

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China | Japan | France



Release Date:

14 November 1998 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

The Emperor and the Assassin See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$47,295, 19 December 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | DTS-Stereo | Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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