Lai Chin's film career began in 1955 when he appeared in Yue Feng's Green Hill and Jade Valley. He established himself as a major star of the Hong Kong Mandarin cinema just one year later, in Yue Feng's smash hit > Golden Lotus, in which he co-starred with the legendary Lin Dai. Initially cast as fresh-faced young men, he became known for playing characters with a darker shading after starring in Wu Jia-Hsiang's classic Father and Son (1961), in which he played a - rebel without a cause. He remained under contract to the Cathay Organisation until the mid-1960s and starred in more than 50 films across all genres from comedy to costume drama. He founded his own company Golden Eagle in 1966 and produced seven successful swordplay films before retiring. Aside from a cameo appearance in Andrew Lau's Young and Dangerous series, In the Mood for Love marks his return to the screen after a long absence.

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