Forget LA, London, and Manhattan, Hong Kong provides the perfect backdrop to any blockbuster movie, from its stunning skyline to its dark and moody backstreets. So, it’s no surprise that our very own “fragrant harbour” has featured in hundreds of top films over the years – some good, some not so good. From this extensive back catalogue, we’ve compiled our list of its top 10 chart-topping appearances. Whether you’re looking to show friends overseas or just indulge yourself in some local cinematography, these 10 films set in Hong Kong are a great place to start.
1. Enter the Dragon (1973)
Considered by many to be the greatest martial arts film of all time, this was Bruce Lee’s final appearance on camera – and was released one month after he died. With locations such as Castle Peak and Tsing Shan Monastery clearly identifiable, it’s also a great showcase of Hong Kong.
2. Chungking Express (1994)
A film made up of two stories, based around Chungking Mansions and a snack bar in Lan Kwai Fong called Midnight Express, this beautifully shot piece by the Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai should be seen by everyone at least once.
3. In the Mood for Love (2000)
Another classic from Wong Kar-wai, which has gained global critical acclaim for its cinematography and acting. Starring Tong Leung as a journalist in 1960s Hong Kong, it features a few Hong Kong locations, though large parts of the film were filmed in Bangkok.
4. The World of Suzie Wong (1960)
Based on the romantic novel by Richard Mason, an aspiring artist moves to Hong Kong and falls in love with a prostitute. Whether you love or loathe the Suzie Wong story, the highlight here is the location shots of Hong Kong from the era.
5. The Dark Knight (2008)
The second part of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, this blockbuster is considered to be one of the best portrayals to date, for its acting, storyline, and styling. Parts of the film are clearly identifiable as Hong Kong, including the IFC tower and the Mid-Levels escalators.
6. Police Story (1985)
Jacky Chan writes, directs, produces, and stars in this and the following five films based around a Hong Kong cop (Chan). This first film includes an epic 10-minute finale filmed in the TST Wing On store.
7. You Only Live Twice (1967)
This Bond classic starring Sean Connery as 007 starts in Hong Kong and features scenes from Nathan Road as well as Victoria Harbour. This is not the only Bond film to feature Hong Kong though. Our SAR has also starred in the 1974 Man with the Golden Gun and the 2002 Die Another Day.
8. Contagion (2011)
Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion bared more than a passing resemblance to the 2003 SARS outbreak with more deadly consequences, and doesn’t give the most flattering portrayal of our city. The film starts off in Hong Kong and features locations such as the airport, The Jumbo Kingdom floating restaurant, and the InterContinental hotel.
9. Doctor Strange (2016)
This recent Marvel movie featured a range of global locations as Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Stephen Strange protects the Earth from evil, but Hong Kong is clearly featured. Though the apparent backstreets were most likely sound stages, and the mass of neon somewhat overdone, the name check is appreciated.
10. Snowden (2016)
This thriller follows the real life events of Edward Snowden, including the whistleblower’s time spent in Hong Kong, specifically in room 1014 of the Mira Hotel. Parts of the movie were actually filmed inside the hotel as well as the Kowloon peninsula.
Read more! Find the latest films showing in Hong Kong this week in our Movie Roundup.