Before the Big Ban on prostitution, West Hong Kong is famous for its houses of pleasure. The most infamous of them all is Floral Ode House. Among its girls are Yen Hung, who becomes a widow regularly; aristocratic Chien Chien; Cherry Fun, who manages to lose the nickname; and a bevy of beauties. The madam who is on good terms with the police chief claims the best business this side of virtue. Then there comes from England Cheng Li-Peng, commissioned to ban prostitution. He is engaged to Lily, the police chief's daughter. But his parents had arranged a wife for him when he was an infant. They have lost trace of each other. Cheng Li-Peng starts his investigation, which lead him to Yen Hung's and Chien Chien's bedrooms. He is surprised to find himself in love with all three girls. And one of them turns out to be his missing fiancee!
Jesus (Willem Dafoe), a humble Judean carpenter beginning to see that he is the son of God, is drawn into revolutionary action against the Roman occupiers by Judas (Harvey Keitel) -- despite his protestations that love, not violence, is the path to salvation.
Ford plays an American doctor whose wife suddenly vanishes in Paris. To find her, he navigates a puzzling web of language, locale, laissez-faire cops, triplicate-form filling bureaucrats and a defiant, mysterious waif who knows more than she tells.