Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

  • Review Date: May 2, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 120 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Amazing, magical martial arts fairy tale.
  • Review Date: May 2, 2003
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 120 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive role models

Women are as strong and effective as the men, often more so.


A lot of kick-boxing and other fighting, brilliantly staged. Characters killed. Possible suicide.


Implied sexual encounter, nothing shown.


Brief mild language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie features a lot of martial arts battles. Most are bloodless, but one character is killed when a blade is hurtled into his forehead. Major characters are killed, and one death could be interpreted as suicide. Although the women in the movie are treated with complete equality and are equal to or superior to the men in judgement and combat, one female character expresses bitterness that she was not permitted to train as a warrior. There is brief mild language.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Michele Yeoh plays Yu Shu Lien, who runs a company that provides secure transport for shipments of goods to be sold. She is visited by Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat), who has come to give his famous sword to Sir Te, a mutual friend, for safekeeping. Li has been a warrior-hero, using the Green Destiny sword to fight for justice. He is tired of killing and wants to retire to a life of meditation, but instead of enlightenment he has found "endless sorrow," and that "something was pulling me back." He has one unfinished obligation -- to avenge the death of his master at the hands of a villain named Jade Fox. And it may be that there was something else pulling him back, his love, never expressed, for Yu. At the home of Sir Te, Yu meets another guest, the pampered daughter of a governor named Jen Yu (Ziyi Zhang). Jen and Yu each dream of freedom. That night, the sword is stolen. Yu races after the masked thief to get it back. The thief has ties to Jade Fox. And Jen, soon to enter into an arranged marriage, has a secret love, the leader of a pack of desert bandits.

Is it any good?


CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON is passionately romantic -- the story of two sets of star-crossed lovers who face enormous obstacles, within themselves as well as those imposed by the outside world. It is a thrilling adventure saga that includes a magical 400-year-old sword called "Green Destiny," a warrior who must avenge the murder of his master, a handsome bandit, the spoiled daughter of a high-ranking official who dreams of the freedom to do what she wants, and the bitter villain who wants to destroy them all. It is dazzling, with breathtaking landscapes, gorgeous costumes, and magnificent cello music played by Yo Yo Ma. And it has, unquestionably, the most brilliantly staged fight scenes ever put on film, possibly the best that ever will be put on film. The fight scenes, staged by Yuen Wo-Ping (of The Matrix) are balletic masterpieces. Like the dance numbers of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, they are both mesmerizingly graceful and more eloquent than dialogue.

The story is told with great subtlety and power, giving it the quality of a myth or a collective dream. Yu reveals the identity of the masked thief by quietly allowing a teacup to slip out of her hands. When one person is able to catch it with a lightning-fast motion before it hits the floor, Yu knows that her suspicion was correct. When Li touches Yu's hand for the first time, it is a moment of heartbreaking intimacy. The quest for honor and justice could be set in the old West, in ancient Greece, in medieval times, in a 1930's San Francisco detective story, or in some Luke Skywalker-esque space fantasy. Its themes are enduring because they are inside all of us.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how we balance our heads and our hearts to forge lives that are grounded in honor and in love.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 22, 2000
DVD release date:June 5, 2001
Cast:Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh, Zhang Ziyi
Director:Ang Lee
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Topics:Sports and martial arts
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:martial arts violence and some sexuality

This review of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bymathmom April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Intriguing for kids into martial arts

I watched this movie with my 9 year old son who is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He thought it was one of the best action films he's ever seen (which is not a lot). I think it's great that the main warriors in this story are women. Three things I'd wish I'd known: 1. There is a sex scene between the two younger lovers which was a little more than I wanted him to see at the time. 2. In one fight scene a large "knife-weapon" gets lodged into the head of a man - which was pretty gross. 3. In the final fight scene between Jade Fox and the three others, there is a pretty graphic scene of poison darts that go right into the eye of Jade Fox. That was kind of gross as well. Overall, the acting, directing and story are excellent. Even my 9 year old understood the moral of the story which had to do with living your love while you can. It also has an amazing soundtrack with Yo-Yo Ma doing cello solos.
Teen, 14 years old Written byJohan April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Adult Written byAshnak April 9, 2008

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