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Through the lens
The best Hong Kong films
Hong Kong has long proved a captivating setting for both local and foreign filmmakers. The vibrant city, known for its East-meets-West cultural identity, has a unique ambiance that’s perfectly suited to the movies. Whether a bustling local street in Kowloon, a peaceful fishing village in the New Territories, or the soaring skyline of Hong Kong Island, the city offers gorgeous, one-of-a-kind backdrops. Below, we’ve selected five of our favourite Hong Kong films that take the city as their inspiration.
Enter the Dragon, 1973
Arguably one of his best, this Bruce Lee movie was the very first Hollywood-made Chinese martial arts film. The famous “kick me” scene, in which Lee instructs a pupil in emotional combat, was filmed in the verdant Tsing Shan Monastery, which sits on the slopes of Castle Peak on the western side of the New Territories.
The Killer, 1989
Prolific Hong Kong-born director John Woo is known for his creative work within the action genre. The Killer, starring Chow Yun Fat, is one of his most celebrated movies. The film’s gunfight scenes were filmed at Causeway Bay, where the shootouts drew complaints from the residents and caused chaos in the district. In another iconic Hong Kong moment, actor Danny Lee’s character is shown jumping on the tram on Hennessy Road, Wan Chai, during a particularly exciting scene.
Die Another Day, 2002
The 20th James Bond film sees 007 getting into trouble in the Far East. After escaping from a North Korean prison, Bond, played in this film by Pierce Brosnan, finds himself on a British warship in Hong Kong. The backdrop of Victoria Harbour, as well as the dramatic view of Hong Kong’s nighttime skyline, looks especially stunning on film.
In the Mood for Love, 2000
A beautifully shot love story, this critically acclaimed film by the great Hong Kong director Wong Kar-Wai depicts a quieter and lonelier side of the city. Set in the 1960s and starring Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung, the film’s pivotal scene between the would-be lovers was shot in the small alleyway connecting Wellington Street to Wo On Lane.
Comrades: Almost a Love Story, 1996
Directed by Peter Chan, Comrades: Almost a Love Story sees two Mainland Chinese immigrants, played by Maggie Cheung and Leon Lai, relocate to the frenetic metropolis. As the couple grapple with life in Hong Kong, their love affair also proves turbulent. Though the film’s third act takes place in New York, the bulk of the movie is shot on location in Hong Kong, providing a quotidian glimpse into life in the megalopolis.
Written by Apple Mandy