129 user 51 critic

Game of Death (1978)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | 8 June 1979 (USA)
1:20 | Trailer
A martial arts movie star must fake his death to find the people who are trying to kill him.


Robert Clouse, Bruce Lee (uncredited)


Robert Clouse (as Jan Spears)





Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Lee ... Billy Lo / Hai Tien (original 1972 footage) (archive footage)
Gig Young ... Jim Marshall
Dean Jagger ... Dr. Land
Hugh O'Brian ... Steiner
Colleen Camp ... Ann Morris
Robert Wall ... Carl Miller
Mel Novak ... Stick
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ... Hakim / Mantis (original 1972 footage) (archive footage)
Chuck Norris ... Fighter (archive footage)
Dan Inosanto Dan Inosanto ... Pasqual / Third Floor Guardian (original 1972 footage) (as Danny Inosanto)
Billy McGill Billy McGill ... John
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung ... Lo Chen (as Hung Kim Po)
Roy Chiao ... Henry Lo
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung ... David (as Tony Leung)
Jim James Jim James ... Surgeon


In this movie, Bruce Lee is a very famous martial-arts master who stars in many films. After an unsuccessful murder attempt against him, everyone thinks his is dead, but he's just hiding, preparing his revenge... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Bruce Lee challenges the underworld to a Game of Death.


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Hapkido Master Han Jae Ji, who plays the second guardian Bruce Lee battles in the Pagoda/Restaraunt, gets no screen credit in the 1978 version of the film. See more »


During the first fight scene, we see a guy in a green jump suit is running at Billy and is back kicked. However when the kick forces the guy in green to flip, it is a guy in a black jump suit that flips yet he wasn't the one that was kicked. Then the guy in the green jump suit is kicked again when it should of been the guy in the black jump suit to receive that blow because the guy in green should of flipped after being kicked. See more »


[first lines]
Director: Cut! Okay, that's a print. That was great, Billy! Okay everybody...
[stage light collapses, crew gasps]
See more »

Alternate Versions

In July 2019, Alan Canvan premiered "Game of Death Redux", a new edit of the fight footage Bruce Lee shot in 1972 for "Game of Death". This version is included as a special features extra on Criterion Collection's Bruce Lee Bluray/DVD box set released on July 14, 2020. Produced by Alan Canvan, "Redux" re-frames Lee's extended fight footage ( of which only approx 12 minutes were used in the original film) with composer John Barry's riveting score for the 1978 film, to reveal the hidden symbolism and themes within the narrative of the story. The result is a powerful and resonant cinematic novella that explores classical mythology and Jungian psychology, honoring the artistry of both Bruce Lee and John Barry. The more noticeable differences between "Game of Death Redux" and "Game of Death" (1978) include: The footage incorporates accurate missing dialogue not available in any previous versions. The opening uses a written narrative of the plot leading to the fight footage in the Pagoda. Newly dubbed voices for Bruce Lee, James Tien and Ji Han Jae's characters. New Title sequence and end credits. Running time of 34:26. See more »


Referenced in Grindhouse (2007) See more »


Will This Be the Song I'll Be Singing Tomorrow?
Music and Lyrics by John Barry
Sung By Colleen Camp
See more »

User Reviews

Martial arts expert Bruce Lee fights off mobsters and violent fighters at a Pagoda tower
2 November 2013 | by ma-cortesSee all my reviews

Bruce Lee challenges the underworld to a Game of Death. A martial arts movie star (Bruce Lee) and his girlfriend (Colleen Camp) must fake his death to find the people who are trying to kill him . Syndicate boss (Dean Jagger) and his hoodlums (Hugh O'Brian) hire the best foreign martial artists (Robert Wall who played some films with Lee , he had also been slated to appear in the early 1970s version as intended by Bruce) to fight Lee , but he easily finishes them off . The giant American , basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is also hired and takes place a deadly ending combat .

This violent Chop-Socky displays action-packed , thrills , fast-paced and wild fighting images . It is a corny , action-filled and violent film , being filmed in Hong Kong . Breathtaking fights and embarrassing acting , the whole thing was shot without sound, with the actors looping their lines in post-production . Overwhelming final duel between Lee and various fighters , in fact it was last movie to be filmed by Lee . In the film, Bruce Lee's character fakes his own death ; the funeral scene includes real footage of Lee's actual funeral . Bruce Lee had filmed over 30 minutes of fight scenes for this film when work was suspended to allow Lee to work on Enter the dragon . However, Lee died before he could return . Six years later, director Robert Clouse fleshed out a feature around the original footage with a new cast, including two stand-ins for Lee, who faces are hidden by dark sunglasses and shadows. Close-ups and stills of Lee's face -including a cardboard cut-out- were also used.Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Muhammad Ali refused roles in the film because they felt it exploited Bruce Lee's death . And 'Bruce Li' or Ho-Chung Tao was offered the role as 'Bruce Lee's' stand-in, but declined because he said it was disrespectful to Lee . In 1978 was added a footage shot by Bruce Lee ; Dan Inosanto was the only cast member of the original to shoot scenes , the rest of the actors , James Tien, Han Jae Ji, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar only feature in archive footage . Hapkido Master Ji Han Jae, who plays the second guardian 'Bruce Lee' battles in the Pagoda/Restaurant, gets no screen credit in the 1978 version of the film. The inspiration for progressively ascending a pagoda tower to fight opponents was originally featured in Chang Cheh's swordplay epic 'Have Sword Will Travel' . The motion picture was lousily realized by director Robert Clouse who wrote the script under the pseudonym Jan Spears .

Bruce Lee formerly played one of the biggest international hit smashes , ¨Fist of Fury¨ , it was previously realized to his American box office ¨Enter the dragon¨. This one was made later but released before ¨Lee's Return of dragon¨ , and Lee had formerly starred ¨Fists of fury¨ or ¨The big boss¨. ¨Enter the dragon¨ was realized by an expert on Chop-Socky movies , Robert Clouse , and he directed Bruce Lee's last film , this ¨Game of death¨ . ¨Enter the Dragon¨ is his last complete movie character but his next film ¨ Game of death¨ was absurdly edited after his death .Bruce Lee also realized the Kung-Fu actioner titled ¨Return of Dragon¨ . His last picture was ¨Game of death ¨ , it is indispensable and essential seeing for Lee fans and Karate enthusiastic for its last 20 minutes . It is not ¨Enter the Dragon¨ but his fans -who have so few to choose from- undoubtedly will want to see it again .

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Hong Kong | USA


English | Mandarin | Cantonese

Release Date:

8 June 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Game of Death See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China See more »


Box Office


$850,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (original premiere) | (current existing footage) | (2000 incomplete) | (2000 incomplete) | (original cut) (1972)

Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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