KINGOFKUNGFU – TOP 40 KUNG FU MOVIES (70′S) 10-1
This is a run down of my Top 40 kung fu movies of the 1970′s. There were so many great films in this era, i just hope i do this list some justice. The movies chosen are just my personal choice, i understand others might have different views.
Any of the movies that make the Top 40 list must have something special to make it in the first place. So i hope you enjoy my Top 40 Kung Fu movies and some of your favorite movies are in there also.
Here it is, my top 10 kung fu movies of the 70′s. I have really enjoyed putting this list together and whatever ends up as number 1 will also count to the impact that movie as had all over the world since it was released.
10.Disciples Of Shaolin (1975)
Starring: Fu Sheng, Chi Kuan Chun, Fung Hak On, Kong Do
Fu Sheng stars as Kuan Feng-yi, a country boy goes to stay with a friend Huang Han (Chi Kuan Chung), who gives him his 1st pair of shoes and gets him a job at a factory. Feng-yi becomes entangled in a battle to take over the factory by rival factory owner (Chang Tao) and his gang. Fu Sheng gives a brilliant performance in this movie, with the vision overall much darker than other kung fu movies around the same time.
Johnnie To has done a remake of this movie under the title The Bare-Footed Kid, with Aaron Kwok, Ti Lung and Maggie Cheung.
9.The Odd Couple (1979)
Starring: Sammo Hung, Lau Kar Wing, Leung Kar Yan, Mars, Lee Hoi San
Two aging kung fu masters get together once a year for a timed duel. One is master of the short sword, King of Sabres (Sammo Hung), and the other is King of Spears (Lau Kar Wing). Every year the fight ends in a draw, and as the masters are getting old, they decide the best course of action is to each take on a student to determine who is the better teacher. They agree to meet up again 10 years later, with their students and let the next generation carry on the duel.
Some of the best weapon work ever captured on film, Sammo Hung and Lau Kar Wing, playing 2 parts throughout the movie showing how good they are at using different weapons.
8.Dance Of The Drunk Mantis (1979)
Starring: Hwang Jang Lee, Yuen Siu Tien, Yuen Shun Yee
The year after training a young Freddy Wong (Jackie Chan) in Drunken Boxing, Beggar So / Sam Seed returns to find that his wife has adopted a son Foggy. Sam takes a disliking to the boy and tortures him mentally and physically. Devastated, the boy runs away and takes a job at an inn, where he meets Rubber Legs and his student. He overhears that they are looking for Beggar So and want to kill him, making Rubber Legs’ Northern ‘Drunk Mantis’ Boxing supreme.
However, Foggy returns home to warn Beggar So, who has injured by Rubber Legs. Beggar So sends Foggy to a sickness teacher for herbs to cure him, and the doctor teaches him a dreaded style called ‘Sickness Boxing’. Now, armed with this sick form of fighting, Foggy is ready for Drunk Mantis. In the end, Foggy goes berserk and kills Rubber Legs. Unable to escape from his trance, he had mistakes about a Beggar So as Rubber Legs and attacks him, the film closes as Foggy leaps after his adopted father as the doctor watches on.
7.36th Chamber Of Shaolin (1978)
Starring: Gordon Liu, Lo Lieh, Lau Kar Wing, Wilson Tong
A young student named San Te is drawn by his activist teacher into the local rebellion against the Manchu government. The government officials suppress the uprising and liquidate the school, killing friends and family members as well. San Te seeks vengeance. Wounded in an attack by Manchu henchmen, he flees to the Shaolin temple and seeks training in kung fu. Initially the Buddhist monks reject him, since he is an outsider, but the chief abbot takes mercy on the young man and lets him stay. One year later, he begins his martial arts training in the temple’s 35 chambers and advances more rapidly than any previous student. Along the way, he is depicted as inventing the three section staff.
However, as San Te nears the end of his education, the temple officially exiles him in a surreptitious way to allow him to aid the people against the oppressors. He returns to the outside world, namely to his hometown, and assists the people by teaching them martial arts. Before the political revolution he is inspiring to complete, he is forced into conflict with the Manchu governor. Finally, he triumphs and returns to the Shaolin temple, where he establishes the 36th chamber, a special martial arts class for laypeople to learn kung fu.
6.Snake In The Eagle’s Shadow (1978)
Starring: Jackie Chan, Hwang Jang Lee, Yuen Siu Tien, Dean Shek Tien
Chien Fu (played by Jackie Chan), an orphan adopted by a kung-fu school, is overworked as their janitor and abused by the kung fu teachers as a walking punching-bag. Chien befriends an old beggar (Yuen Siu Tien) by offering him a meal and a place to stay. Unknown to Chien, the old beggar is actually one of the last surviving masters of the Snake-style of kung fu. The old man is on the run from the Eagle Claw clan, which is viciously killing off all of the rival Snake-style kung fu masters. Seeing that Chien is being abused, the old man teaches Chien the footwork of snake style which enables one to avoid an opponent’s attacks.
Chien practices the lessons and learns to avoid being hurt by the school’s bumbling teachers. When the school is invaded by the Mantis school, to everyone’s amazement Chien easily defeats their master using the snake style. Unfortunately, one of the passing wanderers who witnesses the fight is the high master of the Eagle Clan, who recognizes the style at once and decides to tail Chien.
The final duel shows Chan going toe to toe with super kicker Hwang jang Lee, there are some brilliant moments of skill on show by both fighters and in this final scene Jackie had one of his front teeth kicked out by Hwang, who both went on to make there second movie together Drunken Master with the legendary Yuen Woo Ping.
5.Heroes Of The East (1978)
Starring: Gordon Liu, Yasuaki Kurata, Yuen Siu Tien, Yuko Mizuno
Ah To (played by Gordon Liu) is a Kung Fu student. His rich father has set up an arranged marriage for him with the daughter of a Japanese business associate. Ah To initially objects and feigns illness, but soon thereafter agrees to the marriage when he finds bride to be, Yumiko Kōda (“Kung Zi” in Mandarin), is attractive. After the wedding, he finds out that she is also a martial artist. Ah To finds her style of karate to be violent, unladylike, and potentially immodest and tries to persuade her to learn feminine but also effectual styles of Chinese kung-fu. She is later offended during an argument over which nation has the superior martial arts styles and eventually goes back to Japan. When he travels to Japan to entreat Kung Zi to be reconciled with her husband, Ah To’s father finds Kung Zi in training by her childhood friend and rather too attentive martial arts sensei Takeno.
As a ruse to bring her back to China, Ah To sends her a letter challenging Japanese martial arts and their inferiority to their Chinese roots. Ah To hopes that the letter will infuriate Kung Zi enough to return to prove that her Japanese styles are as good as the Chinese ones. Once back in China, Ah To hopes to reconcile with her. But the plan backfires when Takeno reads the letter instead of Kung Zi. Takeno reads the challenge as an affront to Japanese martial arts and declares its contents with other Japanese martial-arts masters who travels to China to take up Ah To’s challenge.
In the first duel, Ah To misinterprets a respectful gesture from the Japanese fighter and thus further antagonizes the Japanese contingent. Due to this cultural misunderstanding, the Japanese no longer treat the subsequent duels as exhibitions of their styles but rather as an all-out fights. Kung Zi, seeing the gravity of the situation, helps out Ah To by warning him of Takeno’s mastery of ninjutsu.
4.Warriors Two (1978)
Starring: Sammo Hung, Leung Kar Yan, Casanova Wong, Fung Hak On, Lau Kar Wing, Lee Hoi San
Mr. Tsan (Leung Kar Yan), is a doctor and master of Wing Chun, whose martial lineage traces back to the style’s founder. He is grudgingly persuaded by Fei Chun (Sammo Hung), his lead student, to teach kung fu to Cashier Hua (Casanova Wong), a patient hiding out at his residence. Hua had previously overheard a businessman named Mo (Fung Hak-on) and several of his men plotting to take over the town by killing the head of the town. Unfortunately, Hua made the mistake of warning Mo’s wormy henchman, Master Yao (Dean Shek) and a trap was set that nearly cost the poor cashier his life. Whilst in hiding, Hua sends Fei Chun to warn the town head. Ignores the advice, the town head is later attacked by Mo’s men, although its unclear whether he escapes or is killed after a protracted fight.
Meanwhile, Tsan runs Hua through an elaborate series of Wing Chun training sessions before he falls victim to a vicious trap set by Mo who has learned of Hua’s whereabouts. With nothing left to lose, Hua, Fei Chun, and Tsan’s niece split up to use specific Wing Chun styles against Mo’s leading fighters. Trouble mounts when its discovered that Fei mixed up the fighter’s names and each of Tsan’s students have to improvise in order to win against their opponents.
3.Fist Of Fury (1972)
Starring: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, Tien Feng, Feng Yi, James Tien
Chen, a student of legendary martial arts teacher, Fok Yuen-Gaap /Huo Yuan Jia, returns home upon hearing news that his master has died under mysterious circumstances. Before long, Chen vows retaliation against the local Imperialist Japanese school responsible for his master’s death.
He meets with hostility from the Japanese students and they engage in a fight. Chen Zhen defeats all of them, including their Sensei, single handedly and effortlessly. He uses his master’s style of fighting Mizongyi and a Nunchaku as a weapon during the fight. He smashes the glass on the sign and makes the students who taunted him earlier chew up the paper bearing the derogatory words, so as to make them literally “eat their words”.
From there on it is school against school, which leads to a one man army with Bruce taking on fighter after fighter to defeat them all. The fight scene in the dojo is one of the most recognizable fights in the history of kung fu cinema. Bruce delivers with speed and power, which as never really been matched to this day.
*In 1994, Fist of Legend starring Jet Li was released as a remake of the film.
2.Drunken Master (1978)
Starring: Jackie Chan, Yuen Siu Tien, Hwang Jang Lee, Dean Shek
Blending interesting martial arts moves with slapstick comedy, “Drunken Master” has created a new genre of comedy kung fu. Jackie plays Fei-hung, the rebellious son of a kung fu master. To give him a lesson, his father apprentices him to another master named So Hi, who has a unique “drunken” fighting style.
Beggar So’s secret style of martial arts, a form of Drunken Boxing called “The Eight Drunken Immortals”, named after the eight mythological figures that the fighting style emulates. Wong masters seven of the eight styles with the exception of Drunken Miss Ho’s as he feels that her style of fighting is too feminine.
Wong confesses that he did not master the last style so Beggar So tells him to combine the seven styles and create his own version of the last style. Wong follows the instruction and discovers his own unique style of Drunken Boxing, which he eventually uses to defeat Yan and become the new Drunken Master.
Drunken Master earned an impressive HK $6,763,793 at the Hong Kong box office.
1.Enter The Dragon (1973)
Starring: Bruce Lee, Bolo, Sek Kin, Jim Kelly, Bob Wall, Sammo Hung
Lee (Bruce Lee) is a Shaolin martial artist from Hong Kong who possesses great philosophical insight into martial arts as well as physical prowess. He receives an invitation to a martial arts competition on an island organized by the mysterious Han (Shih Kien). Lee learns from his Sifu (teacher) that Han was also once a Shaolin student, but had been expelled from their order for abusing their code of conduct.
Bruce enters the competition, fight to the death or your opponent is knocked out. This movie is one of the biggest kung fu films ever released and still remains the greatest tournament movie ever. Bruce shows his skills, not only as a fighter but also the action choreographer.
In 1973, Enter the Dragon grossed an estimated $25,000,000 in North America and an estimated $90,000,000 worldwide, on a tight budget of $850,000. In Hong Kong, the film grossed HK$3,307,536 —huge business for the time, but substantially less than Lee’s Fist of Fury and Way of the Dragon. As of 1999, Enter the Dragon has grossed more than $200,000,000 worldwide.
The film was well received by critics and is regarded by many as one of the best films of 1973.
Sources:HK Cinemagic – Wikipedia