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A Dream in Red Mansions (1988)

Hong lou meng (original title)
| Drama | 1988 (China)
The decline of the Jia clan in imperial China.


Tieli Xie, Yuan Zhao


Xueqin Cao (novel), Fengsong Xie (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »




Credited cast:
Jing Xia ... Jia Baoyu (as Qin Xia)
Huimin Tao ... Lin Daiyu
Yiwei Fu ... Xue Baochai
Xiaoqing Liu ... Wang Xifeng
Muyu Lin Muyu Lin ... Jia's Grandmother (as Lin Moyu)
Lirong Zhao ... Granny Liu
Hong Chen ... Zi Juan
Saifei He ... Miao Yu
Suying Huang ... Jia Lian's nannie
Xiuming Li ... Jia Yuanchun
Xiaoqing Ma ... Shi Xiangyun
Jie Zhang Jie Zhang ... Jia Zheng
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Zurong Chen Zurong Chen ... Madam You (as Chen Zurong)
Jinghua Gong Jinghua Gong ... Madam Xing
Wei Guan Wei Guan ... Zi Juan


Based on the mid-eighteenth century novel, The Dream of Red Mansions is a story that tells about the love between Pao Yu and Tai Yu. It also exposes the evils of the feudal system and the crimes of the feudal ruling class through the prosperity and decline of the four notable families of Chia, Shich, Wang, and Hsueh. Tai Yu is a beautiful girl who occasionally gets ill. Her cousin Pao Yu falls for her over the years and puts up with Tai Yu's sensitivity and fragile health. They live in the Grand View Garden of their village along with their cousins and Pao Yu's Siblings, where they go to school and spend quality time. The story gives praise to the revolts of the slaves in the Grand View Garden and reflects the social contradictions and early democratic thinking of their time. Written by Oliver Chu

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based on novel | See All (1) »




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Was released in six parts, over the years 1988-89. See more »

User Reviews

A lovely, though not perfect, adaptation
27 December 2017 | by eddiechongkySee all my reviews

This is a lovely adaptation of the Dream of the Red Chamber, China's greatest classical novel. It has been compared - often unfairly, to its detriment - to the great 1987 CCTV TV series adaptation which was screened just a year ago before this long movie (765 minutes) hit the cinema. But this movie has strengths of its own, especially in adapting some episodes which was neglected in the TV series. So the whole movie starts in the Land of Illusion, from chapter 5 of the novel, which was quite exotic and beautifully done.

Comparing the two adaptations, I think what sets the two adaptations apart is in the role of the male protagonist. Unfortunately, the 1988-9 film prefers to use a woman in drag for the role (which was a practice of Chinese operas, to make sure the male and female leads do not develop romantic feelings for each other). It does not really work in the movie - Qia Qing was good and decent but at no time do you forget she is really a woman. She was no substitute for Ouyang Fengqiang in the TV series, a perfect Jia Baoyu. However, both the Lin Daiyu and Xue Baochai are excellent, the Lin Daiyu surpassing in grace and beauty though Chen XIaoxu better portrays the character's wittiness and melancholy.) Fu Yiwei is very pretty and makes an outstanding Xue Baochai, though I marginally prefer Zhang Li for being just as beautifully but a bit more prim and proper. Deng Jie's 1987 Wang Xifeng trumps Liu Xiaoqing's movie portrayal however. An unsung heroine is Tanchun, whom I feel is superior in acting skills to the actress in the TV series.

In short, I think the casting of the 1987 version is superior to the 1988 movie adaptation, but if you stop comparing the two you will discover the strengths of the cinematic version. It is in general very faithful and affecting, even though I really dislike the Cheng-Gao ending, with excellent acting skills. This movie is certainly very long, but this can only be a good thing if you are watching the film because of the book. The colors of the print I watched wasn't perfect, but I can imagine the resolution and color to surpass that of the TV series if China were to restore this in 4K. And I really hope they do.

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Release Date:

1988 (China) See more »

Also Known As:

A Dream in Red Mansions See more »

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Beijing Film Studio See more »
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