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Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Directed by Ang LeeProduced by Li-Kong Hsu
William Kong
Ang Lee
see article Written by Wang Du Lu(book)
Hui-Ling Wang
James Schamus
Kuo Jung Tsai Starring Chow Yun-Fat
Michelle Yeoh
Zhang Ziyi
Chang Chen
Cheng Pei-peiMusic by Tan DunCinematography Peter PauEditing by Tim SquyresRelease date(s) 16 May2000(premiere at Cannes)
July 6, 2000
July 7, 2000
September 22, 2000
December 15, 2000
December 22, 2000
December 26, 2000
January 4, 2001
January 5, 2001Running time 120 min. Language MandarinBudget $15,000,000 US (est.) Allmovie profileIMDb profile

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (traditional Chinese: 臥虎藏龍; simplified Chinese: 卧虎藏龙; pinyin: Wòhǔ Cánglóng) is a Chinese-language film in the wuxia (chivalric and martial arts) style, released in 2000. A China-Hong Kong-Taiwan-United States co-production, the film was directed by Ang Lee and featured an international cast of ethnic Chinese actors, including Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen. The movie was based on the fourth novel in a pentalogy, known in China as the Crane-Iron Pentalogy, by Wang Dulu. The martial arts and action sequences were choreographed by Yuen Wo Ping well known for his work in The Matrix and other films.

Made on a mere US$15 million budget, with dialogue in Mandarin, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon became a surprise international success. It grossed US$128 million in the United States alone,[1] becoming the highest-grossing foreign-language film in American history.[2] It has won over 40 awards. The film won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and three other Academy Awards, and was nominated for six other Academy Awards, including Best Picture.[3] The film also won three BAFTAs and two Golden Globes, one for "Best Foreign Film" as well as additional nominations for ten BAFTAs including "Best Picture".



The plot summary in this article or section is too long or detailed compared to the rest of the article.
Please edit the articleto focus on discussing the workrather than merely reiterating the plot.

The fictional story is set in the historic Qing Dynasty in China. The date of the story is during the 43rd year of Emperor Qianlong's reign (i.e. 1778).[4]

The story follows two martial arts warriors, Li Mu-bai (Chinese: 李慕白; pinyin: Lǐ Mùbái) (Chow Yun-Fat) and Yu Shu-lien (Chinese: 俞秀蓮; pinyin: Yú Xiùlián) (Michelle Yeoh), the former now an accomplished swordsman for the Wudan school. Li surprises Yu with the revelation that he intends to give up the Green Destiny, a legendary sword that has been in his keeping for many years. He explains that a revelation during a period of deep meditation has caused him to rethink his life. He requests Yu (A Master in Martial Arts), who has inherited a retinue of armed escorts from her father, to take Green Destiny to Sir Te, a long-time friend, for safekeeping in Beijing. In the meantime, Mu-bai intends to commemorate the death of his master, who was murdered long ago by Jade Fox (Cheng Pei-pei), a woman seeking to learn the secrets of Wudan.

Mu-bai and Shu-lien are attracted to each other but have abstained from a relationship. They are constrained by commonplace propriety because Shu-lien was betrothed years ago to Mu-bai's "Brother in Oath", who was killed in battle. In their opening conversation of the film, Mu-bai's demeanor suggests that he is also rethinking his relationship with Shu-lien.

Once in Beijing, Shu-lien delivers the sword to Sir Te and meets Jen (Chinese: 玉嬌龍; pinyin: Yù Jiāolóng) (Zhang Ziyi), who is the daughter of Governor Yu, a Manchu aristocrat visiting Sir Te on official business. Jen is destined for an arranged marriage, yet yearns for adventure instead of a life as a court wife. Jen is fascinated by Shu-lien's background as a fighter and develops an attachment to her.

One night, a masked thief sneaks onto Sir Te's property and steals the Green Destiny. The thief is pursued by Master Bo, by guards, and by Shu-lien across rooftops, alleys, walls, houses, and various obstacles within and outside of Sir Te's enclosed estate. During combat Shu-lien discovers, much to her surprise, that the thief is well-versed in the Wudan school of martial arts, like Mu-bai. The thief and Shu-lien seem evenly matched, and the fight is only broken off when a mysterious figure shoots a dart at Shu-lien, which she catches just in time. Also in pursuit of the thief are Tsai (played by De Ming Wang), an undercover police inspector from Shaanxi province, and his daughter May, who are looking for Jade Fox.

Many of the clues from the theft point Mu-bai and Shu-lien in the direction of Governor Yu's compound. It transpires that Jen has been under the influence of Jade Fox, who has been hiding out for many years as her governess, while the Shaanxi authorities searched for her. Jade Fox challenges Inspector Tsai, May and Master Bo to a showdown, which ends with the death of Tsai and the arrival of Mu-bai. Mu-bai easily defeats Jade Fox, but is prevented from killing her by the masked thief, who displays a skill far greater than her mentor, with influence from Wudan. The thief and Jade Fox escape, and in a confrontation, Jade Fox realizes that the secrets of a Wudan manual that she stole have been hidden from her -- only Jen has understood their true meaning and has surpassed her in skill. Mu-bai catches the masked Jen attempting to return the Green Destiny, and after defeating her is moved to suggest that she become his apprentice. She refuses and escapes.

The dart that prevented Shu-Lien from capturing the masked Jen came from a man named Lo (Chinese: 羅小虎; pinyin: Luó Xiǎohǔ) (played by Chang Chen), who returns one night and asks Jen to leave with him. In a flashback it is revealed that Lo is a desert bandit called Dark Cloud who long ago raided Jen's company of travelers in Xinjiang province. Lo stole Jen's comb. She raced after him and fought him to get it back, but Lo won. He kidnapped, but was kind to, Jen and eventually they fell in love. When soldiers looked for them, Lo told Jen she should return to her family, but expressed his love for her. He concluded with the legend of a man who jumped off a cliff, but did not die. Instead, his wish came true. Lo followed her to Beijing in an attempt to persuade her not to go through with her family's political marriage. Back in the present, Jen cannot bring herself to leave and tells him to go away and never return. Devastated, Lo complies, giving Jen's comb back before he goes. Next, Jen goes in a big procession to her wedding to her arranged husband, which is an elaborate ceremony. Lo reappears and tries to reach her but cannot get through her escort. Mu-bai and Shu-lien find him and tell him to wait at Wudan Mountain, where they will tell Jen to go. The next day, it is found that Jen has run away.

Jen, headstrong in her skills and emboldened by her forbidden love for the desert bandit Lo, consequently does not accept Mu-bai as master, nor Shu-lien as a friend. Jen stands at a crossroads - she must choose either life as a court official's wife or a dangerous, hunted life with Lo. She also considers a rebellious (and romantic in her eyes) existence as either an outlaw under Jade Fox, or a somewhat more assured, but nonetheless unconventional, martial path with Mu-bai as a teacher.

After a violent and reckless fight in a local restaurant, Jen finds Shu-lien. They have a friendly conversation until Shu-lien tells her about her meeting with Lo. Jen is outraged, thinking Shu-Lien is setting her up. Shu-Lien, angry at the lack of gratitude, states that she already knew Jen was the thief, but covered it up for the sake of Jen's family. Subsequently the two of them fight and in this duel, it becomes evident that Shu-lien is the more skilled fighter but the Green Destiny is a far better weapon making the fight more even for Jen. Later, Shu-lien reveals that she "didn't have the heart" to kill Jen during that fight, suggesting that Shu-lien seemed to hold back much of her skill and experience in fighting when dealing with Jen.

Mu-bai arrives at the scene, and pursues Jen into the forest. When Mu-bai reasserts that he wants to train Jen, she tells him that she will accept him as her master if he can take the Green Destiny sword from her in three moves. To Jen's surprise, Mu-bai moves swiftly and snatches the sword from her hand in a single movement. When Jen still refuses to become Mu-bai's pupil, he throws Green Destiny into a stream at a waterfall. Jen chases after the sword, but the temporarily shocked Mu-bai does not immediately pursue her, and when he does, arrives too late to prevent her rescue by a person later revealed to be Jade Fox.

Jade Fox brings Jen, who got the sword back, into a cavern where she is working on a weapon with poisoned needles. She drugs Jen into sleep, then leaves. Mu-bai finds Jen, and soon after Shu-Lien finds them both there. Jade Fox suddenly reappears, sending a barrage of poisoned needles at them, but Mu-bai blocks all but one (which strikes him in the neck) with his sword. He avenges his master's death by mortally wounding Jade Fox, only to realize that he has been hit with a poisoned needle. Before dying, Jade Fox says Jen was her only family and also her only enemy for not telling her the secrets of the Wudan manual. Mu-bai realizes his death from the poison will come soon.

Jen knows that the poison is Purple Yin, the same poison that killed Li Mu-bai's master, a poison that spreads directly to the heart. Although Jen knows of a cure, it takes too long to prepare, and Mu-bai begins to take his last few breaths. Just before his death, Mu-bai professes his true feelings for Shu-lien. Shu-lien is heartbroken, and furious at Jen for spoiling her chance of happiness, but spares her and tells her that, no matter what path she chooses, she must always remain true to herself. Jen goes to Wudan Mountain and spends one last night with Lo, who is waiting for her. The next morning, he wakes to see she is not with him and has left him her comb. He finds her standing on a balcony overlooking the edge of the mountain. In an echo of the legend that they spoke about in the desert, she asks him to make a wish. He complies, wishing them to be together, back in the desert, and Jen leaps into the clouds below, leaving Lo behind.

Although the movie does not reveal whether Jen dies, the next novel in the Crane Iron Pentalogy, Iron Knight, Silver Vase, begins with Jen and Lo as a couple who have one son.


The film is an adaptation of the fourth novel in a pentalogy (five-novel cycle), known as the Crane-Iron Pentalogy, written by noted wu xia novelist Wang Dulu. The novels in the pentalogy are: Crane Frightens Kunlun; Precious Sword, Golden Hairpin; Sword's Force, Pearl's Shine; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; and Iron Knight, Silver Vase.

The pentalogy was adapted into a series of graphic novels by Andy Seto in 2006.

Production and marketing

Although its Academy Award was presented to Taiwan, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was in fact an international co-production between companies in four regions: the Chinese company China Film Co-Production Corporation; the American companies Columbia Pictures Film Production Asia, Sony Pictures Classics and Good Machine; the Hong Kong company EDKO Film; and the Taiwanese Zoom Hunt International Productions Company, Ltd; as well as the unspecified United China Vision, and Asia Union Film & Entertainment Ltd., created solely for this film.

The film was made in Beijing, with location shooting in the Anhui, Hebei, Jiangsu and Xinjiang provinces of the People's Republic of China.

Unlike most Chinese films, this one was supported by American distributors and therefore received marketing typical of Western films.

The movie was also adapted into a video game.


Crouching Tiger was very well received in the Western world, receiving critical acclaim and numerous awards. However, it was less well received in China and Hong Kong as the rest of the world, where it was perceived as just another of the countless wuxia films released in the past four decades.[citation needed]

Some Chinese-speaking viewers were also bothered by the accents of the leading actors. Neither Chow (a native Cantonese speaker) nor Yeoh (an overseas Chinese born and raised in Malaysia) speaks Mandarin as a mother tongue. All four main actors spoke with different accents: Chow speaks with a Cantonese accent[5]; Yeoh with a Malaysian accent; Chang Chen a Taiwanese accent; and Zhang Ziyi a Beijing accent. L Yeoh responded to this complaint in a December 28, 2000 interview with Cinescape. She argued that "My character lived outside of Beijing, and so I didn’t have to do the Beijing accent." When the interviewer, Craig Reid, remarked that "My mother-in-law has this strange Szechuan-Mandarin accent that’s hard for me to understand," Yeoh responded: "Yes, provinces all have their very own strong accents. When we first started the movie, Cheng Pei Pei was going to have her accent, and Chang Zhen was going to have his accent, and this person would have that accent. And in the end nobody could understand what they were saying. Forget about us, even the crew from Beijing thought this was all weird."

The film led to a boost in popularity of Chinese wuxia films in the western world, where they were previously little known, and led to films such as House of Flying Daggers and Hero marketed towards western audiences.

The Region 2 DVD has slight but significant script changes to the English subtitles and dubbing from the version released in UK cinemas.[citation needed] Li Mu Bai's final speech is the most drastically affected, as well as Jen's various adventures disguised as a male being almost completely negated, as the characters still refer to her as a "she" when they are supposed to think she is a man.




  • Academy Awards:[3]
    • Best Picture (Murphy)
    • Best Director (Ang Lee)
    • Best Adapted Screenplay (Hui-Ling Wang, James Schamus and Kuo Jung Tsai)
    • Best Costume Design (Timmy Yip)
    • Best Editing (Tim Squyres)
    • Best Original Song (Jorge Calandrelli, Tan Dun [composers] and James Schamus [lyricist] Coco Lee [performer]) - for the song "A Love Before Time"
  • Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films ("Saturn Award"): Best Actor (Yun-Fat Chow), Best Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Best Supporting Actress (Ziyi Zhang), Best Director (Ang Lee), Best Writing (Hui-Ling Wang, James Schamus and Kuo Jung Tsai), Best Music (Tan Dun and Yo-Yo Ma), Best Costumes (Timmy Yip)
  • Amanda Awards (Norway): Best Foreign Feature Film
  • American Cinema Editors ("Eddie Award"): Best Edited Feature Film - Dramatic (Tim Squyres)
  • American Society of Cinematographers: Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases
  • Art Directors Guild: Excellence in Production Design Award Feature Film - Period or Fantasy Films
  • BAFTA Awards:
    • Best Film
    • Best Actress (Michelle Yeoh)
    • Best Supporting Actress (Ziyi Zhang)
    • Best Screenplay - Adapted (James Schamus, Hui-Ling Wang and Kuo Jung Tsai)
    • Best Cinematography (Peter Pau)
    • Best Editing (Tim Squyres)
    • Best Sound (Drew Kunin, Reilly Steele, Eugene Gearty and Robert Fernandez)
    • Best Production Design (Timmy Yip)
    • Best Make Up/Hair (Yun-Ling Man and Siu-Mui Chau)
    • Best Special Visual Effects (Rob Hodgson, Leo Lo, Jonathan F. Styrlund, Bessie Cheuk and Travis Baumann)
  • Blockbuster Entertainment Awards: Favorite Action Team [Internet Only] (Yun-Fat Chow and Michelle Yeoh)
  • British Society of Cinematographers: Best Cinematography Award (Peter Pau)
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association: Best Picture

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Business Data for Wo hu cang long (2000). Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 2007-01-15. “Gross: $128,067,808 (USA) (29 July 2001) (sub-total)”
  2. ^ David Barboza. A Leap Forward, or a Great Sellout?. New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-07-01.
  3. ^ a b c Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Academy Award Nominations and Wins URL accessed December 30, 2006.
  4. ^ casting annonces musicien communication evenementiel at
  5. ^ Interview with Gong Li URL accessed December 30, 2006.

External links

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