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.

Director:

Yimou Zhang

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Genres:

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?

Trivia

It was Steven Spielberg who recommended Christian Bale for the lead role. See more »

Quotes

Yu Mo: Maybe with your help, I can save them.
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Connections

Spin-off Fourty Nine Days·Fiesta (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Virgin (Alternative Version)
Performed by China Philharmonic(as China Philharmonic Orchestra), conducted by Yi Zhang
Composed by Qi Gang Chen
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User Reviews

 
Heroism Borne Out of Brutality
12 January 2012 | by 3xHCCHSee all my reviews

I am not really familiar with the details of the Rape of Nanking in the late 1930s. However, people from this side of the globe are very familiar with the suffering brought about by the brutal Japanese Imperial Army throughout Asia. In our country, many movies have shown Japanese brutality during the World War II. I thought I would be ready for this movie.

"The Flowers of War" tells the story of a roguish American mortician John Miller (Christian Bale) who was sent to a Catholic church/convent in Nanking to prepare the body of the priest for burial, who was then under siege by the Japanese. When he gets there, he found he also needed to take care of a group of convent girls led by the spirited Shu, a young caretaker boy George, and later, a gaggle of exotic prostitutes led by the classy beauty Yu Mo (Ni Ni). Everyone will go through a touching life-changing story arc that will show how even the most unlikely of people can become heroes in extreme adversity.

Director Zhang Jimou returns to form in this movie. He was relentless in the first half we are taken through a continuous barbaric carnage perpetrated by the Japanese soldiers. These parts are reminiscent of the frankly violent blood-spurting "Saving Private Ryan" beach scene. The terror is very palpable. While the scenes of soldiers being shot and killed were hard to watch, the several minutes of violence to children was even harder to bear!

The second half is more dramatic with a some contrived cheesy moments. The character of the kind-hearted Japanese officer Hasegawa was a nice counter-balance to their other heinous acts of atrocity. I also felt the long sequence when a couple of prostitutes sneaking out to retrieve trivial things in their brothel was a rather unnecessary long detour. There will even be a scene that will remind you of Gwyneth Paltrow's body wrap scene in "Shakespeare in Love." However, when the film reaches its climax, everything falls back into place and the noble message is delivered on point. This movie may be difficult to watch because of the scenes of violence, but this is worth watching because the story of heroism and redemption was very good, well-told and well-executed.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

China | Hong Kong

Release Date:

16 December 2011 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

13 Flowers of Nanjing See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$94,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$48,448, 22 January 2012

Gross USA:

$311,434

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,855,644
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Dolby (Dolby Surround 7.1)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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