The Life of Wu Xun (simplified Chinese: 武训传; traditional Chinese: 武訓傳; pinyin: Wǔ Xùn Zhuàn) is a 1950 Chinese film directed by Sun Yu and starring Zhao Dan. A black and white movie, it was produced by Kunlun Film Studio. It deals with a true story of a figure in Chinese history, Wu Xun, who spent years collecting money as a beggar to eventually found a school for indigent children free of charge.
It was initially well received as one of the ten best films of the year, but was soon severely criticized by Chinese authorities. It was rehabilitated in 1986.
The Life of Wu Xun attained its unique status in Chinese movie history because of the lengthy political criticism campaign that was enacted against it. On May 20, 1951, after the editorial Ought to Emphasize the Discussion on 'The Life of Wu Xun' was published in the People's Daily, there emerged the very first large-scale excoriation of a film in the history of the People's Republic of China. Shortly after its release, however, the film was personally denounced by Mao Zedong. In the People's Daily Mao attacked Wu Xun as a liberal whose literacy programs implied that revolution was not necessary. A group of politicians, led by Kang Sheng and Mao's wife Jiang Qing, leveled charges against the film in order to discredit what they called "liberal" tendencies. As a result, the production staff of the film, and even the historical figure of Wu Xun, suffered from extensive and unjust accusations. This campaign of criticism began a period when Party politics severely interfered with the Chinese film industry.
The reputation of the film was not completely restored until nearly forty years later, in 1986.