The Swordsman

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For the comic book characters, see Swordsman (comics). For the 1974 film, see The Swordsman (1974 film).
The Swordsman
Film poster
Traditional 笑傲江湖
Simplified 笑傲江湖
Mandarin Xiào Ào Jiāng Hú
Cantonese Siu3 Ngou6 Gong1 Wu4
Directed by King Hu
Ching Siu-tung (uncredited)
Ann Hui (uncredited)
Andrew Kam (uncredited)
Tsui Hark (uncredited)
Screenplay by Kwan Man-leung
Story by Louis Cha
Starring Sam Hui
Cecilia Yip
Jacky Cheung
Sharla Cheung
Fennie Yuen
Music by Romeo Díaz
James Wong
Cinematography Andy Lam
Peter Pau
Edited by Marco Mak
David Wu
Film Workshop
Release date(s)
  • 5 April 1990 (1990-04-05)
Running time 120 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese

The Swordsman or Swordsman is a 1990 Hong Kong wuxia film. King Hu was credited as the director but he allegedly left the project midway, and the film was completed by a team led by producer Tsui Hark. The film is adapted from Louis Cha's novel The Smiling, Proud Wanderer. The theme song of the film, Chong Hoi Yat Sing Siu (滄海一聲笑), was written by Wong Jim and performed by lead actor Sam Hui.


During the Ming dynasty, the Sunflower Manual (葵花寶典) was stolen from the palace and a Jinyiwei team is sent to retrieve it. The Jinyi Wei attack Lin Zhennan and his son Lin Pingzhi, and the Lins separate to avoid their pursuers. Lin Zhennan meets Linghu Chong and Yue Lingshan from the Mount Hua Sect, requesting them to inform his son about the manual's location. Just then, Zuo Lengshan appears and a fight ensues, but Linghu Chong and Yue Lingshan manage to escape.

They travel to meet Yue Buqun at a retirement ceremony and encounter Liu Zhengfeng and Qu Yang along the way. Linghu Chong strikes up a friendship with them and they perform their musical piece Xiaoao Jianghu (笑傲江湖). On the day of the ceremony, Zuo Lengshan shows up and attempts to force Liu Zhengfeng to hand over Linghu Chong, accusing Liu of conspiring with the Demonic Cult. Liu Zhengfeng and Qu Yang manage to fight their way out despite being surrounded by several enemies. At the same time, Linghu Chong is wounded by Zuo Lengshan and he escapes and hides near the river. He hears Liu Zhengfeng and Qu Yang playing their musical piece and finds them. Liu Zhengfeng and Qu Yang present Linghu Chong with their instruments and the music score.


Box office[edit]

The film grossed HK$16,052,552 at the Hong Kong box office.[1]


Critical review of the film has found deep themes involving the film's exploration of the nature of power, loss, relationships and memory. The irony of the villains' search for the world's most powerful martial arts scroll is that it is repeatedly mistaken for a scroll containing the score for an eloquent song about the folly of man and the mystery of life.


External links[edit]