Famous Hong Kong singer and actress Anita Mui began her acting career on television playing the role of Keun in ‘Nui wor hang dong’ in 1981. A couple of years later, in 1983, she guest starred as herself in the comedy drama movie ‘Shu zhi suo zhi’ (‘The Sensational Pair’) and also acted in the comedy films ‘Mad Mad 83’ and ‘Biu choh chat yat ching’. The following year, she played a supporting role in the comedy drama romance movie ‘Behind the Yellow Line’. Her performance in this Taylor Wong directed movie fetched her the best supporting actress award at the ‘Hong Kong Film Awards’. From 1985 to 1987, she appeared in numerous other films like the 'The Musical Singer', 'Juk nei ho wan', ‘Young Cops’ (all 1985), ‘Why, Why, Tell Me Why?’, ‘Happy Din Don’, ‘Last Song in Paris’, ‘100 Ways to Murder Your Wife’, ‘Chocolate Inspector’ (all 1986), ‘Scared Stiff’, ‘Happy Bigamist’ and ‘Troubling Couples’ (all 1987).
Anita Mui’s big film came in the year 1988. This was Stanley Kwan directed fantasy romance drama ‘Rouge’ wherein she played the role of Fleur, a ghost who returns to the living world to search for her lover when he fails to meet her after their suicide pact. Her portrayal of graceful and sad ghost earned her tremendous critical acclaim as well as the best actress awards at the ‘Golden Horse Film Festival’, ‘Asia-Pacific Film Festival’, ‘Faro Island Film Festival’ and ‘Hong Kong Film Award’. In 1989, she was seen in the role of a brave and smart gangster Chow Ying-kit in director Tsui Hark’s action-drama film ‘A Better Tomorrow 3: Love & Death in Saigon’. The following year, she was seen in the title role of the last princess of Manchuria who turns a spy for the Japanese during the Second Sino-Japanese War in the biographical drama film ‘Kawashima Yoshiko’. Her performance in both these movies earned her appreciation. Anita Mui’s other films from 1988 to 1990 included ‘One Husband too Many’, ‘The Greatest Lover’, ‘Three Wishes’ (all 1988), ‘The Canton Godfather’ (1989), ‘The Fortune Code’ and ‘Shanghai Shanghai’ (both 1990).
Some of Anita Mui’s most significant films in the first half of the 1990s were the war drama ‘Au Revoir, Mon Amour’ (1991), the action-comedy drama ‘Justice, My Foot!’ (1992), the sci-fi action-thriller ‘The Heroic Trio’ and its sequel ‘Executioners’ (1993), the action-comedy ‘Drunken Master II’ (1994) and the action crime comedies ‘Rumble in the Bronx’ and ‘My Father Is A Hero’ (both 1995). The first film directed by Tony Au had her in the role of Mui Ye, a woman caught in a love triangle. It won her nominations for best leading actress at the ‘Golden Horse Awards’ and the ‘Hong Kong Film Awards’. The second film, wherein she played a martial arts champion and the wife of a defence lawyer who together try to bring justice to a woman whose husband was murdered, once again got her nominated for best actress at the ‘Hong Kong Film Award’. In ‘The Heroic Trio’ and ‘Executioners’, she played the role of Tung/Wonder Woman, a crime fighting vigilante. Both films have a Rotten Tomato score of 80%. In ‘Drunken Master II’ and ‘Rumble in the Bronx’, Anita Mui starred alongside internationally known actor Jackie Chan. Both films were huge successes and brought her international recognition. On Rotten Tomato, the two films have an approval rating of 84% and 80% respectively, while on IMDB, they have a rating of 7.5/10 and 6.7/10 respectively. The latter film also got her the best actress nomination at the 1996 ‘Hong Kong Film Awards’. In the last film, she plays a sympathetic and brave police Inspector Anne Fong Yat-wa and acted alongside the Chinese actor Jet Li.
In the 1997 romance drama film ‘Eighteen Springs’, directed by Ann Hui, she played Gu Manlu, the older of the two sisters, who destroys the life of her younger sibling. Her performance in this movie bagged her the best supporting actress award at the ‘Hong Kong Film Awards’ and the ‘Golden Bauhinia Awards’. Anita Mui’s other film releases in the 1990s include ‘The Top Bet’, ‘Saviour of the Soul’ (both 1991), ‘Moon Warriors’ (1992), ‘Fight Back to School III’, ‘The Mad Monk’, ‘The Magic Crane’ (all 1993) and ‘Who's the Woman, Who's the Man’ (1996).
Anita Mui had four film releases in the year 2001. These include Johnnie To and Ka-Fai Wai directed fantasy comedy ‘Wu Yen’, Cheung Chi-leung directed drama 'Midnight Fly', Matt Chow directed comedy 'Let's Sing Along' and Andrew Lau directed romance comedy 'Dance of a Dream'. 'Midnight Fly' bagged her a couple of other best actress nominations – ‘Golden Bauhinia Awards' and 'Golden Horse Film Festival Award'. Her last film, before she passed away was the Ann Hui directed drama ‘July Rhapsody’. This 2002 movie, wherein she played the role of Lam Man-Ching, wife of a high school teacher going through a mid-life crisis, won her the best actress awards at the 6th ‘Changchun Film Festival’ and 2nd ‘Chinese Film Media Awards’. Additionally, she also received nominations in the same category at the ‘Hong Kong Film Awards’, the ‘Golden Horse Awards’ and the ‘Golden Bauhinia Awards’.