Mao's Last Dancer

 (146)7.31 h 57 min2010PG
"Mao's Last Dancer" is the inspiring true story of Li Cunxin and his extraordinary journey from a poor upbringing in rural China to international stardom as a world-class ballet dancer. It compellingly captures the struggles, sacrifices and triumphs, as well as the intoxicating effects of first love and celebrity amid the pain of exile.
Bruce Beresford
Chi CaoBruce GreenwoodPenne Hackforth-Jones
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Aden YoungSuzie SteenMadeleine Eastoe
Jane Scott
Samuel Goldwyn Films
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.8 out of 5 stars

146 global ratings

  1. 90% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 6% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 2% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 0% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

I.D.M.Reviewed in the United States on December 15, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
An excellent film, a thoughtfully told story, wornderfully acted.
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The acting is wonderful. The main characters are beautifully painted, and not even vaguely the Hollywood caricature that you find in so many films. This movie touches on the tragedies and hardships of Maoist China with a gentle hand. It neither masks the harsh realities, nor attempts to explain them away. The director presents complex political/social issues with a refined and gentle hand through the eyes of a young dancer finding his way as an individual and an artist. Aside from that, the dance sequences are amazing. Even if you are not particularly interested in classical ballet per se, you may find yourself experiencing a new appreciation for this art.

I am hardly histrionic or a cry baby by any stretch of the imagination. I practice law and deal with the hard realities of human life all day long. Nevertheless, I did cry at the end of this film - not out of sorrow, but out of joy. It really is a beautiful film. When you watch it, you will forgive me for having waxed excessively lyrical in this review. Enjoy!
24 people found this helpful
DANNIReviewed in the United States on April 24, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Wow...what a wonderful movie!
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If you don't appreciate the might change your mind after watching this spectacular movie. Amazing true story. It's an overwhelming feeling, to watch something so physically demanding and difficult, look like floating on air. (Just google "ballerina's feet" will ruin the beauty of the dance) All of the dancing was incredible, but my favorite, was a simple dance on a ballet lovely, and romantic. I think I'm pretty lucky. I can enjoy a well made horror movie...history documentaries...classics...and shoot em up/ blow em up's, but this will be one of my many favorites.
17 people found this helpful
KateReviewed in the United States on November 16, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Stunningly beautiful story
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Wonderful actors, elegant ballet performances, and a window on some of the hardships suffered by the Chinese under Mao and communism. Based on the autobiography of the dancer. Much of the film is in Chinese with subtitles, and is more powerful and real than if the film directors had tried to replicate Cunxin Li's experiences with English speaking actors. Watching was an uplifting experience, leaving me with visions of graceful ballet and classical music. (The last piece was an exception; modern, rather than classical.) The bit about carrying logs around so that you can fly is food for thought. To watch the real Cunxin talking about some of his experiences, you can watch him on YouTube, ONExDANCE: Li Cunxin at TEDxBrisbane
7 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on May 6, 2017
4.0 out of 5 stars
From a Dancer
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As a dancer in my youth I thoroughly enjoyed Mao's Last Dancer. The story was very good, the history was very good, and the dancing was a delight. I crosses so many borders and brings to light what we Americans take so much for granted and that is the freedom to express, to dance, to let the beauty within to shine outwardly. Very nice, enjoy all who watch it, and thank you Amazon!

Sincerely, Neal in San Diego
14 people found this helpful
BelleRoseReviewed in the United States on October 19, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
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Incredible story! Inspiring and motivating for those looking for examples of dedication.

Enlightening in the Freedoms of America that Americans take for granted. Leaves you with a great sense of pride and gratitude.

And ... a sense of a man listening to the pull of his own heart (a true story), that took him through the depths of anguish, yet paid off and proved to be destiny. WOW!
8 people found this helpful
Isis McReviewed in the United States on January 26, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Ballet dancing, excelling oneself, enduring everything, that's a chance to a great story.
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The majority of the people does not know some fantastic feats of the human body. Such as ballet dancing, opera, etc., but other achievements such as the Olympiads mesmerize millions. Hopefully, the arts that require an ultimate sacrifice and dedication become a sincere appreciation to most people. This movie is the right catalyst for that.
The main character (Ciao) is an accomplished dancer as some of his partners. That helps the viewer to engage with what required this Chinese dancer to achieve the world's prestige. A true story that is hard to explain without having the right parameters, such as a world's star is not forgotten and possibly forgiven. Well presented film without the bells and whistles about the endeavors of a man that was taken from home since an early age and refused much later to return and meet his family under the conditions of the Chinese communist party.
3 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on November 12, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
wonderful, heartbreaking, inspiring
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a beautiful biodrama of a young man growing up in china, then moving to the USA. but this masks the real story. heavily indoctrinated as a youth, works diligently to become a master dancer. then takes a summer program in houston where he learns about america firsthand. and realizes all he has been taught is a lie. falls in love, not just with a woman, but also with the freedom of his craft. but not returning is heart-rending, as he may never see his family again. focus is on his decision to stay, what it means for him professionally as well as personally. really pulls you into his world, his thinking, his views. wonderful film version of a difficult but majestic life.
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on May 7, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very Inspirational and Beautiful Dancing
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You don't have to be a ballet or dancing fan to enjoy this well acted true story. Absolutely came to life on the screen. Very smooth transition from the history growing up, and learning to dance at a very young age, to the experience in America. Very heart wrenching and heart-warming. Have some tissues ready close to the end of the movie.
8 people found this helpful
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