From the early days of film, we have been fascinated with China. The Chinese have been associated with positive images like wisdom, hard work, and loyalty, despite political and religious differences with the west. From The Good Earth to the Oscar winning The Last Emperor, to the recent film The Painted Veil, here are 18 quotes that portray how films define the enigmatic country that is China.
“China is a nation whose soul is firmly rooted two thousand years in the past."
M. Butterfly (1993) – Song Liling (John Lone)
“You're in China now, sir, where time and life have no value.”
Shanghai Express (1932) – Henry Chang (Warner Oland)"
“This mystery is appropriately Chinese: ‘what's not there’ seems to have just as much meaning as ‘what is there’.”
Chan is Missing (1982) – Jo (Wood Moy)
“The Chinese have a strange way of finding out things that we miss.”
Behind That Curtain (1929) – Sir Frederick Bruce (Gilbert Emery)
“Better for Oriental to lose life than lose face.”
Charlie Chan at the Olympics (1937) – Charlie Chan (Warner Oland)
“In the land of China, people hardly got nothing at all.”
Forrest Gump (1994) – Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks)
“In the great country of China, when a stranger admires one of your possessions, it's common courtesy to offer it to him.”
Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) – Grandpa (Harry Davenport)
“Did you know that in Chinese the word for ‘crisis’ is the same as the word for ‘opportunity’?”
The New Age (1994) – Peter Witner (Peter Weller)
“In China, we hold the welfare of the state above that of the individual. We have six times the population of your country, Mr. Moore, and one-tenth the crime rate. Tell me, who is right?”
Red Corner (1997) – Shen Yuelin (Bai Ling)
“You know in China a fruit monger can leave his cart in the middle of a square overnight and when he comes back in the morning, not a single fruit will be missing?”
Young Love (2001) – Martti (Pekka Lukka)
“As is the Chinese cook's custom, my mother always insults her own cooking, but only with the dishes she serves with special pride.”
The Joy Luck Club (1993) – Waverly Jong (Tamlyn Tomita)
“But what kind of people are the Chinese? Well, in four thousand years of continuous history, China has never fought a war of aggression. They're that kind of people.”
The Battle of China (1944) – Narrator (Anthony Veiller)
“You should've gone to China, you know, because I hear they give away babies like free iPods. They pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events.”
Juno (2007) – Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page)
“Roland is so blessed to have such a thoughtful sister. You know, in countries like China, Hilary Faye would probably have been killed at birth.”
Saved! (2004) – Veronica (Elizabeth Thai)
“I tell you the story because I was raised the Chinese way. I was taught to desire nothing, to swallow other people's misery, and to eat my own bitterness.”
The Joy Luck Club (1993) – An-Mei (Lisa Lu)
“You don't like rice? Tell me Michael, how could a billion Chinese people be wrong?”
The Lost Boys (1987) – David (Kiefer Sutherland)
“Why are Chinese secrets always ancient? Why aren't there any new and improved Chinese secrets?”
Kung Phooey (2003) – Roy Lee (Colman Domingo) “
I think China belongs to the Chinese people, but the rest of the world seems to disagree.”
The Painted Veil (2006) – Colonel Yu (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang)
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