Once a Thief (1991 film)
|Once a Thief|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||John Woo|
|Produced by||Terence Chang
|Written by||John Woo
|Music by||Lam Man-yee|
|Edited by||David Wu|
|Distributed by||Golden Princess Film Production Limited|
|Release date(s)||Hong Kong:
2 February 1991
14 January 1994
|Running time||103 min.|
Once a Thief is a 1991 Hong Kong crime film written and directed by John Woo, starring Chow Yun-fat, Leslie Cheung, Cherie Chung, Kenneth Tsang and Chu Kong. The film was released in the Hong Kong on 2 February 1991.
Although the action sequences are quite faithful to Woo's typical choreography, comic relief and the general mood distinguish it from his grittier works, such as his previous film, Bullet in the Head (1990). Fans of the bloodier John Woo movies may find the bizarre mix of Stephen Chow-like mo lei tau rather confusing. Nonetheless, Woo's endeavor to make something lighter amidst his series of heroic bloodshed films translated to somewhat of a box office success in Hong Kong.
The story is of three orphans (Chow Yun-fat, Leslie Cheung, Cherie Chung) and their two father figures (Kenneth Tsang and Chu Kong). They are taken in by both a wealthy crime boss (Tsang) which leads to their close friendship, and a kind police officer (Chu). Nevertheless, the trio grows up learning high-tech methods of theft and specialize in stealing treasured paintings. After a heist in France goes awry, Chow's character is thought to be dead and Leslie takes Chow's place as Cherie's lover. However, Chow returns in a wheelchair and the group begins planning their next heist for themselves, fall out of favor with Tsang, and various complications and gun battles ensue.
- Chow Yun-fat as Red Bean Pudding
- Leslie Cheung as James
- Cherie Chung as Red Bean
- Kenneth Tsang as Chow
- Chu Kong as Godfather
- Woo Fung
- John Dang Yat-gwan as Young Red Bean Pudding
- Tong Ka-fai as Young James
- Leila Tong as Young Red Bean
- Declan Wong as Magician Henchman
- David Wu as Auctioneer
- John Woo as Stanley Wu
The film grossed $33,397,149 HKD in Hong Kong.
- Once a Thief (1996), a Canadian TV movie remake starring with Nicholas Lea and Ivan Sergei that was later spun off into a television series of the same name which ran from 1997 to 1998. Both films were directed by John Woo.
On 10 January 2005, a DVD was released by Hong Kong Legends in the United Kingdom.
- Once a Thief at the Internet Movie Database
- Once a Thief at AllMovie
- Once a Thief at Rotten Tomatoes