High Road to China (1983)

High Road to China





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

O'Malley (Tom Selleck) is a heavy-drinking, tough biplane pilot flying the skies of China for fun and profit when Eve (Bess Armstrong) seeks him out to help her find her father before he is declared dead and she loses an inheritance to the evil Bentik (Robert Morley). O'Malley does not really want Eve around, but adventure and the challenge beckon. If only their journey together had been sparked by a little excitement, clever humor, snappy dialogue, and seductive romantic chemistry, this bland … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Action & Adventure, Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By: Sandra Weintraub Roland, Sandra Weintraub, S. Lee Pogostin
In Theaters:
On DVD: Dec 7, 2004



as O'Malley

as Struts

as Bradley Tozer

as Suleiman Khan

as Charlie

as Silversmith

as Franjien Khan

as Zura

as Satvinda

as Alessa's Mother

as General Wong

as Wong's Aide

as Kim Su Lee

as Alec Wedgeworth

as Von Hess

as Henchman

as Countess

as Chauffeur

as Khan's Nephew

as British Officer

as British Officer

as British Officer
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for High Road to China

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 2, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

August 16, 2005

November 7, 2003
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for High Road to China


Action all the way in this extremely entertaining film. Good leading performances by Tom Selleck (the air-ace hero), Bess Armstrong (the headstrong lass) and Wilford Brimley (an eccentric father and inventor).

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

You ever get the feeling that sometimes actors never live down that one role they know they should've taken? It's well known that Tom Selleck turned down the lead in Raiders Of The Lost Ark. Although he went on to great success on Magnum PI, and basically becoming a tv legend, Indiana Jones was the role that could've given him the successful big screen career that has pretty much eluded him.

In an attempt to cash in on the success of Raiders, Selleck stars in this story of a WWI flying ace that is hired by a rich bitch to find her missing father before he is declared dead, and she loses her pampered lifestyle. Many of the elements that made Raiders a success are there....a dashing and charming leading man, exotic locations, big scale action, romance, humor, etc. But what's not there is inspiration. This is a very by-the-numbers production. Where Raiders was an homage to the great serial plays of the 30's, this movie is made like one. The characters are painted in very broad strokes. The villains to everything except twirl their mustaches in very Snidely Whiplash manor, and we expect a black and white title card to pop up over their faces with sayings like "You'll never stop me! Ah ha ha ha!" The romance is pretty much dead in the water. There's no reason for these two people to fall in love, but they do. There's also really nothing at stake in this movie except for who get's daddy's money.

The actors, for the most part, do give it their all. It's a shame that Selleck never achieved success in movies. He's a very talented and charismatic actor that just oozes charm and good will. You can't help but like the guy. Bess Armstrong plays the spoiled brat very well, and you can't help but wonder if this is just art imitating life. Jack Weston is the comic relief as Sellleck's mechanic and best friend. Wilford Brimley appears late in the movie as Armstrong's father, and he is a effortlessly believable as he ever is. The biggest stumbling blocks are the villains. Robert Morley is far too goofy to make a threatening villain, and Brian Blessed as an Arab chief does nothing more that eat, laugh, and bare his teeth like does in every movie.

However the action is quite serviceable, if unremarkable. It's large scale, and includes bi-plane dogfights, bombing runs, gun fights, car chases, etc. The photography is also quite good. The vistas in the movie, shot in Yugoslavia, and really beautiful.

So let this be a lesson to all actors out there...if Steven Spielberg comes to you and says "I want you to star in my next big budget action movie" you say...YES!

RJ MacReady

Super Reviewer


(4 1/2 Stars) I know High Road to China was made after the popularity of Raiders of the Lost Ark, so people may see it as a copy... but like Indiana Jones, it's extremely entertaining. It's a very appealing adventure film that trots around the globe and has larger than life action scenes. O'Malley (Tom Selleck) is a great tortured lead and the bold Eve (Bess Armstrong) isn't a damsel in distress; she's at times more of a daredevil than O'Malley. The main antagonist is Bentik (Robert Morley) who is a rich evil British man who verbally beats his lackey... he's the funniest part of the film. There are some great dogfights in the sky and so many epic action scenes. The mark of a fun adventure flick: lots of explosions.

It's not just Indiana Jones that it reminds me of; it's also kind of 80's James Bond-esque (think Roger Moore). Then I saw the film is scored by John Barry, who composed 11 of the Bond films. There are also moments of light humor mixed with incredible action set pieces; this is the meat of films like Octopussy and The Spy Who Loved Me. High Road to China may be seen as an Indiana Jones knock off, but it's more than that. If you have the means to watch it, do it!

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