The Big Boss (1971)
"Tang shan da xiong" (original title)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  February 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 17,456 users  
Reviews: 72 user | 55 critic

A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear.


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Credited cast:
Maria Yi ...
Chow Mei
James Tien ...
Hsiu Chien
Marilyn Bautista ...
Miss Wuman (as Malalene)
Ying-Chieh Han ...
Tony Liu ...
Hsiao Chiun (Mi's son)
Kun Li ...
Ah Kun (as Quin Lee)
Nora Miao ...
Drinkstand owner (as Mao Ke-hsiu)
Shan Chin ...
Hua Sze
Chih Chen ...
Foreman (as Chen Chao)
Chia-Cheng Tu ...
Tso Chen ...
Ice Factory Manager
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billy Chan ...
(as Hui-yi Chen)
Lung Chan ...
Gatekeeper / Blue Shirt Henchman


Chein is a city boy who moves with his cousins to work at a ice factory. He does this with a family promise never to get involved in any fight. However, when members of his family begin disappearing after meeting the management of the factor, the resulting mystery and pressures forces him to break that vow and take on the villainy of the Big Boss. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A Long Awaited Film... ...IS COMING!!! See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

February 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Fists of Fury  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (uncut) | (original rejected english dubbed)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The film was based on the true story of Cheng Chiu-on who fought the tyrants in Thailand. Cheng lived at the end of the 1800s and beginning of the 20th century. A memorial statue of him was erected in a garden in the Bangkok more than 80 years ago. See more »


When Cheng Chaon slides the ice down the ramp and it crashes, a bar can be seen placed on the ramp to assist the crashing. See more »


[first lines]
Cheng Chao-an: Uncle, is this it?
Uncle: Yes, right over there. That's the town, Cheng. That's right. Not much further to go.
See more »


Referenced in Someone Has to Review It!: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014) See more »


To Be a Man
Lyrics by James Wong
Performed by Mike Remedios
[English Dubbed Japan Version]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Crude and uneven, but the first Lee-starring film still has a certain power
19 October 2004 | by See all my reviews

The first of the four Bruce Lee starring movies[ well, five, if you count Game Of Death]is technically the weakest. However, it's easy to see how it caused such a stir. Unlike most martial arts movies of the time, the film was set in the present day and attempted things like characterisation and even realism. These touches sometimes seem crude and even laughable now [for instance, check out the scene when the other workers of the factory are waiting for Lee to return, with it's exaggurated 'passing the time' actions]but when the film came out, it was a major step forward.

Even more daringly, the film has less fighting, with the fights being structured around the plot rather than the other way round, and bravest of all, the star of the film does not go into action into half way through. Instead, it cleverly builds suspense by having Lee as a guy who has sworn not to fight, and when he eventually cuts loose the result is exhilarating. However, it's obvious that none of Lee's opponents are a match for him and only the sequence when he battles a group of heavies in and around an ice factory really stands out. The clumsiness of much of the action [Lee was only allowed to choreograph the ice factory scene]is almost redeemed by the huge amount of gore and brutality.

Despite it's shoddy aspects, the film does have an odd power,especially towards the end. Lee's character is a very flawed hero who for a while badly strays from goodness and there is a sense that killing all the bad guys will not bring him redemption. In all three of Lee's Hong Kong films, violence never really solves things, it just makes things worse. Maybe that is why Lee's dated, sometimes awkward films are still watched again and again while many other films of the same time and genre have faded into obscurity. Well, that and Lee.

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