Directed by Zhang Yimou
Produced by Zhang Yimou
Written by Feng Li 21 December 2002 (Hong Kong)
Running time 99 minutes
Language Mandarin, English, French,
In ancient China during the Warring States period, Nameless, a Qin prefect, arrives at the Qin capital city to meet the king of Qin, who had survived an attempt on his life by the assassins Sky, Flying Snow, and Broken Sword. As a result, the king has implemented extreme security measures: no visitors allowed to approach the king within 100 paces. Nameless claims that he has slain the three assassins and he displays their weapons before the king, who allows the former to approach within ten paces and tell him his story.
Nameless recounts first killing Long Sky, before traveling to meet Flying Snow and Broken Sword, who had taken refuge at a calligraphy school in the Zhao state. He tells Sword that he is there to commission a calligraphy scroll with the character for “Sword” (劍), secretly seeking to learn Sword’s skill through his calligraphy. Nameless also learns that Snow and Sword, who are lovers, had gradually grown distant. Once the scroll is complete, Nameless reveals his identity and challenges Snow to a duel the next day, to avenge her secret lover Long Sky. Sword, in anger at Snow’s betrayal to him, makes love to his pupil Moon, and is seen by Snow. In revenge, Snow kills Sword, followed by Moon when she attempted to seek revenge for her master. The next day, Nameless kills the emotionally unstable Snow before the Qin army, and claims her sword.