When We Were Orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro, 2005
A Cambridge graduate whose parents disappeared in Shanghai, where they lived when he was a boy, travels east from England in the 1930’s as a detective to determine what really happened to his mother and father.
Thousand Pieces of Gold, Ruthanne Lum McCunn, 1983
After famine hits her hometown in northern China, Lalu is sent to America in this heart-wrenching tale of slavery, misogyny, adventure and romance.
Life and Death in Shanghai, Nien Cheng, 1968
A harrowing account of life during the Cultural Revolution.
Shanghai, Harriet Sergeant, 1998
A portrait of the city in the 1920s and ’30s during its waning days of decadence.
Shanghai: The Rise and Fall of a Decadent City, 1842-1949, Stella Dong, 2001
Story of Old Shanghai with tales of drugs, prostitution, and gang warfare.
Mission Impossible III, J. J. Abrams, 2006
Tom Cruise and the gang travel the world battling arms dealers with gadgets and state-of-the-art weaponry – including a stop in Shanghai where Cruise’s character swings between two skyscrapers.
The Painted Veil, John Curran, 2006
A brilliant period romance about a mismatched English couple (Naomi Watts, Edward Norton) that travels to Shanghai in the 1920’s for the husband’s work as an epidemiologist, based on the W. Somerset Maugham tragic novel.
Empire of the Sun, Steven Spielberg, 1987
Christian Bale got his major break in this spirited historical drama about an English boy struggling under Japan’s occupation of Shanghai during WWII, based on J. G. Ballard’s autobiographical novel of the same name.
The White Countess, James Ivory, 2005
Set in 1930’s Shanghai, Natasha Richardson plays a beautiful, titled Russian noblewoman who befriends a blind former diplomat (Ralph Fiennes) – and does some questionable things to support her family.