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)
7 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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Chi Cao's parents were two of Cunxin Li's former teachers at the Beijing Dance Academy. Li wanted Cao to portray him. See more »

Goofs

When his parents came from China to Houston, Li was dancing "Le Sacre du Printemps (Rite of Spring)". According to Li's book, he danced Nutcracker at the time of that surprise visit. 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 Top Gear Australia: Bowls of Thunder (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Don Quixote
Written by Ludwig Minkus (as L. Minkus)
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User Reviews

 
A beautifully told movie
5 October 2009 | by jharmon-19See all my reviews

My husband and I went to see this movie yesterday and thought the acting was great from relatively unknown, at least to us, actors. I had some idea of what the movie was about prior to going to see it but it was even better than my expectations, and the lead actor was a truly magnificent dancer, as were the others.

The story was moving with a few humorous moments, and showed how disciplined a person must be in order to become a great dancer. I have to say it has been my experience that people generally leave before the credits but, like myself, they stayed, which says something for the acting and the movie itself.

I would recommend this movie to everyone, even those who are not fans of ballet.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

Australia

Language:

English | Mandarin

Release Date:

1 October 2010 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mao's Last Dancer See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$199,657, 22 August 2010

Gross USA:

$4,817,770

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$23,914,731
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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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