25 user 44 critic

A Brighter Summer Day (1991)

Gu ling jie shao nian sha ren shi jian (original title)
Not Rated | | Crime, Drama, Romance | 25 November 2011 (USA)
Based on a true story, primarily on a conflict between two youth gangs, a 14-year-old boy's girlfriend conflicts with the head of one gang for an unclear reason, until finally the conflict comes to a violent climax.


Edward Yang
8 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chen Chang ... Xiao Si'r (Zhang Zhen)
Lisa Yang Lisa Yang ... Ming (Liu Zhiming)
Kuo-Chu Chang ... Father
Elaine Jin ... Mother
Chuan Wang ... Eldest Sister
Han Chang ... Elder Brother
Hsiu-Chiung Chiang ... Middle Sister
Stephanie Lai Stephanie Lai ... Youngest Sister (as Fanyun Lai)
Chi-tsan Wang Chi-tsan Wang ... Cat (Wang Mao)
Lawrence Ko ... Airplane (Ji Fei)
Chih-Kang Tan Chih-Kang Tan ... Ma
Ming-Hsin Chang Ming-Hsin Chang ... Underpants (Mingxin) (as Mingxin Zhang)
Chun-Lung Jung Chun-Lung Jung ... Bomber (Chang Po-wen)
Hui-Kuo Chou Hui-Kuo Chou ... Tiger (Xiao Hu) (as Huiguo Zhou)
Ching-Chi Liu Ching-Chi Liu ... Hefty (Da Ge) (as Qingqi Liu)


Based on a true story, primarily on a conflict between two youth gangs, a 14-year-old boy's girlfriend conflicts with the head of one gang for an unclear reason, until finally the conflict comes to a violent climax.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





Mandarin | Min Nan | Shanghainese

Release Date:

25 November 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Brighter Summer Day See more »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Mono



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


People in the film speak various dialects as they or their parents came to Taiwan from different provinces of Mainland China. e.g. Wang, a friend of the Xiao Si'r's family, speaks Shanghainese. See more »

Alternate Versions

Director's Cut is 237 minutes long. See more »


References The Misfits (1961) See more »


Angel Baby
Composed by Rose Hamlin
Performed by Chi-tsan Wang
See more »

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User Reviews

A nation's identity crisis
27 March 2002 | by jandesimpsonSee all my reviews

Edward Yang's "A Brighter Summer Day" is an enormous film, not only in length but in its ambitious attempt, through homing in on a particular group of people in a specific time and place, to define the attitudes of a nation undergoing an identity crisis. The time is the early '60's, the place a suburb of Taipei, the characters mostly groups of adolescents. Like his great fellow compatriot Hou Xiaoxian, Yang hurls happenings at you without explaining who is who. He makes an enormous demand on his audience in forcing us to make all the connections. As his cast here runs into dozens and many scenes take place in semi-darkness, it is far from easy, particularly for a Western viewer to whom so many Orientals look alike, to make these connections on a first viewing. Indeed I would say that after four viewings I am still working out who is who. That I have not given up and am still in the process of unravelling can only be ascribed to a gut reaction from the first that this is a work of tremendous integrity and skill. The film deals mainly with gang warfare between rival groups of youngsters, which, it is suggested, reflects their search for identity at a time when their parents have lost theirs after years of Japanese occupation followed by the post-revolutionary separation from their Chinese mainland roots. As a diversion from gang warfare some of the youngsters find an outlet in American music, particularly the songs of Elvis. The film mainly follows the course of one boy, S'ir, as he moves from early to late adolescence. There are others who are presented as having a stronger sense of character; Ma, the "General's son" for instance who lives in a household a cut above the rest and Honey, a young man in a sailor suit, who exudes a sense of honesty and authority that holds the others in thrall. But it is S'ir whom the film doggedly follows, S'ir who seems to possess nothing much more than a bad temper and a developing desire, perhaps mainly through peer pressure, to have a young girl who will be faithful to him. It is his frustration in trying to achieve this that leads the film towards a climax that is as ugly as it is tragic. However, not before we have lived through a number of scenes that are wholly remarkable, none more so that a savage attack between rival gangs, some resorting to samurai swords - a reaction perhaps to their parents' detestation of all thing Japanese - which takes place in semi-darkness in a powercut during a tropical storm; the very stuff of late Goya, merciless and unblinking.

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