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The Way of the Dragon (1972)

Meng long guo jiang (original title)
A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them.


Bruce Lee


Bruce Lee (screenplay)
4,009 ( 365)

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The Official Golden Harvest tribute to the Master of the Martial Arts Film, Bruce Lee.

Director: Leonard Ho
Stars: Bruce Lee, James B. Nicholson, Hoi-Chuen Lee


Credited cast:
Bruce Lee ... Tang Lung
Nora Miao ... Chen Ching Hua
Chuck Norris ... Colt
Ping Ou Wei ... Ho (as Paul Wei Ping-Ao)
Chung-Hsin Huang ... 'Uncle' Wang (as Wang Chung Hsin)
Robert Wall ... Bob
Ing-Sik Whang Ing-Sik Whang ... Japanese Fighter
Ti Chin ... Ah Quen
Tony Liu ... Tony
Little Unicorn ... Jimmy
Malisa Longo ... Italian Beauty
Ngan Wu Ngan Wu ... Waiter
Fu Ching Chen ... Robert (as Robert Chen)
Jon T. Benn Jon T. Benn ... The Boss
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John Kenny John Kenny ... Quen (voice)


Tang Lung arrives in Rome to help his cousins in the restaurant business. They are being pressured to sell their property to the syndicate, who will stop at nothing to get what they want. When Tang arrives he poses a new threat to the syndicate, and they are unable to defeat him. The syndicate boss hires the best Japanese and European martial artists to fight Tang, but he easily finishes them off. The American martial artist Colt is hired and has a showdown with Tang in Rome's famous Colosseum. Written by Darryl Schneider <fish2@datanet.ab.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


...his last performance is his best! See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

Miramax [United States]


Hong Kong


Mandarin | Cantonese | English | Italian

Release Date:

14 August 1972 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Revenge of the Dragon See more »

Filming Locations:

Via Vittorio Veneto, Rome Italy See more »


Box Office


$130,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,157,316, 6 August 1975
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (extended) | (censored)

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Bruce Lee dubbed almost all of the English speaking characters in this film including one line for the boss. That line is: "Take him out, but be careful with that gun in public". See more »


The position of Tang Lung and the restaurant workers when they are standing at the boss's office door. See more »


Tang Lung: Movement number 4: Dragon seeks path. Hi-yah!" (Tang kicks, knocking a hoodlum unconscious) "Dragon whips his tail!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The original UK theatrical version was heavily cut by around 6 minutes by the BBFC to edit scenes of violence, and the 1986 video release lost a further 1 min 11 secs of footage from the nunchaku fight scene. The cuts were fully restored for the 2001 Hong Kong Legends release, though the later 2005 Universal DVD featured the same print as the edited 1986 video. See more »


Featured in That's the Way I Like It (1998) See more »


As A Judgement
(Colt's Theme)
by Ennio Morricone
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Bruce Lee's best film shows humorous personality of Lee himself
11 December 2018 | by hilaryswank2011See all my reviews

The Cantonese title Maang5 Lung5 Gwo3 Gong1 (Dir. Bruce Lee; 1972) is aesthetically fully controlled by the leading actor Bruce Lee (1940-73) himself, and it's the largest box office hit in Hong Kong among all Bruce Lee action martial arts films.

Although his actually completed Hong Kong films of 1970s are only four films such as The Big Boss (1971); Fist of Fury (1972); Way of the Dragon (1972) and Enter the Dragon (1973). His featured films formed the 1970s' Hong Kong Martial Arts Kung Fu movie genre wave after the 1960s' Shaw Brothers Studio's Mandarine Costume Play Martial Arts films of King Fu and Chang Cheh.

The best Hong Kong producer Raymond Chaw (1927-2018) found the best leading form and style of filmmaking of that era. It made Hong Kong film an international brand in this field. He said 'his aim of filmmaking is to entertain people' at Tokyo International Film Festival in 2012 I directly heard of his message to audience out there. Art film was not his concern. I perfectly agree with him.

And Akira Kurosawa and Zatoichi series influenced their martial arts genre films, and then they developed it to more supernaturally exaggerated complex wired actions, actual martial arts-skill based actors and brutally realistic tendency of tragedy.

As the result, they actually exceeded Japan cinema in terms of visual appearance. The extremely super realistic actions and extremely realistic reactions are aesthetic tendency of Hong Kong filmmakers on how they absorb other cultural background film practices. This degree of freedom of form and style on cinematic expression is quite attractive for anyone even under the highly individualist-capitalist ideology.

This film tale established the comically organised Kung Fu action film genre for the later generations. Bruce Lee actually played a cool protagonist who only mechanically beats antagonists for bloody revenge in several films without this one. The never settle down protagonist, a bumpkin Tang Lung saves Italian Restaurant owner Chen Ching-hua from land property-sharks and their employed Karate champ Colt played by Chuck Norris(1940-). This film was not Chuck Norris's debut film at all.

The Wrecking Crew (1968) was Chuck Norris' film debut as a uncredited role in fact. His best one is also this film in terms of fighting sequence at Colosseum. In fact, they did not play any actual Kung Fu fight out there, that was dealt by studio shooting separately.

The opening sequence typically shows new genre style and Bruce Lee's comical acting taste while Tang Lung waiting for the arrival of Chen Ching-hua at the airport. He's totally disoriented on the lobby, at the foreign restaurant when he interacts with Italians in different ages and occupations. It established his comical personality as an ordinary people. It something attracts audiences psychologically.

Besides this, Bruce Lee's role Tang Lung intends to avoid killing anyone during all fight scenes in this film. This psychological tendency is obviously expressed in his acting and facial performance even after he kills Colt who refuses his mercy during the Colosseum battle.

Viewing Bruce Lee film at Hong Kong cinema is a special cinematic experience for fans and professionals. I actually enjoyed the 2015 remastered Blu Ray version of this film screening at cinema. Only one con is that cinematography failed to keep control on its depth of focus, a focus puller issue is severe during viewing of shots of this film. I don't think Tadashi Nishimoto did a professional cinematography for this film. Focus flaws are pretty obvious and it makes restoration harder than classical silent films which professionally dealt their depth of focus. Focus issue can not be improved by post production.

In conclusion, this film is not only the best film of Bruce Lee for his wife and loyal fans in terms of aesthetically full control by Bruce himself, but also it established the comedy Kung Fu action genre for Hong Kong filmmaking and the next generations. It showed Bruce Lee's comical and humanistic personality in the leading role for the first time. Made his role more humane, more attractive like Jackie Chan (1954-).

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