Shanghai Surprise

Watch Shanghai Surprise

"A romantic adventure for the dangerous at heart."
  • PG-13
  • 1986
  • 1 hr 37 min
  • 3.3  (5,714)
  • 16

In the mid-1980s, the world was swept up in a fascination with all things exotic, and "Shanghai Surprise" capitalized on that trend with its glamorous setting in Shanghai in the 1930s. The film stars Sean Penn and Madonna as two unlikely lovers caught up in a web of international intrigue and dangerous smuggling. Penn stars as Glendon Wasey, a bumbling and irresponsible con man who finds himself in over his head when he becomes entangled with a mysterious woman named Gloria Tatlock, played by Madonna. Gloria is a nurse who has come to Shanghai to search for her missing sister, but quickly becomes caught up in the notorious opium trade that is flourishing in the seedy back alleys and shadowy underworld of the city.

As Glendon and Gloria navigate the treacherous waters of Shanghai's criminal underworld, they encounter a host of colorful characters, including the ruthless gangster Walter Faraday, played by Paul Freeman. Faraday is the mastermind behind the opium smuggling ring, and he will stop at nothing to protect his lucrative business.

Along the way, Glendon and Gloria face numerous obstacles and betrayals, including the double-crossing of Gloria's own sister, who has become involved with Faraday's criminal enterprise. But despite the danger and uncertainty of their situation, Glendon and Gloria find themselves falling in love, even as they hurtle towards a dangerous confrontation with Faraday and his henchmen.

"Shanghai Surprise" is a stylish and visually stunning film, with elaborate sets and costumes that capture the decadent glamour of Shanghai's pre-war era. Madonna's performance as Gloria is sultry and glamorous, while Penn's portrayal of Glendon is charmingly hapless. Freeman's Walter Faraday is a menacing presence, adding a sense of danger and urgency to the film.

The film's screenplay, written by John Kohn and Robert Bentley, is fast-paced and full of twists and turns, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats as the story unfolds. Director Jim Goddard expertly sets the scene and builds suspense, creating a thrilling and immersive cinematic experience that transports viewers to a bygone era of glamour and excitement.

Despite its impressive cast and cinematic pedigree, "Shanghai Surprise" was not a critical or commercial success upon its release in 1986. Many critics found fault with the film's plot and dialogue, and Madonna's acting was also widely criticized. However, the film has since gained a cult following and is considered by many to be a classic of its era, offering a window into a time and place that has long since passed into history.

Overall, "Shanghai Surprise" is a stylish and entertaining film that captures the mood and spirit of an era in a way that few other movies have been able to achieve. With its exotic setting, engaging plot, and talented cast, it remains a must-see for fans of 1980s cinema and classic Hollywood glamour.

Shanghai Surprise is a 1986 adventure movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 3.3 and a MetaScore of 16.

Shanghai Surprise
Where to Watch Shanghai Surprise
Shanghai Surprise is available to watch free on The Roku Channel Free. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Shanghai Surprise for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 37 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    3.3  (5,714)
  • Metascore