A Better Tomorrow

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A Better Tomorrow (Chinese: 英雄本色; Pinyin: Yīngxióng běnsè; Jyutping: Jing1 hung4 bun2 sik1; literally True Colors of a Hero) is a 1986 Hong Kong action film which had a profound influence on the Hong Kong movie-making industry, and later on an international scale.

Directed by John Woo, it stars Chow Yun-fat, Ti Lung and Leslie Cheung. Although the movie was made with a tight budget and was relatively unknown until it went on screen due to virtually no advertising, it broke Hong Kong's box office record and went on to become a blockbuster in Asian countries. The success also ensured the sequel A Better Tomorrow 2, also directed by Woo, and A Better Tomorrow 3: Love & Death in Saigon, a prequel directed by producer Tsui Hark. It is the #2 of the Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures.



Ho works for the triad whose principle operation is printing and distributing counterfeit US bank notes. He is a respected member and handles the most important transactions. Mark, his best friend, is his partner in crime. Ho has the respect of the big boss, is given the title of "big brother," and often wears the all-white suit when representing the organization.

Incidentally, Ho has a younger brother, Kit, whom he cares deeply for. Unlike Ho, Kit wants to be a police officer. Ho keeps his criminal life secret and encourages Kit's career choice. There is a suggestion that their father knows what Ho is doing and is possibly involved, but this is kept secret.

Ho is sent to Taiwan by the boss to complete a deal. Shing, a new member, is sent along as an apprentice. It turns out to be a police trap as Ho and Shing flee with guns blazing. Ho inevitably surrenders to the police; Shing escapes. Ho is then sentenced to prison. Angry and bitter over Ho's imprisonment, Mark kills the men responsible—but not before his kneecap is blown in the process.

While Ho is in prison, his father is killed by Shing's assassin (Shing has taken over the organization). Before dying, the father pleads with Kit to forgive his brother. In great anguish, Kit sees Ho as a criminal who is responsible for their father's death.

Ho is released from prison. Full of remorse and determined to start a new life, he finds work as a taxi driver. Ho spots Mark during one of his shifts; Mark has been reduced to Shing's crippled errand boy. They meet as long lost brothers. Mark wants Ho to come back as gangsters and take revenge on Shing, but Ho refuses.

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