Days of Being Wild

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Days of Being Wild
Hong Kong promotional release poster
MandarinĀfēi Zhèngzhuàn
CantoneseAa3 Fei1 zing3zyun6
LiterallyTrue story of a hooligan
Directed byWong Kar-wai
Produced byAlan Tang
Written byWong Kar-wai
StarringLeslie Cheung
Andy Lau
Maggie Cheung
Carina Lau
Jacky Cheung
Tony Leung
Music byTerry Chan
Leuribna-Lombardo Oflyne
CinematographyChristopher Doyle
Edited byKai Kit-wai
Patrick Tam
Distributed byIn-Gear Films
Release date
  • 15 December 1990 (1990-12-15)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryHong Kong
Box officeUS$146,310 (Worldwide)[1]

Days of Being Wild is a 1990 Hong Kong drama film directed by Wong Kar-wai. The film stars some of the best-known actors and actresses in Hong Kong, including Leslie Cheung, Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, Carina Lau, Jacky Cheung and Tony Leung Chiu-wai. Days of Being Wild also marks the first collaboration between Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle, with whom he has since made six more films.[2][3]

The movie forms the first part of an informal trilogy, together with In the Mood for Love (released in 2000) and 2046 (released in 2004).[3]


The movie is set in Hong Kong and the Philippines in 1960–61. Yuddy, or 'York' in English (Leslie Cheung), is a playboy in Hong Kong and is well known for stealing girls' hearts and breaking them. His first lover in the film is Li-zhen (Maggie Cheung), who suffers emotional and mental depression as a result of Yuddy's wayward attitude. Li-zhen eventually seeks much-needed solace from a sympathetic policeman named Tide (Andy Lau). Their near-romance is often hinted at but never materializes.

York's next romance is with a vivacious cabaret dancer whose stage name is Mimi (Carina Lau). Mimi is also loved by York's best friend, Zeb (Jacky Cheung). Unsurprisingly, York dumps her too and she begins a period of self-destruction. York initiates romantic relationships but refuses to commit to the relationship and is unwilling to make compromises. He is conflicted about his feelings about his adoptive mother, a former prostitute played by Rebecca Pan, and is obsessed about his biological mother, who he eventually discovers is a Filipino aristocrat.

Cast and roles[edit]


  • Los Indios Tabajaras, "Always In My Heart"
  • Xavier Cugat, "Perfidia"
  • Leslie Cheung performed the song 何去何從之阿飛正傳 loosely translated as 'Choice' or 'The True Story of Ah Fei' as the film's theme song and is also found in his album Beloved (寵愛).
  • 梅豔芳 (Anita Mui) – 是這樣的 – the Cantonese cover of the theme song and is featured at the end of the film during the credits.

Box office[edit]

Days of Being Wild grossed HK $9,751,942 in its Hong Kong run,[5] a number that would become typical for a Wong Kar Wai film. With the starry cast, this figure was considered a disappointment. Still, the film was successful enough to warrant a parody (The Days of Being Dumb, which also featured Tony Leung), and now routinely tops Hong Kong critics' lists of the best local productions.


Based on retrospective reviews from western media, Days of Being Wild holds a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes,[6] and a 96/100 on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim".[7]

The film ranked at number three on the Hong Kong Film Awards Association (HKFAA)'s 2005 list of The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures.[8] It placed at number 37 on the "Asian Cinema 100 List" at the 20th Busan International Film Festival in 2015.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations
Ceremony Category Recipient Outcome
10th Hong Kong Film Awards Best Film Days of Being Wild Won
Best Director Wong Kar-wai Won
Best Screenplay Wong Kar-wai Nominated
Best Actor Leslie Cheung Won
Best Actress Carina Lau Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Rebecca Pan Nominated
Best Cinematography Christopher Doyle Won
Best Art Direction William Chang Won
Best Film Editing Patrick Tam Nominated
37th Asia Pacific Film Festival Best Actor Leslie Cheung Nominated
2nd Golden Bauhinia Awards Best Hong Kong film of the last 10 years Days of Being Wild Won
24th Hong Kong Film Awards Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures (#3) Days of Being Wild Won
Top 100 Favorite movies of Chinese Cinema (#2) Days of Being Wild Won
48th Golden Horse Awards 100 Greatest Chinese-Language Films (#4) Days of Being Wild Won

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Days Of Being Wild". Retrieved 22 July 2011.
  2. ^ Kevin Crust (7 January 2005). "'Days of Being Wild'". Los Angeles Times.
  3. ^ a b "What cinema's movers and shakers say about Wong Kar-Wai I may never come back from Shanghai?". The Daily Telegraph. UK. 31 December 2004.
  4. ^ Brunette, Peter; Wong, Kar-wai (22 March 2005). "Wong Kar-wai". University of Illinois Press – via Google Books.
  5. ^ "Days of being wild". Hong Kong Film Archive. Archived from the original on 23 April 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  6. ^ Days of Being Wild (A Fei zheng chuan), retrieved 10 November 2017
  7. ^ "Days of Being Wild (re-release)". Metacritic. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  8. ^ "The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures" (in Chinese). Hong Kong Film Awards Association. Retrieved 10 November 2019.

External links[edit]