The godfather of Hong Kong gangster films.
A monument in Hong Kong cinema, The Story of a Discharged Prisoner is a portrait of a people wrestling with changing times. The titled ex-con, returning to society, is confronted with not only the invisible hands of the free market and the very visible fists of crony capitalism, but also archaic values at home, and social structures not quite ready for the unfortunate. Yet he stands tall, firmly, with a personal code of honor.
Director Patrick Lung Kong portrays his tragic heroics with groundbreaking mise-en-scene at once dynamic and affecting, turning the film into a critical and commercial sensation. 19 years later, John Woo would remake the film, with the same Chinese title but a different English moniker — A Better Tomorrow – recreating the Hong Kong gangster figure and redefining Hong Kong film.