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Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild - Directors - Johnnie TO
杜琪峯 | TO Johnnie

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Johnnie To was born in 1955. He joined the actor’s training course at TVB in 1972 and upon graduation, started working at the television station as a production assistant. He was later promoted to director and producer and was responsible for many TV series, including Yesterday’s Glitter, The Legend of Wonder Lady, The Legend of the Condor Heroes, The Deer and the Cauldron, Special Police ’90 and Special Police ’90 II. His production of Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain won the Gold Award at the New York International Film Festival.

With the support of Damian Lau Chung-yan, Kong Hon and other actors, To directed his first film, The Enigmatic Case (1980), which was also actress Cherie Chung’s first film. It was shot on location in north Guangdong. At the completion of the film, To returned to television, working as a producer in TVB. It wasn’t until 1986 when he returned to film when, at the invitation of Cinema City’s Raymond Wong Pak-ming, he directed Happy Ghost III (1986). He followed that with a number of films for Cinema City, such as Seven Years Itch (1987) and The Eighth Happiness (1987). His All About Ah Long (1989) was a critical and commercial success, and became one of Chow Yun-fat’s most memorable films. He next produced A Moment of Romance (1990), starring Andy Lau, a box office hit and an instant classic.

Leaving Cinema City, To directed a string of commercial successes in the early and mid-1990s. Justice, My Foot (1992), pairing the remarkable film comedian Stephen Chow with a luminous Anita Mui, was directed with superb comic timing and took To’s career to new heights. He followed that in 1993 with an amazing slate of works that included The Mad Monk, The Bare-Footed Kid, Executioners and The Heroic Trio, all of them hits and some hailed as cult classics. The same year, the prolific To also produced A Moment of Romance II. In 1995, he directed Loving You and produced A Moment of Romance III

To’s career reached another peak when he formed Milkyway Image with frequent collaborator Wai Ka-fai, producing a series of works marked by stylistic and thematic distinction, such as Too Many Ways to be No. 1 (1997), The Longest Nite (1998) and Expect the Unexpected (1998). For the company, To himself directed A Hero Never Dies (1998), Where a Good Man Goes (1999) and The Mission (1999). The partners then established One Hundred Years of Film with the support of China Star Entertainment, kick-starting yet another stage of To’s illustrious career. He went on to direct a slew of big-budget productions, including Running Out of Time (1999), Needing You… (2000), Help!!! (2000), Love on a Diet (2001) and My Left Eye Sees Ghosts (2002), some of them co-directed with Wai. Among them, Needing You… took the top spot at the 2000 boxoffice chart.

In 1999, To was honored with a Filmmaker in Focus series at the Hong Kong International Film Festival.

Best known for his crime films, To is actually highly versatile, excelling in different genres ranging from comedies to romantic dramas to fantasy adventures. Starting in the late 1990s, his directorial style became increasingly distinct, displaying strong personal touches and sharp formal flair while striking a balance between commercialism and individual vision. In the 2000s and beyond, he remained prolific, turning out notable works like Running on Karma (2003), PTU (2003), Breaking News (2004), Throw Down (2004), Election (2005), Election 2 (2006), Exiled (2006), Triangle (2007), Mad Detective (2007), Sparrow (2008), Vengeance (2009) and Life without Principle (2011).

Starting in 2007, To began working on Mainland co-productions, including Linger (2008), Don’t Go Breaking My Heart (2011), Romancing in Thin Air (2012) and Drug War (2012).

Year Chinese name English name Directors
2013 《毒戰》
Drug War
2013 《盲探》
Blind Detective
2012 《高海拔之戀Ⅱ》
Romancing in Thin Air
2011 《單身男女》
Don't Go Breaking My Heart WAI Ka Fai
2011 《奪命金》
Life without Principle
2009 《復仇》
2008 《蝴蝶飛》
2008 《文雀》
2007 《鐵三角》
Triangle LAM Ringo TSUI Hark
2007 《神探》
Mad Detective WAI Ka Fai
2005 《黑社會》
2005 《黑社會以和為貴》
Election 2
2005 《放逐》
2005 《神探》
Mad Detective
2005 《鐵三角》
Triangle LAM Ringo TSUI Hark
2004 《柔道龍虎榜》
Throw Down
2004 《龍鳳鬥》
Yesterday Once More
2004 《大事件》
Breaking News
2003 《大隻佬》
Running on Karma WAI Ka Fai
2003 《PTU》
2003 《百年好合》
Love For All Seasons WAI Ka Fai
2003 《向左走.向右走》
Turn Left, Turn Right WAI Ka Fai
2002 《我左眼見到鬼》
My Left Eye Sees Ghosts WAI Ka Fai
2002 《嚦咕嚦咕新年財》
Fat Choi Spirit WAI Ka Fai
2002 《向左走,向右走》
Turn Left, Turn Right
2001 《瘦身男女》
Love on a Diet WAI Ka Fai
2001 《全職殺手》
Fulltime Killer WAI Ka Fai
2001 《鍾無艷》
Wu Yen WAI Ka Fai
2001 《暗戰II》
Running Out of Time 2
2000 《孤男寡女》
Needing You…
2000 《辣手回春》
Help!!! WAI Ka Fai
2000 《孤男寡女》
Needing You WAI Ka Fai
1999 《再見阿郎》
Where a Good Man Goes
1999 《鎗火》
The Mission
1999 《暗戰》
Running Out of Time
1998 《真心英雄》
A Hero Never Dies
1997 《十萬火急》
1996 《天若有情Ⅲ烽火佳人》
A Moment of Romance III
1995 《明日天涯》
1995 《無味神探》
Loving You
1993 《現代豪俠傳》
The Executioner CHING Siu Tung Tony
1993 《赤腳小子》
The Bare-Footed Kid
1993 《東方三俠》
The Heroic Trio
1993 《濟公》
The Mad Monk
1993 《現代豪俠傳》
1992 《審死官》
Justice, My Foot!
1992 《踢到寶》
Lucky Encounter
1991 《至尊無上Ⅱ之永霸天下》
Casino Raiders II
1991 《沙灘仔與周師奶》
Royal Scoundrel CHIK Ki Yee Johnathan
1990 《愛的世界》
The Story of My Son
1990 《吉星拱照》
The Fun, the Luck and the Tycoon
1990 《特警90 II 之亡命天涯》
The Iron Butterfly 2
1989 《阿郎的故事》
All about Ah Long
1989 《特警90》
The Iron Butterfly
1988 《城市特警》
The Big Heat KAM Yeung wah Andrew
1988 《八星報喜》
The Eighth Happiness
1988 《天堂血路》
It's No Heaven
1987 《七年之癢》
Seven Years Itch
1986 《開心鬼撞鬼》
Happy Ghost 3 LAM Ringo
1986 《開心鬼撞鬼》
Happy Ghost III WONG Raymond LAM Ringo
1980 《碧水寒山奪命金》
The Enigmatic Case