Great Martial-arts Movies

by mehulxtreme | created - 03 Feb 2011 | updated - 01 Apr 2013 | Public

Focus is on movies with a main martial-arts theme, so martial-arts action comedies aren't necessarily included

In no way a completed list

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1. The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)

R | 102 min | Action, Comedy

74 Metascore

A young martial artist is caught between respecting his pacifist father's wishes or stopping a group of disrespectful foreigners from stealing precious artifacts.

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Jackie Chan, Ho-Sung Pak, Lung Ti, Anita Mui

Votes: 38,269 | Gross: $11.55M

2. Yip Man (2008)

R | 106 min | Action, Biography, Drama

59 Metascore

During the Japanese invasion of 1937, when a wealthy martial artist is forced to leave his home and work to support his family, he reluctantly agrees to train others in the art of Wing Chun for self-defense.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Simon Yam, Siu-Wong Fan, Ka Tung Lam

Votes: 189,132

3. Jing wu ying xiong (1994)

R | 103 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

In 1937, a Chinese martial artist returns to Shanghai to find his teacher dead and his school harassed by the Japanese.

Director: Gordon Chan | Stars: Jet Li, Shinobu Nakayama, Siu-Ho Chin, Billy Chow

Votes: 20,137

4. Ying xiong (2002)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Adventure, History

85 Metascore

A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Jet Li, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang

Votes: 160,799 | Gross: $53.71M

5. Wong Fei Hung II: Nam yee tung chi keung (1992)

R | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

In the sequel to the Tsui Hark classic, Wong Fei-Hung faces The White Lotus society, a fanatical cult seeking to drive the Europeans out of China through violence, even attacking Chinese ... See full summary »

Director: Hark Tsui | Stars: Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Siu Chung Mok, David Chiang

Votes: 7,932

Equally as good as the first one

6. Siu nin Wong Fei Hung chi: Tit ma lau (1993)

PG-13 | 85 min | Action, Crime, Drama

79 Metascore

A martial artist/doctor steals from the corrupt authorities as a masked thief to give to the poor while another martial artist/doctor is forced to hunt him down. But a major threat unites them as a powerful and traitorous shaolin monk takes over the authorities.

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Rongguang Yu, Donnie Yen, Jean Wang, Sze-Man Tsang

Votes: 14,112 | Gross: $14.68M

7. Wong Fei Hung (1991)

R | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

Set in late 19th century Canton this martial arts film depicts the stance taken by the legendary martial arts hero Wong Fei-Hung (1847-1924) against foreign forces' (English, French and ... See full summary »

Director: Hark Tsui | Stars: Jet Li, Rosamund Kwan, Biao Yuen, Jacky Cheung

Votes: 15,216

8. Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)

R | 105 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

69 Metascore

When the head of a statue sacred to a village is stolen, a young martial artist goes to the big city and finds himself taking on the underworld to retrieve it.

Director: Prachya Pinkaew | Stars: Tony Jaa, Petchtai Wongkamlao, Pumwaree Yodkamol, Suchao Pongwilai

Votes: 65,230 | Gross: $4.56M

9. The Protector (2005)

R | 111 min | Action, Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

A young fighter named Kham must go to Australia to retrieve his stolen elephant. With the help of a Thai-born Australian detective, Kham must take on all comers, including a gang led by an evil woman and her two deadly bodyguards.

Director: Prachya Pinkaew | Stars: Tony Jaa, Nathan Jones, Xing Jin, Petchtai Wongkamlao

Votes: 32,376 | Gross: $11.91M

10. Enter the Dragon (1973)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover.

Director: Robert Clouse | Stars: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Ahna Capri

Votes: 84,609 | Gross: $25.00M

11. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

93 Metascore

A young Chinese warrior steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man in the frontier of the nation.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang

Votes: 232,748 | Gross: $128.08M

12. Heroes of the East (1978)

R | 105 min | Action, Comedy

A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted ... See full summary »

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Yuka Mizuno, Yasuaki Kurata, Naozo Kato

Votes: 1,697

13. Ip Man 2 (2010)

R | 108 min | Action, Biography, Drama

67 Metascore

Centering on Ip Man's migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Xiaoming Huang, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Lynn Hung

Votes: 81,787 | Gross: $0.21M

14. The Chinese Connection (1972)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Romance

A young man seeks vengence for the death of his teacher.

Director: Wei Lo | Stars: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, James Tien, Maria Yi

Votes: 21,110

15. Shao Lin san shi liu fang (1978)

R | 115 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A man studies kung fu at the Shaolin Temple to fight back against the oppressive Manchu government.

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Lieh Lo, Chia Yung Liu, Norman Chu

Votes: 11,943

16. Merantau (2009)

R | 134 min | Action, Drama

A young man from the countryside uses his skills in silat martial arts to survive the slave trade.

Director: Gareth Evans | Stars: Iko Uwais, Sisca Jessica, Christine Hakim, Mads Koudal

Votes: 8,523

17. Fearless (2006)

PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Biography, Drama

70 Metascore

A biography of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who is the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation.

Director: Ronny Yu | Stars: Jet Li, Li Sun, Yong Dong, Yun Qu

Votes: 66,998 | Gross: $24.63M

18. Dou fo sin (2007)

R | 88 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

38 Metascore

A hot-headed inspector takes on a small but powerful Vietnamese-Chinese gang, after a series of crimes and murder attempts committed and putting an undercover cop and his girlfriend in great danger.

Director: Wilson Yip | Stars: Donnie Yen, Louis Koo, Ray Lui, Collin Chou

Votes: 11,387 | Gross: $0.00M

19. Drunken Master (1978)

PG-13 | 111 min | Action, Comedy

Wong Fei-Hung (Jackie Chan) is a mischievous, yet righteous young man, but after a series of incidents, his frustrated father has him disciplined by Beggar So (Yuen Siu-Tien), a master of drunken martial arts.

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Jackie Chan, Siu Tin Yuen, Jang Lee Hwang, Dean Shek

Votes: 29,805

20. Five Fingers of Death (1972)

R | 104 min | Action, Drama, Romance

Two martial arts schools prepare for an important tournament.

Director: Chang-hwa Jeong | Stars: Lieh Lo, Ping Wang, Hsiung Chao, Chin-Feng Wang

Votes: 2,394

21. Shao Lin si (1982)

Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Drama

The Tang emperor is betrayed by one of his generals, who installs himself as emperor in the East Capital. The son of one of his slave workers escapes to the Shaolin Temple, learns kung fu, ... See full summary »

Director: Hsin-Yen Chang | Stars: Jet Li, Hai Yu, Chenghui Yu, Lan Ding

Votes: 3,468

22. Hung kuen dai see (1984)

85 min | Action, Drama

A Kung Fu master finds out that an opium den is destroying the lives of the town he lives in, and vows to put an end to the den, but first he must try to defeat the strongest enemy he has ever faced: his addiction to the drug itself.

Director: Chia Tang | Stars: Lung Ti, Te-Lo Mai, Leanne Lau, Kuan Tai Chen

Votes: 280

23. The Legend (1993)

R | 100 min | Action, Comedy, History

This Hong Kong martial-arts extravaganza tells of evil emperors and true love. The secret Red Lotus Flower Society is committed to the overthrow of the evil Manchu Emperor and his minions. ... See full summary »

Director: Corey Yuen | Stars: Jet Li, Josephine Siao, Michelle Reis, Sibelle Hu

Votes: 6,551

24. Unleashed (2005)

R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama

58 Metascore

A man enslaved by the mob since childhood and raised into behaving like a human attack dog escapes his captors and attempts to start a new life.

Director: Louis Leterrier | Stars: Jet Li, Bob Hoskins, Morgan Freeman, Kerry Condon

Votes: 91,340 | Gross: $24.52M

25. The Way of the Dragon (1972)

R | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them.

Director: Bruce Lee | Stars: Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Nora Miao, Ping Ou Wei

Votes: 26,622

26. Hak kuen (2006)

110 min | Action

A young man learns the fighting techniques of Sanda from a coach. The two become best friends as the young man prepares to enter an underground tournament, competing against some of the top fighters of the world.

Director: Dennis Law | Stars: Jing Wu, Ronald Cheng, Miki Yeung, Theresa Fu

Votes: 1,556

27. Zan xian sheng yu zhao qian Hua (1978)

R | 95 min | Action, Drama

Beloved for its combination of thrilling combat choreography and hilarious physical comedy, the film tells the story of a humble cashier who discovers a plot to kill his small town mayor.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Ka-Yan Leung, Casanova Wong, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Chia Yung Liu

Votes: 969

28. Five Element Ninjas (1982)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama

A young martial artist seeks revenge on the Ninja who kills his martial arts brothers and teacher. He finds help in the form of a new teacher (who knows Ninjitsu) and new brothers. Together... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang | Stars: Tien-Chi Cheng, Tien Hsiang Lung, Meng Lo, Michael Wai-Man Chan

Votes: 1,641