The Best Old School Martial Arts Films

by mwhitacre2 | created - 14 Jun 2012 | updated - 12 Sep 2012 | Public

This list describes what I think are the best old school martial arts films. The movies with the best fighting and/or most laughs. These are movies that bring a smile to your face and leave you fighting the air afterwards.

Recommendations are also welcome.

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1. Enter the Dragon (1973)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama

83 Metascore

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: 90,091 | Gross: $25.00M

2. Fist of Fury (1972)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Romance

68 Metascore

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

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

Votes: 23,481

3. 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 (Siu Tin Yuen), a Master of drunken martial arts.

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

Votes: 33,046

4. The Way of the Dragon (1972)

R | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

58 Metascore

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: 29,223

5. The Prodigal Son (1981)

R | 100 min | Action, Comedy

A rich man's son (Yuen Biao) believes himself to be the best kung fu fighter in Canton. Unfortunately, his father, anxious for his son's safety, bribes all his opponents to lose. After a ... See full summary »

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Biao Yuen, Ching-Ying Lam, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Frankie Chan

Votes: 2,737

6. 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: 1,845

7. Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978)

PG | 90 min | Action, Comedy

Chien Fu (Jackie Chan) is a boy who is used as a janitor at his kung fu school. Fu can't fight and is always getting bullied by the teachers and pupils. One day, an old man helps Fu train ... See full summary »

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

Votes: 9,826

8. Knockabout (1979)

PG-13 | 92 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

The brothers and small time crooks Yipao and Taipao convince a martial arts expert to take them on as students.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Ka-Yan Leung, Chia Yung Liu, Biao Yuen, Kuang Yu Wang

Votes: 1,074

9. Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976)

R | 81 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

57 Metascore

After his students are killed by the One Armed Boxer, a vengeful and blind Kung Fu expert travels to a village where a martial arts contest is being held and vows to behead every one armed man he comes across.

Director: Jimmy Wang Yu | Stars: Jimmy Wang Yu, Tien Wu Chu, Kang Chin, Chun-Erh Lung

Votes: 3,903

10. The Magnificent Butcher (1979)

PG-13 | 108 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

A plump butcher student of Wong Fei Hung, Lam Sai-Wing (Sammo) gets into trouble with a rival kung-fu school known as Five Dragons and is accused of raping the head of that school's ... See full summary »

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Tak-Hing Kwan, Biao Yuen, Pai Wei

Votes: 1,975

11. The Fearless Hyena (1979)

R | 98 min | Comedy, Action

Shing Lung (Jackie Chan) is a youngster, living in a remote village with his grandfather who teaches him Kung-Fu. He keeps getting into fights, even though his grandfather warns him not to ... See full summary »

Director: Jackie Chan | Stars: Jackie Chan, James Tien, Dean Shek, Hui Lou Chen

Votes: 3,646

12. Warriors Two (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: 1,040

13. Mad Monkey Kung Fu (1979)

R | 116 min | Action, Comedy

A disgraced former Kung Fu expert makes a living as a merchant with the help of a hot headed friend. When the men are harassed by gangsters, the merchant decided to teach his friend monkey boxing so they can defend their business.

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Chia-Liang Liu, Hou Hsiao, Kara Wai, Lieh Lo

Votes: 813

14. Enter the Fat Dragon (1978)

R | 100 min | Action, Comedy

An apprentice farmer (Sammo Hung) ventures to the city and helps his family battle a gang of thugs.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Chun Yang, Roy Chiao, Meg Lam

Votes: 623

15. Legend of a Fighter (1982)

Unrated | 89 min | Action, History

The story of "Fok Yun Gap" also know as "Hou Yuan Chia" one of China's greatest marital artists.

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Yao Lin Chen, Yeh Fang, Fung Fung, Hark-On Fung

Votes: 489

16. Last Hurrah for Chivalry (1979)

Not Rated | 106 min | Action, Drama

A son tries to avenge his father, and gets two sword fighters to help him.

Director: John Woo | Stars: Pai Wei, Damian Lau, Kong Lau, Chau-Wah Yim

Votes: 1,236

17. Dirty Tiger, Crazy Frog (1978)

97 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

Multi-Hand Chick asks Crazy Frog for protection after stealing someone's wallet at the casino. Foolishly he accepts, and even more foolishly he follows her home and removes his Invincible ... See full summary »

Director: Karl Maka | Stars: Meg Lam, Jason Piao Pai, Yuet Sang Chin, Fat Chung

Votes: 155

18. Dirty Ho (1976)

R | 103 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

A prince enlists a thief to serve as his bodyguard to protect him from assassins.

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Yue Wong, Chia-Hui Liu, Lieh Lo, Lung Wei Wang

Votes: 834

19. The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984)

Not Rated | 98 min | Action, Drama

The Yang family was the loyal strong-arm of the Imperial army. But a jealous General betrays the Eilte Spearman and their father to the opposing Mongol army. After an ambush of a battle, ... See full summary »

Director: Chia-Liang Liu | Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Sheng Fu, Lily Li, Kara Wai

Votes: 2,320

20. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (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: 13,297

21. The Victim (1980)

Unrated | 100 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

Chung Yao, a martial arts expert, has long been on the run from his stepbrother, who he caught trying to rape his wife on their wedding night. His brother has never given up the chase ... See full summary »

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Ka-Yan Leung, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Yi Chang, Fanny Wang

Votes: 505

22. She xing zui bu (1980)

90 min

Kwok Chung is a righteous rich kid whose hobby is to fight and brawl. One encounter nearly gets him killed, but he is saved by Yueh (Fong Hak On), the Snake Fist Master. Yueh befriends and ... See full summary »

Director: Wilson Tong | Stars: Kun-Lung Wu, Angela Mao, Michael Wai-Man Chan, Hark-On Fung

Votes: 82

23. Dreadnaught (1981)

91 min | Action, Comedy, Horror

A short-tempered, violent criminal named "White Tiger" is on the run from the police and joins a theater troupe for disguise, killing anyone who angers him or who suspects his identity. One... See full summary »

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Biao Yuen, Ka-Yan Leung, Shun-Yee Yuen, Tak-Hing Kwan

Votes: 606

24. Drunken Tai Chi (1984)

Not Rated | 91 min | Action, Comedy

A spoiled young man - on the run from a ruthless killer - hooks up with a puppeteer and his wife who are masters of the art of tai chi; the only style that can defeat the killer.

Director: Woo-Ping Yuen | Stars: Donnie Yen, Cheung-Yan Yuen, Lydia Shum, Shun-Yee Yuen

Votes: 642

25. Snake In The Monkey's Shadow (1979)

R | 100 min | Action, Drama

A snake style expert travels the lands, imposing his mastery on others, until he runs into a monkey expert living on the edge of a small town, who defeats him soundly. The snake expert ... See full summary »

Director: Sum Cheung | Stars: John Cheung, Yao Lin Chen, Pomson Shi, Chiu-Sing Hau

Votes: 362

26. Shaolin and Wu Tang (1983)

Unrated | 87 min | Action

Two friends from rival schools are turned against one another by a jealous chief who wants to eliminate those whose fighting styles may rival his own.

Director: Chia-Hui Liu | Stars: Chia-Hui Liu, Adam Cheng, Li Ching, Idy Chan

Votes: 726

27. Iron Fisted Monk (1977)

R | 93 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

The Iron-Fisted Monk marks the directorial debut of Sammo Hung (Painted Faces, TVĂ‚'s Martial Law), who used the opportunity to push the envelop in kung fu action films.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Sing Chen, James Tien, Hark-On Fung

Votes: 602

28. Encounters of the Spooky Kind (1980)

R | 102 min | Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Cheung's wife and boss are seeing each other, and decide to dispatch him with a wizard. But the wizard's rival aids and defends Cheung and a magic war rises.

Director: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung | Stars: Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Fat Chung, Lung Chan, Ha Huang

Votes: 1,754



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