Sacrifice is a 2010 Chinese historical drama film directed by Chen Kaige and based on the Yuan Dynasty play The Orphan of Zhao. The film was distributed in the United States by Samuel Goldwyn Flms.
The story is set in Jin, a ducal state under the Zhou dynasty, during the Spring and Autumn Period of ancient China. Zhao Dun, the chancellor of Jin, and his son, General Zhao Shuo, have a rift with General Tu'an Gu. Tu'an Gu secretly murders the young Duke of Jin with poison and pushes the blame to the Zhao family, using that as an excuse to massacre the entire Zhao clan, numbering about 300 people. The sole survivor is Zhao Shuo's baby son, Zhao Wu, who is born to the Duke's elder sister, Lady Zhuang. Lady Zhuang pleads with Tu'an Gu's subordinate, Han Jue, to spare her child and commits suicide after entrusting Zhao Wu to the physician Cheng Ying, telling Cheng to bring the child to Gongsun Chujiu, a friend of the Zhao family. When Tu'an Gu learns that the orphan had escaped, he slashes his sword at Han Jue's face in anger, disfiguring Han. Subsequently, Tu'an Gu issues an order to seal the gates and to gather all newborn babies in the city. The ploy was to identify the Zhao orphan since Tu'an Gu was counting on the person hiding the baby to not hand over the baby to him, hence singling out the one baby left in the city to be the Zhao infant.
Cheng Ying brings the baby Zhao Wu home, but his wife gives the child to the searching soldiers, claiming that Zhao Wu is her son. Cheng Ying then asks Gongsun Chujiu to bring his wife and his real son (disguised as Zhao Wu) out of the city, while he stays behind to try and retrieve Zhao Wu from Tu'an Gu. Tu'an Gu finds Cheng Ying suspicious and Cheng lies that the Zhao orphan has been taken out of the city by Gongsun Chujiu. Tu'an Gu then leads his soldiers to Gongsun Chujiu's house and finds Cheng Ying's wife and son. Mistaking Cheng Ying's son as the Zhao orphan, Tu'an Gu kills the infant, Gongsun Chujiu and Cheng's wife.
Cheng Ying is devastated by the loss of his family and he swears vengeance on Tu'an Gu. He pretends to pledge allegiance to Tu'an Gu and brings Zhao Wu along with him and raises the child in Tu'an's house. Tu'an Gu mistakenly believes that Zhao Wu is Cheng Ying's son and adopts Zhao Wu as his godson. Zhao Wu gradually grows up under Tu'an Gu's tutelage and develops a close bond with Tu'an. Cheng Ying also forges a close friendship with the disfigured Han Jue and they secretly plot to help Zhao Wu avenge his family.
One day, Cheng Ying breaks the truth to Zhao Wu, telling him that Tu'an Gu, who has been a fatherly figure to him for the past 15 years, is actually the murderer of his family. Zhao Wu is unable to accept the truth initially but his attitude changes as he hears from Han Jue about how Cheng Ying sacrificed his own son to save him. Zhao Wu and Cheng Ying finally confront Tu'an Gu, but Tu'an is aware of Zhao's true identity, because, over the years, he has noticed that the boy resembles Zhao Shuo. Zhao Wu engages Tu'an Gu in a sword fight but is no match for the latter. At the critical moment, Cheng Ying sacrifices himself to give Zhao Wu an opportunity to stab and kill Tu'an Gu. The film ends with a dying Cheng Ying having a vision of his reunion with his family.