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Curse of the Golden Flower (2006)


Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 122
Fresh: 81
Rotten: 41

Critics Consensus: Melodrama, swordplay, and CG armies -- fans of martial arts epic will get what they bargain for, though the baroque art direction can be both mesmerizing and exhaustively excessive.

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Reviews Counted: 40
Fresh: 24
Rotten: 16

Critics Consensus: Melodrama, swordplay, and CG armies -- fans of martial arts epic will get what they bargain for, though the baroque art direction can be both mesmerizing and exhaustively excessive.


Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 50,788


Movie Info

A dying love between two powerful people leads to deceit, infidelity, and conspiracy in this epic-scale historical drama from director Zhang Yimou. During the latter days of the Tang dynasty, the Emperor (Chow Yun-Fat) returns home from the war with his son Prince Jai (Jay Chou) in tow. However, the monarch gets a chilly reception from the Empress (Gong Li); though she's eager to see her son, her marriage has become deeply acrimonious, and she's taken a lover, Crown Prince Wan (Liu Ye), her … More

R (for violence)
Drama , Action & Adventure , Romance , Art House & International
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Mar 27, 2007
Box Office:
Sony Classic Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Curse of the Golden Flower

All Critics (136) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (81) | Rotten (41) | DVD (15)

To put a point to it, the lavish period costumes, operatic mise-en-scène and ceremonial grandeur of Curse of the Golden Flower clashes fatally with the nuanced nastiness of modern marital discord.

Full Review… | January 17, 2007
New York Observer
Top Critic

For all the swordplay and martial-arts fisticuffs, Curse is its most delirious as a lavish argument for the soap opera's roots in Greek tragedy.

Full Review… | January 12, 2007
Denver Post
Top Critic

This spectacularly decorated movie offers the enjoyment of watching Zhang chronicle the lives of one very nutty family. It also allows Zhang to load every inch of the screen with images so full that you half expect them to collapse under their own weight.

January 12, 2007
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

Curse is straightforward and solemn, lacking not for spectacle but for humor and a humanizing touch.

Full Review… | January 12, 2007
Detroit Free Press
Top Critic

Make no mistake, all is epic, violent, bloody madness once the director hits his stride, and fans of Zhang's work will not want to miss Curse of the Golden Flower. But brush strokes are amiss here.

Full Review… | January 12, 2007
Detroit News
Top Critic

Lavish, grim, magnificent; a robust successor to Zhang's recent martial arts epics, characterised by similarly baroque spectacle and tragedy.

Full Review… | November 16, 2012
Empire Magazine Australasia

Zhang Yimou serves up a sumptuous sensory feast with spectacular set pieces and--crucially--the story, characters, and connection to back it up.

Full Review… | January 21, 2012

Zhang's beauty is one of furious defiance

Full Review… | August 28, 2009

Um épico que não apenas se encaixa no clima mítico e fantástico do gênero wuxia pian como ainda traz toques claramente shakespeareanos em sua trama repleta de traições e lutas sangrentas por um trono real (ou, neste caso, imperial).

Full Review… | January 16, 2008
Cinema em Cena

Mucho brillo y color y poca sustancia dramática en esta tragedia épica que emula tanto a Shakespeare como a Kurosawa. Vale la pena sólo por su aspecto visual y, sobre todo, por la siempre intensa Gong Li.

Full Review… | September 17, 2007
Uruguay Total

Spectacular production designs and giant CGI battles can't really disguise a soap opera plot and often hammy acting.

Full Review… | August 2, 2007

Curse of the Golden Flower is, as usual, ravishing to look at, but it seems to be put together solely so that Zhang can assemble hundreds of people in stately rows.

Full Review… | July 30, 2007

Possibly the first mainstream Chinese representation of the massacre at Tiannamen Square.

Full Review… | July 25, 2007
Film Freak Central

Curse of the Golden Flower is a tragedy in the classic sense which is as devastating as it is entertaining.

Full Review… | June 25, 2007
IGN Movies

Gorgeous to look at and every bit as ornate as The House of the Flying Daggers. However, the dense and complex plot is a muddle and works best when dealing with the central relationships and matters of the heart.

Full Review… | April 21, 2007
Urban Cinefile

Beautifully designed, visually stunning epic with impressive battle sequences, although the soap-tastic plot takes a while to really get going.

Full Review… | April 12, 2007

It is an overwrought melodrama set on a background of impressive beauty.This is a beautiful film, but the characters are weak and disappointing from Zhang.

Full Review… | April 1, 2007

The film may not hold up to Hero or Flying Daggers, but it contains enough of those film's stunning visual tricks to make it well worth checking out this holiday season.

Full Review… | March 24, 2007

Every stone, every piece of fabric, every pushed-up bosom is fetishized to ludicrous extremes. Zhang apparently wants to dazzle the eyes with the visuals, but Curse is one of the gaudiest looking movies ever made.

Full Review… | March 12, 2007

Perhaps Zhang Yimou will one day return to the sort of picture that established his reputation in the first place. Otherwise, can a Rush Hour sequel be too far off?

Full Review… | February 15, 2007
Creative Loafing

Like its women, the movie from the perspective of the viewer is ravishingly beautiful but frustratingly remote.

January 29, 2007
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

The eye-catching splendor dresses up a bland soap opera that Shakespeare mastered centuries ago.

January 25, 2007

This is one spectacular historical potboiler, Shakespeare and soap opera in about equal measure.

Full Review… | January 19, 2007
Los Angeles Daily News

Curse of the Golden Flower is dramatic and exotic, a feast for the eyes with themes that are as hypnotic as the film's physical look.

Full Review… | January 18, 2007
Aisle Seat

Audience Reviews for Curse of the Golden Flower


Shakespeare would have been proud. The mix of incest, murder, betrayal and tyranny easily could have been part of one of his dramas. In this historical Chinese piece it's portrayed in the most visually pleasing style imaginable. The palaces, clothes, props are full of details and colors. The feast for the eyes never manages to make you care for anything that's going on, sadly. The dysfunctional family's story is way too complicated and unlikable for that. There isn't even all that much action until the showdown suddenly gets a lot more epic than expected. Only the assassin attacks are really awesome. Other than that: visually pleasing but ultimately unimportant.

Jens S.

Super Reviewer

Okay, right off the bat, A++++ for color. No lie there. Like, Hands Down winner there. Along with costume, set design, and props. FAN-tastic.
I think where this story lost it was the overall pacing and story. The first hour had some small nice fight scenes and then lots and lots of talk. And the ending was quite bloody. However I feel as though what happened here was there may have been some back story that was cut. And that's never good. Other takes and scenes were quite long. Too long, really.
Still, it gets 3 stars for color alone. Another star because I like Yun-Fat Chow and Li Gong. And keep in mind, if you are in dire need for a visual LSD party for your eyes.... WATCH THIS!!

Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

It?s no House of flying daggers but stick with it and this film gets good.

Anthony Lawrie

Super Reviewer

Wow, what a visually amazing work of cinematography. And talk about your proverbial cast of thousands. The climactic battle scene is just beyond epic. I don't think I've ever seen war portrayed quite this way. A very fluid mass of humanity pours across the screen, like two liquids, oil and water maybe, jockeying for position. I love both Chow Yun Fat and Gong Li, and they do not disappoint as the two heavyweight fighters exchanging power punches in a battle of wills. Love and hate, jealousy, intrigue, poisoning, murder, incest, fratricide -- this is Greek tragedy, this is Shakespeare, this is all kinds of hallmark tragic traditions rolled into one pretty tight script. Definitely worth seeing.

Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

Curse of the Golden Flower Quotes

Prince Yu:
Who has ever wanted me? Who has ever cared about me?
– Submitted by Frances H (10 months ago)
Emperor Ping:
There are many things in Heaven and Earth, but you can only have what I choose to give you.
– Submitted by Frances H (10 months ago)

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