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The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

Shao Lin san shi liu fang (original title)
The anti-Ching patriots, under the guidance of Ho Kuang-han, have secretly set up their base in Canton, disguised as school masters. During a brutal Manchu attack, Lui manages to escape and... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Lieh Lo ...
Chia Yung Liu ...
Norman Chu ...
Lu Ah-cai (as Hsu Shao-Chiang)
Yu Yang ...
Hung His-kuan (as Yang Yu)
John Cheung ...
Lord Cheng (as Chang Wu-liang)
Wilson Tong ...
Tang San-yao (as Tang Wei-cheng)
Hang-Sheng Wu ...
Tung Qian-jin
Yue Wong ...
Miller Six (as Yu Wang)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tung-Kua Ai ...
Abbot in charge of Head Chamber
Billy Chan ...
Soldier
Lung Chan ...
Abbot in charge of Staff Chamber
Shen Chan ...
Director of 'Wrists Chamber'
Szu-Chia Chen ...
Chen Yen-ping
Wah Cheung ...
Shaolin disciple
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Storyline

The anti-Ching patriots, under the guidance of Ho Kuang-han, have secretly set up their base in Canton, disguised as school masters. During a brutal Manchu attack, Lui manages to escape and devotes himself to learning the martial arts in order to seek revenge. In a short period of time he masters the deadly use of his fists, feet and palms, along with such weapons as swords, sticks, and lances. With his learning complete, he takes on the Manchus. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The Kung Fu Classic That Started It All! See more »


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

June 1979 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

36th Chamber  »

Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Despite the US title for the film (The Master Killer), the idea of taking a life would be abhorrent to a real Shaolin or Bhuddist monk. See more »

Quotes

San Te: I wish I had learnt kung fu instead of studying.
See more »

Connections

Followed by Disciples of the 36th Chamber (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"The 36th Chamber of Shaolin" - An essential martial arts movie
31 August 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Anyone familiar with the hip-hop super-group the Wu-Tang Clan knows that "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin" (a.k.a. "Shaolin Master Killer"), directed in 1978 by Liu Chia-Liang, is essential viewing for any martial arts movie fan. This movie started the whole "good-guy-gets-his-butt-kicked-and-undergoes-martial arts-training-to-exact-vengeance" storyline that's been used so many times in the martial arts movies since (i.e., the American "Karate Kid" movies). In it, anti-Manchu patriot San Te (Gordon Liu) is a humble country boy who is cast out of his village when Manchu soldiers (led by the villainous Lo Lieh) slaughter his parents, orphaning him. He manages to make it to the famous Shaolin Temple, where he is nursed back to health by the monks living there, and soon undergoes a rigorous and dangerous regiment of training to master the 35 "chambers" (styles) of kung-fu. In seven years, he completes his training, mastering all 35 styles, invents a brand-new weapon (the three-section staff), and suggests creating a 36th chamber - to spread kung-fu beyond the Shaolin Temple's walls and bring it to the masses. The whole story is pretty formulaic (what martial arts movie from the '70s doesn't have a formulaic plot?), but what gets this movie going is its rousing training sequences. These are not the run-of-the-mill stuff we're used to seeing in these movies. San Te's quest to become a martial arts warrior is a tortuous journey of self-actualization, a kind of virtue commonly lacking in the genre; San Te actually becomes a better person as a result of his experiences at the Shaolin Temple. Most grind-house cinema aficionados love this movie (Wu-Tang Clan co-founder the RZA in "The Wu-Tang Manual" does an entire section on the martial arts movies that influenced his development of the Wu-Tang Clan and much of their underlying philosophy). Finally, I'm glad to see an old-school martial arts movie that has its heart and brain in the right places.

10/10


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