Allsun Breton

Written by Allsun Breton

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett


As Tears Go By is a classic Hong Kong movie that captivated audiences when it was released in 1988. Directed by Wong Kar-wai, this film is often considered a breakthrough in the crime drama genre. Set in the vibrant streets of Hong Kong, As Tears Go By tells the compelling story of a small-time gangster and his complicated relationship with his younger cousin and a mysterious woman.

In this article, we will delve into 38 fascinating facts about the movie As Tears Go By. From its production history to its impact on the Hong Kong film industry, these facts will give you a deeper appreciation for this critically acclaimed masterpiece. Whether you are an avid movie buff or simply curious about the world of cinema, get ready to discover some intriguing behind-the-scenes details about As Tears Go By.

Key Takeaways:

  • Wong Kar-wai’s debut film “As Tears Go By” is a visually stunning and emotionally captivating exploration of loyalty, love, and the gritty underworld of 1980s Hong Kong.
  • The movie’s success propelled Wong Kar-wai into international recognition, solidifying his reputation as a master of visual storytelling and establishing him among the most revered directors in the world.
Table of Contents

Set in Hong Kong, As Tears Go By is a 1988 drama film directed by Wong Kar-wai.

As Tears Go By is a critically acclaimed Hong Kong film that showcases Wong Kar-wai’s early directorial talent.

The film marked Wong Kar-wai’s directorial debut.

As Tears Go By was Wong Kar-wai’s first feature-length film, catapulting him into the international spotlight.

The movie stars Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, and Jacky Cheung.

The powerhouse trio of Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, and Jacky Cheung deliver captivating performances in As Tears Go By.

As Tears Go By explores themes of loyalty, violence, and unrequited love.

The film delves deep into the complexities of relationships and portrays the gritty underworld of Hong Kong.

The film’s title is inspired by the Rolling Stones’ song “As Tears Go By”.

Wong Kar-wai drew inspiration from the famous Rolling Stones track to title the film.

As Tears Go By showcases Wong Kar-wai’s signature visual style.

With stunning cinematography and meticulously crafted shots, the film demonstrates Wong Kar-wai’s unique vision.

The movie was a box office success and received critical acclaim.

As Tears Go By was both a commercial success and garnered rave reviews from film critics.

The film explores the dichotomy of the modern world and traditional values.

As Tears Go By juxtaposes the fast-paced, modern society of Hong Kong with the deeply rooted traditions.

The screenplay of As Tears Go By took several years to develop.

Wong Kar-wai spent years refining the screenplay, ensuring every detail was meticulously planned.

As Tears Go By was inspired by Wong Kar-wai’s own experiences in the world of triads.

The film draws heavily from Wong Kar-wai’s personal encounters with triad culture, adding an authentic touch to the storytelling.

The movie features a memorable soundtrack.

The soundtrack of As Tears Go By perfectly complements the mood and atmosphere of the film.

The film’s release was delayed due to censorship concerns.

As Tears Go By faced challenges with censorship, leading to a delay in its release.

As Tears Go By influenced a generation of filmmakers.

Wong Kar-wai’s innovative storytelling techniques in As Tears Go By inspired numerous filmmakers around the world.

The movie showcases the struggles and dilemmas faced by its characters.

As Tears Go By delves into the internal conflicts and moral dilemmas of its characters, making it relatable to audiences.

The film’s cinematography captures the raw beauty of Hong Kong at night.

As Tears Go By presents visually stunning nightscapes of Hong Kong, capturing the essence of the city.

The movie was a breakthrough moment for actor Andy Lau.

As Tears Go By elevated Andy Lau’s career and established him as a leading actor in Hong Kong cinema.

Wong Kar-wai’s directing style in As Tears Go By is known for its poetic realism.

Wong Kar-wai’s poetic realism shines through in As Tears Go By, creating a dreamlike and immersive cinematic experience.

The film effectively captures the essence of the 1980s Hong Kong setting.

As Tears Go By provides a nostalgic glimpse into the vibrant and turbulent 1980s Hong Kong.

As Tears Go By established Wong Kar-wai as a prominent figure in world cinema.

The success of As Tears Go By firmly placed Wong Kar-wai among the most revered directors in the world.

The movie explores the struggles of maintaining a balance between duty and personal desires.

As Tears Go By delves into the conflicts faced by its characters in balancing their personal lives with their obligations.

As Tears Go By showcases the beauty and melancholy of unrequited love.

The film beautifully portrays the bittersweet nature of unrequited love and the longing it brings.

As Tears Go By was awarded the Best Actor and Best Film awards at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

The film’s exceptional performances and overall quality were recognized with prestigious awards.

The movie’s script blends elements of romance, action, and drama seamlessly.

As Tears Go By seamlessly combines different genres, resulting in a captivating and multi-dimensional narrative.

The film received international acclaim at film festivals.

As Tears Go By was widely praised at various international film festivals, further solidifying its status as a cinematic masterpiece.

The movie explores the allure and dangers of the criminal underworld.

As Tears Go By takes audiences on a journey into the dark underbelly of Hong Kong’s criminal underworld.

The film’s script went through several revisions before it was finalized.

Wong Kar-wai meticulously refined the script of As Tears Go By to ensure its narrative coherence and emotional depth.

The movie’s visuals are a treat for the eyes.

As Tears Go By boasts breathtaking visuals, leaving a lasting impression on viewers.

The film explores the complexities of loyalty and betrayal.

As Tears Go By delves into the intricate dynamics of loyalty, trust, and the consequences of betrayal.

As Tears Go By showcases Wong Kar-wai’s thematic exploration of time and memory.

The film seamlessly weaves together past and present, creating a rich tapestry of memories and emotions.

The movie’s dialogue is known for its authenticity and depth.

As Tears Go By presents dialogue that feels authentic, adding an extra layer of realism to the film.

The film’s pacing keeps viewers engaged from start to finish.

As Tears Go By masterfully balances its pacing, ensuring viewers are captivated throughout the entire film.

The movie’s themes resonate with audiences of all backgrounds.

As Tears Go By explores universal themes that transcend cultural boundaries, allowing viewers to connect with the film on a deeper level.

The film’s gritty and realistic portrayal of violence adds to its authenticity.

As Tears Go By pulls no punches when it comes to depicting the brutal reality of violence, contributing to its gritty and authentic feel.

The movie’s success propelled Wong Kar-wai into international recognition.

As Tears Go By marked the beginning of Wong Kar-wai’s journey to becoming one of the most influential directors in the world.

The film’s thematic depth makes it a thought-provoking piece of cinema.

As Tears Go By goes beyond surface-level storytelling, delving into profound themes that leave a lasting impact on viewers.

The movie’s emotional performances leave a lasting impression.

The exceptional performances in As Tears Go By draw audiences into the emotional journey of the characters, creating a truly immersive experience.

The film’s nonlinear narrative structure adds an element of intrigue.

As Tears Go By employs a non-linear storytelling technique, keeping viewers on their toes and engrossed in the narrative.

As Tears Go By solidified Wong Kar-wai’s reputation as a master of visual storytelling.

The innovative and visually captivating style of As Tears Go By established Wong Kar-wai as a visionary director.


As Tears Go By is a truly remarkable film that has captivated audiences for decades. Its groundbreaking story, brilliant performances, and stunning cinematography have solidified its place in cinematic history. This article has provided you with 38 fascinating facts about the movie, giving you an even deeper appreciation for this cinematic masterpiece. Whether you’re a longtime fan or new to the film, these facts offer a unique insight into the creation and impact of As Tears Go By. So grab some popcorn, sit back, and immerse yourself in this iconic film that continues to leave an indelible mark on the world of cinema.


1. Who directed the movie As Tears Go By?
As Tears Go By was directed by Wong Kar-wai.

2. When was As Tears Go By released?
The movie was released in 1988.

3. What is the genre of As Tears Go By?
As Tears Go By falls under the genre of crime drama.

4. Who are the main actors in the movie?
The main actors in As Tears Go By are Andy Lau, Maggie Cheung, and Jacky Cheung.

5. What language is the movie in?
As Tears Go By is in Cantonese, a Chinese dialect.

6. Is As Tears Go By based on a true story?
No, the movie is not based on a true story. It is a fictional work.

7. Was As Tears Go By a commercial success?
Yes, the film was a commercial success and is considered one of Wong Kar-wai’s breakthrough films.

8. Does As Tears Go By have any sequels?
No, As Tears Go By does not have any official sequels.

9. Does As Tears Go By have any awards or nominations?
Yes, the film received several awards and nominations, including the Best New Director award for Wong Kar-wai at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

10. Can I watch As Tears Go By online?
Availability of the movie for online streaming may vary depending on your region and streaming platforms. It is recommended to check with popular streaming services or online rental platforms.

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