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Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (2006)



Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 75
Fresh: 60 | Rotten: 15

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.


Average Rating: 7.2/10
Critic Reviews: 24
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 4

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.



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Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 14,154

My Rating

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


Art House & International, Drama

Yimou Zhang, Jingzhi Zou, zou Jenghi

Feb 6, 2007

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All Critics (78) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (60) | Rotten (15) | DVD (7)

The themes are universal (if a touch corny), the rugged Chinese scenery is stupendous, and the performances are touching.

October 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

What remains most vividly after Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles, however, is not its story but its world--the immersion in that world of a foreigner, not a polo-shirted Yank but a stiff-necked Japanese. And it is all overseen by a Chinese director.

October 26, 2006
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It sounds like a slight plot, and it is, but it is rich in detail that makes up for the simplicity of the story.

October 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
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It's a masterful little film, and, thanks to Zhang's seasoned hands, it's subtly heartfelt but never manipulative.

October 19, 2006 Full Review Source: Washington Post
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A father takes a spiritual journey from Japan to China to help mend a decades-long rift between himself and his dying son. The lessons learned en route are as profound as they are simple.

October 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press
Detroit Free Press
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Relatively speaking, minor Yimou, yet it retains that extraordinary cinematic sensibility and superbly observed humanity that characterizes all his work.

October 12, 2006 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A profound example of unashamed feeling expanding across cultural barriers

August 30, 2009 Full Review Source: CinePassion

This may be one man's story but the themes are epic.

June 14, 2008 Full Review Source: Eye for Film
Eye for Film

The director fails to overcome a script that ignores the backstory of the characters, and that agonizingly details minor subplots.

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

The story may be sentimental, but Yimou layers it by adding cultural clash to the generational ones.

February 24, 2007 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

From real-life opera singer Jianin to travel agent Lin Qiu and youngster Zhenbo Yang, the cast is the genuine article...

February 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Reeling Reviews
Reeling Reviews

...gorgeously photographed and, like Babel, a subtly organized commentary on the ways people strive to communicate.

December 6, 2006 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Zhang is one of the world's great filmmakers, both in technique and in his rich humanity. Riding Alone will move you.

November 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Yeah, yeah. Cue the violin music. But also grab a tissue, because the film levels far more of an impact than you might expect.

November 23, 2006 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

Sometimes, when the right movie people come together, a blatantly commercial decision actually strengthens the artistic impulse, as you can see from Zhang's filial treatment of Takakura in Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles.

November 11, 2006 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

The scenery is spectacular, and the movie does boast fine performances by both the stone-faced Takakura and scene-stealing newcomer Yang Zhenbo.

November 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

Ken Takakura's memorable performance, occasional light comedy and striking Chinese scenery don't keep Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles and its big message from being ponderous and affected.

November 10, 2006 Full Review Source: Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)

The movie's message is a little too Hallmark Hall of Fame, but Zhang's observant eye neatly captures the idiosyncrasies of Chinese life and the heartbreak in Gouichi's journey.

November 10, 2006
Salt Lake Tribune

It's the kind of story that shows more than it tells, a story that's forged in the spaces that exist in between characters and spaces.

October 30, 2006 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

A meticulously crafted film in which nothing is ever forced or overstated. There's a grace and subtlety that pervades the film and quietly impresses.

October 28, 2006

Its relentless sentimentality soon turns disingenuous.

October 27, 2006 Full Review Source: Las Vegas Weekly
Las Vegas Weekly

Fathers and sons can't understand each other in Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles, a simple theme in a movie that is simply breathtaking.

October 26, 2006 Full Review Source: St. Paul Pioneer Press
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Audience Reviews for Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles

May 23, 2007

Super Reviewer

Just to start off, let's call this the little Asian film that thinks it can. Certainly it does, and it almost succeeds (and does succeed on some levels), and it's awful pretty looking along the way, but it lacks a certain something. In this it reminds me of another recent Asian film: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring - both had a lot of potential and some good acting, and some potent (if almost overbearing, at times) imagery, but lacked the execution to get the film where it needed to be, it just sort of flounders somewhere in the middle. Granted, to be fair, I liked Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles a lot better - it had far more redeeming factors; for example, the wonderful performance of Ken Takakura really anchors the film and gives you a reason to keep on. As well, the film picks up significantly once the plot of Yang Yang and his father comes into play. If more time had spent on that it would have strengthened the main plot of Takata and his dying son. Anyway, this is a good film, it's definitely worth watching, but it definitely wasn't all that it could have been due to some sloppy storytelling.
January 20, 2008

Super Reviewer

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
October 28, 2007
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

[font=Century Gothic]In "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles", Takata(Ken Takakura) has been estranged from his son, Ken-ichi, for the past ten years and is living in a remote fishing village. When he gets a call from his daughter-in-law, Rie(Shinobu Terajima), that his son is in the hospital, Takata ventures to Tokyo to see him but he refuses to see his father. Not entirely deterred, Rie gives Takata a tape of some footage that his son shot for a documentary on Chinese mask opera but could not get a key performance because the singer was ill. When Ken-ichi is diagnosed as having terminal liver cancer, Takata resolves to go back to the same Chinese village to videotape the performance his son missed. But this is complicated by the singer being in jail for three years for assault...[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]Directed by Zhang Yimou, "Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles" is a beautiful, emotionally powerful movie with genuine emotions that carefully demolishes the notion of stoic masculinity. The message of the movie is to not keep one's head in the sand. It is about how a person affects the world by simply being a part of it. In short, this is the kind of movie that Steven Spielberg bungles with alarming regularity. [/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]And there is a political subtext if you are looking for it...[/font]
September 11, 2006
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (Qian li zou dan qi) (DE)
  • Riding Alone for Thousands of Miles (UK)
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