DJ Emir's Top 50 Kung Fu Moviesby DJEmir | created - 27 Sep 2015 | updated - 29 Sep 2015 | Public
I am a Master in Shaolin Kung Fu and this is my own personal list of my favorite Kung Fu movies that withstood the test of time as movies one could go back and re-watch whether it be for just a few particular fight scenes or the entire movie. It's hard to really place these in order as a few I would say are tied for first place and it really depends on the mood of the Day which one I would rank number one etc. I'm actually creating this list as a means of also reminding myself which movies to go back and watch if I need some inspiration to get me fired up for Kung Fu. Still working on adding a few more titles.
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1. 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.
Votes: 86,085 | Gross: $25.00M
This is the first Western produced Kung Fu Movie featuring Bruce Lee and the match between Bruce Lee and Robert Wall and also the re added in beginning scene with Sammo Hung and the added philosophy at the beginning is worth watching the movie all by itself. The scene with Robert (Bob) Wall shows simple Blue and green belt techniques utilized in a black belt manner with great speed and perfect distance and timing. He later in the fight starts using much more advanced and acrobatic techniques as well as simple yet perfectly timed and executed intercepting kicks. Worth a few rewinds for sure!
2. 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.
The fight choreography is very entertaining and the training scenes are superb. While these are not the exact forms for each of the drunken immortals (some are way longer than what is depicted in the movie) Jackie's execution of the forms in the movie and execution of the fighting applications within the choreography are superb! It is a very inspiring movie to watch when learning drunken fist. And Jackie really pushed himself on this movie with the authentic training especially those amazing push ups where he flips his wrist in mid air landing palm down then flipped landing on the back of the wrist... OUCH... And the walnut breaking with the fingertips... I actually tried that for a bit... took forever to finally get the walnuts to start breaking between my fingers and then just when you are getting all proud that you can finally do it one of them breaks in the wrong way and produces a super sharp walnut shell edge that cuts my thumb... do not try this at home LOL...
3. Yip Man (2008)
R | 106 min | Action, Biography, Drama
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.
This is an amazing Kung Fu Movie, very moving story and very fast paced and entertaining fight scenes. The Training on the wooden man is not as intricate as those learned at Shaolin but the Fight choreography and cinematography are superb! This is one of My top favorites for sure. The Part where he takes on 10 Japanese Karate fighters is brutal and very entertaining in a wince away from the bone breaking brutality kind of way. Love this movie start to finish even sad as it gets at times.
4. The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)
R | 102 min | Action, Comedy
A young martial artist is caught between respecting his pacifist father's wishes or stopping a group of disrespectful foreigners from stealing precious artifacts.
Votes: 38,922 | Gross: $11.55M
This movie was actually released originally as Drunken master 2 and I had a copy of the VHS when I went to the Movie Theaters to see the United States release under the name Legend of The Drunken Master... I just wanted to see it on the big screen because it was one of my favorite Kung Fu Movie Videos of all time. Unlike the first Movie "Drunken Master" This one does not have the classic training scenes that tend to make for many of my own favorite parts of the classic kung fu movies, but this one is sort of set after he's already mastered Drunken Fist so you will see more just straight fight scenes that feature many of the techniques from the various forms. Jackie Chan does repeat certain techniques almost identically in the middle fight scene and the end fight scene, but then that would make sense as many times in sparring and fighting a Kung Fu fighter would use his favorite techniques that tend to have a 60% or higher probability of success versus in any situation. The fight choreography is awesome in this movie... very inspiring when I want to try out some more drunken fist styles in sparring class at the Chinese Shaolin Center.
5. Ip Man 2 (2010)
R | 108 min | Action, Drama, Sport
Centering on Ip Man's migration to Hong Kong in 1949 as he attempts to propagate his discipline of Wing Chun martial arts.
Votes: 83,571 | Gross: $0.21M
Ip Man 2 is as entertaining as the first one but I have a few parts of this that pissed me off namely mostly about superior skill getting beaten by pure muscle and size but I guess that does sometimes become a factor, and I can't really go into details without huge spoilers so we'll leave it at that. The Fight between Sammo Hung and Donnie Yen is epic and the matches leading up to that fight are also great.
6. The Grandmaster (2013)
PG-13 | 130 min | Action, Biography, Drama
The story of martial-arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee.
Votes: 27,940 | Gross: $6.59M
Another movie about Ip Man (Bruce Lee's Master that Taught Wing Chun Kung Fu) This movie is epic in it's story, fight choreography and cinematography. The scenes are beautifully shot on par with crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon. The different fighting styles of China are well represented in the restaurant fight scenes.
7. 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 »
I know this movie as Shaolin Challenges Ninja aka Challenge of The Ninja and finally as Heroes of The East. This is a highly entertaining movie filled with enlightening Kung Fu Action and philosophies of fighting techniques. Also has some good humor in it. I saw this as a Kid and didn't realize which movie it was until I saw it later as an adult but I have always remembered the way he chose to learn the Drunken Master's Kung Fu techniques by sending in his classmates to fight him and imitating the movements the Drunken master used to easily defeat them. Great Movie with very diverse use of weapons and fighting styles of China and Japan.
8. Fearless (2006)
PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Biography, Drama
A biography of Chinese Martial Arts Master Huo Yuanjia, who is the founder and spiritual guru of the Jin Wu Sports Federation.
Votes: 67,854 | Gross: $24.63M
This is the Story of Famous Martial artist Hou Yung Jia who was the Teacher of Chen Zen (the main character in Fist of Legend and Fist of Fury aka The Chinese Connection) When I first saw this in the Movie Theaters I already knew what was going to happen in the end because I already knew this was the Pr-equal to Jet Li's Fist of Legend and the original Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury (well that title got exchanged with the incorrect title of The Chinese Connection when it came out here to the West and was never fixed except for a few copies with the correct names A point which always pisses me off being that one is about "the fist of Fury" and the other is about a gang like Boss you would think they could have kept the titles straight... Hope whoever made that mistake got fired.... but I digress.) This movie is a great movie, I prefer the Theatrical release myself. The extended version starts weird in my opinion and is OK to watch if you already have watched it but I prefer how it started in the original version.
9. The Chinese Connection (1972)
R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Romance
A young man seeks vengence for the death of his teacher.
Not sure how these two titles got crossed when the two movies came to the United States, but this one Should have been titled "Fist of Fury" and vise versa since they even mention "we just can't beat the Chinese Fist of Fury" in the movie itself and the other movie is about a Chinese Gang hence The Chinese connection... But since this is how they are marked on here lets just go with it. It is titled correctly in Jet Li's "Fist of Legend" which is a remake of this movie. And The prequel to this movie is Jet Li's Fearless as it is the story about the Teacher of the main character (major spoiler for Fearless if you already knew this as I did, you knew where fearless was ultimately heading)
10. 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.
The Remake to the Classic Bruce Lee Fist of Fury (PS Fist of Fury was incorrectly named The Chinese Connection here in The States) The opening Fight scene is worth the price of admission alone as are many of the other fight scenes in this movie. One of the leg breaks was sort of copied in IP Man. Great movie overall with good fight choreography throughout. A worthy remake of a cult classic.
11. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
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.
Votes: 235,234 | Gross: $128.08M
Only complaint is to help put a little weight to their foot stepping when jumping across roof tops. Great story, epic movie. Only thing about this classic story line about Kung Fu manuals being stolen (done to death... think "Jacki Chan's Snake And Crane arts of Shaolin" 18 Bronze Men Part 2 etc... I know it is hard to master a form and fighting techniques when learning from a Master let alone just stealing a book and trying to learn from it yourself without the guidance of a master. And that is where I always call bogus, It;s one thing to learn a style then have the book remind you when needed another to learn solely from the book. Concepts can be taught through books and often a few books do lead to a revelation that takes your Kung Fu to another level but for deep understanding another master is usually involved in the training.
12. House of Flying Daggers (2004)
PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.
Votes: 100,171 | Gross: $11.05M
Very beautiful scenery and fight scenes This is just a gorgeous movie to watch with interesting fight scenes and a compelling story.
13. So Hak-Yee (1993)
R | 91 min | Action, Drama
Action-packed as usual with Donnie Yen kicking his adversaries in the role of "Beggar Su". Basic plot revolves around a young Beggar Su getting addicted to opium and manipulated by a ... See full summary »
Great Drunken Fist fight scenes make this a definite addition to this list of top 40 Kung Fu films.
14. Tai-Chi Master (1993)
R | 96 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
Two friends, ex Shaolin monks, part ways as they brush with the ongoing rebellion against the government. The ambitious one rises up to be a powerful military commander, while his betrayed friend resorts to learn the calm ways of Tai Chi.
The Tai Chi Master Later renamed Twin Warriors on it's re-release AKA the Legend of Zhang San Feng (it's original movie title who by the way is the man accredited with the invention of the first 13 postures of Tai Chi) My friend lent me his copy of this movie and I had to immediately order it from overseas (before it was made available in the US) This became one of my all time favorite Kung Fu Movies some of the fight scenes are a little over the top and some are silly but overall I loved watching this movie over and over again. This is also one of the only Kung Fu movies my Step son and roommates really got into... we all loved the fight scene with the bo staffs in the great hall of Shaolin.
15. The Tai Chi Master (2003– )
127 min | Action
I have the Edited Down English Subtitled DVD Movie version of the Series as well as the TV series itself without subtitles. It is one of the best movies for watching actual Tai Chi and Bagua Techniques and principles being applied in well choreographed fight scenes. This movie also has a ton of great training scenes and lots of mentions of Tai Chi and Bagua Principles which can help any practitioners out there to hep deepen their understanding of the 2 arts. Similar to the book there are no secrets and the book Yang Style family secret transmissions which as both books have great concepts and principles to help improve your abilities. This movie actually has quite a few of the main principles sprinkled throughout. The one main one that really stuck with me is the concept of "light on top... heavy on the bottom" when I heard that said in the movie it really hit home and reminded me to sink my rooting more while still remaining light and yielding.
16. Bloody Monkey Master (1977)
Not Rated | 95 min | Action
Iron is the son of a rebel leader, but prefers to spend his days gambling and getting into fights. When his father's group is arrested and executed, Iron is forced to flee and hide in the ... See full summary »
This is the IRON MONKEY I knew. I loved this movie because of the great training scenes and of course the vicious Monkey style versus Eagle Claw at the end. I have always wanted to learn Monkey Style Kung fu... and was originally looking for Drunken Monkey This movie is one of 3 that finally got me to join Shaolin to learn kung fu and also influenced my sparring so that I became known at shaolin as The Monkey King and as IRON MONKEY. :) so this film will always hold a place in my heart as one of my favorite kung fu movies.
17. Li Xiao Long chuan qi (2008– )
Not Rated | 183 min | Action, Biography, Drama
The story of the legendary martial arts icon Bruce Lee following him from Hong Kong to America and back again, leading up to his tragic death at the age of 32.
This is a great TV Mini Series on the life of Bruce Lee. It has great fight scenes as you would expect and gives you some insight into the full timeline of Bruce Lee's life. Includes his meeting up with JuJitsu and Judo Guru Gene LeBell, Ed parker and much more. It is hard to figure out what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to Bruce Lee and as I understand this series also gets a few things mixed up but it does show him developing his theories on martial arts and shows his journey of discovery and that is well worth watching the series for. If you are a Bruce Lee Fan or just a Martial arts film buff this is worth watching even with it;s limited budget.
18. 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 »
Awesome series about Wong Fei Hung (Played By Jet Li)
19. 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 »
Has some great fight scenes and the clasic Greatings posture pose of Wong Fei Hung... I can't even do greetings posture anymore without thinking about this movie series and thinking the name WONG FEI HUNG! LOL
20. Once Upon a Time in China III (1992)
R | 109 min | Action, Adventure, Biography
Master Wong and his disciples enroll in the 'Dancing Lion Competition' to stop an assassination plot and to battle an arrogant, deceitful opponent.
Votes: 5,697 | Gross: $3.56M
Another Fine edition to The Once Upon A Time In China Series!
21. Once Upon a Time in China and America (1997)
Not Rated | 102 min | Action, Adventure, History
The story is set in both Hong Kong and the U.S. So goes to the U.S. to open a martial arts school. Around this time, many Chinese people were sold off to U.S. railroad companies, and were ... See full summary »
We follow our Hero Wong Fei Hung (Jet Li) from The Once Upon a Time In China series as he now must travel to America. This is a great Chinese Kung Fu meets American Western movie which focuses on the struggles the Chinese people met when moving out west to America. We also get to see Wong Fei Hung pit his Spear fighting techniques against those of Native Americans which just makes for a great and amazing fight scene. Loved this movie even though it had some seriously silly moments and silly characters.
22. Ying xiong (2002)
PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Adventure, History
A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors.
Votes: 162,601 | Gross: $53.71M
Epic Kung Fu Movie
23. Fists of the White Lotus (1980)
PG-13 | 95 min | Action, Drama
The monk Hung Wen-Ting fights against the evil priest White Lotus.
I knew this one as Fist of The white Lotus and as death of the White Lotus... either way a great kung fu film depicting pressure point fighting skills. It has it's cheesy moments and cheesy fight scenes but also has some serious moments and fight lessons. But this one has one of the best Cheesy Kung Fu macho talk lines out of any other Kung Fu movies out there. "No one has ever surviced my Hundred step death..." "that's because Out of a hundred steps ... I only walked Ninety NINE!" LOL
24. 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 »
The Legend of Fong Sai Yuk is an awesome movie. A few fight scene's from this and the second movie have been copied almost exactly... I saw a copy of one of the fight scenes one time in Xena Warrior princess. HA... I was like hey.. they stole that out of Fong Sai Yuk!
25. The Legend II (1993)
R | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
The Cantonese hero Fong Sai Yuk becomes involved in the secret brotherhood "The Red Flower", who are trying to overthrow the Manchurian emperor and re-establishing the Ming dynasty. The ... See full summary »
The fight where he blindfolds himself is epic and beautiful as the red flower petals fall from trees around him.
26. The Last Dragon (1985)
PG-13 | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
In New York City, a young man searches for the "master" to obtain the final level of martial arts mastery known as the glow. Along the way, he must fight a martial arts expert corrupted ... See full summary »
Votes: 10,904 | Gross: $25.75M
"Who's The master? Sho NUFF!" While this has a ton of imitating Bruce Lee and is totally cheesy it is partially meant to be that way since it follows the story of a man that trully idolizes Bruce Lee the way many of us all did in the early 1980's and there actually were many of us that decided to wear chinese sandals and outfits because we saw Bruce Lee wearing them in the movies, Bruce Leeroy just takes that to another level making for a hilarious movie with some great comedy and a few cool fight scenes. This is a cult classic and one that because I saw it when I was young I will always adore and can watch over and over. The classic lines are forever stuck in my head. From "You have just opened up a fortune cookie with no fortune, written by a master who does not exist to answer a question for which you already know the answer" LOL and the one I always think of now since I became a Master in Kung Fu... "I AM NO MASTER!" ... to which the girl replies... "You sure look like a master to me" LOL also this is the movie that inspired a great song by Busta Rhymes... if you listen to the song on this movie Ya sock it to me and I sock it to you... the cadence and wording got changed just a little to become "Baby if you give it to me, I'll give it to you, As long as you want, You know I got it" as soon as I heard that hit I knew Busta Rhymes was a fan of this movie because I could totaly hear the original in my head. LOL PS: Tai Mak as Bruce Leeroy and Julius Carrey as Sho Nuff dis a great job with the comedy and over the top antics as well as the martial arts. Tai Mak still looks to be in great shape by the way... really hasn't changed much from all those years ago... kung fu keeps you young...
28. Return to the 36th Chamber (1980)
R | 99 min | Action, Comedy
The workers of a dye factory have their pay cut by 20% when the factory owner brings in some Manchu thugs to try and increase production. Desperate to reclaim their full wages, the workers ... See full summary »
29. Wu Lang ba gua gun (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 »
The begging is cheesy to me and Oh man the teeth getting knocked out just makes me cringe every time. But the awesome pole fighting in the training portion and towards the end make this movie amazing. Gordon Liu always delivers!
30. Shao Lin yu Wu Dang (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.
Training scenes at Shaolin and On Wu Dung Mountain are excellent and so are many of the fight scenes. As is the classic line " A game of Chess is like a sword fight, you must think first... before you move"
31. Tang lang (1978)
R | 96 min | Action, Drama
Shaolin Mantis (Orig. Tang lang) is a 1978 Shaw Brothers film directed by Lau Kar-leung. Starring David Chiang and Liu Chia Hui. Shaolin Mantis tells the story of a man who learns martial arts by observing a praying mantis.
This film is good inspiration for mantis fighting system. This is one of the Films that finally got me to join the Chinese Shaolin Center in Denver, The other two were Iron Monkey The original (1973 version not the Donnie yen, though I like that one too) and 18 Bronze men part 2 so I have to have all 3 films on this list because otherwise I wouldn't have as deep of an appreciation of martial arts. I'd still just be a spectator instead of a participant.
32. Wing Chun (1994)
TV-14 | 96 min | Action, Comedy, Drama
Wing Chun, a woman living in a remote village often pillaged by robbers. When Wing Chun finally loses her cool and defeats them, her heroic actions stir up even more trouble in this ... See full summary »
Michele Yeoh and Donnie Yen in the story of Yip Wing Chun the female inventor of the Wing Chun style.
33. Bai ga jai (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 »
some good training scenes, concepts and wing chun mixed with comedy and sadness. As a man that always thought he was a great martial artists gets a dose of reality and then seeks to learn from one of the best.
34. Siu nin Wong Fei Hung chi: Tit ma lau (1993)
PG-13 | 85 min | Action, Crime, Drama
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.
Votes: 14,402 | Gross: $14.68M
36. She he ba bu (1978)
96 min | Action, Drama
Jackie Chan stars as the young warrior Hsu Yin-Fung. Hsu has been entrusted with the book of the "Art of the Snake and Crane", after the mysterious disappearance of the eight Shaolin ... See full summary »
37. 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 »
38. Dragon (2011)
R | 98 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A papermaker gets involved with a murder case concerning two criminals leading to a determined detective suspecting him and the former's vicious father searching for him
Votes: 12,556 | Gross: $0.01M
39. Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior (2003)
R | 105 min | Action, Crime, Thriller
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.
Votes: 66,085 | Gross: $4.56M
41. Undisputed 2: Last Man Standing (2006 Video)
R | 98 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Sequel to the 2002 film. This time, Heavyweight Champ George "Iceman" Chambers is sent to a Russian Jail on trumped-up drug charges.
42. Lin Shi Rong (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 »