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Chinese films based on real events resonate with audiences
Release Date 2019-08-12
Resource chinadaily
Author Zhou Bing


A poster for  The Bravest. 

It is often said that art imitates life. Films, many of which are inspired by real events, are no exception. The firefighting movie The Bravest released last week is one of them. It was adapted from the Mongolian writer Bao'erji's book, featuring an anthology of interviews of firefighters who joined the battle to put out the fire caused by a pipeline explosion in Dalian, Northeast China's Liaoning province, in July 2010. The movie, released for eight days, has already raked in 890.55 million yuan ($126.42 million), second only to Ne Zha, the current domestic box-office champ.

In addition to The Bravest, many films based on real events have achieved very good box-office results, such as Dying to Survive and Operation Red Sea. The reason why those films succeed is because their stories have strong resonance among viewers, who are moved by the details. Here are some Chinese films based on real events, which have earned great results at the box office and high points on Douban, China's most popular film review site. Let's take a look.


1. Dying to Survive

Director: Wen Muye

Cast: Xu Zheng, Wang Chuanjun, Tan Zhuo, Zhang Yu

Year of release: 2018

Douban points: 9.0

It tells the story of how a small drugstore owner became the exclusive selling agent in China for a cheap Indian generic drug to fight chronic myelocytic leukemia.

This film is adapted from the real story of Lu Yong, a patient with this disease, who purchased cheap anticancer drugs from abroad for himself and other patients.


2. Operation Red Sea

Director: Dante Lam

Cast: Zhang Yi, Huang Jingyu, Hai Qing, Du Jiang

Year of release: 2018

Douban points: 8.3

The film tells the story of a rescue mission by an eight-member team from the Chinese Navy's elite special forces to help Chinese and foreign nationals out of a war. The team meanwhile foiled a terrorist plot to obtain nuclear materials to make bombs.

The film is loosely based on the evacuation of Chinese citizens and foreign nationals from Yemen's capital and the southern port of Aden during Yemen's civil war in late March 2015.


3. Operation Mekong

Director: Dante Lam

Cast: Zhang Hanyu, Eddie Peng

Year of release: 2016

Douban points: 8.0

Inspired by the true story known as the Mekong Massacre, the film centers on a Chinese government who immediately sends a band of elite narcotics officers led by Captain Gao Gang to the Golden Triangle, one of the largest drug manufacturing regions in the world, to uncover the truth behind the murders of Chinese businessmen.


4. Kekexili: Mountain Patrol

Director: Lu Chuan

Cast: Duobujie, Zhang Zhengyang

Year of release: 2004

Douban points: 8.7

The film tells the moving true story about volunteers protecting antelope against poachers in the formidable mountains of Tibet.


5. Dearest

Director: Peter Chan

Cast: Zhao Wei, Huang Bo

Year of release: 2014

Douban points: 8.7

The film tells the tale of a divorced couple living in the southern Chinese city Shenzhen who must deal with the disappearance of their missing son. The real story behind the film is that Peng Gaofeng in Hubei province lost his son in 2008. He strived to look for the boy for three years, and finally found him with the help of media.


6. Chinese Pilot

Director: Andrew Lau

Cast: Zhang Hanyu, Ou Hao, Du Jiang, Yuan Quan, Zhang Tian'ai

To be released in September 2019

The film is adapted from the real-life incident of the flight crew in Sichuan Airlines Flight 3U8633, which successfully dealt with danger in the air on May 14, 2018.