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Top 10 Chinese Kung Fu Martial Arts Movies

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Here are the top 10 picks of Chinese martial arts movies.

1) The Chinese Connection, 1972
Directed by Lo Wei and starring Bruce Lee. Original title: Fist of Fury.
This movie is Bruce Lee’s classic. Want to see Bruce Lee’s action, this is the one.

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2) Enter the Dragon, 1973
Directed by Robert Clouse and starring Bruce Lee.
This is Bruce Lee’s most popular movie.

3) Drunken Master, 1979
Directed by Yuen Woo-Ping and starring Jackie Chan.
This movie made Jackie Chan a star. It is an entertaining film, yet not too violent.

4) The Shaolin Temple, 1982
Directed by Chang Hsin-Yen and starring Jet Li.
This is Jet Li’s first film. Jet Li was the all-round wushu champion (martial arts) at that time (about 1982). Thus want to see the real thing, see Jet Li in this movie.

5) Snake in the Monkey’s Shadow, 1982
Directed by Sum Cheung and starring John Chang.
The best martial arts movie on the monkey style, snake style, and drunken style.

6) Shaolin Master Killer, 1983
Directed by Lau Kar-Leung and starring Gordon Liu.
“One of the most revered martial arts films of all time, this is the story of a young man who joins the Shaolin Temple when the Manchus kill his family.” — Movie Summary

7) Supercop, 1992
Directed by Stanley Tong and starring Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh.
“The film displays Chan’s dual mastery of physical comedy and martial arts while also showcasing his notorious predilection for handling his own stunts.” — Movie Summary

8) Fist of Legend, 1994
Directed by Gordon Chan and starring Jet Li.
Fist of Legend is the best movie by Jet Li. This is a remake of Bruce Lee’s The Chinese Connection.

9) The Legend of Drunken Master, 1994
Directed by Lau Kar-Leung and starring Jackie Chan.
This is probably the best martial arts movie by Jackie Chan. ‘Chan employs the hilarious but effective style of kung fu known as the “drunken” style. The movie is a true action masterpiece featuring some of the most intense fighting sequences ever filmed.’ — Movie Summary

10) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 1999
Directed by Ang Lee and starring Michelle Khan, Chang Chen, Zhang Ziyi, Chow Yun-Fat.
The film is based on a novel by Wang Du Lu. It is one of the 73rd Annual Academy Award winners, honored as the best in Foreign Language, Music (Score), Art Direction and Cinematography.

What do you think? Would you have some higher or lower?  Please add your answer below!

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. Sifu Julian Reid Says:

    My list is not identical to yours, and is perhaps heavily colored by the fact that I have been involved with martial arts for about 40 years, and my inclinations tend to be a bit more philosophical.

    So here’s my list:
    1. Circle of Iron, written by Bruce Lee
    2. Shaolin Temple, listed above
    3. Fearless, starring Jet Li, the true story of a true master.
    4. Forbidden Kingdom, starring Jet Li AND Jackie Chan, for more reasons than room will allow.
    5. Return of the Dragon, starring Bruce Lee
    6. Drunken Master, starring Jackie Chan
    7. Drunken Master II, listed above as Legend of Drunken Master
    8. The One, because of the Hsing-I/Ba Gua segments; as a movie, it sucked.
    9. Enter the Dragon, starring Bruce Lee
    and 10. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

    Certainly, if the list was longer than ten it would get more difficult and more obscure. There are still many martial arts movies I have not seen, and certainly they could change my opinion, but we will certainly never see, on a list like this, The Flying Guillotine of Death or Fantasy Mission Force.

  2. thacker Says:

    Ooh that is a good choice “circle of iron”.. I hadn’t thought of that one for a long time. I agree with you on that one however I wouldn’t put it at the top. But I am certainly going to adjust my list to add this ‘forgotten’ movie. Thanks for your great list and a fantastic comment!

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