In 1964, as Mao was gearing up for the Cultural Revolution, the studio was shut down, and Te Wei was placed in solitary confinement for a year. To keep his spirits up, he would sketch on the glass pane of a table that stood in his small room, erasing the drawings when he heard a guard approaching. Te Wei spent the following years in exile in the countryside, and was not able to return to the studio until 1975. The constraints of the Cultural Revolution were starting to loosen, and Mao's death in 1976 was followed by a new period of artistic vigour.
The 1980s would be an intense period for Te Wei, who found himself in charge of some 500 workers at the studio. Still benefitting from state funding, the studio produced some of its most acclaimed and experimental work. Having stepped down as studio president in 1984, Te Wei directed the feature film 'Monkey King Conquers the Demon' (1984), based on Journey to the West, and the acclaimed 'Feelings from Mountain and Water' (1988), that would turn out to be his last film.
In 1989, the communist party honored Te Wei by naming him one of the four outstanding filmmakers in China's history.