Green Snake

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This article is about the Hong Kong film Green Snake. For the North American Green snake, see Opheodrys.
Green Snake
Directed by Tsui Hark
Produced by Tsui Hark
Ng See Yuen
Written by Lilian Lee (novel)
Tsui Hark
Starring Maggie Cheung
Joey Wong
Vincent Zhao
Wu Hsing-kuo
Release dates
  • 1993 (1993)
Running time 99 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese

Green Snake (青蛇, literal Chinese title: The Teal/Green Snake) is a 1993 Hong Kong fantasy film made by Tsui Hark. It is the adaptation of a novel of the same title by Lilian Lee.

The novel itself is a variation of a Chinese folk tale Madame White Snake, where Lillian Lee tells the story from the perspective of Xiaoqing, the Green Snake, who normally plays a supporting role behind the main character Bai Suzhen, the White Snake. As the title suggests, the movie also features Xiaoqing as the main character.


Two snake spirits have been training for many centuries to take human form and experience the love, freedom and wisdom that is supposedly only available to humans. White Snake (Joey Wong) is the more experienced one and proceeds to get engaged with local scholar Hsui Xien (Wu Hsing-Kuo), with whom she plans to have a child which would complete her passage into the mortal realm. Green Snake (Maggie Cheung) is the younger and more impulsive of the two sisters and she is not yet quite sure about the benefits of the human world. The two snakes move into their magically created house and start a successful medical practice in the town.

Their enemies are a buffoonish Taoist and an overzealous Buddhist monk Fa Hoi (Vincent Zhao) who make various attempts to banish them from the human world. The monk thinks of himself as a keeper of the natural order of the world and is very prejudiced against spiritual beings seeking to improve themselves. He brings things to a head when he abducts White's husband from the human/spirit mixed marriage into his religious reeducation camp–styled temple.

The pregnant White Snake and the Green Snake proceed to rescue Hsui Xien with their magical prowess. They pit their skills against the monk by trying to flood the temple situated atop a mountain, thereby causing severe catastrophe in the region.

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