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Year of the Dragon (1985)

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A police detective cracks down on organized crime in Chinatown after the murders of Triad and Mafia leaders.

Director:

Michael Cimino

Writers:

Robert Daley (novel), Oliver Stone (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mickey Rourke ... Stanley White
John Lone ... Joey Tai
Ariane ... Tracy Tzu
Leonard Termo ... Angelo Rizzo
Raymond J. Barry ... Louis Bukowski (as Ray Barry)
Caroline Kava ... Connie White
Eddie Jones ... William McKenna
Joey Chin Joey Chin ... Ronnie Chang
Victor Wong ... Harry Yung
K. Dock Yip K. Dock Yip ... Milton Bin
Hon-Lam Pau ... Fred Hung (as Pao Han Lin)
Way Dong Woo Way Dong Woo ... Elder
Jimmy Sun Jimmy Sun ... Elder
Daniel Davin Daniel Davin ... Francis Kearney
Mark Hammer Mark Hammer ... Commissioner Sullivan
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Storyline

Chinatown, New York City. There has long been an unofficial agreement that the NYPD will leave the traditionally run Chinese triad alone to manage the crime issue in the neighborhood, the triad who is the face of organized crime of Chinatown. The triad also has an unofficial agreement with the Italian mafia, still seen as the major player in organized crime in the city, to be cooperative in a win-win situation in their illegal activities. However, the Chinese youth gangs are disregarding these unofficial agreements, being another violent player in the crime scene in Chinatown, they who take a stand by killing Jackie Wong, the head of the triad. To deal with the matter, the NYPD reassign Captain Stanley White from Brooklyn to Chinatown. Stanley, of Polish heritage, is not averse to slinging slurs toward his adversaries, most of those of a racial nature. This reassignment will not help the already deteriorating marriage he has to his long suffering wife, Connie. While Stanley is ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

It isn't the Bronx or Brooklyn. It isn't even New York. It's Chinatown...and it's about to explode.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

16 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Manhattan Sur See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$24,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$4,093,079, 18 August 1985

Gross USA:

$18,707,466

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$18,707,466
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Cimino says the 21st century is going to belong to China. "People used to say I was crazy, but half of Beverly Hills is owned by Chinese interests. You go on Rodeo Drive shopping it's all Chinese women. Go to clubs at night, all the great looking girls are Chinese. Not Japanese, Chinese. All the musicians at Julliard now are no longer Jewish, they're Chinese. They have such an amazing work ethic." He views visiting non-English countries, cities, and cultures is like a woman in that "you can learn from her, but to really learn from her if she's teaching you something you have to fall a little bit in love, or a lot in love, and each time you go to one of these places you end up with a love affair." See more »

Goofs

Outside Stanley White's house when he is shooting at the escaping gangster, his fellow officer is running towards him down the street with the shotgun. When they cut to White again this same officer is now in the front yard with White and they both jump over the fence. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Tracy Tzu: Captain McKenna, any leads in the murder of Jackie Wong?
William McKenna: Nothing at this time.
Tracy Tzu: Do you think this killing means there's some kind of war going on in the Chinatown Tongs?
William McKenna: No, I don't. This is basically a situation where the youth gangs are lashing out at the establishment. The community is cooperating. The situation's under control.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The end credits roll over a image of the Chinese woman restaurant-singer crooning a Chinese easy-listening ditty. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Seinfeld: The Smelly Car (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Uphill (Peace Of Mind)
By Frederick Knight
Irving Music, Inc., Two-Knight Music
Arrangement and Keyboards by Marcus Barone
Produced by Raul Rodriguez
Performed by C.O.D.
Courtesy of Emergency Records, Inc.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Cimino, Rourke, and Lone at the top of their game
16 June 2004 | by rwildfongSee all my reviews

Following the Heaven's Gate debacle it must have been questionable if Michael Cimino would ever helm another epic film. Having shot The Deer Hunter and Heaven's Gate on such a grand scale, you expect that type of film from Cimino. Well, he was given one last shot to work the big screen using his considerable talents to create one last masterpiece. If there is a Michael Cimino trilogy it's his three epics The Deer Hunter, Heaven's Gate, and Year of the Dragon. In all honesty Hollywood does not make a lot of films like these so when they come along they are something special. These are films that show Hollywood at it's best, stretching, pushing the limits, and trying to create something huge fueled by a clear artistic vision. It may fall flat, as Heaven's Gate did, but the risk can be exhilarating. Looking back on Heaven's Gate now, many critics find it to be one hell of a film. There's a simple reason for that, they just don't make 'em like this much any more. So, in retrospect the Hurculean effort now looks refreshing.

Year of the Dragon is a powerhouse film. Where Heaven's Gate meandered on the plains, Year of the Dragon charges across the screen. I believe this was powered by Cimino probably giving his best effort to entertain as well as create on a grand scale. The result is a breathtaking ride and one of the best cop films we'll ever witness. Rourke as Stanley White is in his prime 80's form. There was no doubt about it, in the 80's the camera loved Mickey Rourke. If he had not gone off track it makes you wonder what could have been. His is not the only great performance in the film. John Lone as his prey is nothing short of magnificent. He is everything Al Pacino was in the Godfather films. I would say his performance owes a debt to Pacino and watching the film I wondered if he had used him as a model for Joey Tai. These three elements alone could be enough to make great film, two great actors dueling on screen and a director giving his best effort.

It doesn't stop there though. They are working from an Oliver Stone script which is beautifully composed to blur the lines between good and evil. It's not as simple as good guy and bad guy. These characters are fully fleshed out and complex. White may be the cop but he is deeply flawed as a human being. This script doesn't pander to the audience and you will not like Stanley White much of the time. Joey Tai is not pure evil. He follows a moral code and is an honorable man. This kind of writing is not for everyone and some may be put off or confused by the nature of these characters but that's what makes for great cinema.

Not only are the leads good but the supporting cast is also fantastic. Kava as Connie White brings nice weight to her performance as Stanley's wife. Raymond Barry and Victor Wong are excellent as are the entire supporting cast. There is one often noted exception. Ariane as Tracy Tzu the reporter and White's fling is very wooden. What causes her to stand out is the fact that all the other actors are so good. I believe this was her first film and she is out of her element. She just doesn't have the chops to keep up. Her performance doesn't drag down the film but it does stick out whenever she's on screen.

1985 saw a couple of fantastic cop films in this and To Live and Die in LA, which not surprisingly was directed by another great William Friedkin. Films like these are hard to come by. We were lucky to see Friedkin's film released as a special edition DVD. Year of the Dragon has been sold by MGM to Warner Brothers and now sits in limbo. It would be unfortunate for films like this and Sidney Lumet's Prince of the City (1981) to sit and rot on some shelf. The work of directors like Cimino, Friedkin, and Lumet should not be ignored. It's interesting that each of them made a fantastic film about cops in the 80's. Two of the three films though appear to be lost. Let's hope someone rescues them to DVD.


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