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The Hand of Death (1976)

Shao Lin men (original title)
1:54 | Trailer
A survivor of an attack on a rebel group opposing the Manchu invasion of China creates the Goose Fist fighting technique and tries for revenge on a traitor.


John Woo (as Wu Yu Sheng)


John Woo





Credited cast:
Tao-Liang Tan ... Yun Fei (as Dorian Tan)
James Tien ... Shih Shao-Feng
Jackie Chan ... Tan Feng (as Chan Yuan Lung)
Ching Chu ... Autumn Moon
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Pao-Shan Chang
Chun Chao Chun Chao
Feng-Chen Chen Feng-Chen Chen
Sheng Chiang
Chi-Chu Chin
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung ... Officer Tu Ching
In-han Jang In-han Jang
Jeong-Kuk Jang Jeong-Kuk Jang
Chi-Ming Lam Chi-Ming Lam
Ke-Ming Lin
Feng Lu


Superkicker Dorian Tan Tao-liang plays a Shaolin student who must find a Manchu traitor responsible for the murder of the abbot. Jackie Chan is a spear fighting expert who decides to help Tan because the traitor killed his brother. Part of their mission is to help a scholar make it safely across the river without getting killed from the Manchus. Written by Albert Valentin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Action | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for martial arts violence and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


This was one of Writer John Woo's first movies as a director. He's listed as "John Y. Woo" in the credits. See more »


Yun Fei: Men who beg are not heroes. They're cowards.
See more »


Featured in Jackie Chan: My Story (1998) See more »

User Reviews

Chan, Hung, Woo, Baio and Wah.
16 August 2015 | by BA_HarrisonSee all my reviews

Old-school martial arts 'classic' Hand of Death has a rather formulaic 'men on a mission'-style storyline, its high-kicking hero Yun Fei (Tao-Liang Tan) teaming up with several other skilled fighters to deal a blow to the evil Ching dynasty by killing traitor Shih Shao-Feng (James Tien), while protecting a revolutionary named Zhang Yi, who is carrying a map vital to the anti-Ching cause.

But although the plot isn't all that inspired, the film will undoubtedly still prove of interest to avid Hong Kong movie/kung fu fans thanks to its director, Wu Yu Sheng, better known as John Woo, and the involvement of several performers who would go on to be major players in the Asian martial arts movie scene, most notably superstar Jackie Chan, who appears in a supporting role as vengeful brother Tan Feng, and Sammo Hung (sporting hilarious fake buck teeth) as Ching henchman Lord Du.

Eagle-eyed viewers may also spot Yuen Baio as the guard killed with an arrow by Shih Shao-Feng, and Yuen Wah (my favourite martial arts villain of the 80s) as a bodyguard. I didn't.

As far as the action is concerned, Woo handles his fight scenes competently but with few of the stylish touches that he would later become known for (there's minimal use of slo-mo and absolutely zero doves in churches). The martial arts involves a variety of styles and weaponry, enough to ensure that boredom never sets in, but in the end it won't be the fighting that most people will remember this film for, but rather the burgeoning talent involved.

6.5 out of 10, rounded up to 7 for Sammo's teeth.

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Hong Kong



Release Date:

15 July 1976 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Strike of Death See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Golden Harvest Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

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