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  • While true that this movie isn't Academy Award material, it is very enjoyable and touchingly romantic. The scenery is breathtaking at times and the film flows well. It starts in a party atmosphere and becomes a romantic adventure story. It is a good cross between a "Chick Flick" and an adventure story. I have flown open cockpit biplanes and perhaps that makes the film even more enduring for me.

    There is plenty of flying and small war skirmishes are smattered in with the search for a rich brat's father. She (Bess Armstrong as Eve Tozer) must find the father and get him to a British court before the deadline or she will lose all of her money. If the partner, Bentik, can have Bradley Tozer (Wilford Brimley) declared as dead in a British court then he gets the whole company; thus relieving Eve Tozer of the heaps of her fathers money. And it is about money that this girl lives for, or so it seems. She enlists the help of a derelict and decrepit old WW1 ace, Tom Selleck, who has the only two available airplanes to get her to her father in time. Assassins are employed by Bradley Tozers partner to keep him from being found adding more tension to the already danger filled trail.

    While the romance angle is as predictable as it is in just about any film, the story does flow well and the scenery also helps to keep ones interest. Rent this one and settle down for some fun. I would rate this film as three out of four stars.
  • Given Tom Selleck, Bess Armstrong, Wilford Brimley, Robert Morley, Brian Blessed, and Jack Weston, and a bunch of excellent aerial action scenes, this is a terrific film. So what if there isn't a great message, or outstanding drama. For what this is... a comedy-adventure... it's great. Tom and Bess have always been extremely watchable to me, and they continue that tradition here. A solid 9.
  • The best thing about "High Road to China" is that it does not try to change the world by making a social statement. It does not try to do anything but be an escape for moviegoers. Is it a perfect film? No. But this is one of my favorite films because it does just that - it allows me to escape. This much under-appreciated movie tells an excellent story: a rich brat living in the Roaring 20's hires a flying ace to find her father in a remote part of China. From a cinemagraphic point-of-view, it is a very good-looking film. Bess Armstrong never looked better on screen. And although her character of Eve Tozer is not always believable, I liked her as the rich brat who thinks everything has its price. I was never a Tom Selleck fan, but as Patrick O'Malley, he makes the perfect flying daredevil - a hard drinker who has trouble showing that he has a heart. The late Jack Weston, who was one of the better character actors of our modern times, is perfectly cast as the sidekick mechanic Struts. And the late Robert Morley provides good comic relief in the midst of being the heavy.

    The movie simply looks good with its gorgeous locations and colors. The flying sequences - especially the dogfight between O'Malley and the German ace (complete with references to the famous Red Baron) is first-rate, and the battle scenes are shot very well. The pace of the film is not always even, but one sequence after another has our protagonists in some dire predicament. And it is fun watching them try and get out of each one. It should have done better at the box office, for the film is still a favorite of cable movie channels and people who discover it on video for the first time. I would recommend this film to anyone, because it is simply a little gem and a wonderful film for movie buffs who wish to escape.
  • A drunk previous WWI pilot (Tom Selleck) and his underling (Jack Weston) are contracted by a young heiress (Bess Armstrong) who must encounter her dad before her contender (Robert Morley) takes over the inheritance . They will face dangerous bandits (Brian Blessed) , numerous adventures and risks .

    This exciting story gets an agreeable look and feeling to vintage adventures , exotic places , dastardly nasties and daring getaways than ever before . Packs enough action with explosion galore , especial aerial effects with impressive images of flight and dogfighting , comedy , tongue usefully in in its check , all that make it a cinematic roller coater ride . It's made like a classic's 30s-style adventure reminiscent of early serials and in the wake of ¨Raiders of the last ark¨ . Tom Selleck is a hard-drinking former air ace , he's a dashing and intrepid pilot , Bess Armstrong is perfectly cast as feisty heiress looking for his father , she's continuously irritated with the smooth talker and alcoholic adventurer . Both of whom play a special love story in a screwball-romance style . Besides , displaying spectacular images of Selleck and Armstrong gliding over extraordinary landscapes with musical background by John Barry , perhaps copied by Sidney Pollack in ¨Out of Africa¨ with the couple Redford and Meryl Streep , flying in similar plane and soundtrack . Regular cinematography by Ronnie Taylor filmed in Yugoslavia and England, the colors are worn-out, it's necessary an urgent remastering . The film was lavishly produced by Fred Weintraub and Raymond Chow , producers of ¨Operation Dragon¨ starred by Bruce Lee . This was 27th highest grossing film of 1983 at the American box-office . The picture was frequently perceived by the film-going public as being a knock-off to Raiders of the lost ark (1981) when in fact the film had been in development since the late 1970s .

    The film was well handled and professionally directed by Brian G Hutton, however was a flop and failed to give cash . Hutton started his career with little and prestigious films , such as ¨Wild seed¨ and ¨The Pad¨. There after , he veered off into big budgeted and all-star movies, proving which he could handle big scale production , as ¨Where the eagles dare¨, one of the best from Alistair McLean , furthermore with ¨Kelly's heroes¨ added humor to the warlike action . His next picture was ¨High road to China¨ marked a partial return with panache to his previous form but faltered at the Box-office , in spite of being quite amusing and with occasional touch of directorial skill, for that reason is a must for adventure buffs .
  • This is one of the best adventure films I've ever seen. Tom Selleck and Bess Armstrong are great and Jack Weston as Struts is hillarious.

    It has some great scenes of the planes flying across country. And John Barry's music is excellent.

    The story is simple: Rich woman (Armstrong) hires drunken pilot (Selleck) to fly her to China to find her missing father.

    Meanwhile, people are trying to have her killed, and each stop they make along the way allows for a sideline adventure.

    All in all, one of my favourite films, and a rare treat of a movie. They don't them like this any more. I wish it were available on DVD!
  • Brian G. Hutton's "High Road To China" is a classic example of good old fashioned chemistry. Lost-generation flapper hires boozy WW-I flying ace to help find her father, lost somewhere in China, to avoid losing her inheritance. You just know that they will eventually get together, and plenty of facial expressions and body language promise an ending that eventually delivers. Some great scenery and flying scenes, and burly he-manning from Brian Blessed, keep you in stitches. If this had been filmed in black and white in the 40s, it would have been up there with Casablanca, et al. Lots of low-expectation fun.
  • Drama, funny, & veteran character actors out the kazoo. Robert Morley (rest his soul) is great as the malicious bumbling nemesis, & Wilford Brimley is letter-perfect as the eccentric good-guy geezer. Jack Weston is stellar as sidekick, Brian Blessed is appropriately malevolent as Suleman Khan, & Timothy Bateson is 1st-rate as Morley's sniveling toady. All of this is overshadowed (but not over the top) by the absolutely perfect chemistry between Selleck & Armstrong, though. Yeah, sure, the conceit of the snotty-rich-girl-drives-the-heart-of-gold-tough-guy-crazy love story has been done to death, but never executed quite like this. These two make an on-screen couple at the level of Bogey/Bacall, Fred/Ginger, & George/Gracie.

    Selleck's charisma normally dominates other actors' presence; Armstrong more than holds her own, which is saying a lot for any actress, much less one not on the A-list. The cinematography is exceptionally well-done. All in all, this is one seriously underrated flick, & a movie I'd buy in a heartbeat if it ever became available on DVD, which sadly I doubt it ever will. :(
  • Today, when I bought a consumer DVD recorder, and went through a stack of 300+ laserdiscs to dub some not-available-on-DVD-yet films for a very long flight to London tomorrow, this was the second disc I dubbed (Grand Prix was the first) and realized just how perfect a movie this remains, even after 20 years. First off, the John Barry score is first-rate; as someone else mentioned, the master took the easy way out and simply revised it for Out of Africa a few years later (and it works as well there as it does here).

    I'm not sure what defines screen chemistry, but Selleck and Armstrong (one of my all-time favorite actresses) have it here. While there is conflict between their characters, it seems apparent to me that they are having a good time acting out this tightly scripted adventure/fantasy. The underlying sexual tension (again as someone else noted there's zero nudity here) between the two is palpable.

    The aerial sequences stand up well over time; certainly better than the computer-generated crap that looks so fake (like Pearl Harbor) that passes for special effects today, will look in 2020.

    While image quality of the laserdisc is certainly better than VHS, it falls short of what we've come to expect today, 10 years into the DVD era. Why this film hasn't made it into the 5-inch medium, with a cleaned up Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack (to better showcase the John Barry score), is beyond me.

    When one sees the utter dreck that is released today, scraping the bottom of the film vault barrel, it amazes me to wonder why this neglected gem sits in a vault somewhere. As there are no true A-list stars in this film filled with wonderful performances, why Warner Brothers, has this not been given a full bore DVD release? I wonder if it's available in some market outside of North America.

    Clocking-in at a bit less than two hours, this is a movie in the mold of similar films produced in the immediate post-WWII era. I think that when I watch it on the plane Sunday, I might even watch it in black and white.

    A great reason to keep you laserdisc player, watch auctions on eBay for this to pop up on LD and to buy a DVD recorder as this is a movie you can watch over and over and enjoy it each time.

    Shame on you Warner Brothers for not putting it out on DVD.
  • This is absolutely one of the best action/adventure movies that I have ever seen. The fabulous scenery, the exciting action scenes, and the chemistry between Selleck and Armstrong combine to make it an all-time great. Bess Armstrong is in her prime, and is gorgeous, magnificent, and believable in her role as a rich, spoiled brat. And Jack Weston's character adds an interesting dimension to the movie. But most of all, the musical score by John Barry is hauntingly beautiful. It's amazing that the movie didn't do very well when it was released. As far as I'm concerned, this is a must-see. Hopefully, it will be available on DVD soon.
  • This is one of my all time favorite movies and without a doubt my favorite Tom Selleck movie. I've never understood why it didn't do better and isn't more well known. It has an excellent cast, the chemistry between Selleck and Armstrong is palpable, the movie itself is very well done; decent plot, fast pace, well developed characters, great score and great cinematography, and it's a fun story. When people look back at Selleck's career I think this movie and "Quigley Down Under" will be considered his best big screen work. And Bess Armstrong has always been a strong actress, she's great in this movie, as is the entire supporting cast. This is the kind of movie that people go to the movies to see. It should get much more respect than it does, and it should be available on DVD!
  • drskelly19 October 2003
    Unaccountably under-rated for years this film will eventually be appreciated for what it is -- a wry, often spectacular, often lyrical comedy-romance with great leads and brilliant character performers, accompanied by a score so ravishing Barry simply re-set it for Out Of Africa after the indifferent reception of this film. No doubt it suffered from being released in the wake of Raiders of the Lost Ark but the comparison is unfair, if not odious. High Road to China didn't compete with any others -- it had its own style, and it was gorgeous.
  • For the purist, this movie may seem to be one in which the actors portray a "scripted" dialogue, when in fact if you read books written during the period following WWI you will find the exact same character of speech. In the 21st century men and women can learn a considerable amount when looking at the growing relationship between Armstrong and Selleck as well as the Warlord played by Brumley. The story line coupled with the filming techniques make this a remarkable movie and one you should add to your collection when it comes out on DVD. For those of us who love Selleck in all his characters his portrayal of a hard drinking, opinionated, barnstorming adventurer makes watching him interact with the spoiled, selfish and hardheaded heiress quite humorous and well worth watching again and again.
  • I was delighted to find out how many other people like this movie. I'm not a movie critic so I don't know whether it's technically a good or important film, but I think it's a great story that hits on all cylinders - action, adventure, romance, exotic lands and people, honor, decency, fighting for a just cause - am I missing anything? I almost voted it a ten just to get it's numbers up, 5.2 doesn't do it justice. I love the lead characters. Evie, the vivacious, fearless, rich young girl who loves life and enjoys her money versus O'Malley, the rough and tough but decent hero who lives and flies by the seat of his pants. I enjoyed both Armstrong and Selleck in their roles. And I thought the supporting cast played their parts to the hilt. I never get tired of seeing this movie. It's been on Showtime the last several weeks. I've watched it three times.
  • Rare is it that a movie combines great stars with great acting and a great plot. This is not one of those movies. however, what I liked about it was its appeal for adventure but not stuck on it. Its cast while not great somehow to me, had a Human side to it that I really liked. Almost as if it were "regular" people acting as they would do in the circumstances. There was no "super" hero although there was bravery and no adult scenes, although we got the point to how adults sometimes act when drinking and "other". The Film was enjoyable, humanistic in a way that films seldom do. Selleck and Armstrong were terrific together giving you that "I have been through this" feeling when you deal with opposite personalities.

    The Plot is uncomplicated with Armstrong needing to get to her father in China but the only way there is to hire Selleck and his jalopy planes. A guy who's "regular" and a Rich brat who's anything but regular blend well together to make this a funny, interesting and enjoyable film with some very cool aerial shots. Finally, just a plain film with an interesting cast and a plot that takes you on a Ariel adventure.
  • This is one of those films I never tire of. I watched it several times during the 80s, then laid off it for a while during the 90s (mostly due to a long stint without cable), and have recently rediscovered it since getting satellite. I am glad I gave it such a long time before going back to it, because I had forgotten the gorgeous scenery, the snappy one-liners, and the dead-on acting. Everyone is believable and several scenes, such as when O'Malley explains his theory on Eve's family genetics, verge on hysterical. The romance isn't overdone, and the language is fairly mild, with no references to feces or intercourse to be found. Even by 1983 standards, it's pretty tame.

    All in all, if not an excellent film, a competent one, and eminently suited for filling up a rainy Saturday afternoon.
  • I really enjoyed the movie immensely. The characters were all excellent. Tom Selleck and Bess Armstrong had great chemistry. Jack Weston, Wilford Brimley, Robert Morley all provided superb support in their character roles. The wonderful music was provided by John Barry. The aerial duel with the German ace was well choreographed. The escape from the Arab village was exciting. The final battle sequences were very well done. If the movie has a flaw, it's predictable. However, it's great fun and I enjoy romantic adventures in the Hollywood style of the 30's, 40's and 50's. What's wrong with good clean exciting romantic entertainment? They need to make more these pictures. I'm looking forward to seeing it again!
  • At last! After searching for this DVD for years I finally got my hands on it. Dutch Film Works released the DVD in Holland for a stunning 2.99 euro. I had this movie on VHS in the 80's but lost the tape. I just watched the movie again and it is still the terrific movie I had in mind. I never liked his role in Magnum P.I. but Tom Selleck is the perfect match for this WO I veteran pilot. My confession here in public: this was how I wanted to be back in 1983. Bess Armstrong plays the spoiled rich kid so fabulous. She always reminds me very strongly of a girlfriend of mine in those days. Not only the looks but also the behavior. Maybe that's the main reason why I love this movie so much? Anyway, the action is good, the music is amazing and the storyline is simple but well worked out. The hate/love relationship between Selleck and Armstrong is the best I've ever seen in a movie. It's almost unbelievable that these two actors went into oblivion. Even the director never made a movie after this one. A very, very underrated movie at IMDb. A crying shame.
  • The last of a great breed. This is truly one of the last of the great classic films, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Simply put, films like this are a thing of the past, as has been shown in the last twenty years. They appeal to too narrow an audience by today's corporate marketing genius's standards (heavy sarcasm), and because of the cross market appeal this film has, it's guaranteed to be a box-office bust (again, buy today's standards).

    Technically; the Kahn sequence seemed a touch slow and contrived, as well as the British army sequence and some of the other character oriented scenes, but still necessary. Regardless, the camera work, locations and art direction are top notch. Good stunts, excellent flying sequences, and, most importantly of all, there's no CGI to ruin the movie. Heck, there aren't even miniatures in this film! Everything you see in this film IS REAL. Aeroplanes, explosions, sets, locations, the whole shootin-match. :-) (so to speak).

    No awards will be won by any single actor, actress or crew member. But, as a whole, this is a spectacular film that I really want for my DVD collection. Regrettably the only version available to us in the United States is the one provided on Youtube.

    Romantic and adventurous settings, locations and story makes this one not to miss. Sellick and Armstrong definitely sync well together on screen.

    *RESCREENED JAN 10th, 2010* My new title; "Indiana Jones Grows Up"

    I got my DVD of this film a few days ago, and popped it into my region 2 player after work. All I can say is I'm truly glad I have this in my collection, and I think I appreciate the film now more than ever. What we have here is the bratty socialite connecting with the hero-has-been who's never grown up. She's a socialite aviatrix with womanly wiles, while he's the rugged man of the world, but prefers to stay in his immature mold and lost to the world. Both have lessons to teach one another, and it pays off. I find it a heart warming film that I think couples true of heart to another can share and enjoy.

    Regrettably my region 2 DVD is not letter boxed, and the transfer, though respectable, is not what it could have been. Still, it's the only game in town as far a DVD version of this film goes, and I'm okay with that. Though shame on the powers that be for not making this film a priority for market.

    Well, I don't have too much more to say other than I'm going to watch it again. :-)


    *EDIT JULY 10th, 2012* I got a brand new letterboxed and remastered DVD from Hen's Tooth Video. A fantastic transfer. Excellent quality. Many kudos to the people at Hen's Tooth. The film looks better than ever before. Pick up a copy today.
  • OK, so this is all opinion, but of all the movies you can find on DVD, why not High Road to China?

    Relatively big name actors, big name soundtrack.

    If you're looking for a great entertaining enjoyable movie you probably would enjoy this.

    Bess Armstrong is adorable in this movie.

    Although Tom Seleck doesn't turn in a lot of Oscar worthy performances, he does a good job in this movie and you cant help but hope he ends up capturing the heart of the spoiled rich girl(Bess Armstrong)

    I have been looking for this for years.

    Whichever studio owns this should put it on DVD with Seleck "Her Alibi" both good adventure/love stories.

    Gotta be enough Tom Seleck fans alone to make money on the release of the DVD in the United State.

    I really enjoyed this movie and think its about time to open it up to another generation.

    Dear movie studios:

    Please release this on DVD in the USA.

    Thank You
  • We have loved this movie since we first saw it years ago. We enjoy the story line of a young girl searching for her long gone father half way around the world. The scenery in the movie is incredible and adds so much to the story. There are also some good cultural lessons in the movie which come about in the different countries they are in. We were able to tape it off of TV and have watched it over and over. We don't understand why it isn't mentioned more and available in the stores on DVD. We did just purchase it on DVD on-line and the copy we received is a very bad copy. We hope we can get a refund or a good copy as it is one of our favorite movies. We have recommended this movie to many friends and will plan an evening to just sit and watch it once again, even if it is on VHS and not a great copy!
  • This adventure is priceless with the major stars cast in the many different and humorous roles.

    If you need to laugh and escape for a while; this is the film to see.

    Tom Selleck will always be a god to those of us who like to see 'real' characters on the silver screen instead of 'here today, gone tomorow' so called stars.

    Even the weak technical aspects of this film can be forgiven with a star like Selleck.
  • It's not a movie for everybody. Expect a high quality exciting movie, thriller, complicated characters, clever punch lines, thoughtful script, puzzling story line, deep going conversations, you're in the wrong place then. Expect an adventure, romance, times gone by, old fashioned styled, understandable characters, just plain nice movie for on the sofa with a bag of crisps and a drink. The movie is made to mimic earlier decades adventure romance movies. A fantastic story, foreign cultures, old flying machines, love hate relation ship with a very happy ending. A text book story without surprises. The characters are what they are and as such well played. Nothing complicated about any of them, within minutes you know most of what the characters are supposed to picture. But who cares? It just uncomplicated simple entertainment, what is wrong with that? It's a mystery to me why the score is so low for this movie. OK, it's definitely not for everybody so look at the story, don't like it, don't watch it, as you will find your opinion is right indeed so don't complain then, you were warned. No, like I said, uncomplicated entertaining, no brainer, this movie. I love it every few years when I watch it. Life is already complicated full of misery, doom, gloom, crisis. So, what is wrong with a simple story that transports you to a imaginary era to just be swept away into an other area. Love it love it love it ! Give us more.
  • misutakurisu24 April 2011
    This is simply a good movie! It is not an academy award winning movie but many of us including myself do enjoy watching movies which don't have academy award winning credentials. I saw this movie rated at 5.5 out of 10! I was flabbergasted. Deserve at least a 7. I found it a little puzzling why it was so heavily compared to Raiders of the Lost Arc. Sure there was some adventure, some comedy, but there was some romance. The romance of the air and the beautiful scenery and finally the kissing between O'Malley and Eve. The movie had kind of an'Out of Africa' feel, maybe it was the flying and the breathtaking scenery. That is why I found it strange that this movie is being compared to the Raiders of the Lost Arc. Along with perhaps one of the most beautiful scores in movie history to accompany it, High Road to China is a wonderful and timeless movie.
  • gcd7011 April 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    From the novel by Jon Cleary, this high adventure (ala Indiana Jones) flick is a sight better than most. An enjoyable cast and a reasonable plot do help a lot.

    The interaction between Tom Selleck and Bess Armstrong is a lot of fun. Brian Blessed's nasty Khan is a hoot, as is "Heinz" man Robert Morley. Brian G. Hutton directs it all at a pace.

    The whole affair of "High Road to China" is capped by John Barry's heroic theme and fantastic cinematography from Sandra Weintraub Roland and S. Lee Pogostin.

    Saturday, April 10, 1999 - Video
  • Arbela-118 February 2006
    Great story, memorable interaction and magical musical score. A most enjoyable actioned packed film with old fashioned romance. I wish they made more films like this. The characters are strong, the film most highly recommended. It fiction though based on some real characters which adds credibility to the story. I think Tom Sellick was at his best in this film. I will not outline the story line or refer to particulars as this would spoil the story and any one watching the film for the first time. John Barry musical score and main theme are quite magical, it captures and compliments the overall flow and story development. It is music that is haunting and the tune lingers on in your mind. The Aerial views are breathtaking.Enjoy
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