A Better Tomorrow
A Better Tomorrow is a 1986 action film by John Woo and produced by Tsui Hark, featuring Chow Yun-fat, Leslie Cheung, Ti Lung and Waise Lee. The story follows two brothers on opposite sides of the law.
This film put John Woo on the map and kick-started the Heroic Bloodshed genre, along with codifying most of the tropes associated with it. It led to the establishment of Hong Kong's film rating system because of the film's violence. It led to a period where a lot of young people wore longcoats much like Mark (in fact, the Badass Longcoat is still known in Hong Kong as "Brother Mark's Coat"). And it would provide a springboard for Chow Yun-Fat's career as a badass action star.
It would also spawn two sequels: A Better Tomorrow II, which would see Chow Yun-Fat's return as the twin brother of Mark Gor, and A Better Tomorrow III: Love and Death in Saigon, a Prequel directed by Tsui Hark and set in Vietnam War-era Saigon in which Chow Yun-Fat reprises his role as Mark Gor.
- Badass Longcoat: Mark. So, so much.
- Badass in a Nice Suit
- Big Bad: Shing
- Blood Brothers: Mark and Ho.
- Cool Shades: Mark wears cool aviator shades.
- Good Smoking, Evil Smoking
- Guns Akimbo: Trope Codifier
- Headphones Equal Isolation: Jackie during the kidnapping of his father.
- Heroic Bloodshed: Trope Maker and Codifier in Hong Kong.
- Man in White: The white suit is used as a status symbol in the triad, and Shing wears a white longcoat in the final showdown.
- Media Classifications: ABT was the first Hong Kong movie to receive a Category IIb rating (equivalent to the American R rating) when the new rating system was introduced.
- Money to Burn: One of the classic shots of this movie comes in the beginning, where Mark Gor does this with a counterfeit bill.
- Neighborhood Friendly Gangsters: Ho's counterfeiters certainly qualify.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Delivered to Mark at the hands of Shing and his men.
- One Last Job: Ho decides to get out of the game once he finds out that Kit's joining the police. He promptly gets arrested.
- Pin-Pulling Teeth: Happens all the damned time in the final mansion shootout in A Better Tomorrow II.
- Prisoner Exchange: One of these sets off the final shootout of the movie.
- Revenge: As the movie progresses, Kit becomes increasingly obsessed with revenge against Shing, who had his father killed.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Mark embarks on a particularly badass one after Ho gets arrested.
- Sacrificial Lion: Mark is blown away by Shing near the end of the movie.
- Star-Making Role: Mark for Chow Yun-Fat
- The Triads and the Tongs: The Trope Codifier for many gangster movies to come in Hong Kong.
- You Killed My Father: Kit's reason for revenge. Ultimately, it's Ho who ends up pulling the trigger on Shing.