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The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

Shao Lin san shi liu fang (original title)
R | | Action, Adventure, Drama | 1978 (USA)
A man studies kung fu at the Shaolin Temple to fight back against the oppressive Manchu government.


Chia-Liang Liu


Kuang Ni




Credited cast:
Chia-Hui Liu ... San Te
Yue Wong ... Miller Six (as Yu Wang)
Lieh Lo ... General Tien Ta
Chia-Yung Liu ... General Yin
Norman Chu ... Lu Ah-Tsai (as Shao-Chiang Hsu)
Yung Yu Yung Yu ... Hung Hsi-Kuan
Hung Wei ... Teacher Ho
Lun Hua ... Chang Hsiang-Yung
Szu-Chia Chen ... Chen Yen-Ping
John Cheung ... Lord Cheng (as Wu-Liang Chang)
Wilson Tong ... Tang San-Yao (as Tang Wei-cheng)
Hang-Sheng Wu ... Tung Chien-Jin
Hoi-Sang Lee ... Abbot of Justice Office (as Hai-Sheng Li)
Kwok-Choi Hon ... Lin Chen (as Kuo-Tsai Han)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tung-Kua Ai ... Abbot in charge of Head Chamber


The anti-Ching patriots, under the guidance of Ho Kuang-han, have secretly set up their base in Canton, disguised as school masters. During a brutal Manchu attack, Lui manages to escape and devotes himself to learning the martial arts in order to seek revenge. In a short period of time he masters the deadly use of his fists, feet and palms, along with such weapons as swords, sticks, and lances. With his learning complete, he takes on the Manchus. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


He who struggles initially, might succeed eventually, and even finally. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


Despite the US title for the film (The Master Killer), the idea of taking a life would be abhorrent to a real Shaolin or Bhuddist monk. See more »


Tang San-yao: Let's see if you can escape.
Hung His-kuan: Bring it on. One kill covers my cost, two kills brings me profit. Come on.
See more »

Alternate Versions

West German theatrical version was cut by ca. 30 minutes. Subsequent TV and VHS releases were cut as well. Only in 2004 the film was redubbed and released completely uncut on DVD by MiB. See more »


Referenced in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) See more »

User Reviews

Also known as Master killer, one of the best training Shaolin Kung Fu movies ever made featuring Chia Hui Liu (Gordon Liu) as the Master Killer.
26 April 2000 | by macnjncSee all my reviews

Most people who watched old Kung Fu movies know this movie simply as "Master Killer". This is one of a select few non Chang Cheh directed Kung Fu movies that I really, really like. This movie is a reference point of the old training kung fu flicks.

This movie is famous for its rigorous training scenes performed by Chia Hui Liu (Gordon Liu). Somehow you get a feel for how being a student in the Shaolin Temple was really like. All of the teachers are Monks and they sport the usual bald heads accompanied with almost mysterious wisdom. Master Killer seems to be a well directed movie so you become engulfed in the students plight.

Noteworthy about this movie is how as a viewer at first you don't take Master Killer seriously as a fighter, he just doesn't look tough. When he struggles with his kung fu as he goes from one chamber to the next it is uplifting as he slowly becomes better. Master Killer starts off as a huge underdog in this movie, and as much as you laughed at him when he first started to learn, you are amazed at his skill as he progresses. This I feel is what makes Master Killer stand out as one of the best training kung fu movies.

There are many memorable training chambers. One chamber tests his sight, there are 2 burning posts on each side of his head. If he moves his head even the slightest, the sides of his head will be badly burned. He watches an object move from side to side, faster and faster, the object is to move your eyes and not your head; eventually Master Killer master all of the chambers.

Before he can leave the Temple he has to fight one of the Head Monks at the temple, initially he is no match for the monk, but Master Killer invents a "new" kind of fighting weapon, and takes on the head monk again and is able to be victorious. The fight scenes with Gordon and this monk are very good. Many different weapons are used as well as hand to hand combat, this is an excellent example of the essence of Shaolin Kung Fu.

Anyone who loves old kung fu flicks will certainly be taken in by Master Killer (also called "Enter the 36 Chambers). I can't explain it but this is certainly Gordon Liu's signature film; he certainly was made to play..... the Master Killer.

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Hong Kong



Release Date:

1978 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shaolin Master Killer See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shaw Brothers See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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