My Favourite Martial Arts Films

by DougWonnacott | created - 15 Mar 2012 | updated - 3 months ago | Public

Both pure martial arts, other forms of fighting and general actioners that heavily feature martial arts or have a plot that revolves around a fighting form

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1. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

PG | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

97 Metascore

When Prince John and the Norman Lords begin oppressing the Saxon masses in King Richard's absence, a Saxon lord fights back as the outlaw leader of a rebel guerrilla army.

Directors: Michael Curtiz, William Keighley | Stars: Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Basil Rathbone, Claude Rains

Votes: 44,769 | Gross: $3.98M

2. Rashomon (1950)

Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

98 Metascore

The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Machiko Kyô, Masayuki Mori, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 139,946 | Gross: $0.10M

3. Seven Samurai (1954)

Not Rated | 207 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

98 Metascore

A poor village under attack by bandits recruits seven unemployed samurai to help them defend themselves.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima, Yukiko Shimazaki

Votes: 293,022 | Gross: $0.27M

4. Throne of Blood (1957)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, History

A war-hardened general, egged on by his ambitious wife, works to fulfill a prophecy that he would become lord of Spider's Web Castle.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Minoru Chiaki, Isuzu Yamada, Takashi Shimura

Votes: 41,156

5. The Hidden Fortress (1958)

Not Rated | 126 min | Adventure, Drama

Lured by gold, two greedy peasants escort a man and woman across enemy lines. However, they do not realize that their companions are actually a princess and her general.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Misa Uehara, Minoru Chiaki, Kamatari Fujiwara

Votes: 30,776

6. Yojimbo (1961)

Not Rated | 110 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A crafty ronin comes to a town divided by two criminal gangs and decides to play them against each other to free the town.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Eijirô Tôno, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yôko Tsukasa

Votes: 101,531

7. The Tale of Zatoichi (1962)

Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The adventures of a blind, gambling masseur who also happens to be a master swordsman.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Masayo Banri, Ryûzô Shimada, Hajime Mitamura

Votes: 4,307

8. Come Drink with Me (1966)

Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Crime

A group of bandits kidnaps the governor's son and demands their imprisoned leader to be set free in exchange.

Director: King Hu | Stars: Pei-Pei Cheng, Hua Yueh, Chih-Ching Yang, Hung Lieh Chen

Votes: 3,378

9. The One-Armed Swordsman (1967)

R | 111 min | Action, Drama

A noble swordsman, whose arm had been chopped off, returns to his former teacher to defend him from a villainous gang of rival swordsmen.

Director: Cheh Chang | Stars: Jimmy Wang Yu, Chiao Chiao, Chung-Hsin Huang, Yin-Tze Pan

Votes: 2,571

10. Dragon Inn (1967)

Not Rated | 111 min | Action, Adventure

97 Metascore

When the children of an executed General are pursued in 1457 China, some heroic martial arts swordsmen intervene.

Director: King Hu | Stars: Polly Ling-Feng Shang-Kuan, Chun Shih, Ying Bai, Feng Hsu

Votes: 1,925

11. Golden Swallow (1968)

R | 89 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

The indomitable martial arts team of director Chang Cheh and stunt choreographer Liu Chia-liang continues the compelling saga of Golden Swallow from King Hu's Come Drink with Me in this ... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang | Stars: Pei-Pei Cheng, Jimmy Wang Yu, Lieh Lo, Hsin Yen Chao

Votes: 572

12. Vengeance Is a Golden Blade (1969)

98 min | Action, Drama

Li Zhishan is a rich man, but wealth cannot keep the loyalties of his wife, who has been visiting the bed of a rival. She helps plot against him, and the Vicious Long Brothers invade his ... See full summary »

Director: Meng Hua Ho | Stars: Hua Yueh, Ping Chin, Ching Tang, Pao-Shu Kao

Votes: 118

13. Return of the One-Armed Swordsman (1969)

R | 101 min | Action, Adventure

After defeating The Long-Armed Devil and his armies, our nubbed hero has been living in retirement as a farmer, but circumstances causes him to come out of retirement and take on The Eight ... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang | Stars: Jimmy Wang Yu, Chiao Chiao, Chia Essie Lin, Feng Tien

Votes: 1,048

14. Zatoichi Meets Yojimbo (1970)

Not Rated | 79 min | Drama, Action, Adventure

Zatoichi tries to unrest the mob rule over a small village all while the gang leader's bodyguard is actually the Yojimbo, secretly taking the gang down from the inside. Will the two heroes realize in time that they are on the same side?

Director: Kihachi Okamoto | Stars: Toshirô Mifune, Shintarô Katsu, Ayako Wakao, Osamu Takizawa

Votes: 2,134

15. Blind Woman's Curse (1970)

Not Rated | 85 min | Action, Crime, Horror

The head of a yakuza gang is being trailed by a mysterious, vengeful blind woman.

Director: Teruo Ishii | Stars: Meiko Kaji, Hoki Tokuda, Makoto Satô, Hideo Sunazuka

Votes: 1,023

16. The Hammer of God (1970)

R | 90 min | Action, Crime, Drama

The golden age of kung-fu film's first superstar Jimmy Wang Yu (even before Bruce Lee) wrote, directed and starred in his classic favorite of a noble young martial arts student who won't ... See full summary »

Director: Jimmy Wang Yu | Stars: Jimmy Wang Yu, Lieh Lo, Ping Wang, Hsiung Chao

Votes: 480

17. The Angry River (1971)

90 min | Action, Adventure

Lan Tin-lung, master of the Liangyi Castle, calls upon all upright swordsmen to help wipe out the notorious Lunar Sect.

Director: Feng Huang | Stars: Angela Mao, Yuen Kao, Ying Bai, Shao-Hung Chan

Votes: 83

18. The Invincible Eight (1971)

95 min | Action, Drama

The 8 children of 8 different slain Generals who want to avenge the death of their father by killing General Hsiao.

Director: Wei Lo | Stars: Nora Miao, Angela Mao, Yin Tse, James Tien

Votes: 64

19. The Shadow Whip (1971)

78 min | Action, Drama

This top ten hit reunites Come Drink With Me's stars for a new adventure. Whether single-handedly fighting sixteen bandits, avenging her father's death, or solving multiple murders, our ... See full summary »

Director: Wei Lo | Stars: Pei-Pei Cheng, Hua Yueh, Li Jen Ho, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung

Votes: 229

20. A Touch of Zen (1971)

Not Rated | 200 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A lady fugitive on the run from corrupt government officials is joined in her endeavors by an unambitious painter and skilled Buddhist monks.

Director: King Hu | Stars: Feng Hsu, Chun Shih, Ying Bai, Billy Chan

Votes: 4,720

21. The Lady Hermit (1971)

105 min | Action, Drama

A young Kung Fu student (Shih Szu) seeks a reclusive teacher so that she may learn to defeat the evil Black Demon. She doesn't realize that the servant woman she befriends (Cheng Pei-Pei) ... See full summary »

Director: Meng Hua Ho | Stars: Pei-Pei Cheng, Lieh Lo, Szu Shih, Hsieh Wang

Votes: 269

22. The Big Boss (1971)

R | 99 min | Action, Crime, Drama

A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear.

Directors: Wei Lo, Chia-Hsiang Wu | Stars: Bruce Lee, Maria Yi, James Tien, Marilyn Bautista

Votes: 22,640

23. Zatoichi and the One-Armed Swordsman (1971)

Not Rated | 94 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Two of Japan and China's greatest heroic swordsman find themselves caught in a plot to protect a young child. But will national distrust and simple misunderstanding keep the two kindred spirits apart?

Director: Kimiyoshi Yasuda | Stars: Shintarô Katsu, Jimmy Wang Yu, Watako Hamaki, Michie Terada

Votes: 1,217

24. Five Fingers of Death (1972)

R | 104 min | Action, Drama, Romance

Two martial arts schools prepare for an important tournament.

Director: Chang-hwa Jeong | Stars: Lieh Lo, Ping Wang, Hsiung Chao, Chin-Feng Wang

Votes: 2,614

25. Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (1972)

Not Rated | 84 min | Action, Adventure

The story of a Ronin (i.e. a masterless samurai) who wanders the countryside of Japan with his small child, having various adventures.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Fumio Watanabe, Gô Katô, Tomoko Mayama

Votes: 6,170

26. Fist of Fury (1972)

R | 107 min | Action, Drama, Romance

68 Metascore

A young man seeks vengence for the death of his teacher.

Director: Wei Lo | Stars: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, James Tien, Maria Yi

Votes: 23,752

27. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart at the River Styx (1972)

Not Rated | 81 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Trailed by a clan of female ninja, Ogami is paid to assassinate a clan traitor accompanied by three killers known as the Gods of Death.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Kayo Matsuo, Minoru Ôki, Akiji Kobayashi

Votes: 4,802

28. The Way of the Dragon (1972)

R | 90 min | Action, Adventure, Crime

58 Metascore

A man visits his relatives at their restaurant in Italy and has to help them defend against brutal gangsters harassing them.

Director: Bruce Lee | Stars: Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Nora Miao, Ping Ou Wei

Votes: 29,431

29. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart to Hades (1972)

R | 89 min | Action, Drama

Ogami Itto volunteers to be tortured by the yakuza to save a prostitute and is hired by their leader to kill an evil chamberlain.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Gô Katô, Yûko Hama, Isao Yamagata

Votes: 3,922

30. Deep Thrust (1972)

R | 88 min | Action, Drama

Tien arrives in town looking to exact revenge on Ling for abandoning her pregnant sister and thus driving said sister to commit suicide. Although Tien agrees to help Ling take down the ... See full summary »

Director: Feng Huang | Stars: Angela Mao, Yi Chang, Ying Bai, Kyung-Ah Oh

Votes: 153

31. Boxer from Shantung (1972)

Unrated | 94 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Leaving the poverty of his life in Shantung to seek fortune in Shanghai, The Boxer is instead drawn into a world of corruption, gang warfare and evil... Where his only protection is his famed fighting technique.

Directors: Cheh Chang, Hsueh Li Pao | Stars: Kuan Tai Chen, Li Ching, David Chiang, Mario Milano

Votes: 836

32. One-Armed Boxer (1972)

R | 89 min | Action, Drama

After his schoolmate and master is killed and he loses an arm, student Tien Lung has to learn the art of one-arm boxing.

Director: Jimmy Wang Yu | Stars: Jimmy Wang Yu, Yeh Tien, Hsin Tang, Fei Lung

Votes: 812

33. Hapkido (1972)

R | 97 min | Action, Drama

Korea, 1934. During the Japanese occupation, there is open warfare between rival martial arts schools. There is a fight in the marketplace, and three Chinese students can't stand the unfair... See full summary »

Director: Feng Huang | Stars: Angela Mao, Carter Wong, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Han Jae Ji

Votes: 628

34. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in Peril (1972)

Not Rated | 81 min | Action, Thriller

Ogami is hired to kill a tattooed female assassin. Gunbei Yagyu, an enemy samurai, happens upon Ogami's son, and sees his chance for revenge.

Director: Buichi Saitô | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Yoichi Hayashi, Michi Azuma, Akihiro Tomikawa

Votes: 3,437

35. Enter the Dragon (1973)

R | 102 min | Action, Crime, Drama

83 Metascore

A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover.

Director: Robert Clouse | Stars: Bruce Lee, John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Ahna Capri

Votes: 90,815 | Gross: $25.00M

36. The Fate of Lee Khan (1973)

105 min | Action, Drama

Lee Khan, a high official under Mongolian Emperor Yuan of the Yuan dynasty (year 1366) procures the battle map of the Chinese rebel Chu Yuan-Chang's army. Rebel spies, aided by treachery within Khan's ranks, strive to corner him in an inn.

Director: King Hu | Stars: Li Hua Li, Roy Chiao, Feng Hsu, Ying Bai

Votes: 370 | Gross: $0.00M

37. Lady Snowblood (1973)

Not Rated | 97 min | Action, Drama, Thriller

A young girl is born and raised to be an instrument of revenge.

Director: Toshiya Fujita | Stars: Meiko Kaji, Toshio Kurosawa, Masaaki Daimon, Miyoko Akaza

Votes: 11,057

38. Dynasty of Blood (1973)

PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Drama

Assassin Chang and his brother Hung meet up with a soldier, Mu. Together, they form a small mountain army, but when Hung's wife arrives, emotions swell, and Mu leaves for the army. After ... See full summary »

Director: Cheh Chang | Stars: David Chiang, Lung Ti, Kuan Tai Chen, Li Ching

Votes: 624

39. Attack of the Kung Fu Girls (1973)

PG | 117 min | Action, Drama

A female revolutionist takes on the identity of a Captain's long lost sister who is actually dead. She manages to fool the Captain for a while, but the Captain soon catches on to her and the plan to stop Chinese-Japanese relations.

Director: Wei Lo | Stars: Pei-Pei Cheng, Wei Ou, James Tien, Wei Lo

Votes: 118

40. Thunderbolt (1973)

Action, Adventure

The chief of the Black Tiger School, Hung Wei joins the rival Dragon Fort school as a blood brother with some evil intentions.

Director: Chi Lo | Stars: Angela Mao, James Tien, Ying Bai, Lau Chan

Votes: 34

41. Lone Wolf and Cub: Baby Cart in the Land of Demons (1973)

Not Rated | 89 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Five warriors challenge Ogami to duels. Each holds a part of information needed to complete the assassination of a mad clan leader.

Director: Kenji Misumi | Stars: Tomisaburô Wakayama, Michiyo Yasuda, Akihiro Tomikawa, Shingo Yamashiro

Votes: 3,211

42. Back Alley Princess (1973)

122 min | Action, Comedy, Drama

Polly Shang Kwan and Sam Hui are con artists who befriend a family of street venders and entertainers.

Director: Wei Lo | Stars: Polly Ling-Feng Shang-Kuan, Samuel Hui, Angela Mao, Yi Feng

Votes: 34

43. Tai quan zhen jiu zhou (1973)

R | 95 min | Action, War, Drama

During the Japanese occupation of Korea in the 1930's, the leader of a small resistance movement attempts to get information to sympathizers in China.

Director: Feng Huang | Stars: Angela Mao, Jhoon Rhee, Carter Wong, Ing-Sik Whang

Votes: 170

44. Dragon's Teeth (1974)

Not Rated | 101 min | Action, Drama

6.3