7.3/10
6,879
55 user 84 critic

Mao's Last Dancer (2009)

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In Maoist China, a boy is taken from his family and trained to become a dancer, but everything he knows is challenged when he is chosen to attend a ballet summer school in Houston, Texas.

Director:

Bruce Beresford

Writers:

Jan Sardi (screenplay), Cunxin Li (autobiography)
6 wins & 20 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Chi Cao ... Li - as an adult
Bruce Greenwood ... Ben Stevenson
Penne Hackforth-Jones Penne Hackforth-Jones ... Cynthia Dodds
Christopher Kirby ... Mason (as Chris Kirby)
Suzie Steen ... Betty Lou
Madeleine Eastoe Madeleine Eastoe ... Lori
Aden Young ... Dilworth
Wen Bin Huang Wen Bin Huang ... Li - as a child
Shu Guang Liang Shu Guang Liang ... Jing Tring - 8 yrs
Ye Wang Ye Wang ... Cunfar - 14 yrs
Neng Neng Zhang Neng Neng Zhang ... Gong Mei
Wan Shi Xu Wan Shi Xu ... Shen Yu
Shao Wei Yi Shao Wei Yi ... Yang Ping
Hui Cong Zhan Hui Cong Zhan ... Teacher Song
Ji Feng Sun Ji Feng Sun ... Headmaster
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Storyline

A drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao's cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Before You Can Fly You Have To Be Free.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for a brief violent image, some sensuality, language and incidental smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

1 October 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El prodigio See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

AUD 2,754,617 (Australia), 4 October 2009, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$199,657, 22 August 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$4,806,750, 5 December 2010
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Joan Chen and Cunxin Li share similar experiences in life: both were born in 1961, they were picked at a young age to pursue an artistic career and they both came to the United States in 1981. See more »

Goofs

The Company headquarters and studios, as depicted by the Sydney Carriage House, was a far ritzier set of digs than the Academy had in the early 1980s. Posters depicting The Lady And The Fool, and Two Pigeons, were accurate portrayals of the company's offerings in those years. At the time The Houston Ballet Academy was very small. It was half of a strip mall on Colquitt near the intersection of Kirby Drive and Richmond Avenue, which from the outside looked relatively crowded. A more spacious West Gray venue, which they obtained several years later, was about the size of a blimp hangar. That location was later replaced by condominiums after the company moved to the Center For Dance, downtown next to the Wortham; yet the Colquitt building still stands. See more »

Quotes

Li - as an adult: In China, not so easy. Tell you what to do, where to go, what can say
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Connections

Referenced in Maltin on Movies: The Switch (2010) See more »

Soundtracks

The East Is Red
Written by Li You Yuan and Li Huna Zhi
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A sure fire Oscar contender
5 September 2010 | by Casablanca3784See all my reviews

A charming, stirring, visually and emotionally stirring film. The best I've thus far seen in '10. The story of a mainland Chinese 11 year old boy,supposedly forever indoctrinated by daily school- taught commie propaganda garbage,is chosen to attend a special school to be trained for ballet. He does well and in due time, is sent to the USA to the Houston Ballet Company. Then and there he awakens to not only his manhood but to the realization that all he's been taught about the "glory of Chairman Mao's communist revolution, was the furthest thing from the truth. Not only is the lead a wonderful danseur but his acting ability could win him a Best Actor nomination as well. A film NOT TO BE MISSED.


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