The Love Eterne

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"Love Eterne" redirects here. For the 2011 film, see Love Eterne (film).
The Love Eterne
Shaw Brothers film poster
Traditional 梁山伯與祝英台
Simplified 梁山伯与祝英台
Mandarin Liáng Shānbó yǔ Zhù Yīngtái
Cantonese Loeng4 Saan1baak3 jyu5 Zuk1 Jing1toi4
Directed by Li Han Hsiang
Produced by Run Run Shaw
Written by Li Han Hsiang
Starring Betty Loh Ti
Ivy Ling Po
Music by Zhou Lanping
Cinematography Tadashi Nishimoto
Edited by Chiang Hsing-lung
Distributed by Shaw Brothers Studio
Release date(s)
  • 3 April 1963 (1963-04-03)
Running time 126 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Mandarin

The Love Eterne (pinyin: Liáng Shānbó yǔ Zhù Yīngtái, lit. "Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai") is a 1963 Hong Kong musical film of the Huangmei opera genre directed by Li Han Hsiang. It is based on the Chinese classic story The Butterfly Lovers, which is sometimes referred to as the Romeo and Juliet of the Far East.[1] The film was selected as the Hong Kong entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 36th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.[2]


A young 16-year-old girl, Zhu Ying Tai, managed to convince her parents to send her to college at Hangzhou on the condition that she went in the guise of a man. Along her journey to the college, she met 17-year-old Liang Shan Bo who was attending the same school. They became sworn "brothers" and studied for three years together. Over this period of time, they formed a strong friendship. Ying Tai gradually fell in love with Shan Bo who, being a bookworm, never did discover what she was despite coming across a couple of oddities. When she was summoned home by her father, Ying Tai revealed the truth to her headmaster's wife. Ying Tai requested that she be the matchmaker for her and Shan Bo and gave her a jade pendant as a token to be handed to Shanbo.

Shan Bo walked with Ying Tai for 18 miles to send off his sworn brother. She tried several times to hint to him her identity during the journey but to no avail, despite insulting him twice in her exacerbation with his denseness. Finally, she found a way and got his consent to matchmake him to her "twin sister". She exhorted him to seek out his fiancee soon before they reluctantly took leave of each other at the pavilion where they first met. Upon returning to school, Shan Bo was restless and could not concentrate on his studies in the absence of his sworn brother. Seeing this, the headmaster's wife told him about Ying Tai, gave him the jade pendant and bade him to go propose to her.

The joy of the reunion of the two came to naught when Ying Tai told Shan Bo he was three months too late. Her father had already betrothed her to the frivolous son of the powerful and wealthy Ma family. Shan Bo, who was already ailing, was deeply grieved. He returned home and his health steadily deteriorated. Several days before her wedding day, he asked to see her again. When his servant returned instead with a token from her, it was the final blow. He sent his servant to Ying Tai with a last gift and died. Ying Tai was stricken with sorrow and forced her father to come to a compromise: to allow her to visit Shan Bo's tomb on the way to her betrothed's home or she would not marry. At the tomb, she swore her undying love for Shan Bo and that if they could not be together in life, she would rather be with him in death. A tornado sprang up and an earthquake split the tomb in two whereupon Ying Tai threw herself into it. The whipping winds covered the tomb with sand. After the winds died down, two residual pieces of cloth from Ying Tai's mourning clothes transform into two butterflies, and flutter away to the heavens.

The reaction of the audience on film[edit]

The film from the beginning of his show won enormous popularity in almost all of Southeast Asia, especially in the central region of Taiwan, where the movie while cut off the success of all other countries several films together, breaking the record fees [3]

According to the film director Ang Lee, the film "became so popular in Taiwan that some claimed to have seen it 500 times. Lines of its dialogue became part of everyday conversation ... People would take two box lunches, go the theater and watch it all day long. My parents were watching it often. I remember the third time they went to see it, there was a typhoon coming, and they still left us at home. 'O.K., we're going to see this movie, bye.' ' ... The film was popular with everyone - from children and housewives to university intellectuals."[4]


  • Zhu Ying Tai: Betty Loh Ti
  • Liang Shan Bo: Ivy Ling Po
  • Ying Hsin: - Ren Jie
  • Si Jiu: - Li Kun
  • Old Master Zhu: Ching Miao
  • Madam Zhu: Chen Yen-yen
  • Headmaster: Yang Chih-ching
  • Headmaster's wife: Kao Pao-shu
  • Extra: Jackie Chan (uncredited)

Production note[edit]

The story of "Liang Shan Bo Yu Zhu Ying Tai" is a folk legend set during the period of the Jin Dynasty. There had been various film and TV renditions but the Shaw Brothers' version, directed by Li Han Hsiang, is the only adaptation that remains popular to this day. It was a hit in Taiwan, breaking records at the box office in 1963, becoming the largest grossing film at that time.[1] The songs and lyrics left an impression on audiences in East and Southeast Asia. This film can be considered a quintessential Huang Mei film. In particular, the song 十八相送 ("Eighteen Miles Away") was popularized by the film.

Second Golden Horse Awards (1963)[edit]

  • Best Film
  • Best Director: Li Han Hsiang
  • Best Actress: Betty Loh Ti
  • Special Award For Outstanding Performance: Ivy Ling Po
  • Best Music: Zhou Lan-Ping
  • Best Editing: Chiang Hsing-loong

Huangmei Opera Vocals[edit]

  • Zhu Ying Tai: Tsin Ting
  • Liang Shan Bo: Ivy Ling Po
  • Old Master Zhu: Kiang Hung (Ying Tai's father)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Berry, Michael. [2005] (2005). Speaking in Images: Interviews with Contemporary Chinese Filmmakers. Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-13330-8
  2. ^ Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
  3. ^ [1], About Shaw > Shaw Studio, Hong Kong > Shaw Studio, 1960.
  4. ^ [2], The New York Times, 9 March 2001

External links[edit]