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A Touch of Zen (1971)

Xia nü (original title)
A lady fugitive on the run from corrupt government officials is joined in her endeavors by an unambitious painter and skilled Buddhist monks.



, (story) (as Sung-ling Pu)

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2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Yang Hui-ching
Chun Shih ...
Ying Bai ...
General Shih Wen-chiao
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billy Chan
Ming-Wai Chan ...
(as Ming-Wei Chen)
Ping-Yu Chang
Yi Kuei Chang
Yun Wen Chang
Shih Wei Chen
Hui Yuan
Ying-Chieh Han ...
Li Jen Ho
Chung Mou Hsieh
Han Hsieh ...
Dr. Lu Meng
Hsing Chun Hsu


An artist, Ku, lives with his mother near an abandoned fort, reputed to be haunted. One night, investigating strange noises, he meets the beautiful Yang who is living there. She is being pursued by agents of an Imperial noble who have murdered her family. Ku finds himself caught up in her struggle to survive, and many fierce battles take place before all is resolved. Action adventure with a lyrical feel, this is a kung fu film with a strong spiritual element. Written by Richard Hills <R.Hills@wlv.ac.uk>

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Release Date:

18 November 1971 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

A Touch of Zen  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (Blu-ray)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


No. 9 in the Hong Kong Film Awards' List of The Best 100 Chinese Motion Pictures. See more »


The film is set in the 14th century AD. However, the Gu family have maize (corn) drying outside their house - this crop is American in origin and did not reach China until the 16th century. See more »


Featured in La menace (1977) See more »

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User Reviews

Finally available
28 July 2003 | by See all my reviews

For UK DVD viewers, this genre classic is finally available to own. Optimum's print is not perfect (slightly dim in places), and you can't turn off the giant subtitles (should you want to), but at least we can see the full version of King Hu's masterpiece. Anybody seriously interested in martial arts cinema must seek out a copy, since it represents one of the most elegant examples of its type, a few years before the international success of Asian fight flicks proliferated a slew of poorly dubbed, re-edited versions for Western markets, solidifying the stereotype of "chop-socky" films as plot-free, laughable foreign commodities. A Touch of Zen builds up for almost a full hour before so much as a punch is thrown. The story is narrow, but complex, and King Hu takes time to create atmosphere, and a sense of place and time which is often taken for granted in other period epics. Oh yes, and the fight scenes are great.

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