Peking Opera Blues

Peking Opera Blues
Directed by Tsui Hark
Produced by Tsui Hark
Written by Raymond To
Starring Brigitte Lin
Cherie Chung
Sally Yeh
Paul Chun
Wu Ma
Kenneth Tsang
Music by James Wong
Cinematography Poon Hang Seng (H.K.S.C)
Distributed by Golden Princess Film Production
Release dates
  • 1986 (1986)
Running time
104 min
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese

Peking Opera Blues (traditional Chinese: 刀馬旦; simplified Chinese: 刀马旦; pinyin: Dāo Mǎ Dàn; Jyutping: Dòu Máah Dáan; Cantonese Yale: Dou1 mah5 daan3) is a 1986 Hong Kong film directed by Tsui Hark. The movie combines comedy, Hong Kong action, and serious drama with scenes involving Peking Opera. Director Tsui Hark described the film as a satire on the "Chinese ignorance of democracy."[1] The film was nominated for six awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards including Best Actress.


The film is set in 1913 Beijing, during Yuan Shikai's presidency of the country. It depicts the adventures of a team of unlikely heroines: Tsao Wan (Brigitte Lin), a patriotic rebel who dresses as a man; Sheung Hung (Cherie Chung), a woman in search of a missing box of jewels; and Bai Niu (Sally Yeh), the daughter of a Peking Opera impresario.


The Chinese title translates as Knife Horse Actresses, a term used in Peking Opera to refer to male actors playing female warriors (See Dan article for details). It is sometimes erroneously translated as Knife Horse Dawn, because both words are represented by the same Chinese character.[2]

Cast and roles


The film grossed $17,559,357 HKD in Hong Kong.[3]

In his Wrap Up video to the Region 1 DVD of Wong Kar-wai's Chungking Express, Quentin Tarantino refers to Peking Opera Blues as "one of the greatest films ever made" and "a blast––it's a lot of fun."


Hong Kong Film Awards
Year Category Recipient Result
1987 Best Actress Sally Yeh Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Paul Chun Nominated
Best Action Choreography Ching Siu-tung Nominated
Best Cinematography Hang-Sang Poon Nominated
Best Film Editing David Wu Nominated
Best Art Direction Vincent Wai
Kim-Sing Ho
Chi-Hing Leung


  1. Bleiler, David TLA Video & DVD Guide 2005 (St Martin's Griffin, 2004) p.478
  2. Jenny Kwok Wah Lau, 'Peking Opera Blues: Exploding Genre, Gender and History', in Film Analysis (Norton, 2005), p. 739.
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