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To Live (MGM World Films) (1994)

4.8 out of 5 stars 144 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

When the irresponsible Xu Fugui loses his family's fortune during a gambling spree he causes his loved ones incredible hardship. Fugui's father dies from a heart attack upon hearing the news and his pregnant wife abandons him. Unable to put bread on the table even for himself Fugui works as a street vender and when his wife notices his uncustomary humility she returns. Within a year Fugui desires to open a shop but is unable to raise the necessary funds. Instead of money the local loan shark gives him his old shadow puppets. Soon Fugui masters the art of puppetry which increases his paltry income -- but also serves as propaganda for the imminent Communist Revolution.System Requirements:Running Time: 125 Mins.Format: DVD MOVIE Genre: DRAMA Rating: NR UPC: 027616085269 Manufacturer No: M108526

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: You Ge, Gong Li
  • Directors: Zhang Yimou
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Chinese
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: July 24, 2007
  • Run Time: 124 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (144 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6302292565
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #179,922 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: VHS Tape
I won't go into the details of this movie, one because it really should be enjoyed without any preface, and two because it has been described elsewhere. I rented the movie purely to see Gong Li, who is one of the most beautiful actresses out there. I was absolutely blown away by this film. The story, the acting, the flow; everything about it was masterful. I am a big fan of Zhang Yimou, but this film far outshines any other work he's done before or after. Gong's acting is superb, matched entirely by You Ge. The scene with the "tea" revenge caught me so offhand, in both the touching portral of Chinese family life mixed with the wonderful quirky humor, that I laughed out loud and nearly choked on some ice tea I was drinking at the time. 10 minutes later I was crying my eyes out. This movie left me shaking at the end, and I kept reliving scenes over and over days after I returned the rental. "To Live" is one of the best all-time films ever made, period.
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Format: VHS Tape
To live, an inalienable right of human beings that sounds so basic, one could easily take it for granted. However, during most of the time in this century in China, to live could be nothing less than a luxury.
The movie presents the audience a vivid picture of a former gambling addict, who lost every penny his family ever owned and, to his abyss, his family. One would not expect this mishap could save his life several decades later, when those financially privileged were executed as the people's enemies by the new government under the leadership of Chairman Mao.
He fought for the Nationalist government, became POW shortly after. He then served in the communist PLA, entertaining the staff as a master of shadow play.
The civil war ended, the country was split, while his wife and two children came back to him.
He thought it was time for peace, after so many years of warfare ranging from the revolution against the emperor to the Sino-Japanese War to the civil war. Like most Chinese, he felt that he could finally stand up.
To his disappointment, since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, he witnessed the Great Leap Forward, the class struggle, the Culture Revolution. Years of turmoil chattered all his dreams. His only goal became downgraded to living a simple life. He spared no effort to protect his family, but still lost his only son.
It took a quarter century after the civil war before he saw the long overdue peace. When the notorious Culture Revolution was over, there also disappeared the people's euphoria about the communism, as symbolized by the striking contrast in the different answers to the same question about the future of their family.
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Format: VHS Tape
Unfortunately foreign movies do not get the credit and publicity they deserve. If only people would be more open minded about foreign movies, they would discover the movie "To Live". To Live is a movie about life itself. It reflects what the common people in China experienced during the Cultural Revolution. We follow the life of an ordinary family that goes through many hardships, wondering if they would live or die. Through the hard times, it makes them realize how important life, family, and love really is. Ultimately in a country where there is so much chaos and tragedy, the only thing the people want, is TO LIVE. The actors/actresses in this movie are splendid, Gong Li is absolutely beautiful. I believe that her role in To Live is the most powerful and finest compared to all of her other movies. Somehow I can not explain it but Chinese movies have a way of portraying a person's character, their emotions in such a way that hits you right on the spot. That is something that American movies have not achieved yet. This movie will make you cry, laugh, and be thankful that you are alive. We win, we lose, life is not easy. I recommend this movie for anyone and everyone. It will make you think about your own life and be more thankful for what you have and don't have. It is just unfortunate that most people would never consider watching a Chinese movie, well they are missing out on the greatest movie.
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Format: VHS Tape
This is absolutely my all-time favorite movie! "To Live" takes a different approach to narrate the confusing periods in Chinese history in the 20th century, to tell a store of life, and a history of a nation. Don't get me wrong! It's not a heavy movie like other portrayal movies of Chinese History such as "Farewell My Concubine", "Blue Kite" or "the Last Emperor" (they're good movies as well, but no comparison to "To Live"); quite the contrary, "To Live" is humorous, delightful, positive, and encouraging. It's not only a good comedy that makes you laugh, but also makes you laugh with tears in your eyes, sad and sore in your heart.
The main story line is how am ordinary family of Fu Gui (Ge You) and Jia Zhen (Gong Li) went through their lives in various movements, wars and revolutions in China. A careless gambler, Fu Gui, lost everything he had - money, property and family - only left with a set of puppets. It's the same set of puppets that went through all the ups and downs with Fu Gui, his family and friends. Through all the tragic and comic moments and events, through all the bitter-sweetness and irony, the characters were in such a positive spirit that they could make jokes of anything in life, but only through the body languages and their eyes, you could see the heartache.
There is an old Chinese proverb that states, "the old man lost his horse, but it turned out to be his good luck". The entire movie is based on this theory: whether you gain or lose, promote or demote, you would never know if it were good for you at the end. Life is a series of comedic dramas; if you don't face it with a positive attitude and joke back, even during the hardest struggle, you would not be able to survive.
This movie is a masterpiece if you want to find out the meaning of Life, and how meaningful it is "to live"!
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