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Stephen Chow

Names such as Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat would likely come up, if you were to ask Western fans of Hong Kong movies who the most popular star in Asia is.

Born in 1962 in Hong Kong, Chow grew up as the only boy among three sisters (which may describe the troubles he frequently encounters with the ladies in his films). After graduating from high school, he enrolled in the Shaw Bros. TVB acting school in 1982. During his time at the school, his rubber faced mannerisms found many supporters, and he had his first taste of succeeding in the children’s TELEVISION series “430 Space Shuttle,” that also starred another potential Hong Kong movie star, Tony Leung ChiuWai (Chow finding success on a child’s show may be considered a bit ironic, since Chow is said to not enjoy children very much). Chow also caused Ng Man-Tat, who would later become his sidekick in many of his most famous movies.

After his time at the TVB school, the studio instantly signed him to a contract, and he enjoyed a successful run on the network in both comedies and dramas. By 1987, Chow had entered in the movie business with a role in Final Justice, for which he won the prestigious Taiwanese Golden Horse award for the best supporting actor. The prize caused Chow to place his comedic talents to the back burner as he appeared in a series of action and dramatic roles, including John Woo’s Just Heroes and Jet Li’s Dragon Fight. However, after appearing with Jacky Cheung in the comedy Faithfully Yours, Chow’s comedic nature came back to his movie work.

In 1990, Chow scored his first major box office hit with All for the Winner, that was a parody of the prior year’s box office winner, Wong Jing’s God of Gamblers. Wong is just a producer / director who’s never one to shy away from marketing, so he hired Chow for the sequel to God of Gamblers. Moy len tau is a Cantonese term that roughly means “nine comes after eight, but 8 doesn’t have anything to do with nine,” but is more generally termed as “nonsense comedy.”

Produced from the comedies of the Hui brothers of the late ’70s-early 1980’s which includes Mr. Boo sequence, Chow’s moy len tau style features manic pacing, high levels of physical comedy, parody, popular culture references, and substantial utilization of Cantonese slang. The dependence on Cantonese phrases created Chow’s movies huge hits with local audiences, and his physical characteristics — notably these “rubber face” and general good looks — translated Chow’s pictures into international hits at the same time. Chow’s collaborations with Wong, which included yet another God of Gamblers film (by which time he had gained enough recognition to be the movie’s topbilled star) had given Chow the essential template for his films — a somewhat dimwitted, but talented, man gets thrown into strange conditions, where he ultimately finds redemption (and resolution) through love.

Following the progress of the God of Gamblers movies, Chow’s star continued to rise. 1991’s Fight-back to School became Hong Kong’s top-grossing picture ever, knocking John Woo’s megahit A Better Tomorrow from the very best spot. Chow continued to spoof other popular movies, including Swordsman with Royal Tramp, and also did somewhat more serious fare with movies according to folk tales and heroes, as with Flirting Scholar and King of Beggars. However, by the time he finished The God of Cookery in 1997, Chow had not only cemented himself as one-of Asia’s top stars, however a talented producer, writer and director at the same time.

Stephen Chow is currently in the envious position in the Hong Kong movie industry of merely having to-do one or two movies annually to be able to keep in a public’s eye (many stars appear in as many as a dozen films a year). And like a lot of Hong Kong’s top stars, Hollywood has come calling. He was initially slated to direct an US remake of God of Cookery starring Jim Carrey, but eventually turned the job down after getting tired of working with Hollywood’s red-tape. Like his comedic style, Stephen Chow appears something which is unique to Hong Kong movies and something which would (and could) just be featured there. But, with the latest success of Chow’s Shaolin Soccer (which became the alltime Hong Kong box-office winner for a domestic product), American interest seems to have been renewed. Shaolin Soccer is slated to get a release in US theatres, with re-releases of some of his older movies to follow.



1. CJ7 (2008)
2. Kung Fu Hustle II (2007) [Planning] 3. Extraterrastrial (2006) [Planning] 4. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
5. 1:99 (2003)
6. Shaolin Soccer (2001)
7. King of Comedy (1999)
8. The God of Cookery (1996)
9. From Beijing With Love (1994)


1. CJ7 (2008)
2. Kung Fu Hustle II (2007) [Planning] 3. Extraterrastrial (2006) [Planning] 4. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
5. Shaolin Soccer (2001)
6. King of Comedy (1999)
7. Tricky Master, The (1999)
8. Gorgeous (1999) [Cameo] 9. The Lucky Guy (1998)
10. Lawyer . Lawyer (1997)
11. All’s Well End’s Well 97 (1997)
12. Forbidden City Cop (1996)
13. The God of Cookery (1996)
14. Sixty Million Dollar Man (1995)
15. A Chinese Odyssey Part Two – Cinderella (1995)
16. Out of the Dark (1995)
17. A Chinese Odyssey Part One – Pandora’s Box (1995)
18. Hail the Judge (1994)
19. Love On Delivery (1994)
20. From Beijing With Love (1994)
21. Flirting Scholar (1993)
22. The Mad Monk (1993)
23. Fight Back to School (1993)
24. Justice, My Foot! (1992)
25. King of Beggars (1992)
26. Royal Tramp (1992)
27. Royal Tramp II (1992)
28. Thief of Time (1992)
29. Fight Back to School II (1992)
30. All’s Well End’s Well (1992)
31. Fist of Fury 1991 II (1992)
32. Crazy Safari (1991)
33. Fist of Fury 1991 (1991)
34. God of Gamblers II: Back To Shanghai (1991)
35. The Banquet (1991)
36. Magnificent Scoundrels, The (1991)
37. Legend of the Dragon (1991)
38. Tricky Brains (1991)
39. Fight Back to School (1991)
40. My Hero (1990)
41. The Unmatchable Match (1990)
42. Look Out, Officer! (1990)
43. Triad Story (1990)
44. Lung Fung Restaurant (1990)
45. God of Gamblers II (1990)
46. Love is Love (1990)
47. All for the Winner (1990)
48. When Fortune Smiles (1990)
49. Curry and Pepper (1990)
50. Sleazy Dizzy (1990)
51. Just Heros (1989)
52. Thunder Cops II (1989)
53. The Justice of Life (1989)
54. The Final Combat (1989)
55. Dragon Fight (1988)
56. Final Justice (1988)
57. Faithfully Yours (1988)
58. He Who Chases after the Wind (1988)
59. Title in pinyin: zai4 jian4 shi2 jiu3 sui4 (1983)
60. Title in pinyin: bei3 dou3 shuang1 xiong2 (1983)


1. Shaolin Soccer (2001)


1. Shaolin Soccer (2001)
2. King of Comedy (1999)
3. The God of Cookery (1996)

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