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The Year of the Yao (2005)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Reviews Counted: 33
Fresh: 22 | Rotten: 11

This sports bio documentary is given a few fresh angles, including culture clash issues, and the friendship that develops between Yao and his interpreter.


Average Rating: 5.9/10
Critic Reviews: 13
Fresh: 8 | Rotten: 5

This sports bio documentary is given a few fresh angles, including culture clash issues, and the friendship that develops between Yao and his interpreter.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 1,278

My Rating

Movie Info

While the traditional American stereotype of people from China portrays them as short, studious, and not especially athletic, Yao Ming turned that image on his head -- standing seven foot six, Yao became the most talked about player in professional basketball when he signed to play with the Houston Rockets in 2002, the first Chinese émigré to play in the NBA. Yao was largely unknown when he first suited up with the Rockets, and many were skeptical about his abilities, especially when he

Mar 14, 2006

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Latest News on The Year of the Yao

September 19, 2006:
Yao Ming Turns Down "Rush Hour 3"
Brett Ratner can cross out yet another celebrity from his dream cast for "Rush Hour 3." In...


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All Critics (34) | Top Critics (13) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (11) | DVD (5)

James D. Stern and Adam Del Deo's taut, engrossing 2004 documentary on Chinese basketball player Yao Ming's first year in the NBA offers insight into the game and its stars.

March 25, 2008 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Should be a natural for NBA fans and please non-enthusiasts as well.

August 5, 2005 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
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As bright and shiny as you would imagine something co-produced by NBA Entertainment to be, The Year of the Yao provides little insight beyond hanging out with its super-sized star.

August 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
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[A] glorified infomercial.

August 4, 2005 Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly
L.A. Weekly
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There appears to be much more to Yao than is captured here. That's where the movie drops the ball.

July 22, 2005
Detroit News
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A surprisingly layered portrait of a rookie with the hopes of a nation -- a big nation -- riding on his shoulders, and the frustrations and small victories that entails.

July 15, 2005 Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle
San Francisco Chronicle
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The film never feels like some sort of shill, but an actual historical document of this strangest of cultural immersions for a national superstar.

June 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Scouts
Film Scouts

By playing up the hoopla and glitz, the filmmakers have created a vacuum at its center.

March 1, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

The film is happily as fast paced as the sport of basketball itself: there are no bearded, stuttering academics discussing any aspect of the story.

January 19, 2007 Full Review Source: Compuserve

there's plenty to see in this engaging film

March 18, 2006 Full Review Source:

...a particularly crude sales job.

August 10, 2005 Full Review Source: Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)
Sun Publications (Chicago, IL)

Sporadically charming basketball documentary.

July 7, 2005 Full Review Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Easily the best basketball film I've seen in years.

May 16, 2005 Full Review Source: MovieWeb

The movie's focus on Yao is limited by his lack of narrative abilities.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

From language barriers to international political barriers, Yao promises something most documentaries miss entirely -- insight and hope.

May 6, 2005 Full Review Source: Jam! Movies
Jam! Movies

...while their subject is amiably charismatic, the filmmakers fail to fully get beneath his skin.'s a sports documentary that can be enjoyed by anyone...

April 29, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

The excitement on the court and the banter and good-natured ribbing in the locker room is handled by the book by the behind the camera crew.

April 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

More of a promo than anything else: it sells us on the concept of Yao Ming, but has next to nothing to say about him.

April 21, 2005 Full Review Source: Film Blather
Film Blather

Audience Reviews for The Year of the Yao

I am not a NBA or Bassketball watcher or fan. Once in a while I may watch the March Madness series. Basketball players have become spoiled with the large sums of money they make. But I am always interested to see how those from the outside the USA react to our ways of life. I found this film to be very interesting, and wish I had the chance to meet Yao and his family. If I find this movie in a used bin or pawn shop I will pick it up. Its not like the other Disney Sports films this is more of a Bio.
December 5, 2007
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

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