Rejected by Hollywood, Bruce Lee returned to Hong Kong to complete four films. Charting his struggles in two worlds, Be Water explores questions of identity and representation through rare archive, intimate interviews, and his writings.

Director:

Bao Nguyen
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Cast

Credited cast:
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ... Self
Linda Lee Cadwell ... Self
Dan Inosanto Dan Inosanto ... Self
Diana Lee Inosanto ... Self
Nancy Kwan ... Self
Bruce Lee ... Self (archive footage)
Jan-Fai Lee ... Self
Shannon Lee ... Self
Andre Morgan ... Self
Jay Sebring ... Self (archive footage)
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Rejected by Hollywood, Bruce Lee returned to Hong Kong to complete four films. Charting his struggles in two worlds, Be Water explores questions of identity and representation through rare archive, intimate interviews, and his writings.

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bruce lee | See All (1) »

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Documentary

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Trivia

The documentary claims that Bruce Lee developed the series 'Kung Fu' for Warner Brothers and was turned down for the lead at the last moment and replaced by David Carradine, when in reality 'Kung Fu' was created by Ed Spielman & Howard Friedlander, Bruce was given the chance to audition for the show as did Mako, George Takei etc. Bruce's project was 'The Warrior' which later served as the inspiration for the Cinemax series 'Warrior' which lasted for 2 seasons. See more »

Connections

Features Game of Death (1978) See more »

User Reviews

Good overview of Bruce Lee's life & career
10 June 2020 | by gortxSee all my reviews

BRUCE LEE: BE WATER. Dir. Bao Nguyen. This Doc is part of ESPN's 30 For 30 series and a decent overview of the Actor/Martial Arts athlete. Nguyen tells the full story of Lee's journey from being born in San Francisco to growing up in Hong Kong (and becoming a child movie star) to returning to the U.S. in Seattle in the early 60s to moving to L.A. and working in Film & TV.

It's well trod territory as Lee, like James Dean and Marilyn Monroe before him, has had his famed life cut too short story told over and over. Nguyen has the advantage here of getting Lee's widow Linda Cadwell, Daughter Shannon Lee and Brother Jan-Fai Lee all to speak on the record in extensive interviews. The family also provided access to personal photos, videos, films and letters. Lee's life story is laid out well enough and others who intersected with the star during various points in his life including Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Producer Raymond Chow. The TV and Movie clips are well chosen (although ESPN's policy of stretching old 1:33 footage to fill the screen gets irksome at times). The downside to the access, is that Lee's life gets a bit sanitized. Only those who adored him are interviewed. Any intimations of Lee's womanizing and drug use is only obliquely alluded to with Lee himself being quoted as saying he was no "saint". The involvement of his family makes this somewhat understandable, but, can't help but make it a less than honest documentary. Nguyen does make up for it with his focus on Lee's struggle to be accepted as an American star rather than purely an "Asian" one - and one limited only to action roles. The context of Lee's time in the U.S. during the 60s and early 70s is nicely explored. Even today, the message resonates. The Doc also does an honorable job exploring the philosophy behind Lee's martial arts and explaining the title.

P.S. I worked on Rob Cohen's docu-drama DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY. I got to work with and meet Linda Cadwell and Shannon Lee, and I worked very closely with Lee's student and very fine Martial Arts instructor of his own, Jerry Poteet (it's unfortunate that he passed away and couldn't be interviewed for this Doc). I never met Bruce, of course, but having worked with Linda, Shannon and Jerry, I feel that this Documentary does respect to him, even if it's, understandably, biased towards him.


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Country:

USA | UK

Release Date:

7 June 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Be Water See more »

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| (TV)

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