Wolf Totem

Synopsis: In 1967, a young Beijing student, Chen Zhen, is sent to live among the nomadic herdsmen of Inner Mongolia. Caught between the advance of civilization from the south and the nomads' traditional enemies - the marauding wolves - to the north; humans and animals, residents and invaders alike, struggle to find their true place in the world.
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Director(s): Jean-Jacques Annaud
Production: Sony Pictures
  11 wins & 12 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
121 min

That was the wrong bus.


Is this the bus to Wulagai?

That was in 1967...

...the second year

of the Cultural Revolution.

City students were sent

to the countryside.

- The Great Wall!

- Huh?

The Great Wall. Look!

I volunteered.

I was among the very first to go.

I picked Inner Mongolia...

...wherever that was.

It was so exciting to escape...

...the hard life we had in Beijing...

...during that troubled period.

Don't forget my books!


See you.

See you!

Look. So beautiful.

Which is the brigade leader's yurt?

The one with the wolf totem.



We are students from Beijing.

- My name is Yang Ke.


That's Chen Zhen.



How are you?

How are you?

Are you the leader?


All right.

My name is Bilig.

I am Bao Shungui.

I am the new head of production

for your area.

I bring...

Come, come.

These two students...

...will stay here for two years.

You will take care of their living...

...and give them work.

They will teach the kids...

...to read and write Mandarin.

I am going now.


- See you.

- Goodbye.

What's inside?


Only books.

That's my son's yurt.

Yours is over there.

This will be your home.


This is for your protection.

Protection against what?



You city boys...

...what did you learn at school?


Late again.

Easy, stop.

Give it to me.

Did you see the gazelles?

Hard to miss them.

I wonder

what they were running away from.

Do you have your club?

I've forgotten it.

Take this one.


- Take care.

- Sure.

Whoa. Whoa.

It's okay.



Did the awe

that the Mongolian wolf inspired...

...come from a cult deeply entrenched...

...in man's brain since time immemorial?

My heart filled with gratitude...

...for the secret forces

that came to my rescue.

I had the feeling...

...that I'd started to open the door...

...to the spiritual world

of the grassland people.

What happened?



You all right?


"Riding this vast, deserted land...

...he could not stand walls,

barriers or borders.

He'd never surrendered to anyone.

He'd rather die than be taken prisoner. "

What does

"never surrendered to anyone" mean?

If a person is not free...

...then he is better off dead.


And then?


"His dream was to be free

as the wolves.

He would only answer to...

...Great Tengger.

His one and only Master. "

Chen Zhen...

...who do you answer to?

I'm loyal to my parents...

...my superiors,

and people I respect.

I hope that includes me.

To be honest...

...there was one instruction

I did disobey.

I left the path

on the way home.

My horse and I were surrounded

by a pack of wolves.

But I remembered that you told me...

...wolves were scared

of the sound of steel traps.

So, I banged my stirrups.

You saved me.

You're not entirely stupid.


Wolves fascinate me.

I am thinking...

...in the spring...

...I would like to capture a cub

to study it.


You want to study wolves?


What do you think they'll do?

What are they waiting for?

They have been waiting

for this moment for months.

The desire to kill tortures them.

But they are not going to waste it

because of haste.

How do you think Genghis Khan

defeated the great armies of the world...

...with so few mounted warriors?

He learnt the art of war

by studying the wolves...

...that you have in front of you.

Wolves are smart

and organized.

They work together

and obey their leader's decision.

More than anything else...

...they have patience.

Life is about choosing the moment.

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Alain Godard

Alain Godard is a screenwriter and film producer best known for such films as The Name of the Rose, Two Brothers, Enemy at the Gates, Day of the Falcon, Wolf Totem and Dracula and Son. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Wolf Totem" Scripts.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 26 Feb. 2021. <https://www.scripts.com/script/wolf_totem_23602>.

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