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:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


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


Yu Mo: Maybe with your help, I can save them.
See more »


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


Comfort And Hope
(Opening Credit, Alternative Version)
Performed by Allmänna Sången, Jiemin Yan, Joshua Bell
Choir Conducted by Maria Goundorina
See more »

User Reviews

Zhang's best work In 10 years
18 December 2011 | by iris-bee-81See all my reviews

Someone wrote and I quote : "there was never a moment of this movie that will bring tears in someone's eyes". Whomever wrote this is not Chinese for sure! I started crying right after 15 minutes in the cinema .This whole movie's dialog is in Nan Jing Hua (local accent mandarin ). Sounds funny at beginning , but it's more easy to bring audience into the story with characters . Zhangyimou's movie are famous for bright colors and nice view since he use to be cameraman. But this movie is so much more than the visual! Color still pretty though, the paper shop, those QiPao, girls make-up , everything is pretty . I guess to ruin the beautiful things defines the tragedy. My friend who watched it before told me do not watched it in the morning , because it will upset you whole day. So I went to cinema in the afternoon, and I could sleep until 5 am this morning. Comparing to Zhang Yi Mou's earlier work like " hero", this is definitely his best work in 10years!

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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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