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An Autumns Tale

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Director  Mabel Cheung
Music director  Lowell Lo
Country  Hong Kong
8/10 IMDb

Genre  Drama, Romance
Producers  Dickson Poon, John Shum
An Autumns Tale movie poster
Language  CantoneseEnglishJapanese
Writer  Alex Law, Chi-Yeuh Low
Release date  16 July 1987 (1987-07-16)
Cast  Chow Yun-Fat (Boat-head), Cherie Chung (Jennifer), Danny Chan Bak-Keung (Vincent)
Similar movies  Chow Yun-Fat movies, Hong Kong movies, Movies about New York City

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An Autumn's Tale is a 1987 Hong Kong romantic drama film set in New York City starring Chow Yun-fat, Cherie Chung, and Danny Chan. The film is Mabel Cheung's second directorial effort after her "migration trilogy."


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The film won the Hong Kong Film Award for Best Film, Best Cinematography (James Hayman and David Chung) and Best Screenplay (Alex Law); Chow was nominated for Best Actor for three films that same year, but won for his performance in Prison on Fire. On the other hand, Chow won his second Golden Horse Award for Best Actor for his role in this film in 1987. Cherie Chung was nominated for Best Actress and Lowell Lo was nominated for Best Original Score, respectively. The film was ranked #49 on the Hong Kong Film Awards' Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures.

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An Autumn's Tale An Autumns Tale 1987

Jennifer travels to New York City with plans to study with her boyfriend, Vincent. Samuel Pang arrives at the airport with two friends, Cow and Bull to pick her up. Not comprehending with the security officer, Pang shouts welcoming Japanese phrases in hopes of getting inside. Illegally parking his car at a no-parking zone, Pang rushes his friends to escort Jennifer from the airport.

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Arriving at her apartment, Pang introduces Jennifer to her room. He warns her to be careful using the fridge, as it is run by gas, which is constantly leaking, but his voice is muffled by a passing train. Pang leaves letting Jennifer know that she may stamp on the floor if she needs anything, as he lives downstairs.

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The next day, Jennifer wakes up Pang to have him show her how to take a train to meet Vincent. Pang jokes the train station is like a labyrinth and is dangerous for a girl like her to go there by herself. He insists driving her to the train station. Waiting for Jennifer to change, he comments women are "cha bo", meaning trouble. Pang ridicules Jennifer not knowing English.

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Waiting in the train station, she sees Vincent with Peggy. Anxiously, Jennifer attempts to hide from Vincent but is caught before she could walk out from him. Vincent did not expect to see Jennifer at the train station, or he would have not been to Boston to see a baseball game with his girlfriend. Vincent felt it was childish of Jennifer to travel to New York City to send him a box of dolls from Hong Kong. Infuriated, Jennifer walks back to the car and throws the box of dolls on the street.

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Later that night, Pang answers a call made by Vincent because Jennifer would not answer. He told Jennifer to meet with him for lunch at Silver Palace restaurant the next day. Coincidentally, Pang works as a busboy at the restaurant and overhears their conversations. After saving enough money, Jennifer meant to study in New York as a means to be with Vincent. Vincent tells Jennifer to explore the city and meet new people than to follow him everywhere. When he tells her this, she finds out he is leaving for Boston tomorrow.

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Depressed, Jennifer goes home and makes a pot of tea; the fridge is not closed properly. Pang smells gas from upstairs and investigates; he finds a passed out Jennifer. He takes her downstairs and has someone call the fire department. Seeing Jennifer lovesick for Vincent, Pang takes her out for a walk.

The next day, Jennifer goes to a restaurant in Chinatown. While she eats an egg sandwich, Pang walks in and sees her too; Jennifer disregards having eye-contact with him and turns aside. Pang is about to sit with Jennifer, only to have a friend from another table call him. Pang greets them and moves toward Jennifer's table. He tries a piece of Jennifer's egg sandwich and calls a staff member over to order extra plates of food for both of them, for no extra charge. Pang helps Jennifer build a bookcase and decorate her room. She tells him she found a part-time job as a babysitter to pay for her rent, but would need second job for her tuition and other expenses. He finds her grandfather's watch, but the strap is worn. Unsure she has enough money for a watchstrap, let alone a Broadway show, Pang goes to buy tickets for her the next morning. Not knowing Jennifer was busy, he did not have a chance to tell her he had tickets for the show, he tried to sell the tickets, claiming they were for Bull, when she asked.

Jennifer climbed off the bus to help Pang with the guard, but would be late for her babysitting job, so Pang insisted driving her there. He stripped the car and rebuilt it, so she would not have to hold onto the broken door. Concerned, Pang runs to her and asks why she will not go in. She is anxious and asks Pang to accompany her.

Pang spent all his money and asks Cow and Bull to give him some money to gamble. Bull is reluctant to give some because he wants to save it for his new restaurant. Bull pays the gangs $400.00 each week, but is still not enough from keeping them destroying his property.

Tony, one of Mrs. Sherwood's boyfriends wants to hire Jennifer as a waitress for his restaurant. Pang is suspicious of the owner, but offers to try the restaurant. Jennifer assures him it is not necessary, but would love for him to visit her there. Pang declines, with work on his mind. He later visits Jennifer, and is led to an expensive restaurant called "The Big Panda". Unable to read the English menu, he has the waiter order a simple menu for him. The waiter takes advantage of this position and charges the highest-priced items onto the bill.

While babysitting Anna, Tony visits Jennifer and walks with to the garden. Mrs. Sherwood recently came home and sees Tony flirting with Jennifer, and calls for her to leave immediately. Having heard Jennifer losing her babysitting job, Pang and his friends go to The Big Panda restaurant to beat up the owner.

They spend their morning trying to sell her dolls for money. Walking past a vendor, Jennifer sees a watchband she likes; unfortunately it is out of her budget. At the park, she sees Vincent with Peggy but wants to flee. She asks Pang if she looks better than Peggy. Pang did not care how others looked, or how others looked at him, as long as he kept his dignity. He told Jennifer that it was his dream to open a restaurant on a pier on the beach, and name it Samuel Pang.

Next morning, Samuel Pang wrote on his mirror—three commandments and five goals; one goal being "If you want it, go for it", in this case Pang going for "cha bo", Jennifer.

Pang is holding a party, and invites Jennifer, but does not tell her it his birthday. Vincent heard she was at a party, so he talked with Jennifer the entire night. The conversation became awkward when he mentioned he broke up with Peggy. Pang, serving guests leaves because he does not think he will have a chance with Jennifer. He went drinking and gambling until Bull asks for more money to pay off the gangs. Frustrated, Pang gathered a group of friends drove in search for the gang and beat them up.

Jennifer wanders in Pang's room sees a mirror written with words by him. He wrote his name, age, and birthday in English. Feeling lonely, she walks across a park and sees Anna at her school. Mrs. Sherwood sees her and invites her to move with Anna in Long Island.

Pang comes back to his apartment the next morning and finds his room with a Jennifer's graduation certificate. To congratulate her, he buys the watchband as a gift. The old man did not accept his offer, so Pang sold his car for the watchband. Excited to see Jennifer with the gift, he runs to her apartment only to see Vincent helping Jennifer move furniture in his car. She gives him her number. They exchange gifts, but Pang runs after her after she leaves. Unable to catch up, he walks to a beach. He opens his gift and finds her grandfather's watch.

Some time afterwards, they meet at a pier with a restaurant named Sampan. After calming himself down, Pang greets his guest by asking 'Table for two?'.


  • Chow Yun-fat as Samuel Pang
  • Cherie Chung as Jennifer Lee
  • Danny Chan as Vincent
  • Ng Fook-sing as Peggy
  • Arthur Fulbright as Cow
  • Gigi Wong as Mrs. Sherwood
  • Chan Yui-yin
  • Joyce Houseknecht as Anna Sherwood
  • Wong Man as Jennifer's mother (cameo)
  • Brenda Lo as May Chu (cameo)
  • Tom Hsiung
  • Trivia

  • At the end of the film, a sign on the right of Samuel Pang's restaurant, "Sampan", is mislabelled as "Sampman".
  • Box office

    The film grossed HK$25,546,552 at the Hong Kong box office during its theatrical run from 16 July to 25 August 1987.


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