2001 Honorary Fellow
Born in 1948 in Guangxi China, John Woo came to Hong Kong with his family at the age of four.
The young Woo grew up in Hong Kong in the 60s, spending his time at the local cinemas and taking in the best of the decade. At age nineteen, he began making experimental films. In 1971 he began working as an assistant director at Shaw Brothers. Two years later he made his directorial debut with The Young Dragons.
Woo later signed an exclusive contract with Golden Harvest. He found equal success with the cantonese opera film Princess Chang Ping (1975), and soon became a major Asian film-maker with a series of comedies, including Money Crazy (1977) and Plain Jane to the Rescue (1982).
In 1983, Woo joined Cinema City, a new company where he directed the romantic gangster film A Better Tomorrow (1986). Other crime thrillers include The Killer (1989) and his last Hong Kong produced film Hard Boiled (1991) won enthusiastic following among moviegoers and movie makers alike around the world.
John Woo is best known for his unrivaled direction of tightly choreographed action sequences: gunfights of mythic proportions. Besides spectacular action, Woo’s films showcase characters imbued with an audience-pleasing chivalry and dramatic heroism.
Woo made his feature film debut in the United States with Hard Target starring Jean-Claude Van Damme in 1992. Later, he directed his first Hollywood hit Broken Arrow starring John Travolta and Christian Slater.
His third Hollywood film Face Off in 1997, starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage, set the highest box office records for Hong Kong directors working in the States. His last film Mission Impossible II starring Tom Cruise grossed over US$500 million worldwide. Currently, he is working on his latest movie, Windtalkers.