Hero (2002 film)

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Hero (Chinese: 英雄; pinyin: Yīng Xióng) is a Chinese martial arts, drama and adventure film of the wuxia genre, directed by Zhang Yimou with music by Tan Dun. It was released in 2002. Starring Jet Li as the nameless protagonist, the movie is loosely based on the legendary Jing Ke, whose story is told in the chapter entitled Biography of the Assassins (刺客列傳) in Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, or Shiji.


  • I was orphaned at a young age and was never given a name. People simply called me Nameless. With no family name to live up to, I devoted myself to the sword. I spent ten years perfecting unique skills as a swordsman. The King of Qin has summoned me to court, for what I have accomplished has astonished the kingdom.
  • Your Majesty, I have now completed my mission. Because of my decision today, many will die, and Your Majesty will go on living. A dead man begs you to remember; a warrior's ultimate act is to lay down his sword.

King of Qin

  • Broken Sword scroll contains no secrets of swordsmanship. What it reveals is his highest ideal. In the first stage, man and sword become interchangeable. Here, even a blade of grass can be used as a lethal weapon. In the next stage, the sword resides not in the hand, but in the heart. Even without a weapon, the warrior can slay his enemy from a hundred paces. But the ultimate ideal is when the sword disappears altogether. The warrior embraces all around him. The desire to kill is gone. Only peace remains.

Broken Sword

  • Is the sword the only answer?

Title cards

  • People give up their lives for many reasons. For friendship, for love, for an ideal. And people kill for the same reasons …

    Before China was one great country, it was divided into seven warring states. In the Kingdom of Qin was a ruthless ruler. He had a vision – to unite the land, to put an end, once and for all, to war. It was an idea soaked in the blood of his enemies.

    In any war there are heroes on both sides …

  • The nameless warrior was executed as an assassin, but buried as a hero. The King of Qin went on to conquer all of the six Kingdoms and unite the country. As China's first Emperor, he completed the Great Wall to protect his subjects. This was more than two thousand years ago. But even now, when the Chinese speak of their country, they call it "Our Land".


Nameless: Beautiful calligraphy.
Broken Sword: Beautiful swordplay.
Nameless: But you have not seen me use my sword.
Broken Sword: Without your sword this scroll would not exist.

Nameless: Broken Sword said for years there has been continuous warfare, causing huge suffering to the people. Only Your Majesty has the power to bring peace by uniting our land. He hoped that for the sake of the greater good, I would abandon my plan to kill you. Broken Sword also said, "One person's pain is nothing when compared to the suffering of all." The conflict between Zhao and Qin is nothing when compared with peace for all.
King of Qin: Who would have thought an assassin would understand me best! Alone in my position I have endured endless criticism, endless attempts on my life. No one has ever grasped what I have been trying to do. Even my own court regards me as a tyrant. And yet, Broken Sword, a man I barely knew, was able to see clearly what is truly in my heart.