Top 10 Kung Fu Movies

Wednesday, July 20 by Walter Turner

The top 10 Kung Fu movies includes films with terrific action, exceptional fight scenes, good plots, intriguing characters, and some hilarious comedy. The Kung Fu genre isn't usually given much respect by critics, but many of the top ten Kung Fu movies have been recognized as being among the best movies ever made. Certainly, box office receipts attest to the widespread popularity of Kung Fu films. 

  1. “Enter the Dragon.” Not only is this one of the top ten Kung Fu movies, it ranks as one of the all-time greatest films of any genre. The legendary Bruce Lee stars as a martial artist who is recruited by the police to infiltrate a martial arts tournament run by a suspected criminal master mind. This movie, directed by Robert Clouse and also starring John Saxon, Shih Kien, and Jim Kelly, brought Kung Fu movies into the mainstream since it enjoyed wide international appeal and critical acclaim.

  2. “Five Deadly Venoms.” Chiang Sheng stars as a martial arts student sent by his dying master to track down five former students and determine which, if any, is using the master's teachings to evil ends. Each of the students is a master in a particular Kung Fu style as exemplified by their names, Centipede, Snake, Scorpion, Lizard, and Toad. Whom can the young student trust?

  3. “Iron Monkey.” A doctor assumes a secret identity as the “Iron Monkey,” a bandit who robs and bedevils corrupt politicians. The officials force another physician passing through the village to search for the bandit. The Iron Monkey and the doctor eventually join forces to fight evil Kung Fu monks and corrupt officials. This movie, which is famous for its intense fight scenes, stars Rongguang Yu and Donnie Yen.

  4. “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.” A young Han Chinese man's village and family are attacked by brutal Manchus. The young man escapes to the Shaolin temple, where he learns martial arts. Soon, he's leading a rebellion against the Manchus, using his fists and feet as his primary weapons. This Kung Fu movie jump started the careers of director Lui Chia-liang and star Gordon Liu.

  5. “Fist of Legend.” A Chinese student, played by the incomparable Jet Li, returns home in 1937 during the Japanese occupation to discover that his Kung Fu teacher has been killed in a bout with a ruthless Japanese master. But, when the student discovers that his master was poisoned, he sets out to avenge his beloved teacher. The fight scenes in this movie are spectacular.

  6. “Master of the Flying Guillotine.” A one-armed boxer who runs a martial arts school is pursued by a blind assassin who kills with a unique weapon. Yu Wang wrote, directed, and starred in this top ten Kung Fu movie.

  7. “The Drunken Master.” An unruly young man is sent to train with his hard-drinking, brutal uncle who is a master of Drunken Boxing. The student eventually must face a vicious assassin. Many consider Jackie Chan's performance in this hilariously funny comedic Kung Fu movie to be his finest.

  8. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” This isn't just a top ten Kung Fu movie, it also a romance movie and a fantasy film. Ang Lee directed this Academy Award winning tale of a legendary warrior on a quest to recover a stolen sword and avenge his murdered master. This film too the box office by storm.

  9. “Fist of Fury.” Bruce Lee stars as a college student who returns home to China, which is now controlled by the Japanese. Lee investigates his master's suspicious death and sets out to punish the evil occupiers. This Kung Fu movie features a grittier, less polished performance by Lee than we usually see in his films.

  10. “Once Upon a Time in China.” Jet Li plays the historical Wong Fei Hong, a physician and martial arts master, who battled foreign mercenaries, gangs, and corrupt officials. This top ten Kung Fu movie, which features a superb plot and spectacular fight scenes, spawned a series of films.

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