Dream of the Red Chamber (1987 TV series)

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Dream of the Red Chamber
MandarinHónglóu Mèng
GenreHistorical, romantic
Based onDream of the Red Chamber by Cao Xueqin
Written byZhou Lei
Liu Genglu
Zhou Ling
Directed byWang Fulin
StarringOuyang Fenqiang as Jia Baoyu
Chen Xiaoxu as Lin Daiyu
Zhang Li as Xue Baochai
Deng Jie as Wang Xifeng
Country of originChina
Original language(s)Mandarin
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes36
Executive producer(s)Wang Fulin
Production location(s)China
Production company(s)China Central Television
Original networkCCTV
Original release1987

Dream of the Red Chamber (Chinese: 红楼梦; pinyin: Hónglóu Mèng), released in 1987, was a television series produced by CCTV adapted from the classic Chinese novel Dream of the Red Chamber. It gained enormous popularity for its music, cast, and plot adaptation. It was first filmed in Beijing in Mandarin, then the series was translated into Cantonese, Shanghainese, and other languages and aired in the rest of China. The series is 36 episodes long.

The TV series is regarded by many within China as being a near-definitive adaptation of the novel. A TV remake of the novel started airing in 2010; however, much objection was raised over the unorthodox costume design and other contested interpretations.

Plot summary[edit]

The series follows the plot of Cao Xueqin's novel Dream of the Red Chamber. The series begins with the mother-less child, Lin Daiyu - whose beauty and intelligence surpasses all - moving into the family compound of her maternal grandmother in the capital. There, the child meets numerous relatives, one of whom is Jia Baoyu, her mother's nephew and male protagonist. Baoyu was born with a piece of jade in his mouth and, so, is treated like a fragile egg and spoiled by his grandmother. He often spends his time with his female cousins and maids instead of tending to his studies. In addition to Daiyu, one of the cousins he spends time with the most is the tactful Xue Baochai.

As the story goes on, Baoyu and Daiyu eventually fall in love with each other, but Daiyu is not very well liked by the family and, instead, the family members favor Baochai. Eventually, Baoyu and Baochai are forced to marry, and Daiyu dies of a broken heart. The series ends with the Emperor confiscating the Jia family properties and the family members scattered, some to their own tragic end. While some of the members do eventually reunite, Baoyu leaves the village to become a monk.

Many famous scenes from the novel are adapted in incredible accuracy in the serial. Such scenes include Daiyu Weeps Over Falling Blossoms, The Theory of Gold and Jade, and The Profligate Secretly Takes Second Sister Yu as a Concubine. On the other hand, much of the mystical elements in the novel was not filmed due to the social-political environment of the time.


The serial contains 36 episodes spanning the novel.

  1. Daiyu Parted With Her Father and Went to the Capital
  2. Baoyu, Daiyu, and Baochai's First Meeting at the Hall of Glorious Pageant
  3. Granny Liu Pays Her First Visit to the Jung Mansion
  4. Daiyu Feels Slight Jealous While meeting Baoyu at Baochai's Home
  5. Xifeng Sets a Vicious Trap for a Lover
  6. Xifeng Helps to Manage Affairs at the Ning Mansion
  7. Literary Talent Tested By Composing Inscriptions for Grandview Garden
  8. Jung Mansion Had the Imperial Consort's Visitation on the Feast of Lanterns
  9. A Sweet Girl Shows Deep Feeling One Quiet Day
  10. A Song Awakes Baoyu to Esoteric Truths
  11. Meeting a Nightmare In Seeking After Favor
  12. Daiyu Weeps at Falling Petals
  13. The Fortune Enjoys Deep Fortune and Long Life
  14. Chin-chuan Dies a Heroic Death in Shame
  15. Baoyu Was Beaten For Flirting
  16. Granny Liu Pays a Visit to Grandview Garden
  17. Xifeng Taken by Surprise Gives Ways to Jealousy
  18. Yuanyang Vows Never to Marry
  19. White Snow and Red Plum-Blossum in the Glassy World
  20. Plucky Qingwen Mends a Peacock-Feather Cape in Bed
  21. An Evening Banquet on the Feast of Lanterns in the Jung Mansion
  22. Ping'er Wields Authority to Right a Wrong
  23. Artful Zijuan Tests Baoyu's Feelings
  24. Girls Feast at Night in Happy Red Court
  25. The Profligate Secretly Takes Second Sister Yu as a Concubine
  26. Xifeng in Jealousy Makes a Scene in the Ning Mansion
  27. Lady Xing Feels Wronged and Puts Xifeng in Wrong
  28. Strange Omen Occurs at Night Banquet
  29. Spoony Childe Writes a Dirge on Cottonrose Hibiscus
  30. Drifting Away of Fair Maidens From Grandview Garden
  31. Spiritual Jade Was Stolen During a Bustling Feast
  32. Grieving Over Tanchun's Departure to Marry Far from Home
  33. Astonished by the Heavy News of the Death of Daiyu
  34. Forced Xifeng Resigned Herself to a Fate Spread East of Bed-Curtain
  35. Collapsed Mansion Comes to an End
  36. A Vast and White Expanse of Immerse Universe



Award Category Nominee Result
7th Feitian Awards Outstanding Television Series Dream of the Red Chamber Won
Outstanding Supporting Actress Deng Jie Won
5th Golden Eagle Awards Best Television Series Dream of the Red Chamber Won
Best Supporting Actress Deng Jie Won
China TV Drama Awards Grand Prix Dream of the Red Chamber Won

Reception and soundtrack[edit]

The 1987 series was initially somewhat controversial as few Redologists believed a TV adaptation could do the novel full justice. Producer and director Wang Fulin's decision in employing non-professional youths was vindicated as the TV series gained enormous popularity in China.

The series' success owes much to composer Wang Liping (王立平). He set many of the novel's classical verses to music, taking as long as four years to deliberate and complete his compositions.

External links[edit]