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Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin (1978)

She he ba bu (original title)
Not Rated | | Action, Drama | 8 March 1978 (Hong Kong)
A martial arts book, which Hsu Yin-Fung (Jackie Chan) carries, is being highly sought by various clans and gangs, but he is in pursuit of someone himself.


Chi-Hwa Chen


Hsin-Yi Chang (screenplay)




Credited cast:
Jackie Chan ... Hsu Yin-Fung (as Jacky Chan)
Nora Miao ... Tang Pin-Er
Cheng-Lan Chin Cheng-Lan Chin ... (as Ching Lan Kim)
Yung-Kuo Li Yung-Kuo Li ... (as Yung Kuok Lee)
Ya Ying Liu ... (Guest star)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Hsin-Yi Chen
Kang Chin
Chun Cho Chun Cho
Han-Chang Hu
Kuan-Hsiung Huang Kuan-Hsiung Huang
Sang-ho Ju Sang-ho Ju
Ki Bum Kim Ki Bum Kim
Wang Kuk Kim Wang Kuk Kim
Min-Lang Li
Wen-Tai Li


A book developed by eight martial arts masters before their mysterious disappearance is being sought by various clans and gangs. The inscrutable Xu Ying-feng is pursued by them for both this and answers but is in pursuit of someone himself. Written by Scott Napier

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

shaolin | art | kung fu | martial arts | See All (4) »


Action | Drama


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


The song "Ice Floe 9" by Pierre Arvay, from the De Wolfe Music library, is used in the film's opening credits. The same piece was also used for the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), and also appeared in the extended version of Dawn of the Dead (1978). See more »


Around 37m, when Hsu Yin-Fung fights Sing Chu, playing the "cartwheel" sequence in slow motion (or pausing the film at the right moment) will reveal that the hole in the ground supposedly created by Chu's punch was there before his fist hit the ground. See more »


Referenced in The Big Box: Christmas Evil (2011) See more »


Dangerous Days
(Main Theme from the Japanese Theatrical Version)
Written by Gregory Starr
Composed by Tetsushi Hayashi
Courtesy of Nippon Columbia Records
See more »

User Reviews

You fools, you must be tired of living.
3 May 2005 | by SamuraiNixonSee all my reviews

Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin is mostly known for being a transitional movie for Jackie. He did not play the grim Bruce Lee archetype that Lo Wei tried to mold in him, but was the start of a comedic and lighter hero for Chan. Snake and Crane was a box office failure in Hong Kong, but it got Jackie recognition in Hong Kong. It also showcased his increased intricate and atypical fight choreography with an increase of humor and props.

There is really much to like in this film. Chen Chi-hwa (Half a Loaf of Kung Fu) did an excellent job of direction with beautiful wide-screen shots of gorgeous scenery and elaborate placement of camera position. I wish he directed more films. Jackie's choreographed fight scenes are also very good. Like many of the martial art films of this time, the plot is the rub. Though I did like the first half of the plot.

The film starts with Jackie displaying his various knowledge of weapons including the spear (I cannot believe they lifted music from Monty Python and the Holy Grail for this scene.) The aerobatic display that Chan does (along with others) is far superior to any martial art action done later in the film.

Jackie stars as Su Yin Fong, a sarcastic and most excellent Kung Fu practitioner who has possession of the book "The Eight Steps of the Snake and Crane." A manual of techniques that was thought, along with the Dragon Spear, to be in the possession of Master Lin. It was created and collaborated by eight masters of Shaolin who mysteriously vanished. Or did they? Being in possession of such a prize and openly flaunting it, Su finds himself the target of many ruffians. He is jumped by the Ting Brothers while fishing. He is attacked by the Wu Tang Clan while eating. Later he is attacked by various members of the Black Dragon Clan, Beggar Clan and the Flying Tiger Clan. His only ally is Fong Sie Pin of the Ere May Clan who killed Lady Suon and her minion after Jackie Chan had already defeated them.

Su is also looking for a shoulder-scarred man. He will not let anything stop him from this goal. This includes advances from Tang Pin Nhur (Nora Miao) and her offering of a treasured golden peacock! Now that is a lot of fortitude (or else he is eunuch.) Nora actually has some decent fight scenes in this film. But the plot winds down with too many obvious turns (like who the shoulder-scarred man is and what happened to the Shaolin monks.)

I do feel like this film is worth watching. In addition to the beautiful photography and the actors I have mentioned there are great characters like Lu Lo Qui (with his cursing match against Su), Hong Tu (Gam Ching Lan) who is a pretty petite female pretending to be a male, and Chien Tse (Kam Kong.) If only the plot was stronger (and possibly Lo Wei had less influence on the story) then this film would be mentioned more often and I could create a more cohesive critique. But for historical purposes it will always have its place as a transitional movie in Jackie Chan's illustrious career.

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Hong Kong | Taiwan



Release Date:

8 March 1978 (Hong Kong) See more »

Also Known As:

Snake & Crane Arts of Shaolin See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (uncut)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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