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The Big Boss (1971)

Tang shan da xiong (original title)
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A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear.


Wei Lo, Chia-Hsiang Wu (uncredited)


Wei Lo (screenplay)



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

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Credited cast:
Bruce Lee ... Cheng Chao-an
Maria Yi ... Chow Mei
James Tien ... Hsiu Chien
Marilyn Bautista Marilyn Bautista ... Miss Wuman (as Malalene)
Ying-Chieh Han ... Hsiao Mi (The Boss)
Tony Liu ... Hsiao Chiun (Mi's son)
Kun Li ... Ah Kun (as Quin Lee)
Nora Miao ... Drinkstand owner (as Mao Ke-hsiu)
Shan Chin ... Hua Sze
Chia-Chen Tu Chia-Chen Tu ... Uncle (as Chia-Cheng Tu)
Chih Chen Chih Chen ... Ice Factory Manager
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Billy Chan ... Ah Pei (as Hui-yi Chen)
Lung Chan ... Gatekeeper / Blue Shirt Henchman
Stephen Chang ... Disciple
Ching-Ying Lam ... Ah Yen (Cheng's cousin)


Cheng is a city boy who moves with his cousins to work at a ice factory. He does this with a family promise never to get involved in any fight. However, when members of his family begin disappearing after meeting the management of the factor, the resulting mystery and pressures forces him to break that vow and take on the villainy of the Big Boss. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


KARATE/KUNG-FU! The oriental sensation now gives America the action it's been waiting for! See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Miramax [United States]


Hong Kong


Mandarin | Cantonese

Release Date:

February 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fists of Fury See more »

Filming Locations:

Pak Chong, Thailand


Box Office


$100,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Golden Harvest Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (uncut) | (original rejected english dubbed)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The Big Boss was originaly released in the U.S. under the title "Fist of Fury". This movie was shipped to the states along with Bruce Lee's other film The Chinese Connection. However, due to the films being shipped in the wrong containers the titles were swapped. "The Chinese Connection" was supposed to be titled "Fist of Fury" in the U.S. and "Fist of Fury" (the original U.S. title of "The Big Boss") was supposed to be released as "The Chinese Connection". Decades later they were finally recognized in the U.S. by the original chinese titles. See more »


The bandage on Bruce's right hand changes sizes through out the course of the film. It eventually disappears by the film's end. See more »


[first lines]
Cheng Chao-an: Uncle, is this it?
Uncle: Yes, right over there. That's the town, Cheng. That's right. Not much further to go.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the Cantonese version, not only is Pink Floyd's "Time" used in several scenes, but in the scene where Hsiu Chien and Ah Pei leave Hsiao Mi's mansion, the music becomes a mix of both "Time" and Pink Floyd's earlier work, "The Grand Vizier's Garden Party (Entertainment)". See more »


Edited into Game of Death (1978) See more »


Obscured by Clouds
Written by David Gilmour and Roger Waters
Performed by Pink Floyd
(Only in Cantonese version)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Thrilling Chop-Socky in which wild combat scenes provide an overwhelming view of Bruce lee's skills.
11 July 2016 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

The film was based on the true story of Cheng Chiu-on who fought the tyrants in Thailand . As Chein (Bruce Lee choreographed his own fight scenes) is a city boy who moves with his relatives to work at an ice Factory . He does this with a family oath , as he was forced to make a promise to his mother after his father was killed in a fight . The promise was the following : never to get involved in any fight and to make sure he would not fall to the same fate and that he'd live to raise his own family. However, when members of his family begin disappearing after meeting the management of the factor , the resulting mystery and pressures forces him to break that vow . As he confronts it head on with his mastery of martial arts while investigating the strange disappearances his cousins . Meantime , he falls in love for beautiful women (Maria Yi and the usual Nora Miao as a Drinkstand owner) and Chein makes love prostitutes (Thai brothel featured in the film was actually a genuine and functioning brothel and they were actual whores who were paid more by Golden Harvest than they would normally receive in a day by their clients) . As Chein seeks vengeance for the death of his relatives and friends ; dispatching numerous thugs and hundreds of Karate experts at violent combats and , he , finally , takes on the villainy of the Big Boss.

A vengeance story about a young man in an ice factory that seeks revenge when his cousins mysteriously begin to disappear . Nice Bruce Lee as an undercover fighter who works with his cousins and sworn to an oath of non-violence . Although , the original star was also James Tien, who plays Hsiu Chien, while Bruce Lee was to be a co-star. However, when directors changed, the stars switched, giving Lee top billing. This violent Chop-Socky displays action-packed , thrills , fast-paced a lot of zooms , and wild fighting images . In fact , this is the only Lee film to be censored in its original country due to graphic violence . This is the only Bruce Lee film (excluding his childhood films and Green Hornet re-edit films) missing his use of the nunchucks . It packs violent combats sequences filled with bounds and leaps ; including Karate , Judo, Tae Kwon do , Hapkido , Wushu and being the only Lee trademark present in this film is his triple kick attack . Exciting and rousing struggles carried out by Bruce Lee , he wasn't doubled and did his own stunts . And impressive final fighting , the key fight sequence between Lee and the Big Boss . The international title of this film was "The Big Boss". In the United States the English dubbed version was originally to be released under the title "The Chinese Connection", a play on the title of the highly popular film French Connection (1971). For some reason the title was changed to "Fists of Fury". As a result, to avoid confusion with Bruce Lee's following film known elsewhere in the world as "Fist of Fury" (1972) , the latter film's title for its U.S. release became first "The Iron Hand" and then "The Chinese Connection".

The motion picture was professionally directed by Lo Wei and well produced by Raymond Chow-Golden Harvest . Although , the original director was Ng Gar Seung, however, he was replaced by Wei Lo a few weeks into production . It achieved big hit smash at box office , in fact , circa 1971 , this was the highest grossing film of all time in Hong Kong, beating out American productions Sound of the music (1965) and Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). Lo Wei also directed the successful "Laugh Track: Chinese Connection" because of the movie's racial content and personal disagreements, Bruce Lee quit working with Lo Wei after this movie . And made various Jackie Chan recitals as ¨New fist of fury¨ and ¨Spiritual Kung Fu¨.

This is a top-notch Kung-Fu movie with the unforgettable Bruce Lee . Bruce Lee played the biggest international hit smashes , such as ¨Fist of Fury¨ that was previously realized to his American box office ¨Enter the dragon¨. This one was made later but released before ¨Lee's Return of dragon¨ with Chuck Norris as contender , and Lee had formerly starred ¨way of the dragon¨ or ¨¨Enter the dragon¨ is his last complete movie character but his next film ¨ Game of death¨ was absurdly edited after his death . This Kung-Fu actioner was well realized by Lo Wei , an expert on Chop-Socky movies and he directed various Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan vehicles . This "The Big Boss" also titled "Big Brother of Tongshan" or "Fists of Fury" or "Fists of Glory¨ is indispensable and essential seeing for Lee fans and Karate enthusiastic.

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