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The Flying Guillotine (1975)
"Xue di zi" (original title)

 -  Action | Drama  -  October 1981 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 350 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 6 critic

The Emperor's armies have developed a new weapon: a thrown blade that can remove someone's head from long distance. As the paranoid Emperor begins decapitating anyone he fears might be a ... See full summary »



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Title: The Flying Guillotine (1975)

The Flying Guillotine (1975) on IMDb 7.1/10

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Credited cast:
Kuan Tai Chen ...
Feng Ku ...
Xin Kang
Hung Wei
Wu Chi Liu ...
Yu Ping
Ti Ai
Wei Tu Lin
Yue Wong
Yang Chiang ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ling Chiang
Norman Chu
Yao Ko Chu
Han Chou Ho
Tu Hung Hsi
Ricky Hui
Wei-ming Kuo


The Emperor's armies have developed a new weapon: a thrown blade that can remove someone's head from long distance. As the paranoid Emperor begins decapitating anyone he fears might be a threat, his guard Mau Tang becomes disillusioned with the excesses of his master. He leaves his post and takes up the quiet life of farming and raising a family. Eventually, though, his past catches up with him, and he must find a way to fight the flying guillotine if he is to save his head. Written by Jean-Marc Rocher <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama





Release Date:

October 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Xue di zi  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Featured in Chop Socky: Cinema Hong Kong (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Great, surprisingly plot driven outing for the deadliest of all weapons
27 September 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I've been interested in flying guillotines ever since watching the lesser known, but pretty entertaining take off picture Fatal Flying Guillotines that starred Carter Wong. That was the first old school kung fu film that I ever bought and I still like them a lot, though I don't watch them quite as often. When I first saw this film I was mildly disappointed, as I expected more action and flamboyance in keeping with the other films to feature the flying guillotine. Its a real grower though, for I watched it again last night and had a great time. The talented Huo Meng Hua directs with his customary steady hand and flair for action, stirring up intrigue and providing satisfying, brutish fight scenes. Chen Kuan Tai is the main character, an assassin who has developed a conscience and though his acting may not be great, he is a fine fighter, fending off various opponents with his forceful but unshowy moves. There is less fighting in this film than one might expect, but the fight scenes are very much at the service of the plot and characters. The fights look more realistic than usual, with a good hard hitting style and antagonists who always seem credible, rather than the expected skilled, balletic opponents of some of the Shaw Brothers' other films. The story is decent and it takes its time to develop through the movie, with interesting characters and some well spun tension. Huo Meng Hua also scores highly with a paranoid imperial atmosphere, where people do terrible things to avoid being killed by the government and fear is rife. The flying guillotines are less the force of evil in the film than tyrannical rule and its crimes against the people, those who unquestioningly work for these regimes and those who seek to exploit them for personal gain. The guillotines themselves are just a tool in an iniquitous system and the film is focused more on humanity, and human iniquity than showcasing kung fu prowess. Which isn't to say that the film lacks in guillotine action, its just that it isn't as grisly or madcap as it might be. This is pretty much a very fine film, with a classy feel, great Shaw Brothers style and familiar yet lovable set designs. It has splashes of mild gore, good fighting in a good plot and surprising attention to characters. With perhaps a touch more energy it could be truly marvellous, but this is still ace viewing. Just don't confuse it with Master Of The Flying Guillotine, as this can easily lead to confusion.

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