Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)


Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang) (1987)


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Movie Info

Set in the northern province of Shandong during the 1920s and early 30s, a young bride, on her way to a prearranged future with the leprous owner of a wine distillery, avoids rape and then abduction, is seduced, takes over her mysteriously dead husband's business, is captured, then ransomed and ultimately perishes during the Manchurian invasion by the Japanese.


Li Gong
as Jiu Er
Liu Ji
as Father, as child
Jiu Ji
as Their Son
Ji Chunhua
as Sanpao, the Bandit Chief
Teng Rujun
as Luo Han
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News & Interviews for Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)

Critic Reviews for Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (5)

Satisfies both as straight folk tale and as a subversive tribute to the vitality and endurance of Chinese peasant culture.

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

Its supposedly innovative epic style looks decidedly old-fashioned here.

Aug 30, 2004

There is a strength in the simplicity of this story, in the almost fairy-tale quality of its images and the shocking suddenness of its violence, that Hollywood in its sophistication has lost.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It's almost comforting that "Sorghum" has structural shortcomings -- if Yimou's debut were any better, he'd have to be tested for artistic steroids.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

"Red Sorghum" develops politically, not dramatically, and because the characters act according to social, not psychological, forces, there's nothing much to discover in them.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

As ever with Zhang, the supposedly heroic action is rife with visual and thematic subversion.

Jan 16, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)


Set in the 1920 and early 30s, this lush film seems almost timeless. It's about a young woman's life working on a distillery for sorghum liquor in China's eastern provinces. The story seems like a fairy tale until the violence at the end. It is melodramatic, but the cinematography is so luscious and passionate that it is absolutely stunning.

Juli Ryan
Juli Ryan

Super Reviewer

Another great Yimou film that is full of great drama and great storytelling. Kind of what we expect from this director.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


So lush in a completely surprising way, but the story is boring. The best scene was when the servant guy rapes Gong Li in the sorghum fields.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer


Hey! let's all celebrate the 20th anniversary of Gong Li and Zhang Yimou's brilliant double debut Red Sorghum by getting it realeased here on DVD. Oh, I have no power to achieve that. I can make a list.

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

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