Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

Critics Consensus

Doesn't reach the heights of Zhang Yimou's best, but this is still a heartwarming tale of love and forgiveness from the acclaimed Chinese director.



Total Count: 75


Audience Score

User Ratings: 14,223
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Movie Info

On the heels of such extravagant historical swordplay epics as Hero and House of Flying Daggers, Mainland Chinese director Zhang Yimou returns to the reins to tell this intimate tale of an aging father who attempts to remedy a longstanding rift with his grown son. Summoned to Tokyo by his daughter-in-law, Rie (Shinobu Terajima), village fisherman Gou-ichi Takata (Ken Takakura), arrives at a city hospital to find his son, Ken-ichi (Kiichi Nakai), bedridden by liver cancer. Though Gou-ichi attempts to use the visit as a catalyst to heal a decade-long dispute between the pair, stubborn Ken-ichi rejects his father's attempt at reconciliation outright. Subsequently handed a videotape by Rie before departing back to the countryside, Gou-ichi returns home unsuccessful in his efforts to build a bridge of peace between himself and his ailing son. Upon watching the videotape, a research project exploring the Chinese folk arts that was shot by Ken-ichi in the Southern province of Yunnan, Gou-ichi is oddly affected by the onscreen failure of his son in convincing well-known opera singer Li Jiamin (playing himself) to perform the titular song, a classic operatic piece espousing the values of friendship. Now determined to travel to Yunnan and videotape the performance that his son could not, Gou-ichi embarks on a life-changing quest that will not only give him a greater understanding of the relationship between himself and his own son, but set into motion a healing process that will also have a profound impact on the troubled opera singer and the man's long-lost illegitimate son as well.


Ken Takakura
as Gou-ichi Takata
Shinobu Terajima
as Rie Takata
Kiichi Nakai
as Ken-ichi Takata
Li Jiamin
as Himself
Qiu Lin
as Lingo
Jiang Wen
as Jasmine
Yang Zhenbo
as Yang Yang
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Critic Reviews for Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

All Critics (75) | Top Critics (24) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (15)

Audience Reviews for Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

  • Apr 27, 2010
    Yimou Zhang directed film about a reserved Japanese father who travels to China to complete a film for his estranged and dying son. Ken Takakura is excellent as the withdrawn, non-Chinese speaking father seeking his son's forgiveness and a good story, However the remarkable helpfulness of everyone Takakura comes across - officialdom, translators, prison guards, an entire rural village - was a little too good to be true, and did made me wonder how much a Chinese Government stamp of approval is affecting the director's work nowadays
    Lesley N Super Reviewer
  • Oct 29, 2009
    I have to admit I m not fan of Asian Movies such this one.
    Jason Super Reviewer
  • Oct 22, 2009
    <b>If you are familiar to Asian Movies, you ll enjoy this one. If not you ll really have a tough time to follow the plot. LOL I read a user wrote: <center><i>I'm still trying to figure out, WHY. Why what you ask, why I continue to watch this bloody movie, I mean theres no blood in the movie, just an expression, Guy wandering around trying to do good for his dying son, but tends to piss people off</I></center> <b> Well each to their own anyway. I liked it. Not one of the best though watchable.
    Lilo C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 19, 2009
    This Chinese / Japanese drama film directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Ken Takakura won San Diego Film Critics Society Award as Best Foreign Language Film in 2006 and Best Actor Award (Ken Takakura) and in 2007 Best Asian Film Award at the Hong Kong Film Awards... with a reason! Not as lavish as Hero and House of Flying Daggers this movie is a wonderful journey of late understanding and redemption between a father and dying son.
    Panta O Super Reviewer

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