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The First Emperor of China

The First Emperor of China

| 42 min

This historical drama tells the story of Qin Shihuang, who unified China’s vast territory and declared himself emperor in 221 B.C. During his reign, he introduced sweeping reforms, built a vast network of roads and connected the Great Wall of China. From the grandiose inner sanctum of Emperor Qin's royal palace, to fierce battles with feudal kings, this film re-creates the glory and the terror of the Qin Dynasty, including footage of Qin's life-sized terra cotta army, constructed 2,200 years ago for his tomb. The First Emperor of China was shot entirely in IMAX.

  • director
    Tony Ianzelo
    Liu Hao Xue
  • producer
    Barrie Howells
    Pan Han Ci
  • associate producer
    Margaret Wong
    Wong Guo Ren
  • executive producer
    Colin Neale
    Ma Ji Long
    Barrie Howells
    Pan Han Ci
  • script
    Wong Ji Cheng
    Liu Yun Hui
  • screenplay
    Robert Duncan
  • camera
    Ernest McNabb
    Savas Kalogeras
    Susan Trow
  • sound
    Claude Beauchemin
  • editing
    Roger Hart
  • sound editing
    André Galbrand
    Danuta Klis
  • narrator
    Christopher Plummer
  • music
    Eldon Rathburn
    Zhao Ji Ping
  • cast
    Bo Guan Jin
    Wang Guang Hui
    Wang Guo Ren
    Ma Kun
    Cui Luo Wen
    Wen Qian
    Sun Wei
    Yang Ya Zhou
    Yang Zhi Ping


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Ages 16 to 18

Study Guides - Guide 1 | Guide 2

Civics/Citizenship - Ideologies
History - World History
History and Citizenship Education - Neolithic Civilization to the Renaissance
Social Studies - Comparative Civilizations

Warning (if any): Violence

Brief “lesson launcher type” activity or a series of inquiry questions with a bit of context:

Dramatization of the rule of the first emperor of China, Emperor Qin, narrated by Christopher Plummer.

In the film they mention that many men join the army for glory. Do you think men and women today join the army for similar reasons? Why or why not?

There was a steep human cost for Qin’s empire. Do governments continue to sacrifice citizens for power or glory? How so?

During Qin’s rule, he took to burning books to control public thought; when else in history has this happened? This escalated to killing dissidents or those who criticize policy. How are the policies related?

When did freedom of speech become more acknowledged as universal?

Why did Qin’s legacy not continue past 36 months after his death? Why do many dictatorships not succeed? What predicts the longevity of a leader and their policies?

The First Emperor of China
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