11 user 6 critic

Snake in the Monkey's Shadow (1979)

Hou hsing kou shou (original title)
R | | Action, Drama | May 1980 (USA)
The master of a drunken fist is killed by a deadly snake fist duo in a major battle, so his only student flees and becomes a covert, expert fighter.


Sum Cheung


Sum Cheung, Wilson Tong (co-writer)




Credited cast:
John Cheung ... Liang Shiao Chai (as John Chang)
Yao Lin Chen ... Hsia Sa (Snake-stylist #1) (as Charlie Chan)
Pomson Shi Pomson Shi ... Koo Ting-sang (as Lin-Yu Shin)
Chiu-Sing Hau Chiu-Sing Hau ... Teacher Ho (as Tsau Seng Hau)
Wilson Tong ... Lun Chun (Snake-stylist #2 / Hired Killer) (as Tong Wai Shing)
Tien-Hsi Tang Tien-Hsi Tang ... Master Yan Fung Tien (as Tien Si Tang)
Fat Wan Fat Wan ... Yan Brother #1 (as Fat Yun)
Kang-Yeh Cheng ... Yan Brother #2
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ming-Wai Chan
Chok-Chow Cheung
Chi-Chang Ho Chi-Chang Ho
Wei Lan Wei Lan
King-Chu Lee
Hung Liang Hung Liang
Hsin Shen Hsin Shen ... (as Sian Sen)


A snake style expert travels the lands, imposing his mastery on others, until he runs into a monkey expert living on the edge of a small town, who defeats him soundly. The snake expert leaves vowing vengeance. A young peasant boy who is bullied by local noblemen seeks to learn drunken boxing from the head of a local martial arts school. The boys learns and eventually meets and befriends the monkey style expert. When the boy beats up his previous tormentors, the nobles patriarch challenges the boys teacher, the drunken master, who defeats the lot of them. Embarrased, the nobles retain two hired snake style killers, one of whom is the expert that that was beaten by the monkey style. They kill everyone except the peasant boy, feeling he is to weak and unskilled to be worth their honour. The peasant combines drunken' boxing with monkey style in an attempt to put down the snake killers. Written by M. Astaphan

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Plot Keywords:

martial arts | kung fu | fighting | See All (3) »


The Greatest Kung-Fu Match of All Time See more »


Action | Drama


R | See all certifications »

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Referenced in I Am Nick Robinson (2007) See more »

User Reviews

best kung fu movie of all time
28 March 2006 | by tomromanSee all my reviews

first saw this movie when i was about 5 or 6 when my uncle gave me the VHS.

this was the uncut version, all the DVD's of this film to be released that i know of have the most important scene taken out of it for animal rights reasons - there is a 2-3 minute long clip of a monkey killing a snake in an actual fight between the 2 animals (who knows how many animals they went through to get the shot of a monkey crushing the snakes head with his mouth?!?). this is the scene where the title character finally understands the power of the monkey style, and its effectiveness against the snake style - the style it was designed to combat.

anyway, at that age i was easily impressed, but this was just ridiculous. i don't think i have EVER been so impressed by anything in my entire life. i must have watched this film 5 times a day for a good 4 months over the summer (note, maybe a slight exaggeration).

i didn't then see it for the best part of 10 years until i finally unearthed the gem again and sat down to watch it - AND OH DEAR, if its possible i think i was more impressed this time round. probably due to sentimental reasons, but still, i was blown away by the acrobatics and greatly accurate portrayal of both the fighting styles and ancient china.

if you dare to call yourself a martial arts fan, or, well - even a SLIGHT fan of films - then i would challenge your integrity if you were to say you hadnt seen this movie, this 'shrine to everything good about life'! THATS how much i rate this film.

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Hong Kong



Release Date:

May 1980 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Snake Fist vs. the Dragon See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Goldig Film Company See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:



Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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