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Raise the Red Lantern (MGM World Films) (1991)

Li Gong , Jingwu Ma , Yimou Zhang  |  PG |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Li Gong, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He, Cuifen Cao, Qi Zhao
  • Directors: Yimou Zhang
  • Writers: Ni Zhen, Su Tong
  • Producers: Fu-Sheng Chiu, Hsiao-Hsien Hou, Wenze Zhang
  • Format: Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 125 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (213 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000PMFS6O
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #113,269 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Raise the Red Lantern (MGM World Films)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Songlian, an educated nineteen-year-old girl, is forced to leave college to become the fourth wife of a powerful, feudal nobleman and becomes involved in the intrigues and rivalries between his other wives.
Genre: Foreign Film - Chinese
Rating: PG
Release Date: 24-JUL-2007
Media Type: DVD

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
204 of 206 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DVD version clarification July 25, 2007
There is no need for me to praise the movie. It's one of the best movies ever made. I am here to clarify some information so that others won't be too confused.
Last year (January 2006) Razor Digital Entertainment released the DVD version of Raise the Red Lantern, with the poorest quality one can imagine: red isn't red (Raise the Jack-o'-Lantern), black isn't black, horrific subtitles, cropped screen, etc. It wasn't a restoration of a great film, but a decomposition.
This year (July 2007) MGM World Films released the DVD, and this time, I can say the problems are fixed. This is a much much better version. (Except the subtitles. I didn't look at them this time so I didn't pay attention to see if there are many mistakes)

Some 1-star reviews posted here in Amazon were referring to the 2006 DVD quality, not the movie. Some reviews said "excellent movie but do not buy the DVD" and that's because they were talking about the 2006 DVD. Now the 2007 DVD is out, you know which version to buy.
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115 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gong Li is the Best Unknown Actress in Movies May 21, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
If there were any fairness in Hollywood, Gong Li would have won the Academy Award for Best Actress for any one of her many movies. Besides being drop-dead gorgeous, she is an exquisite actress of the first order. The opening scene, a close-up of her face as she resigns herself to her nihilistic future, will convince anyone of this fact. Raise the Red Lantern is a thinking, engrossing movie that dispenses with special effects and overwhelming scores and concentrates on story and acting. Zhang Yimou is famous for delivering biting criticism of the oppressive, delusional aspects of Chinese society. Raise the Red Lantern shows one very strong, independent woman's attempt to overcome thousands of years of historic oppression in early 20th ca China. Women are collectables for rich men, mere objects of possession. The horrific backstabbing and betrayal is among the women themselves as they vie for most-desired-object status. When the human need for dignity and respect surface, the repercussions are catastrophic.
The plot has been well documented, although this is one of those movies where the less you know going in the better. Suffice to say the first thing you'll want to do once the movie is over is to watch it again.
It is disappointing to see a number of very mediocre movies receiving 4 and 5 stars simply because they shun the standard Hollywood formula, as if mainstream automatically equals bad and independent automatically equals good. The mediocrity of these films becomes apparent when compared to indy films of the highest caliber, such as Raise the Red Lantern. Highly, highly recommended.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
By J. Dunn
I second the reviews below. This is a 5-star movie, but the quality of this transfer is horrible. Parts of the movie are very scratchy and full of film debris. Worst yet, to me, are the subtitles. They are laughable. Almost every subtitle contained some error. While it was (sorta) fun to laugh and the odd subtitles, that tended to remove me emotionally from the film. Too bad. The same comments apply to the "Ju-Dou" release from this same company.
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60 of 67 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, beautiful movie - terrible DVD March 13, 2006
I must admit that I feel very hesitant to write a bad review for anything, it just isn't my style, but this DVD was so outrageously bad, I just can't help myself. This was a beautifully filmed and very captivating movie that I have waited for for years with very high anticipation to come out on DVD. I was so very excited when I preordered it, but alas, the picture quality is terrible, and filled with flaws as is the translation. I don't even know where to begin on how bad the translation on the subtitles are, but some of it is absolutely nonsensical to say the least. First of all the movie is set in the early part of the twentieth century, and it actually uses the word "groovy", and in a way that would make no sense even if you were in the correct era. There are many flaws in the sub-titles that were not in the VHS movie, such as words left out that should be there in order to make sense in English, and they have substituted the word "mister" instead of the original "master", and "savant" instead of the original "servant", overall just a very poor English translation I am sorry to say. I don't understand why they didn't just copy the translation word for word from the VHS tape?

I don't wish to discourage anyone from watching this movie, because I feel it is a must see movie, and in my eyes, a must own movie, but I would discourage anyone from buying this rendition of it on DVD. I truly hope it is made once again in a quality DVD version. I will be waiting!
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brutal politics in a marriage of concubines November 5, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Raise the Red Lantern is one of the most extraordinarily beautiful movies I have ever seen. The sets are exquisite tableaux carefully arranged, decorated and framed, and then shot from attractive angles. The scene as they drag the third mistress, kicking and screaming to the tower of death, with the snow falling so peacefully onto the rooftops was chilling in its effect. The startling blaze of color, light and detail within the houses set against the drab simplicity of the courtyards, continually provided a contrast between life within the protection and at the favor of the master, and life without. This dichotomy is symbolized in the vibrant red lamps and the somber blue hue of the lamps when they are covered. In this manner, the mistresses are controlled. I was also struck by the sonorous beauty of the accompanying Chinese music.

But more compelling than the beauty of the film is the story Director Zhang Yimou tells, a tale of paternity and imperious privilege set in early twentieth century China. He begins with the newly arrived fourth mistress, 19-year-old Songlian, a university student who, because of the death of her father, is forced to quit school. She chooses to marry a man of wealth. She is warned by her stepmother that she will be a concubine. She replies, isn't that our fate? Her cynicism and then her robust energy in seeking her ascendancy over the other sisters engages us and we identify with her struggle.

What is extraordinary about Zhang's direction is how easily and naturally the personalities of the characters are revealed. The first mistress ("big sister") is too old to be of any sexual interest to the master, yet she is the mother of the eldest son. The second mistress, who has given the master only a daughter, still dreams of having a son.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Probably one of the best movies ever made
Probably one of the best movies ever made. It is so brilliant!! And the beauty of every shot is just amazing. Great acting
Published 4 days ago by tinker berg
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by Edda Koehn
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see
Despite being in Chinese with subtitles and the scenery rather dreary an outstanding movie. Shows a male upper class lifestyle in China that helps reveal why people were starving... Read more
Published 1 month ago by David R. Poage
5.0 out of 5 stars Raise The Red Lantern
Should be seen by any women who is considering getting married to a Chinese Man ,so that she knows what she is getting into.
Published 3 months ago by maggie shen
5.0 out of 5 stars "If you marry a rich man, you will only be his concubine." "So let me...
This is one of the best films I ever saw - and this is also one of the saddest things I ever saw... Below, more of my impressions, with some SPOILERS. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Maciej
1.0 out of 5 stars "At the bottom of a bottomless pit"
Left feeling at the bottom of a bottomless pit," wrote one reviewer, with whom I concur. If I want consciousness-raisiing I will seek it.

Ebert's review ([... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Bonita
5.0 out of 5 stars No doubt a great movie; Good DVD as well!
This movie depicted the role of a concubine at the beginning of the 20th century in China. It portrayed vividly and poetically woman's right (or lack of it) and fate at that era. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Plantasphilia
5.0 out of 5 stars really liked it
big Gong Li fan. one of her better films. Have watched this one a few times over and still enjoy it. Must recommend for gong li fans.
Published 19 months ago by brian d. bouvier
5.0 out of 5 stars Favorite Zhang Yimou Film
RAISE THE RED LANTERN received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Foreign Film, It is my favorite film by the acclaimed film director Zhang Yimou. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Blue Leaf
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully told story of a 4th wife in 1920s China
This film immediately drew me in and held me tightly until it's tragic ending. I often wonder whether the myriad people required to produce extraordinary films such as this... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Elizabeth Williams
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Saw "Raise the Red Lantern" in high definition on HD movie channel a...
I got my copy directly from Hong Kong (well it came from a company in San Francisco but it is an import), and it's the best mastered version possible. It looks better than even the second american release of the film. By comparison, you can see the high definition of every tile on the roofs of... Read More
Jul 3, 2010 by Rykre |  See all 5 posts
Literal Quality of the Film?
Naw, as you can see by all the comments on amazon, it is the worst digital transfer ever of a film. I myself own the VHS version, and the quality, color and subtitles are superior to the DVD, which I had bought from amazon, which I thought was pirated too, and promptly returned at a loss of... Read More
Jan 11, 2008 by L. Christnot |  See all 5 posts
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