19 user 32 critic

One-Armed Swordsman (1967)

Du bei dao (original title)
An evil gang attacks the Chi school of Golden Sword Kung Fu. One student sacrifices his life to save his teacher and his school, his dying wish is that his son be taken in as a student. ... See full summary »




Watch Now

From $1.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After defeating The Long-Armed Devil and his armies, our nubbed hero has been living in retirement as a farmer, but circumstances causes him to come out of retirement and take on The Eight ... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang
Stars: Yu Wang, Chiao Chiao, Chia Essie Lin
Action | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Lei Li lost his right-arm in a sword duel with the master of a martial arts school, long ago. Now, he is able to defend himself well with just his left arm, and kung fu techniques. That he ... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang
Stars: David Chiang, Ching Lee, Lung Ti
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The Yang family was the loyal strong-arm of the Imperial army. But a jealous General betrays the Eilte Spearman and their father to the opposing Mongol army. After an ambush of a battle, ... See full summary »

Director: Chia-Liang Liu
Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Sheng Fu, Lily Li
Action | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A group of bandits kidnaps the governor's son and demands their imprisoned leader to be set free in exchange.

Director: King Hu
Stars: Pei-Pei Cheng, Hua Yueh, Hung Lieh Chen
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Two martial arts schools prepare for an important tournament.

Director: Chang-hwa Jeong
Stars: Lieh Lo, Ping Wang, Hsiung Chao
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A dying teacher instructs his final student to check on the activities of five former pupils, each of whom he taught a unique and special style of kung-fu to: The Centipede, Snake, Scorpion... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang
Stars: Sheng Chiang, Chien Sun, Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Three men, crippled by an evil warlord, become friends and learn kung fu with the help of an old teacher and his idiot pupil.

Director: Cheh Chang
Stars: Kuan-Tai Chan, Feng Lu, Phillip Chung-Fung Kwok
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A couple unite - she is fluent in the crane style of kung fu, he in tiger style. They have a son, but the boy's father is killed by the evil eunuch Bai Mei. Disguised as a girl, his mom ... See full summary »

Director: Chia-Liang Liu
Stars: Kuan Tai Chen, Lieh Lo, Yue Wong
Action | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted ... See full summary »

Director: Chia-Liang Liu
Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Yuka Mizuno, Yasuaki Kurata
Action | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

After his students are killed by the One Armed Boxer, a vengeful and blind Kung Fu expert travels to a village where a martial arts contest is being held and vows to behead every one armed man he comes across.

Director: Yu Wang
Stars: Yu Wang, Tien Wu Chu, Kang Chin
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A young martial artist seeks revenge on the Ninja who kills his martial arts brothers and teacher. He finds help in the form of a new teacher (who knows Ninjitsu) and new brothers. Together... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang
Stars: Tien-Chi Cheng, Tien Hsiang Lung, Meng Lo
Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The anti-Ching patriots, under the guidance of Ho Kuang-han, have secretly set up their base in Canton, disguised as school masters. During a brutal Manchu attack, Lui manages to escape and... See full summary »

Director: Chia-Liang Liu
Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Lieh Lo, Chia Yung Liu


Credited cast:
Chiao Chiao ...
Chung-Hsin Huang ...
Yin Tze Pan ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pei-Shan Chang ...
Hsiung Chao ...
Chuan Chen ...
Chi student
Shao-Peng Chen ...
Chi student
Yanyan Chen ...
Madam Chi (as Yen-yen Chen)
Lei Cheng ...
Teng Chung
Lung Chiang ...
Chi student
Yuan Chieh ...
Lu Chen
Chun Chin ...
Street gambler
Siu Loi Chow ...
Bandit Hsu
Dan Fan ...
Shih Yi-fei


An evil gang attacks the Chi school of Golden Sword Kung Fu. One student sacrifices his life to save his teacher and his school, his dying wish is that his son be taken in as a student. Young Fang Kang grows up in the school and treasures his father's broken sword and the memory of his father's sacrifice. The other students (including the teacher's daughter) resent him and try to drive him away. The teacher's daughter challenges him to a fight and when he refuses she becomes enraged and recklessly chops off his arm! He retreats, broken and bloody, and is found by a young poor girl living alone who nurses him back to health. Meanwhile, the evil gang who originally attacked the Golden Sword school develops a weapon that renders the Golden Sword useless and starts killing off all of the schools students. Fang Kang eventually recovers with the girl's help but must now face a life with only one arm. Will he be able to recover and live to defend the school as his father did? Written by Fred Cabral <ftcabral@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Action | Drama


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

26 July 1967 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

El espadachín manco  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(restored print)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Hsiao Man: Why did you rescue her?
Fang Kang: She asked me the same question. I said it was because she's my Sifu's daughter. He is a great and renowned hero. I can't let his reputation be ruined on account of her. Had she been raped by those thugs, how could Sifu ever face anyone in the martial world?
See more »


Followed by Return of the One-Armed Swordsman (1969) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

one of the finest films ever
27 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Given the bad reputation of Chinese martial arts films in general, plus the undeniable fact that many of these - including this one - use genre conventions originally developed for the popular stage (what has been called "Chinese Opera" is actually more analogous to American Vaudeville), it is only with considerable effort that an admirer if these films can persuade Americans to watch these movies, let alone appreciate them fully. But the point really is, that the directors of these films use what they have to portray the culture in which they live in a manner as completely cinematic as can be found in any national film tradition.

All this is a warm up to this: The One-Armed Swordsman is as masterful a film as Kurosawa Akira's Yojimbo.

I make this specific comparison because each film was made within a genre to which the film contributes genre-shattering innovation, while at the same time maintaining certain essential conventions that keep it safely within the genre. Thus Kurosawa's renegade ronin is a tough, cynical, manipulator of the various villains of the film, in a way even the most tragic hero of the Japanese samurai film (chambara) of the time could never be; nonetheless, he still manages to kill everyone at the end, much like all the other chambara heroes.

Similarly, Chang Cheh's One-Armed hero follows genre convention by performing super-human feats of skill (like leaving the imprint of his hand on a rock with a single blow), but just as a character, he is completely new.

The typical wu xia film of the time generally had an aristocratic hero; if he had no personal problems to deal with, he always wore white. If he had personal problems, he would drink heavily and dress like a mendicant monk. He was in utter thrall to whatever worthiest female was in his immediate vicinity; his cause was always to uphold the right, protect chastity, and further the well-being of the Chinese people as a whole. His one real defect (as a "type") was that he really liked fighting, which usually got him into trouble with those with similar enjoyments.

Chang Cheh's Feng Kong (as played by Wang Yu in what is his finest role) is not an aristocrat, but an orphaned son of a servant; he doesn't wear white, he wears black; remaining loyal to her father (his former teacher) he grows to hate the young lady who chopped off his arm (I certainly would) and grows attached to the dead warrior's daughter (with whom he sleeps without marriage) only after she has nursed him back to health - but he remains determined to control his own fate nonetheless. The future of the Chinese people doesn't interest him. Eventually, he abjures fighting and goes off to become a farmer.

As can be discovered from various interviews, Chang Cheh, in filming what is still his most completely realized vision, was perfectly aware that he was making such innovations. In fact, in terms of traditional Chinese culture alone, The One-Armed Swordsman comes across as a radical Confucian demand for recognition of merit above social status; and of the need for social stability over and against any desire for personal revenge.

Furthermore, Chang Cheh pulls this off in a manner utterly consistent with the social trends of the 1960s - Feng Kong is portrayed as an "angry young man" - the representative of an entire generation fed up with many of the myths of the old culture to which they have been indoctrinated. He is brazen, energetic, honest, and more than a little suspicious of old prejudices (which have never favored him anyway). And having been told that he was not "born worthy", he sets out to proves that he can learn self-sufficiency without the benefit of institutional education. He doesn't need to start a revolution - he IS a revolution.

Of course, if the general quality of the film as a whole were not utterly top-notch, this message would be meaningless. But the camera-work, supporting performances by the other actors, staging and direction, and most of the editing are all "world-class" - as good as anything coming out of Hollywood that decade, and better than any Hollywood film of the decade's latter half.

Let the genre conventions be what they are, and pay respect to one of the best films of its type - and perhaps one of the finest films ever made, world-wide.

11 of 17 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Violence Content + is it worth seeing? JohnnyRocketFingers
Need some help paulmaher35
Chang Cheh and Sergio Corbucci timg88
Classic dan-willi84
Asiamania Podcast Ep21 greatwyatteshark
Discuss One-Armed Swordsman (1967) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: