IMDb > Five Fingers of Death (1972)
Tian xia di yi quan
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Five Fingers of Death (1972) More at IMDbPro »Tian xia di yi quan (original title)

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Yang Chiang (screenplay)
View company contact information for Five Fingers of Death on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
21 March 1973 (USA) See more »
The Martial Arts Masterpiece! Sights and Sounds Like Never Before See more »
Two martial arts schools prepare for an important tournament. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
(16 articles)
User Reviews:
"The martial arts movie that started it all!" some anonymous movie critic See more (28 total) »


  (in credits order)
Lieh Lo ... Chao Chih-Hao
Ping Wang ... Sung Ying Ying
Hsiung Chao ... Okada
Chin-Feng Wang ... Yen Chu Hung
Mien Fang ... Sun Hsin-Pei
Feng Tien ... Meng Tung-Shun
James Nam ... Han Lung (as Nan Kung-Hsun)
Shen Chan ... Wan Hung-chieh
Bolo Yeung ... Pa Tu-er, Mongolian Fighter
Wen Chung Ku ... Sung Wu-yang
Lung Yu ... Tu Wei
Yukio Someno ... Oshima Shotaro (as Ran Yeh)
Tse Lin Yang ... Sun's pupil
Chi Chu Chin ... Chen Lang
Bong-jin Jin ... Lu Ta-ming (as Chen Feng Chen)
Hsing Chung Hung ... Inn-keeper
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Chuan Chen ... Wan's henchman
Chuen Chiang ... Zaemon
Shao Lun Chiang
Hsieh-Su Fung
Hsia Hsu ... Street challenger
Ha Huang
Pei Chi Huang
Chia Yung Liu
Tsun Liu
Wai Lo
Choh Lam Tsang ... Street barker
Fat Tsui
Ching Ho Wang ... Tournament official
Ching Wong ... Meng henchman
Shu Tong Wong ... Yen Chi Hung
Shi-Kwan Yen
Shing-Chau Yuen
Shun-Yee Yuen

Directed by
Chang-hwa Jeong  (as Chang Ho Cheng)
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Yang Chiang  screenplay

Produced by
Run Run Shaw .... producer
Original Music by
Yung-Yu Chen 
Cinematography by
Yung-lung Wang 
Film Editing by
Hsing-Lung Chiang 
Kung-Wing Fan 
Art Direction by
Chi-Jui Chen 
Makeup Department
Yuen Fang .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ching Po Chang .... assistant director
Wei Chun Chen .... assistant director
Sound Department
Jean-Michel Beranger .... french dubbing mixer
Yung-Hua Wang .... sound recordist
Chuan Chen .... action coordinator
Chia Yung Liu .... action coordinator

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Tian xia di yi quan" - Hong Kong (original title)
"5 Fingers of Death" - USA (poster title)
"King Boxer" - Hong Kong (English title) (original subtitled version)
"King Boxer: Five Fingers of Death" - USA (DVD box title)
See more »
USA:104 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:M (original rating) | Australia:R (2007) | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:(Banned) (1973) | New Zealand:R18 | South Korea:15 | UK:X (original rating) | UK:15 (re-rating) | UK:15 (re-rating) (2009) | UK:18 (video rating) (1986) | USA:R | West Germany:16

Did You Know?

The English dubbed version, released through Warner Brothers, was the film that launched the craze for "kung fu" movies in the United States.See more »
messenger:Hey listen! Some great news! Chi-Hao's beat up Chen Lang down at Chen Sun House.
Han Lung:What? You're kidding.
messenger:No, no, no, I saw it happening!
Han Lung:God damn it.
See more »
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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
"The martial arts movie that started it all!" some anonymous movie critic, 25 December 2009
Author: dee.reid from United States

Hong Kong filmmaker Chang Chang Ho's 1972 martial arts movie epic "Five Fingers of Death" is widely considered by a great many film experts and kung-fu movie fanatics to be the martial arts movie that started it all.

Being released in 1972, it was phase-two of the three-step process that would lead to the explosion of martial arts movies in the West - "Billy Jack" (1971), with its famous Hapkido showdown in the park, was released the year before, and Bruce Lee starred in "Enter the Dragon" (1973) two years later, thereby solidifying martial arts movies' place in Western cinema.

But what is all the hoopla about regarding "Five Fingers of Death"? The movie, with its terrible dubbing, explosive (if not highly improbable) action sequences and technical flaws and all, has a plot, albeit a very thin one. Chih-Hao (the late Lo Lieh) is a young and dedicated student of Chinese gong-fu who is selected to represent his school in an upcoming martial arts tournament. His teacher offers to allow him to self-train in the "Iron Fist" style of fighting, a style so deadly that it could very easily kill a man with only one blow.

Additionally, Chih-Hao's arrival at the school coincides with a violent conflict with a rival school, its students, and a trio of murderous heavy hitters from Japan. Before you know it, a major setback threatens Chih-Hao's training, and his ability to represent his beloved school in the upcoming tournament.

Let me just say that "Five Fingers of Death" is in fact the movie that started it all. As another viewer mentioned, "Five Fingers of Death" helped to set a lot of standards in martial arts movies over the next three decades - Asian, European, and North American martial arts movies. Such standards include the dedicated student, the learning of patience and endurance, conflicts between rival schools, the intense ethnic animosity between the Chinese and Japanese, and learning a system of fighting for that good old-fashioned action movie motive: revenge. "Five Fingers of Death" would also serve as a major influence on American filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" movies (Tarantino borrows quite liberally from this project, among many others, just so you know).

The acting is pretty good, considering the fact that this is a martial arts movie from the early 1970s, the best of which is Lo Lieh. As the atypical student of the martial arts, his performance is quite groundbreaking, though upon first glance at this movie you wouldn't really know it because of how that particular character arc has been done to death so many times over the years. He's quite humble in his acting, doing anything he can to persevere over his enemies and not fight them in anger or stoop to their level of stupidity or arrogance. Also, when he suffers his major setback, it does make your heart sink a little bit because it's so brutal and you wonder if he's going to recover enough to realize his life-long ambition.

"Five Fingers of Death" is a classic in every sense. It's by no means perfect, and viewers would be crazy to expect something on the caliber of the "Godfather" of martial arts movies. What it does offer you is the ultimate example of Eastern hand-to-hand combat from the time before Eastern cinema was a major fixture in the West.


P.S.: "Enter the Dragon" Bolo Yeung also appears as the Mongolian street fighter near the beginning of the film.

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