An American finds refuge during the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanking in a church with a group of women. Posing as a priest, he attempts to lead the women to safety.


Yimou Zhang


Heng Liu (screenplay), Geling Yan (novel)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 15 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Christian Bale ... John Miller
Ni Ni ... Yu Mo
Xinyi Zhang ... Shu (as Zhang Xinyi)
Tianyuan Huang Tianyuan Huang ... George Chen (as Huang Tianyuan)
Xiting Han Xiting Han ... Yi (as Han Xiting)
Doudou Zhang ... Ling (as Zhang Doudou)
Dawei Tong ... Major Li
Atsuro Watabe ... Colonel Hasegawa
Kefan Cao Kefan Cao ... Mr. Meng (as Cao Kefan)
Yangchunzi Yuan Yangchunzi Yuan ... Mosquito (as Yuan Yangchunzi)
Jia Sun Jia Sun ... Hua (as Sun Jia)
Yuemin Li Yuemin Li ... Dou (as Li Yuemin)
Bai Xue Bai Xue ... Lan
Takashi Yamanaka ... Lieutenant Asakura
Shigeo Kobayashi Shigeo Kobayashi ... Lieutenant Kato


In 1937 China, during the second Sino-Japanese war, a mortician, John (Christian Bale) arrives at a Catholic church in Nanjing to prepare a priest for burial. Upon arrival he finds himself the lone adult among a group of convent girl students and prostitutes from a nearby brothel. When he finds himself in the unwanted position of protector of both groups from the horrors of the invading Japanese army, he discovers the meaning of sacrifice and honor. Written by msmith5484

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | History | Romance | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence including a sexual assault, disturbing images, and brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The film grossed more than $310 million in the domestic (Chinese) box office, making it the highest grossing Chinese production of all time. See more »


Yu Mo: Maybe with your help, I can save them.
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Featured in The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2012) See more »


Introït of Requiem
[Gregorian, anonymous]
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User Reviews

A film of exquisite beauty
28 February 2012 | by MalcolmJTaylorSee all my reviews

Exquisite. Easily one of the most beautiful films ever made.

Moving, riveting, poetic, visually stunning, and dramatically gut wrenching.

Absolutely everything you could ever want a movie to be.

Poignant, poetic, full of beauty and life.

Not without moments of sentimentality, perhaps even, briefly, bordering on the saccharine. Still only those hardest of heart would be unmoved by this visual and emotional banquet.

If you are not moved by this film. You quite possibly may not be human.

An incredible mix of beauty and tension. Eye-dropping cinematography, heart pounding action. Yet full of life, humour and folly. Plays directly to your heart strings and plucks every chord with virtuosity.

In a just world this kind of film would be breaking box office records. But alas we prefer on mass to fix our eyes of adolescent spectacle. Consider how big the box office returns will be when Bale dons a bat suit this summer.

It's funny how a human interest story recreating events in history can be of so little interest to so many humans, the very ones who create history. It seems we would much rather gaze in wonder at our fantasies than contemplate our actions.

I urge anyone who loves cinema to see this film. It is a work of masterful craftsmanship.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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China | Hong Kong

Release Date:

16 December 2011 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

13 Flowers of Nanjing See more »


Box Office


$94,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$48,448, 22 January 2012

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Dolby (Dolby Surround 7.1)



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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