Warning: Wikipedia contains spoilers
Made on a mere $15 million budget, with dialogue in Mandarin, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon became a huge international success. It grossed on the order of $128 million dollars in the United States alone - where foreign language films are very rarely embraced by the public. It was nominated for numerous awards around the world, including The Academy Awards' Best Picture. It won four Academy Awards, including Best Foreign Language Film. It was filmed in Anhui Province, China. Its Mandarin title is Wo hu zang long (臥虎藏龍).
Set in the Qing Dynasty in China (the props, the hair and clothing styles and the appearance of a telescope are all consistent with the period), the story follows two experienced and legendary warriors, Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun-Fat) and Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh). Both are in love but feel they cannot act on their love. Meanwhile Jen Zhang Ziyi, who has tasted adventure, yearns for more, and as a secret apprentice to the evil warrior Jade Fox (whom Li has sworn to kill) she has the skills to match any warrior she meets, except Li, who refuses to kill her because he wants to train her as his apprentice. But Jen is headstrong in her powers and maddened by her forbidden love to desert bandit Lo, and she will not accept Li as a master.
The name Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (臥虎藏龍) comes from a Chinese saying that teaches one to conceal one's strengths from others. In the Chinese version of the movie, Lo's name is Xiao Hu which means "little tiger" and Jen's name is Lon Ur which means "little dragon."
Despite its international fame, this movie was not well received in China. It was just yet another Wu Xia movie among thousands in the past four decades. Some Mandarin speaking audience complained that they had to read the Chinese subtitle because the actors' accent was hard to understand. Neither Chow nor Yeoh speaks Mandarin natively.