How many Maggie Cheung films can you name? Probably not all of them—there are too many.
Since her career kicked off when she came in second at the 1983 Miss Hong Kong Pageant, the Hong Kong actress has made around 80 films. The talented former beauty queen rose to stardom in the late 1980s and has played a wide range of roles onscreen throughout her career, including a vampire, a silent film star, the Green Snake in the Chinese legend, an innocent lover, a drug addict and much more.
Like her fellow A-lister Anita Mui, Cheung’s contribution to the film industry has fundamentally changed the way the world sees Hong Kong cinema, which was epitomised by Kungfu films or crime thrillers before the 1980s. Her talent has earnt her a number of prestigious awards, including Best Actress at the Hong Kong Film Awards, Cannes Film Festival and Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival.
Here are five memorable and influential films starring Cheung you don't want to miss.
1. As Tears Go By (1988)
This 1988 crime drama was legendary Hong Kong film director Wong Kar-Wai’s directorial debut, and one of Cheung’s first few collaborations with Wong. This work marked the beginning of Cheung’s more dramatic acting career four years after her film debut in comedy Prince Charming (1984).
Inspired by Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets, the film stars actor Andy Lau and singer Jacky Cheung Hok-yau as key members of a triad in the city, and Cheung as the innocent cousin and romantic interest of Lau’s character. This film led to Cheung being nominated for Best Actress at the 1988 Hong Kong Film Awards.