IMDb > The One-Armed Swordsman (1967)
Du bei dao
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The One-Armed Swordsman (1967) More at IMDbPro »Du bei dao (original title)

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Release Date:
26 July 1967 (Hong Kong) See more »
An evil gang attacks the Chi school of Golden Sword Kung Fu. One student sacrifices his life to save his teacher and his school... See more » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
one of the finest films ever See more (17 total) »


  (in credits order)

Yu Wang ... Fang Kang / One-armed Swordsman
Chiao Chiao ... Hsiao Man
Chung-Hsin Huang ... Wei Hsuan
Yin Tze Pan ... Chi Pei-erh
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Siu-Pang Chan ... Chi student
Pei-Shan Chang ... Sun Hao
Hsiung Chao ... Ah-Hsien
Chuan 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
Mei Sheng Fan ... Kuo Sheng
Li Jen Ho ... Grandpa Wang
Lin Ye Hsiao ... Chi student
Chin Hsu ... Chi student
Hsia Hsu ... Chi student
Hsing Chun Hsu
Liu Hung ... Chi student
Feng Ku ... Fang Cheng
Hao Li ... Chi student
Chia Yung Liu ... Chi student
Chia-Liang Liu ... Ba Shuang
Kang Liu ... Wu Yuan
Chi Lo ... Chi student
Cliff Lok ... Chi student (as Chin Tung)
Mars ... Festival kid with mask
Bao Tan ... Chi student
Chia Tang ... Ting Peng
Ti Tang ... Smiling Tiger Cheng Tien-shou
Feng Tien ... Chi Ju-feng
Tung Ting ... Chi servant
No Tsai ... Bandit Ma
Choh Lam Tsang ... Waiter
Tsai Pao Tung ... Bandit messenger
Kuang Yu Wang ... Pei Hsun
Shih Chieh Wang ... Cheng disciple
Hsiu Wen ... Hsiao Man's mother
Ching Wong ... Chi student (as Tsing Wang)
Chih-Ching Yang ... Long-Armed Devil
Pai-chen Yang
Shi-Kwan Yen ... Chi student
Lung Yu ... Chi servant
Cheung-Yan Yuen ... Chi student
Woo-ping Yuen ... Chi student

Directed by
Cheh Chang 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Cheh Chang 
Kuang Ni 

Produced by
Runme Shaw .... producer
Original Music by
Fu-Ling Wang 
Cinematography by
Chen San Yuan 
Film Editing by
Hsing-Lung Chiang 
Art Direction by
Ching-Shen Chen 
Makeup Department
Yuen Fang .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Yuan Cheng Huang .... assistant director
Sound Department
Yung-Hua Wang .... sound recordist
Other crew
Chia-Liang Liu .... action director
Chia Tang .... action director

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Du bei dao" - Hong Kong (original title)
See more »
Germany:111 min (restored print)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Movie Connections:
Referenced in Dragon (2011)See more »


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10 out of 16 people found the following review useful.
one of the finest films ever, 27 July 2006
Author: (winner55) from United States

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.

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