What differentiates Kung Fu movies from other movies is many of the scenes are packed with unique action styles, carrying traditional clothes, and sweet folk music, especially the sound of a flute in the background. By watching these anyone can tell that’s an old-school Shaolin movie or Martial arts movie.
Kung Fu movies can’t be complete without Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan. Though they are, no doubt, inspiring figures, there are thousands of movies without them and those are really worth your time. This article gives you an extensive list of the world of Kung Fu movies which still inspire many such modern films and also the filmmakers.
Today, there’s a new flavor added to the action of any film which is martial arts. Most action movies follow Martial arts to make the movie a hit. Let’s explore the Shaolin culture and dig deeper into the world of Kung Fu movies with these 100 movies. With the help of the internet, many Kung Fu or martial arts movies, especially old-school Shaolin Movies are available free of cost. Right now, Wu-Tang Collection on YouTube provides thousands of Kung Fu movies free of cost.
So, you see there’s a hunger for Kung Fu in modern films. It has severely impacted cinematic history for so long. There are various forms of martial arts. Kung Fu is the most revered and oldest form of Chinese martial arts. There’s still confusion about Kung Fu movies. We include more martial arts forms in it but that’s not exact Kung Fu. Rather we should think about Kung Fu as a unique style of martial arts. Hence, the article is all about Kung Fu films.
Be it in any language, filmmakers are using martial arts techniques to make the movie more attractive. Even adding martial arts to a film is responsible for the blockbuster hit. This is why we see many action movies coming with fast fights.
Best Kung Fu Movies of All Time
- Born Invincible (1978)
As the name suggests, it tells you the story of an invincible martial artist who is ruthless and kills a young man’s family. When their master dies, it’s time to take revenge by strategizing a plan. It’s a great movie for all Kung Fu lovers.
It’s surprising to see how their plan succeeds to kill the invincible Kung Fu fighter who doesn’t lose any game. Along with hardcore fights with some unique techniques, the film becomes a must-watch. There’s always a choice if you are bored to see Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee on the screen.
- The Crane Fighter (1978)
Wu-Tang’s collection on YouTube has a bunch of Kung Fu films that you can watch free of cost. One of such films is The Crane Fighter. At a time in China, it was almost surprising if a lady learns Kung Fu. This movie depicts the secretly learning period of a woman. She learns the deadly crane style of Kung Fu.
The movie becomes interesting when we come to know about the mysterious person who is already a master and is on revenge. Many films are available on Amazon Prime. You can check the YouTube Wu-Tang collection as well.
- The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
Who hasn’t heard this particular name? Aside from Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, and Sammo Hung, there was Gordon Lu. It’s a perfect example of an old-school Kung Fu movie. He established himself with his own style. His movies are mostly based on Shaolin culture.
If it comes to Kung Fu movies or Shaolin movies, 36 Chambers of Shaolin can’t be missed from your list. Gordon Lu’s intense performance inspires throughout the movie. When he achieves the peak level of Kung Fu, he goes on a daring adventure. The trilogy is just a trailblazing masterpiece from that era that broke all the records.
- Shaolin Vs Ninja (1983)
The Blooming of Shaolin Kung Fu was not so smooth when there were many different martial arts styles. When the Japanese Ninja was taking control of the Shaolin temples, a peaceful monk was determined to protect its culture by combating it with violent means. Another masterpiece from the classic Shaolin era movies. Unique fights and folklores enrich the beauty of the film.
- Drunken Master (1978)
Jackie Chang’s Kung Fu movies are mostly famous for their uniqueness due to the funny elements in them. And who can make funny Kung Fu movies better than Jackie? Drunken Master is the starting example of his quirky appearance on the screen. He had already worked in other films but that didn’t prove his unique appearance, Drunken Master did.
When coming to Kung Fu films, how can you miss Drunken Master? This is the film that catapulted Jackie’s career to a different level. Many unique styles of Kung Fu along with Jackie’s marvelous comic timing become the USP of the movie. It tells you the story of a young boy who learns the art of Kung Fu from his alcoholic master to take revenge for the assassination. The drunken master technique is a unique and most popular style in the Kung Fu world.
- Dance of Death (1979)
You have seen Jackie Chan most of the time on the screen but once, he used to work as a fight choreographer also. One of his remarkable life-transforming films is Dance of Death where he relentlessly worked as an action choreographer. This gives us an insight into Jackie Chan’s later action style.
It’s a story of a young orphan woman who is on the revenge of her murdered friends. Dance of Death shows the matriarchal power of Kung Fu society. It’s an underrated movie by Angela Mao who was considered the 2nd Bruce Lee at once.
- Thundering Mantis (1980)
The brutality you have never seen before is its USP. It’s a story of an obsessed martial artist who gets into trouble by showing his flimsy Kung Fu on the streets. The tragedy came when he got into trouble with the Mafia boss, Hsia from the Jade Brotherhood.
Bryan Leung has done many films in his life as a lead or supportive character but Thundering Mantis is the one that gave him a push in the Kung Fu movies world. Madness in him differentiates the movie from others. You can’t miss this one. This is one of the breathtaking Shaolin Kung Fu movies of all time.
- Shaolin Vs Lama (1983)
While Shaolin monks were protesting against Ninjas invading their culture, Lamas were also behind capturing the society. They also created feuds to establish themselves as a number in the martial arts world. It tells the story of a Lama who wants to capture the Shaolin temple by any means according to the film’s plot.
But Shaolin monks are dedicated to protecting their citizens. With a combination of cultural conflicts and deadly fights, Shaolin Vs Lama is one of the fantastic Kung Fu movies that are worth watching. The film is a respected piece of old-school Chinese Kung Fu movies.
- Filthy Guy (1972)
I remember while I watched this film, it reminds me of my friends from my childhood. Sammo Hung, another master Kung Fu fighter, actor, director, and the writer appears in this movie with a unique style. He is not only a good fighter but a good actor as well. It’s a very early film in Sammo Hung’s career which tells you the story of a village orphan with an unwashed head who helps rebels to fight against evils.
You enjoy the movie throughout the end. It’s surprising to believe that such a gigantic figure can be so flexible. Sammo Hung does many films but Filthy Guy is special due to its humorous appeal with action which we get from Jackie Chan through most of his movies.
- Kill Bill (2003-04)
Just imagine how the combination of Samurai and Kung Fu can be deadly to make you shudder. And who can capture the essence of both cultures in Hollywood better than Tarantino? Not only the combination of Samurai and Kung Fu is unique but the filmmaking style also changed the concept of Kung Fu movies in Hollywood.
Tarantino brings fresh approach to Kung Fu films. Being one of the most acclaimed filmmakers, he achieved fame mostly dependent on the Kill Bill series. There are two parts. Focusing on the matriarchal side, the film follows a former assassin after waking up from a 4-year coma and goes on to take revenge on those who previously betrayed her. Be it editing, music, cinematography, or action, Kill Bill is proof of Tarantino’s master filmmaking style.
- Enter the Dragon (1973)
Bruce Lee has been an inspiration to all the following generation not only in his field of study but in all the fields in the world worship his philosophy, and appreciate his style of action. His intense practice is known to many now. Though at his early career in the film industry, he didn’t get much success. Later, the success came through Enter the Dragon which shook the worldwide film industry as well and became one of the greatest Kung Fu movies of all time.
The film explores the mission of a Shaolin martial artist who is an undercover agent for British intelligence to expose the drug trafficking and sex trade in the country. With a good storyline and philosophical touch, the movie follows is considered one of the best Kung Fu films of all time. If you are looking for Kung Fu movies or martial arts movies, this is a must-watch because there would be very few who haven’t watched this film.
- The Way of the Dragon (1972)
There’s no doubt Bruce Lee films acquire a good space in our list. If he had lived more, there would have been more such films on our list. However, the plot explores a martial artist who is being hired by a Chinese restaurant owner in Rome because of getting rid of thugs. As the film proceeds, it takes a dangerous turn the mob boss hires the best fighter from America to kill the Chinese Kung Fu fighter. The film shows both fighters’ respect for each other and their martial arts skill. This was his second that ultimately gave rise to Chuck Norris.
Let me share with you two interesting things about the movie. This was Bruce Lee’s first movie as a director, writer, and actor. And the second one is Chuck was not the first option to play the character of Colt, Joe Lewis was Bruce Lee’s first consideration who was an influential kickboxer and martial artist. The iconic fight is still appreciated by millions.
- Game of Death (1978)
You can’t miss any of Bruce Lee’s films because every film has uniqueness in action as well as the plot. As we know that during the production of the movie, Bruce died. After almost five years of his death, the movie was finally released by mixing his previous living footage with the new actor’s appearance.
It’s a story of a martial arts movie star who hides his death to find out those people who were trying to kill him. There are modifications and twists. Otherwise, the film would have taken a different shape. Some interesting fights make the movie more adventurous. Bruce Lee gave a new direction to Kung Fu movies.
- City Hunter (1993)
Jackie Chan in his own quirky style again with the movie City Hunter. It’s an amazing movie where a private detective on the assignment of finding a tycoon’s daughter finds himself on a cruise ship that was already hijacked by terrorists. With his own comical appearance, Jackie wins the hearts of millions of his fans.
Every scene whenever Jackie appears makes you jealous of his swift and nimble body. Amazing stunts, unique cinematography, and editing style are some of the noticeable elements in this movie that you have never seen before from Jackie Chan before City Hunter, though he had already established his quirky appearance on the screen.
- Iron Monkey (1977)
The iron monkey fist is a combination of art with body, mind, limb, eyes, and brain, as per the opening scene of the movie. Only the eagle’s claw could compete with the Iron monkey fist. It’s an old technique of martial arts which lost its strength during the Ching dynasty. With proper research, the movie follows the technique with a little refinement and modification.
This film is a dedication to those who invented such techniques. It’s a film about the revenge of a Kung Fu master upon the murderer who killed his family. With such films, some rare forms of Kung Fu are still alive.
- Dance of the Drunk Mantis (1979)
Chinese Kung Fu movies have enriched their cultural existence by producing thousands of films. Its rich culture, exotic film styles, and remarkable actions boost up the everlasting existence of such a different world on its own. Many claims that this movie is the sequel to Drunken Master starring Jackie Chan. You know the actor Yuen Siu-Tien who performed as a drunken master to Jackie.
In this film, his appearance is as same as the previous one but the plot is different and the actors as well. It tells the story of Sam the Seed, a drunken Kung Fu fighter who battles with his enemy, Rubber Legs. It was his last film before his death. A marvelous performance from such a person is unexpected at such an age.
- The Shaolin Temple (1982)
You won’t be surprised when you see so young Jet Li. He has given us some remarkable throughout his film career. His mind-boggling fighting sequences still give us goosebumps. His first film as a debutant actor still holds a place in our minds. The Swift and flexible body appearance of Jet Li in this film continue in his later films as well. The Shaolin Temple is a Kung Fu movie based around the Shaolin temple that gave rise to the star.
It tells the story of a young Shaolin monk who learns the art of Kung Fu to revenge for his father’s death. The film is considered one of the highest-grossing Chinese films ever made. The film also boosted the country’s travel industry because of the Chinese Shaolin monasteries.
- 7 Commandments of Kung Fu (1979)
When the Shaolin Kung Fu industry was progressing at the fastest speed, it gave birth to so many amazing films. 7 Commandments of Kung Fu is such an example of such an era. In order to take revenge for his father’s death, a young Kung Fu fighter learns all the skills that can destroy the villain.
As the name suggests, there are 7 Commandments of fighting. The film gave rise to Yi-min Li but he wasn’t a prominent name like Jet Li or Jackie Chan. This film is an inspirational one for those who want to dig deeper into the Kung Fu world and learn the art.
- Shaolin Soccer (2001)
Who doesn’t know about this film! It would be surprising to hear that you have never heard of this movie or seen it. Because as we grow older, we are accustomed to various movies such as this. So, some of our childhood memories might be involved with Shaolin Soccer. What unexpected can you imagine in the Kung Fu world?
Whatever magical scenarios appear on your mind are in this film because it bears the culture of Kung Fu after 2000. We come to see Kung Fu’s appearance in a unique way through this movie. Shaolin films almost lost their old-school filmmaking style after the 90s. Later, Shaolin Soccer gave us old-school movies wrapped in modern-world filmmaking. It’s a story of a Shaolin follower who gathers his friends to popularize their Kung Fu skills on the soccer field.
- Shaolin Wooden Men (1976)
Kung Fu is a lifestyle. It doesn’t teach us how to fight but how to control ourselves; our minds; our anger. We realize this philosophy in every film. This is one of the very early films by Jackie Chan as an actor. Here he plays a mute young man who witnesses his father’s death. To take revenge, he learns various techniques of Kung Fu.
Shot entirely in and around the Shaolin Temple, Shaolin Wooden Men is a lively example of an old school flag bearer by Jackie Chan. From the very early period of his career, we can realize his potential to come out as the next martial arts hero. It’s an amazing film where the storyline is quite unique. You will see Jackie as the never-seen-before character.
- The Secret Rivals (1976-77)
Shot in various beautiful locations in South Korea and Hong Kong, The Secret Rivals is quite an authentic piece of Kung Fu. Though two leading actors are rivals in this film, they have one motive which is to kill The Silver Fox. from the starting point, the film bears mystery. Later, we come to know the reason behind killing The Silver Fox as he is responsible for killing and robbing their family.
There’s a sequel to Secret Rivals which is another interesting movie as well, though not better than the former. A unique piece of music leaves you mark on your mind. I was amazed by the inspiring music. With a proper setup and techniques, two new actors win our hearts in the end. What’s more admiring is the beautiful village scenarios of South Korea, although the second film was shot in a different region.
- Of Cooks and Kung Fu (1979)
Many styles of Kung Fu were developed long back. One of them is Kung Fu while cooking, interesting but deadly. It’s an interesting take on martial arts because it’s unique. Applying cooking style with Kung Fu is kind of a unique concept. Throughout the movie, you see this combination.
Kung Fu is not just an action form, it can be used in various forms in our daily lives. Of Cooks and Kung Fu proves that one of the oldest forms of martial arts can be applied to our daily chores. Whatever you do, Kung Fu means our lifestyle. It tells the story of a cook who knows Kung Fu and goes on to take revenge upon the killer of a mysterious assassin in the town. The storyline is quite suspenseful.
- The Prodigal Son (1981)
In this hilarious, we see the collaboration between Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. Under his father’s reign, a young Kung Fu fighter learns that he is the best Kung Fu fighter. No one can beat him until he comes to know that his opponents have been paid to be beaten by him. From his despise of his father’s deception, he decides to take a lesson from an expert.
Things take a turn when his mentor is killed. He takes revenge for his mentor. Through this film, Sammo Hung introduces the concept of the Wing Chun fighting style. The film weaves action with comedy leading it to emotional scenes. It is one of the best early Chinese Kung Fu movies.
- The Big Boss (1971)
Whenever I watch the film, I still get inspired by the scene when Bruce breaks his vow of fighting and competing with the violent gang. My childhood memories are very much involved with films like this. This is one of the very first films from Bruce Lee as a lead which gave him rise in Hong Kong as well as America. If you are a Kung Fu fan, you can never miss such a film. According to the plot, a young guy named Chein works at an ice factory.
Whenever he sees oppression in front of him, he can’t resist himself. Yet, he doesn’t fight against them because of his vow never to fight again. When the talisman tears apart from his neck, he jumps back to fight and kills the nefarious gang in the city. The Big Boss is one of the best Kung Fu movies ever produced.
- Knockabout (1979)
Another Sammo Hung-directed film where you can certainly expect some common cast and comedy. Before The Prodigal Son, Yuen Biao collaborated with Hung through this film. They have given some masterpieces throughout their career. Knockabout is an example of those movies. Yipao and Taipao are two brothers who learn Kung Fu under an expert until they learn he is a wanted criminal.
When one of the brothers gets killed, the other one comes under the umbrella of a beggar who teaches him Kung Fu. The film bears the same style as Shaolin Kung Fu. On the other hand, some new techniques are introduced by Sammo Hung. If you are looking for old-school Shaolin Kung Fu movies, then make a list of your favorites and start watching them one by one. Every film here is a masterpiece of its own.
- Ninja in the Dragon’s Den (1982)
Blending with a little bit of comedy and a lot of fabulous action, Ninja in the Dragon’s Den claims to be one of the best martial arts movies of all time. Though the starting of the plot glances over Japanese techniques, it enters into the world of Kung Fu. What I see in this film is the power of friendship, be it between two friends or two different cultures.
The movie’s plot is quite similar to its approach. A Japanese Ninja and a Chinese Kung Fu fighter have differences between them. But their enemy is the same. So they work together to destroy the murderer of their teacher. Amazing music and incredible stunts are all you can expect from this movie.
- Dynamite Trio (1982)
The most deadly fighter on earth is in search of a book that could make him an invisible fighter. So, powerful that he uses only one hand while fighting. Only the book has the power to stop him from capturing the martial arts world. It’s a tutorial for fighters to learn the art of various Kung Fu techniques.
While he is looking for that holy book, some unlikely heroes are protecting the secret of the book. It’s an amazing film which introduces some new fighting styles. There is suspense but the story is loosely written. Yet, it is an entertaining piece in the Kung Fu film industry.
- IP Man (2008)
You have already heard about Bruce Lee’s teacher, I hope. Because of the release of Ip Man, Lee’s teacher was popularized. Otherwise, it was known to a handful of people. This is simultaneously important to know the teacher behind Lee and other prominent martial artists. Blending with an emotional struggle and tackling the challenges from the local experts, Ip Man is indeed an inspirational figure.
The life story of the creator of the Wing Chun style had to come on the screen sometimes. It finally came in 2008 with the rising career of Donnie Yen. The film which ignited the career of Yen won several major awards. It achieved so much popularity that it became a film series making it one of the most successful Kung Fu films ever made.
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
To talk about this film, appreciation through words would be less justified because the movie showed a new direction in the Kung Fu film industry. Before proving himself as one of the best directors in the world through his film, Life of Pie, he was already a big name in the industry.
Earning more than 100 awards in various film festivals, it was the first Kung Fu film that won an Oscar for the best foreign-language film and some other notable categories as well. This Wuxia film blends love and action altogether. Ang Lee takes us through the journey of a warrior who is after the stolen sword. The combination of love and Kung Fu is all to make the movie a masterpiece.
- Wing Chun (1994)
When Wing Chun’s village is constantly under threat from bandits, she decides to use her Kung Fu to fight them. Donnie Yen’s early films gave him a scope to show his fighting style. What’s more significant is Michelle Yeoh’s performance as a martial artist. Both pair in this wonderful light-hearted action film.
Not to be confused with the Wing Chun style, I must say that it’s the character played by Michelle. It’s an amazing film with some magical actions. The Kung Fu film industry gave rise to many women martial artists as well. Some beautiful shots with flying kicks and sword fights make the movie a must-watch.
- Fist of Fury (1972)
This was Lee’s only film where he appears in various characters in disguise. The film has a simple plot where a young Kung Fu student takes revenge upon the murderer of his teacher. In this iconic action film, Lee plays Chen Zhen who comes home for the funeral of his master who has been murdered.
To find out who did it, Chen disguises himself as various characters and starts to kill people one by one who is suspected of murder. Some iconic scenes are the emblem of the martial art film industry. It has become an inspirational object to millions of his fans. Apart from the success of his previous two films, Fist of Fury also became a huge hit.
- Master of the Flying Giullotine (1976)
Jimmy Wang was constantly giving masterpieces like One-Armed Swordsman, and One-Armed Boxer type of films. With the same character, Master of the Flying Guillotine is a squeal tho the One-Armed Boxer. It’s another Wuxia genre film where a blind guillotine expert goes on to kill a one-armed boxer because he killed his disciples.
Tarantino also mentioned this film as one of his favorite movies of all time. What’s more interesting is its soundtrack at the time of the fighting scenes. There are some memorable sequences that make Jimmy Wang one of the greatest martial artists of all time. The Wuxia genre got life through this film.
- Once Upon a Time in China (1991)
When Li was working on some ancient histories, Once upon a Time in China is an example of such a period. I think several of his major films from the 90s are based on ancient histories and folk cultures. It is one of the best Chinese films that define the 1990s period Hong Kong film industry.
To protect the province from colonialist power, Wong Fei-Hung teaches martial arts to his students while sorting out his emotional relationship with his aunt who adopted him. You get a different taste of Chinese history. The film received some positive critical reviews. If you have to define Jet Li’s career by segmenting periods, this film would be one.
- Hero (2002)
Hero is such a film where apart from some spectacular actions, it ushers you into a more philosophical direction. With compelling actions, the film gives us a powerful message as well. It refers to the era of ancient China when it was divided into 7 countries. It captures the assassination of the King of Qin.
Besides being the most expensive project, the film went on to break many box-office records. With positive reviews from critics, it was the first Chinese movie that held at No.1 position for two consecutive weeks. Even the film was nominated for the Best Foreign-Language Film at the Oscar. No doubt, Hero is a masterpiece with some compelling graphics, cinematography, fabulous actions, and above all, a powerful message.
- Unleashed (2005)
If you don’t like flying fighting sequences thinking about most of the fighting sequences are artificial, then Jet Li is at his best with this piece. How deadly can a hungry dog be? The film implies intense fighting sequences throughout the end. You haven’t seen Jet Li’s so much intense appearance before. With no dialogue from a characteristic, what you see is intensity in his action. That is what attracts most of us.
This is one of the underrated movies by Jet Li where Morgan Freeman plays the owner of him. Jet Li plays Danny, chained like a dog by his criminal boss since his childhood. But when a blind man motivates him, he seeks to start a new life. Li’s gripping performance in this movie is remarkable.
- Shaolin vs Wu-Tang (1983)
As the name suggests, it’s a film about the conflict between the two most famous martial arts styles, Shaolin and Wu-Tang. Gordon Liu-directed this film depicts the story of two friends who choose different forms of Kung Fu and in the end, fight with each other, though the jealous chief who provokes themselves gets killed.
The film became an inspiration to many prominent celebrities later. What the film tries to show is respect for each other group. This is why the film doesn’t end with a solution of which style wins rather the villain gets killed. It’s an amazing film where you see Gordon Liu in his famous practice scene again.
- Police Story (1985-2013)
If you have to define a popular film in the 80s period by Jackie Chan, I hope you will never forget to include Police Story. The film that strengthened the sphere of this martial artist worldwide was released in 1985. It was so successful that it became a phenomenon overnight and came with a very popular franchise.
More interesting is that the first two parts were directed by Jackie. There have been 8 films related to the first part. The legacy continued until 2013 with Police Story 2013. According to Jackie Chan, the first part of Police Story is the best film of his life. It is also one of the best martial arts movies of all time. The plot revolves around a Hong Kong police officer.
- Fist of Legend (1994)
Set during the period of Shanghai International Settlement in 1937, the film centers around a Chinese martial artist who comes to Shanghai and finds out that his master has died. One of the most memorable fights in this film is between Jet Li and Billy Chow.
Being one of Jet Li’s best movies, it inspired the following films, most notably The Matrix. You can find some resemblance in that movie. The film became a legacy since its release. Though the film was a moderate box office hit, it received positive reviews from critics. You will surely feel inspired if you watch any of Jet Li’s early 90s films.
- The One-Armed Swordsman (1967)
This is another Wuxia genre film that depicts the mission of a one-armed man who goes on to protect his school from the vicious gang. Once bullied in the school due to his fabulous fighting style, a Kung Fu student gets his one hand chopped off. After he comes to know his school is in danger, he decides to take revenge upon those criminal gangs.
This was the first film that broke many box office records including achieving $1 million box office success. Later, there were two sequels to this film all directed by Chang Cheh. All the fighting sequences are well choreographed. This is the film that gave birth to Jimmy Wang Yu.
- Tai Chi Master (1993)
Though Shaolin Kung Fu was in slow growth after the 1980s as compared to the previous decade but never lost its legacy. It came with some other actors like Jet Li. He proved his skills through Shaolin Kung Fu movies in his very early career with the film The Shaolin Temple. It became a huge hit. Later, he was another prominent flag bearer of old-school Kung Fu. With him, Tai Chi Master came in 1993.
Two young pupils dwell in the temple, practice Kung Fu and work for the temple. But they have doubts about what they are doing. Because of their attitude, they are rusticated from the temple. On their journey, one of them chooses to join the army of the province and the other one chooses to be a rebel. Their friendship leads to enmity.
All the fighting sequences are uniquely choreographed, specifically one particular mention should be here is the spectacular stunts by women fighters, especially Michelle Yeoh, the bond girl or the Crouching Tiger lady, you remember. The film focuses more on flying fighting sequences which were almost in control in the previous Kung Fu films.
- Wheels on Meals (1984)
Just imagine a combination of Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, and Yuen Biao. How difficult is it to direct such Kung Fu masters? They had already gained fame in the film industry. When old school Kung Fu movies were going through some modifications and coping with the following generation, several films were made leaving the shadowy umbrella of Shaolin.
When old school Kung Fu movies were taking shape into a different approach, Wheels on Meals was born. Interesting to know that the director and writer of this film were Sammo Hung himself. Being a versatile performer, Hung uses his distinctive comedy style with fabulous action to make the movie memorable. It’s a movie about two friends running a restaurant in Spain and getting involved in some serious trouble.
- Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
There are several Kung Fu movies plotted in and around Shaolin. We see a number of Shaolin films from this decade (1970-80), specifically, 1978 was a high time for Shaolin Kung Fu that gave birth to many performers and some awesome films. Five Deadly Venoms is one of the best Kung Fu movies ever made that still inspires thousands of movie buffs. Some movies have loose storylines but others have interesting plots.
This is one of the examples of old school Kung Fu movies where the master on his deathbed instructs his last pupil to find out his five former students who represent the five deadly venoms – The Scorpion, The Toad, The Centipede, The Lizard, and The Snake. Because he doubts their styles could become evil. With an interesting plot, this Chinese Kung Fu film is a must-watch.
- Warriors Two (1978)
While I was wondering about Sammo Hung’s masterpieces, I stumbled upon this piece. The film shows Wing Chun style. I was stunned by the authenticity of the style Hung displays. This is why it is considered one of the best martial arts films ever made showcasing the Wing Chun style.
The film describes Cashier Hua learning Wing Chun to punish the evil who wants to take over the town by killing the leader. Amazing fighting choreographies, a good storyline, and physical comedy are all it has in this film. You shouldn’t miss Sammo Hung as Fei Chun with a unique look.
- Iron Monkey (1993)
This film is different from the previous Iron Monkey film which is the depiction of the iron monkey fist starring Chen Kuan-Tai. Later, it was Donnie Yen’s masterpiece that gave him a broad place in the Kung Fu film industry. There is no doubt to tell you that the latter one became more successful with a more insightful storyline.
It’s a story of a Kung Fu fighter who lives by the shadowy name Iron Monkey who fights against government corruption and becomes the savior of the poor and oppressed. Nonstop actions and sensational moments make the movie an attractive piece to everyone. There is another part but not related to the first one.
- Kung Fu Hustle (2004)
I hope many of us have already seen this movie and Shaolin Soccer as well. There is a dedicated audience just for Stephen Chow’s two films. One is Shaolin Soccer and the other is Kung Fu Hustle. Similar to the approach of Shaolin Soccer, Kung Fu Hustle also shows the extreme side of Kung Fu. Flying kicks, powerful fists, and slow-motion actions all describe the two films’ approaches to Kung Fu. It’s still an entertaining piece of Kung Fu film ever made.
The story describes an aspiring gangster who comes to a locality to terrorize the neighborhood. But on the other side, there are already 3 expert martial artists who were unknown to him. This hilarious piece can work as a mood refresher whenever you are feeling depressed. I think Kung Fu Hustle and Shaolin Soccer are the best interpretation of Kung Fu parody.
- The Mystery of Chess Boxing (1979)
Several old-school Kung Fu movies have at least one thing in common which is to take revenge. Whether it is of a family, friends, or master, almost every film portrays the good overcoming evil by taking revenge. The Mystery of Chess Boxing is set around a similar motif which is to take revenge for the father’s death.
A young boy wants to learn Kung to destroy the villainous evil Chun Shan who is already using the chess boxing style with the deadly five-element techniques to capture the martial arts world. It is also interesting to know that film inspired the Wu-Tang Clan’s song, Da Mystery of Chessboxin, according to IMDB.
- The Tournament (1974)
Angela Mao again captures our hearts with her film, The Tournament. Before Michelle Yeoh became a popular woman martial artist in Hong Kong, Mao created her own place in the film industry as well as the Kung Fu world. The film narrates the story of a daughter who wants to regain her dead father’s honor along with their martial arts school.
For that, she learns Thai boxing and takes part in a competition. Known as the lady Kung Fu, Angela Mao shows her amazing skill through this film, though she had already proved herself through Hapkido, When Taekwondo Strikes, and some other prominent films. It’s an amazing film when you are looking for something unique.
- Five Element Ninjas (1982)
If it is to find out Chang Cheh’s bloodiest film, then Five Element Ninjas is the one. After his master and brothers are killed in Shaolin’s school, a young martial artist determines to take revenge upon the Japanese Ninja who destroyed the schools once. It’s a fresh take on Shaolin Kung Fu.
The film received positive reviews from critics, especially for the 20-minute bloodbath high-kicking scenes. No doubt, it’s another notable masterpiece from the Classic Kung Fu period that is worth watching.
- Heroes of the East (1978)
Starring Gordon Liu, Heroes of the East delves into the same conflict between a Kung Fu expert and a Ninjutsu. When a Kung Fu expert marries a Japanese bride, a conflict arises that lead to action. Keeping justified respect for each other martial arts forms, filmmaker Lau Kar-Leung maintains the authenticity of both fighting styles.
On the other side, it showcases the typical Kung Fu styles used in Hong Kong martial arts films. If you are familiar with only The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, you need to watch this film.
- Seven Grandmasters (1978)
Unlike other films where most of the lead characters are young, Seven Grandmasters features an old Kung Fu master in the lead who desires to fight against 7 grandmasters and wins the world championship.
He embarks on a journey and we come to know about other Kung Fu experts and his past through his journey. There are some amazing fighting sequences with a good storyline. If you are a Kung Fu lover, then you will learn various techniques through this film and enjoy this action-adventure film.
- One-Armed Boxer (1971)
While giving hits after hit, Jimmy Wang couldn’t quit the one-armed character that continues with One-Armed Swordman. As the name suggests, after losing one arm in a fight, a one-armed boxer learns a death-defying iron fist to take revenge upon his master and peer’s death.
It’s not easy to continuously fight with one hand. Here’s what is interesting. Despite having two arms in real life, Jimmy Wang perfectly maintains the life of a one-armed fighter. It’s an amazing film which you can’t miss. For your information, it’s not a sequel to One-Armed Swordsman.
- Crippled Avengers (1978)
Have you ever seen any Kung Fu movie where the only motive is to cripple the evil instead of killing them? That’s what Crippled Avengers is all about. When a Kung Fu master comes home and sees his murdered wife and crippled son by a rival gang, he decides to take revenge.
Instead of killing those rivals, he prepares his team to cripple those. After giving a blockbuster, The 5 Venom, Chang Cheh comes up with another international hit that made him the Godfather of Ku Fu films. The film has great twists, exotic fighting sequences, and fantastic music.
- Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978)
Jackie Chan has given us such famous films that you can’t miss them at all. Even we have been fed by the TV channels more frequently. At the same time as Drunken Master, his other masterpiece Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow released which became a blockbuster hit and strengthened Jackie’s place in the film industry.
As the name suggests, it’s completely a different Kung Fu technique that is worshipped by many martial artists and Shaolin monks. This is the film where we come to see the same combination between Jackie Chan and his master on the screen, Yuen Siu-Tien. The film details the story of a janitor at a Kung Fu school who learns Kung Fu to battle those who bully him. An amazing lighthearted film with some fantastic fighting styles.
- The Magnificent Butcher (1979)
Trying to find out the best from the list of thousand Kung Fu movies, it’s difficult to rank one after the other. Every movie differentiates with its style, story, and approach. Kung Fu movies gave birth to many stars. One of them is Sammo Hung, who is not only a kung fu fighter but a writer, director, and a good actor as well.
When I was watching Sammo Hung’s very early movies where he used to work in minor roles, I was literally surprised by how this gigantic body can fight like an acrobat. How can one be so agile and nimble? His acrobatic style of Kung Fu still inspires many. Among many superhit films, The Magnificent Butcher is one where a chubby butcher who is a Kung Fu disciple as well always gets into trouble due to his hot-tempered attitude. It’s one such movie where actions are spectacular.
- Project A (1983)
When the country’s navy is on the verge of honor because of the smugglers and pirates, a marine coast guard officer takes charge to root the evils. The film features one of the most favorite pairs in the Hong Kong film industry which include Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao.
Some of the spectacular stunts as we all know were done by Jackie Chan himself. It was a huge box office success. Blending actions and comedy, Project A was a special film for Jackie in the European market to strengthen his fame. There’s a sequel also.
- The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984)
When Shaolin Kung Fu movies were going through changes, the 8 diagram pole fighter made the industry alive again. Mostly spearheads and sticks, the film has an intense bloodbath. When one of the two sons seeks vengeance for his father’s death, there is indeed a bloodbath. It is perhaps one of the best films in Gordon Liu’s career.
Most of the fighting sequences are inspirational to the following generation whereas cinematic flying sequences became more prominent. One of the saddest parts of this film is Alexander Fu who played the role of Yang Liu-Lang died in a car accident before completing the film.
- Dragons Forever (1988)
While delivering hits after hits, it was not a time to stop for Jackie Chan and his pair. The pair of three appeared again with Dragons Forever. The film explores the story of a lawyer in a chemical company. When he becomes to know the unquestionable ethics of his employer, he decides to uncover the illegal activities with his buddies. After the early 80s, many Kung Fu films were coming in a new shape; new stories; not related to Shaolin.
This became a favorite to many viewers. Hong Kong’s film industry was broadening its approach. New areas of the lives of people were being explored through the films. During this period, Jackie Chan gave us many of his most popular films ever made. Dragons Forever is one of them.
- The Legend of Fong Sai-yuk (1993)
Jet Li’s movies are inspirational, specifically the 90s ones. Fong Sai-yuk is such an example where the film explores a short span of a Chinese folk hero Fong Sai-yuk. Starting with some spectacular actions and comedy, Fong Sai becomes an entertaining film. The mother and son’s sweet bonding played by Josephine Siao and Jet Li respectively keep the movie engaging. There is a racing scene where he uses a woman to take part in a race.
With an inspirational song that promotes happy life, the scene breaks every patriarchal concept. The film represents Jet Li’s highest humorous interpretation. It won several major awards for its action choreography. There is also a sequel to this film which was released the same year later.
- SPL: Kill Zone (2005)
When audiences were finding some new options, Donnie Yen came up with a refreshing action style. The martial arts film industry was taking a new shape. Though flying sequences and sword fighting were still in demand, audiences fell in love with the distinctive style of the movie, mainly for its one-on-one fighting sequences.
Those movies were gaining strength in the industry. SPL is one of them where a Hong Kong police officer is trying to catch the notorious mob boss in the city. The film is amazing due to its fast fighting sequences. Sammo Hung is in the role of a crime boss. There are two more sequels that don’t reprise the role of Donnie Ye.
- Flash Point (2007)
After getting a positive response from SPL, Donnie Yen came up with another fresh and original piece of mixed martial arts film, though some claim Flash Point is a prequel to SPL. However, whatever it is, there is no connection to the previous film. With spellbinding action sequences, the film narrates the story of a hot-headed inspector who runs after taking down a powerful Vietnamese-Chinese gang.
Among some of the new-age Chinese Kung Fu movies, it received some mixed reviews but got success at the box office. Because of his work as an action choreographer, Yen won the Hong Kong Film Award.
- The Victim (1980)
Old school Shaolin Kung Fu movies are magical. Without using so much modern equipment, those films became an inspiration to many filmmakers later. Despite watching modern martial arts, we still don’t overlook those old Kung Fu films. Here comes another masterpiece from Sammo Hung.
The film tells the story of a martial arts expert who wanders around the village helping the crooks. It features Bryan Leung, Sammo Hung, and Yuen Biao, the most demanding cast. Blending with an emotional moment, The Victim shows some of the unique fighting styles done by Hung and Leung.
- A Touch of Zen (1971)
This is the first Kung Fu film to be a winner at the Cannes film festival. Before the rise of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, or Shaolin culture, Master Chinese filmmaker King Hu concreted the direction of future Kung Fu movies. Though it was a Wuxia genre film, it gave birth to the later Kung Fu films. The storyline is different from other movies.
Apart from action, it mostly explores the spiritual side of a human being. Digging deep into human nature, King Hu takes us through a journey of a fugitive woman who takes shelter in a village. This is the film that inspired generations of martial arts filmmakers.
- Dragon Gate Inn (1967)
Another masterpiece from King Hu was ever produced. There have been many remakes later. I think Kung Fu movies ushered into a new direction according to the decade. Like Shaolin Ku movies time is primarily dedicated to the 1970s era whereas, after the 80s, the industry was experimenting with a different approach.
On the other hand, the 1960s was a period of Wuxia genre films. The depicts the time of the 15th century in China. When the army commander is condemned, expert swordsmen come to rescue his son and daughter. With beautiful scenarios, the movie is an amazing piece to watch. Amazon and Mubi have acquired the rights to release this film. It’s a beautiful film shot entirely in Taiwan.
- Little Tiger of Canton (1973)
Many of us believe that the Kung Fu film industry where Jackie Chan plays a crucial role. His films have versatilities. Be it modern Kung Fu style or the old school Kung Fu, he is everywhere. Little Tiger of Canton is one of Jackie’s very early films, perhaps the first film. The film was shot when he was 17. At such an age, using some fabulous martial arts styles was incredible. The film is also known as Cub Tiger of Kwan Tung.
It tells the story of a young man who secretly learns Kung Fu. When he comes to know his biological father was killed, he decides to take revenge. The film was released in very few theatres. You can watch its re-edited version which is named Master with Cracked Fingers released in 1979.
- The Fearless Hyena (1979)
Despite having blockbuster films, Jackie has some underrated movies also. The Fearless Hyena is one of them. A young man learns Kung Fu from his sick grandfather and keeps it secret. But unfortunately, he gets into trouble by exhibiting his skills for which he attracts enemies and his grandfather dies.
It was Chan’s directorial debut which was a box office success. There is a sequel released in 1983. While Drunken Master is more about drunken skills, The Fearless Hyena features various techniques like emotional Kung Fu, disguise as a woman, chopstick duel, etc.
- Romeo Must Die (2000)
The 90s was a good time for Jet Li to strengthen his position as a world-class Chinese actor. After debuting in Lethal Weapon 4, his breakthrough role in the Hollywood industry came with Romeo Must Die in 2000 in the lead role. He plays a former Chinese police officer who goes to the UA to take revenge for his brother’s death.
During his struggle there, he falls in love with the daughter of a rival American crimelord. The film received mixed reviews. Yet, it was a huge box office success. Because of Li’s spectacular martial arts, he received overwhelming responses from audiences around the world.
- Born to Defense (1986)
The film which gave Jet Li a new identity as a director takes us through the time after World War II. When China was going through a liberalization period, a young soldier named Jet comes forward to deal with the Americans’ abuse of the Chinese people. This was a successful film in China making the 2nd position in the highest-grossing film. Jet Li’s amazing martial arts are pleasant to watch.
- Dragon Fist (1979)
1970 was a golden period for Kung Fu films, especially Shaoling Kung Fu. Dragon Fist is such a revenge film where a young Kung Fu disciple seeks vengeance for his master’s death. There is an emotional angle throughout the film.
Shot in some beautiful locations in South Korea, the film is perhaps the one where you see Chan with a more serious tone. It was also a box office success but became an underrated movie by Jackie Chan.
- The Young Master (1980)
Chan’s second directorial venture was also a huge box office success. On the other hand, this was his first film with Golden Harvest. The most notable feature of this film is the brutal fight in the climax and the lion dance competition at the beginning.
After failing in the lion dance competition, Dragon must find and bring back his brother, Tiger. But on the way, he faces various troubles. One of the interesting facts about this film is Chan’s throat was injured while filming.
- Dragon Lord (1982)
It was Chan’s experimental film which includes various stunts. Though it is supposed to be a sequel to The Young Master, it came with a different name. Another directorial venture that audiences spread overwhelming love for Jackie Chan. While sending away his love for a woman in the village, Dragon gets involved with a criminal gang that leads to a win and lose situation. It’s an amazing film that strengthened Chan’s comedy style with action.
- Armour of God (1986)
The film for which Chan almost broke his skull. If you have seen the Indiana Jones series, then Armour of God is definitely a must-watch. While Indiana Jones is rich with its adventurous style, Armour of God is richer with its stunt-oriented adventures.
While a treasure hunter learns that his friend’s girlfriend is kidnapped, he helps him by challenging the kidnapper. Some overwhelmingly amazing stunts, fights, and a good story are all leading the film to a huge box office success.
- Rumble in the Bronx (1995)
By becoming the most profitable film in 1996, Rumble in the Bronx broadened Chan’s space in American cinema. The film explores a young man who helps his uncle in New York City. during this period, he gets into trouble with the criminal syndicate of the city. It was Chan’s breakthrough film in Hollywood. Some critics referred to him as one of the biggest action heroes in the world.
- Mr. Nice Guy (1997)
Being the 1st English language film, Jackie won the world with his unprecedented stunts. When a chef gets into trouble while involved with a reporter, he becomes responsible to help her escape. The film was a huge box office success. It features Sammo Hung in a cameo role. No one had seen Chan in such an avatar before. After a successful rendition of Mr. Nice Guy, he became a phenomenon in the Hollywood industry.
- Who Am I? (1998)
Do you remember the great fighting sequence on the roof ever filmed? A military agent lands in a South African land. He doesn’t know who he is and where he comes from. All he wants to know is his original identity. He wants to go as much as possible to reveal the truth.
Some amazing stunts became the USP of this film. With positive reviews, the film became a huge box office success. He won the world again with his second English-language film.
- The Bodyguard from Beijing (1994)
Also known as The Defender, The Bodyguard from Beijing is a tale of a bodyguard who is assigned to a businessman’s girlfriend as she is the only witness to a murder. But they feel attracted to each other which leads to a tragic end. The film was banned in China.
But when it was released in the USA and UK, it became a phenomenon by being the fourth most-watched foreign language film in the United Kingdom. Besides Fong Sai-yuk and Once Upon a Time in China, this film gives you a different taste of Jet Li’s martial arts skills.
- My Father is a Hero (1995)
How long can one person go for his duty? A police officer jeopardizes his son’s life by infiltrating a terrorist gang. It’s an amazing piece from Jet Li that has actions with some emotional elements in it. While experimenting with such films involving modern time characters, he received a huge response from his audiences.
With positive reviews, the film became a box office success. It was the time for new wave martial arts films in China as well as the world. Using martial arts skills combined with his son is remarkable in this movie.
- Kiss of the Dragon (2001)
The new wave of martial arts films became an inspiration to the Hollywood industry later. With the hands of Jackie Chan and Jet Li, the American action film industry was changing rapidly. Later, we see the reflection of martial arts skills in several Hollywood movies.
Thanks to Kiss of the Dragon which was majorly responsible to open a new door to the mixed martial arts movie. It tells the story of a Chinese narcotics cop who goes to Paris to uncover the smuggling ring. Notable for not using any CGI and Wires except for two scenes, most of the fights remain realistic and inspiring.
- Fearless (2006)
Based on the life of Huo Yuanjia who fought against foreign fighters, Fearless delves into the time of the epic era during the final years of the Qing dynasty. While working on new wave martial arts films, Jet Li released his last Wushu film.
It details the story of an ancient-era martial artist who comes to his village where he gets involved in a fight that defends the country’s honor. Though there were controversies about the film’s historical accuracies, it was a huge box office success.
- The Forbidden Kingdom (2008)
An Academy Award-winning director, Rob Minkoff takes us through his Wuxia genre film adventure. The most interesting thing in this film is the first time collaboration between Jackie Chan and Jet Li. When a teenager transports into a mysterious world, he is responsible to discover the lost relics with the help of a few warriors. There are some fascinating martial arts fights that make the movie magical. With some mixed reviews, the film became a box office success.
- Half a Loaf of Kung Fu (1978)
One of the first ventures into slapstick comedy by Jackie Chan was not satisfying for his audiences but paved the way for his next films. With an interesting title, he plays Jiang, a bodyguard who desires to learn Kung Fu. But when he is caught spying on this employer’s secret room, he gets into trouble. While on the wood, he meets two Kung Fu fighters.
Ultimately he fulfills his dreams his dream to learn Kung Fu. His long hair which you have never seen is unique in this film. It’s a lightweight action film where there is not much intense drama. Yet, you will love Chan’s new look and the movie as well.
- The Incredible Kung Fu Master (1979)
Be it a supportive role, a minor character, or a lead, Hung plays every character with diligence. Kung Fu is an essential part of his character. Here, he plays a wandering winemaker who is also an expert Kung Fu fighter. A student who learns two different styles of Kung Fu must save his masters from a precarious plot. A number of action choreographers worked on this film including Hung, and Yuen Biao.
- The Invisible Armour (1977)
Among tons of free Kung Fu movies out there, The Invisible Armour is one of the best Kung Fu action movies that deals with revenge, identity, and freedom at last. When Lu Fung is framed for the murder of a general, he must prove his innocence.
For that, he learns Kung Fu especially the iron finger technique to fight the corrupt officials who framed him for the murder. The popular main theme music throughout the film is from the 1967 movie, Day of Anger.
- Fists of the White Lotus (1980)
Most of the popular Shaolin Kung Fu movies come from Gordon Liu’s den, though there are others as well. He is again portrayed as a Shaolin rebel who learns various tactics of Kung Fu to take revenge for his brother’s death. Known as the Clan of the White Lotus, the film comes from the two previous films, Executioners from Shaolin and Abbot of Shaolin. This film showcases Liu’s marvelous skills as a master Kung Fu practitioner.
- Masked Avengers (1981)
While many prominent actors were in Shaw Brothers’ films, there were several new faces as well who got the chance to showcase their skills on the silver screen. Known as Chang Cheh’s more violent and darker film, Masked Avengers explores the terror of the village. One of the members of the group vows to destroy the gang as it is terrorizing the whole countryside. Some deadly fighting with a bloodbath is the USP of this film.
- The Heroic Trio (1993)
At a time, when the whole world was seeing the rising of male Kung Fu stars, women performers were giving them a jab. The 90s period was the liberalization era for the Hong Kong film industry where you come to see the rising of many prominent Chinese actors like Michelle Yeoh.
The Heroic Trio is a combination of 3 superwomen who save the city by killing the devil who is stealing the babies for making them bloodthirsty world leaders. This was Johnnie To’s one of the directorial ventures in his career.
- Mad Monkey Kung Fu (1979)
Lau Kau-Leung’s other master venture as a director is where he shows a handicapped Kung Fu expert defeated by a gangster who teaches monkey Kung Fu to his friend to take revenge for his current situation. One of the most interesting things is Lau debuts as an actor in this film.
The choreography is wonderful and gives us a moment of reliving one of the oldest styles of Kung Fu again. Because of the free Kung Fu movies out there on the internet, you can take a different taste of Kung Fu.
- Operation Scorpio (1992)
When a comic book artist saves a young girl from the Scorpion King’s gang, he becomes a target. To save himself from the vicious gang, he learns various martial arts techniques and deals with them. The climax scene is all that you ultimately demand from an action movie. Lau Kar-Lung is in the lead role.
Though the story is not so admiring, every action sequence will leave a mark on your mind. In these changing times of Kung Fu films, Operation Scorpio made a mark on the Hong Kong film industry.
- Bulletproof Monk (2003)
A monk who knows Kung Fu wanders around the world to protect the ancient scroll which can give anyone ultimate power. As the name suggests, no bullet can harm him. He finds a selfish street kid in the United States and trains him to protect the holy element.
Though it’s not Chow’s remarkable film, it certainly gave him some exposure to the whole world. Just watch it for relaxation purposes. There’s not much to judge performance. The film was a box office failure.
- Five Shaolin Masters (1974)
One of the early films in the Kung Fu world that protects and glorifies the Shaolin temple. Five Shaolin pupils somehow escape from the destruction of the temple. Each of them trains harder by learning different styles to fight against the destroyer.
They become Five Shaolin Masters. The film focuses on the rivalry between Shaolin and the Qing Dynasty. It was also one of the career-changing moments for the director, Chang Cheh.
- Five Fingers of Death (1972)
y not being the quintessential Kung Fu film where only fighting sequences prevail in the whole picture, this film revolves around a certain strong plot. Since its opening, it carries tension and mysteries. Chao Chih-Hao, a fighter goes to Chin-Pei martial arts school to prepare for participating in a martial arts tournament.
He learns the iron fist technique which becomes the reason for jealousy for another pupil of the same school that leads to a tragic incident. With this, it puts us into a different layer of the film. When enjoying jealousy, betrayal, actions, and songs, you suddenly realize the good leader from Fists of Fury plays the evil leader in this film. The film became the 2nd highest-grossing film after Enter the Dragon.
- Dirty Ho (1979)
Among 14 heirs, the 11th heir tries various techniques to get back home in disguise. But when his first strategy doesn’t become fruitful, he teams up with a thief. Some most interesting things about this film are this is one of the first Shaw Brothers’ Kung Fu films that involve a Manchu character as a lead instead of a villain.
Also, being a Shaw Brothers film, this is quite unique film in its approach. Gordon Liu and Wong Yue, both satisfy audiences with their martial arts skills and comedy performance. It’s another masterpiece from Lau Kar-Leung.
- Executioners from Shaolin (1977)
Chinese Kung Fu movies have a rich culture around the world. The industry has a distinctive place in the world film industry. In the 21st century, it has become a cult for filmmakers all around the world. While searching for the best Chinese Kung Fu movies, Executioners from Shaolin should be added to it.
A young Kung Fu master learns both techniques of Tiger and Crane. The combination finally kills his father’s murderer. According to some, it is an essential old-school classic. It is a portrayal of the historical conflict between Shaolin Kung Fu and Pai Mei Kung Fu.
- Tom-Yum-Goong (2005)
Also known as The Protector, the film features Wushu, another form of Kung Fu along with other various martial arts styles. Many of us are familiar with Tony Jaa’s Ong Bak franchise and this film. Amazing fighting sequences and an emotional bind us altogether to watch the end of the film.
It’s a marvelous film and entertaining as well. When his elephant is stolen, a young fighter must go to Australia to rescue his pet. On the way, he unravels the conspiracy of the city mafia. Incredible and picturesque stunts made Jaa a world-class celebrity.
- Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)
Tony Jaa once confessed the combination of Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li in this film. It’s a brilliant action film, not only Kung Fu but there are various action styles. The fighting sequences are incredible. Ong Bak is such a film that changed Jaa’s career overnight.
Various popular violent strikes with fists, elbows, and knees have been used in this film. It’s a story of a young kickboxer who goes after rescuing the stolen Buddha statue. He wants to rescue it by any means. Most of us action film lovers cannot stop watching this movie at any moment.
- The Grandmaster (2013)
Because it is a Wong Kar Wai film, it is certain that the film will get a new shape. With a more commercial approach to his filmmaking, the Grandmaster appeared as one of the most anticipated films by the director. His artistic touch on the film is shown through the production, cinematography, and storytelling as well.
The narrative delves into the life of Ip Man when he was threatened by the opposite gang. He had to prove his existence. This is the only Wong Kar Wai film that received Academy Award recognition in cinematography and costume design.
- The Avenging Eagle (1978)
A former member of a ruthless gang sets on a journey to kill the leader of the gang. He befriends a mysterious man who helps him to fulfill his desire. The film gave birth to many prominent stars including Alexander Fu. On one hand, leading a criminal lifestyle and on the other hand, realizing a peaceful life in a non-violent way makes the movie more spiritualistic. This Wuxia film is an exceptional piece of Kung Fu film.
- Invincible Shaolin (1978)
When conflict between two different regions Shaolin elevates it becomes a bloodbath. Because of an evil gang leader, both schools get into serious fights. But when they come to know the truth, they prepare themselves to destroy the leader. The film captures the time of the Qing Dynasty.
The more interesting thing is the filmmaker behind the film is Chang Cheh. shaolin movies have glorified the Kung Fu film industry. This is another pure Shaolin Kung Fu movie that becomes a legacy.
- Shadow (2018)
Shadow is a piece of beautiful cinematography and set design. And obviously, Kung Fu is there. Screened at various several major international film festivals, Shadow is an amazing piece of artistic creation.
With an amazing plot, the film tells the story of a general who smartly makes plans to rescue his wife and king. Filmmaker Zhang pushes the boundary of every Wuxia film to make a distinctive place like no other. It’s an amazing new Chinese movie that involves Kung Fu in a new decorative way.
- Come Drink with Me (1966)
It was a revolutionary in that era that broadened the scope of Chinese new wave films. King Hu’s amazing distinctive storytelling gave the film a selection for the Academy Award, though it didn’t receive any nomination. Hu captures the time of the Ming Dynasty when a group of bandits kidnapped a general’s son to free their leader.
Unaware of the general’s daughter, named Golden Swallow, the negotiation turns out a bloodbath. With beautiful shots and giving more power to women, the film inspired Hollywood to make a remake, though it is not successful yet.
- Kung Fu Panda (2008-16)
While the addition of Enter the Dragon is inevitable in this list of Kung Fu movies, simultaneously it cannot be complete without the absence of Kung Fu Panda. There are 3 movies in the Kung Fu Panda Franchise. Every part is inspiring, and philosophical, and shows us looking into our inner side.
Be it an animated film, it needs a special mention in the Kung Fu cinematic world. Apart from this, Jack Black’s performance as the Panda impacts us severely. It’s a journey of a Panda who is a good-for-nothing stupid and lazy guy who enters a Kung Fu competition and becomes the Dragon Warrior of the valley. He is responsible for destroying the evil in the region. Movies like Kung Fu Panda become a source of our motivation.