Ian Struan Dunross is chairman of Struan & Company, the oldest and largest of the British-East Asia trading companies. To the Chinese, that also makes him "Tai-Pan" ("supreme leader") of ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »
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Series cast summary:
 Linc Bartlett 4 episodes, 1988
 Quillan Gornt 4 episodes, 1988
 Orlanda Ramos 4 episodes, 1988
Khigh Dhiegh ...
 Four Finger Wu 4 episodes, 1988
 Supt. Armstrong 4 episodes, 1988
 Philip Chen 4 episodes, 1988
 Claudia Chen 4 episodes, 1988
 Jacques DeVille 4 episodes, 1988
 Paul Choy 4 episodes, 1988
Kay Tong Lim ...
 Brian Kwok 4 episodes, 1988
 Lando Mata 4 episodes, 1988
 Commissioner Roger Crosse 4 episodes, 1988
 Venus Poon 4 episodes, 1988
Steven Vincent Leigh ...
 John Chen 4 episodes, 1988
 Sir Geoffrey Allison 4 episodes, 1988
 Alastair Struan 4 episodes, 1988
Harris Laskawy
 Christian Toxe 4 episodes, 1988
Keith Bonnard ...
 Tip Tok-Toh 4 episodes, 1988
 Jason Plumm 4 episodes, 1988
Bennett Ohta ...
 Richard Kwang 4 episodes, 1988
Brian Fong ...
 Goodweather Poon 4 episodes, 1988
Helen Funai ...
 Mrs. Kwang 4 episodes, 1988
David Shaughnessy
 Baldhead Kin 4 episodes, 1988
 Havergill 4 episodes, 1988
David Henry ...
 Bruce Johnjohn 4 episodes, 1988
George Innes ...
Choy-Ling Man ...
Pip Miller ...
 Inspector Smyth 4 episodes, 1988
Duncan Preston ...
Michael Siberry ...
 Linbar Struan 4 episodes, 1988
Vincent Wong ...
Galen Yuen ...
 Smallpox Kin 4 episodes, 1988


Ian Struan Dunross is chairman of Struan & Company, the oldest and largest of the British-East Asia trading companies. To the Chinese, that also makes him "Tai-Pan" ("supreme leader") of the "Noble House". Unfortunately, with his power, he inherits ancient promises, dark secrets, and deep financial problems on a small island full of people, who want to see Struan fall, so they can become the Noble House. Dunross' worst enemy is the vicious Quillan Gornt, a lesser tai-pan, and he's doing everything in his power to bring the Noble House to ruin. Drawn into the fight between Gornt and Dunross, is an upstart American billionaire, who tries to gain a foothold on the Hong Kong market, and has made a deal to steal something that will give him power, even over the Noble House. Unfortunately, that something has fallen into the hands of a powerful Chinese overlord. "Everybody was watching (and cheating on) everybody." Who will succeed in the end? Written by Harald Mayr <marvin@bike.augusta.de> and Phoenix Roberts

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


In one explosive moment, nothing matters but survival


TV-14 | See all certifications »




Release Date:

21 February 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

James Clavell's Noble House  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Struans was founded in 1841, and celebrates its one hundred fiftieth anniversary, meaning it takes place in 1991. Since the miniseries was broadcast in 1988, that makes it a "future history" story, and, by the strict definition, qualifies it as a science fiction film. See more »


Ian Dunross: [speaking to Lim Chu, who had disabled Quillan Gornt's brakes] If I want some foreign devil's brakes buggered, I will order it. The Noble House has always maintained its pre-eminence by holding more honor than its competitors.
See more »


Follows Tai-Pan (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

One of Brosnan's Best
20 October 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a surprisingly good mini series. The story is cast in Hong Kong, and there's dynamics in doing business there that we people of the west don't quite understand. Noble House captures that and then some. The glamor and opulence of belonging to the richest elite in Hong Kong's business circle sets the tone for the entire story. Things that will be taboo in the west is permitted there like having concubines, and going to parties with them (instead of your wife !), and old guys are actually flaunting it to show off their wealth and virility ! But of course all this has price to pay and everyone is paying in this story.

The story is loosely based on an actual existing trading company - Jardine Matheson Holdings, and the building that is portrayed as Struans' headquarter was the actual Jardine Matheson and company's headquarter in Hong Kong, before relocating to Bermuda in anticipation of Hong Kong's repatriation to China in '97.

Pierce Brosnan is at his best as the Tai Pan of the Noble House (Struan's), and cast of characters surrounding him are equally glamorous (like Tia Carrerie, Julia Nickson). Overall, a great fun to watch, but make sure you set aside enough time because it's 6 hours of non-stop entertainment.

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