My Shaw Brothers Cinematic Journeyby Leofwine_draca | created - 17 Jan 2017 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public
A list of all the Shaw Brothers films I've watched, from newbie to aficionado.
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1. 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 »
As good as any a place to start. Jimmy Wang Yu stars in this hard-hitting kung fu classic influenced by Japanese cinema. Still holds up to this day despite countless imitations.
2. Crippled Avengers (1978)
R | 104 min | Action, Drama
Three men, crippled by an evil warlord, become friends and learn kung fu with the help of an old teacher and his idiot pupil.
An eye-popping viewing experience that introduced me to Chang Cheh and the Venoms. Packed with gruesome action and imaginative fights, this was an early favourite of mine and remains classic viewing.
3. Executioners from Shaolin (1977)
R | 98 min | Action, Drama
A couple unite - she is fluent in the crane style of kung fu, he in tiger style. They have a son, but the boy's father is killed by the evil eunuch Bai Mei. Disguised as a girl, his mom ... See full summary »
A solid martial arts experience from Liu Chia-Liang, and with Lo Lieh's eunuch villain there's little to dislike here.
4. 5 Masters of Death (1974)
R | 109 min | Action, Drama
Five students escape from the destruction of their beloved Shaolin Temple...now each must take revenge and train in their own seperate fighting styles...they will become The Five Shaolin Masters!!
A simple story, brought to life well by Chang Cheh's stylish direction. The cast members meant little to me at this point.
5. The Four Assassins (1975)
R | 103 min | Action, Adventure, Biography
Four friends learn kung fu to avenge the death of their friend against the manchus.
The presence of ninja star Richard Harrison was my 'in' road to this tale, another personal favourite thanks to the stylish action scenes and mayhem.
6. 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.
I first saw this film on a VHS tape and it left an impression. Seeing it in the digital age in all of its widescreen gory glory, it's a stand-out gangster classic.
7. Vengeance! (1970)
PG-13 | 98 min | Action, Drama, Romance
China 1925, a man returns to track down a kill the men who murdered his brother.
The film that put David Chiang on the map for me. Similar to Boxer from Shantung, and just as impactful.
8. The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974)
R | 89 min | Action, Horror
While lecturing in China, Van Helsing agrees to help seven kung fu trained siblings reclaim their ancestral mountain village, now the domain of seven powerful vampires and their army of undead slaves.
When I found out that Hammer and Shaw worked together on a kung fu horror classic, I was absolutely delighted, and I still am when watching this movie.
9. The 8 Diagram Pole Fighter (1984)
Not Rated | 98 min | Action, Drama
The Yang family was the loyal strong-arm of the Imperial army. But a jealous General betrays the Eilte Spearman and their father to the opposing Mongol army. After an ambush of a battle, ... See full summary »
Baldie Gordon Liu knocking out teeth aplenty makes this an irresistable watch. Only later did I learn of Fu Sheng's tragic death during the production.
10. Black Magic (1975)
R | 93 min | Fantasy, Horror
An evil magician makes a living by casting deadly spells on people's objects of desire. He gets overly ambitious, and start to go out of control.
I only found out that Shaw did horror after watching this gruesome odyssey. Jaw-dropping stuff in places.
11. Black Magic 2 (1976)
89 min | Horror
An evil magician and his zombie minions are up against a trio of doctors who are on a mission to find the cause of an outbreak of unknown diseases caused by his spells.
A worthy follow-up to the first film, and even more grisly and disturbing if anything.
12. The Oily Maniac (1976)
84 min | Horror
A cripple takes revenge on criminals by using a magic spell that transforms him into an oily monster/superhero.
A weird combination of superhero film, revenge flick, and kung fu outing that somehow works despite (or maybe because of) the outlandish premise.
13. The Boxer's Omen (1983)
99 min | Horror
While in Thailand to avenge his brother who was crippled in a fight with a corrupt Thai boxer, a man gets caught up in a web of fate, Buddhism and black magic.
Essentially a special effects showcase, this surreal horror film is beyond belief and still one of the most bizarre and shocking productions ever filmed.
14. Heroes of the East (1978)
R | 105 min | Action, Comedy
A Chinese man (Liu) marries a Japanese woman through an arranged marriage and manages to insult all of her Japanese martial arts family by issuing a challenge to her that is misinterpreted ... See full summary »
The first film I watched that was really about the technique and style of the martial arts. Oddly bloodless, only recently did I discover that this was a Shaw production.
15. Shatter (1974)
R | 90 min | Action, Drama
Shatter, an international hitman, is hiding out in Hong Kong after he has completed a contract out on an African leader. Shatter soon finds out that everyone wants him dead, including the ... See full summary »
Hammer's follow-up to Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires; not quite as much fun, but still a worthwhile thriller. I had no idea who Ti Lung was the first time I watched it.
16. Five Elements Ninjas (1982)
R | 107 min | Action, Drama
When five ninjas whose fighting styles are based on natural elements unleash their fury on a rival school, a lone survivor vows deadly revenge.
Watching this on a fuzzy dupe did little to dilute what is essentially an insane viewing experience. Later I got hold of a bootleg DVD which was a step up, but thanks to 88 Asia viewers can now experience this in all of its widescreen, original language, uncut glory on Blu-ray.
17. Disciples of the 36th Chamber (1985)
90 min | Action, Comedy
Gordon Liu Chia-hui reprises his famous Monk San Te role as he tries to support and protect Shaolin her Fang Shih-yu who purposely attacks corrupt Ching officials. Fights by legendary action director Liu Chia-liang are to die for.
I watched this on TV before experiencing the two previous films and didn't like it too much. Watching it again recently and it's perfectly serviceable, a fine cast adding much to the proceedings.
18. Two Champions of Death (1980)
R | 101 min | Action, Drama
The Wu Tang chief sends out his men, each of whom is given a symbol so they can recognize each other. The largest is given to Lee, whom the others are to obey.
The first time I watched this I still didn't know much about the Venoms and thought it was missing something. Watching it again recently and it's a fine, entertaining vehicle for the team.
19. Killer Clans (1976)
PG-13 | 91 min | Action, Drama
Two clans compete for dominance over the martial arts world in this classic of violent swordplay and political intrigue. A complex tale of deception and double crosses. Killer Clans leaves ... See full summary »
The first Shaw martial arts film I watched that prioritised story over action. Pretty good, but not a favourite of mine.
20. Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
R | 97 min | Action, Drama, Mystery
The final student of a dying martial arts master is instructed to locate the previous five students and defeat any evil ones among them.
I saw this on DVD and it was long overdue; now I knew who the Venoms were and could appreciate the interplay between them.
21. The Spiritual Boxer (1975)
Not Rated | 103 min | Comedy, Drama, Action
A con artist uses Kung Fu to swindle villagers for money by pretending to be possessed by angry gods. However, when the villagers are later threatened by bandits he must use the same skills for good.
I didn't know who Wong Yue was at this stage and was expecting the film to be in the style of Encounters of the Spooky Kind. Thus I didn't enjoy it too much, although looking back it's not too bad.
22. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
R | 116 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A man studies kung fu at the Shaolin Temple to fight back against the oppressive Manchu government.
The most popular of all the Shaolin Temple movies, this one turned Yul Brynner lookalike Gordon Liu into a global superstar and features highly memorable training sequences amid a leisurely, revenge-fuelled narrative.
23. 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.
Another film I watched thanks to FilmFour. A bit slow, a bit mannered, but the seeds of greatness are sown here.
24. Hong Kong Godfather (1985)
95 min | Action, Thriller
After receiving a life imprisonment sentence for a NY Chinatown massacre, Jia Shi Lan obtains a pardon through the Mafia's influence.
A modern-day film with a big reputation. This doesn't disappoint, becoming an instant favourite thanks to the incredible levels of violence and the burning revenge story. What a way for the studio to bow out!
25. Ma fung gwai kuen (1979)
R | 92 min | Action, Comedy
When young Tieh Chiao San is sent by his dying father to live with a former kung fu colleague in the town, he accidentally gets into trouble when messing with a gang running a snake-oil ... See full summary »
Amazon Prime have done a great job of bringing widescreen, high definition Shaw Brothers films to subscribers. I loved this film purely for the quality and it was the beginning of an intense viewing period for me.
26. House of Traps (1982)
PG-13 | 95 min | Action, Adventure
A team of skilled fighters navigate a house rigged with an array of ingenious and deadly traps.
My first Venoms films where I knew who the Venoms were. Not a personal favourite, but still quality entertainment with great action scenes.
27. Full Moon Scimitar (1979)
PG-13 | 95 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy
Inspired from a famous martial arts tale, a young swordsman becomes obsessed with sword supremacy and challenges another kung fu master, where everything begins.
Shaw does wuxia, and an interesting precursor to the later wire-work boom of 1990s HK cinema.
28. Shaolin Temple (1976)
Not Rated | 126 min | Action
The Shaolin Temple is the last place to resist defeat by the Manchu Dynasty, mostly because of their unique fighting style. Men from far and wide come to wait outside the temple, hoping ... See full summary »
A real Shaw Brothers epic. The ensemble cast introduced me to plenty of new faces.
29. The Weird Man (1983)
PG-13 | 87 min | Action, Fantasy
Taoist Priest Yu Ji (Cheng Tien-Chi) is a victim of Magistrate Xu Gong's (Wong Lik) desire to kill General Sun Ce (Chiu Gwok) in a grab for power. Gong's plans go awry, as Yu Ji's spirit seeks revenge, after being publicly executed.
A bizarre mix of comedy and fantasy, not always successful, but offbeat enough to be worth a look.
30. Perils of the Sentimental Swordsman (1982)
PG-13 | 87 min | Adventure, Mystery
The 8th Prince and Chu Liu Hsiang pretend to be rivals and stage 8th Prince's assassination attempt in order for Chu to go undercover in the "Villa of Phantoms" to investigate, King Eagle, who has been recruiting criminals for evil plot.
Another film unfortunately watched out of order (actually the third and final part of a trilogy). The convoluted plot takes some brain power to understand, but there's a nice role for one of my personal favourites, Lo Lieh.
31. Life Gamble (1978)
PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Drama
LIFE GAMBLE is the tale of a simple blacksmith (Kuo Chue) with extraordinary martial arts skills who is entangled in a life and death struggle between swordsmen, thieves, con artists, a ... See full summary »
Another outing for the Venoms and a superior one this one: tons of inventive action here, and some outstanding flag fu to boot.
32. The Dragon Missile (1976)
PG-13 | 82 min | Action
An evil gang of martial artists fight for a healing elixir against a specialist that fights with boomerang blades - the Dragon Missiles!
Outlandish weaponry dominates this intriguing story. Good effects throughout, and a wonderfully complex central performance from Lo Lieh.
33. My Rebellious Son (1982)
Not Rated | 92 min | Action, Comedy
it is about a boy who knows kungfu, then someone from the west tries to steal their idol. Then a group of kendo fighters men came from Japan and attack him.
An open copy of the Jackie Chan type formula and the first time I'd seen Alexander Fu Sheng shine in a leading role.
34. Behind the Yellow Line (1984)
PG-13 | 90 min | Romance
Lesile is a young guy that uses the MTR everyday, and one day, he sees a beautiful lady (Maggie Cheung) on the train and likes her immediately. On the other hand, he also knows a tomboy (... See full summary »
In which Shaw does a romantic comedy. Now, I don't like rom coms at all as a rule, and generally avoid them at all costs whenever I can, but even so this is quite an entertaining addition to the genre, with a quality cast and solid direction.
35. The Flying Dagger (1969)
103 min | Action, Drama
A wandering swordsman protects a family from the wrath of a clan chief.
An interesting little wuxia fable with a small cast and cosy feel. Cheng Pei Pei and Lo Lieh are the stand-out performers here, and for what it's worth I preferred it to the much more famous Come Drink with Me.
36. The Flag of Iron (1980)
R | 113 min | Action, Drama
When director Chang Chen found new talent and blood with "The Five Venoms" actors, most of which were trained in the highly acrobatic Chinese opera and well versed with exotic martial arts ... See full summary »
A top-notch Venoms story featuring an all-star cast and director at the top of their game. Very difficult to top this one.
37. The Pirate (1973)
Not Rated | 92 min | Action, Drama
Toward the end of the Ching Dynasty, the South China Sea was swarming with pirates looking to plunder treasure-rich Portuguese merchant ships. A titanic tale of a daring and heroic "Robin Hood" of the seas.
Okay, so the storyline's a bit muddled, but this one's worth a look just because the subject matter is so different from the rest and Ti Lung and David Chiang are watchable in just about anything.
38. Dragon's Teeth (1974)
Not Rated | 101 min | Action, Drama
When the "godfather of the kung-fu film" Chang Cheh decided to tell their stories with Alexander Fu Sheng, Chen Kuan-tai, and Chi Kuan-chun in the roles, it was cause for celebration. This ... See full summary »
Another Shaolin Temple-themed story. Not one of the very best from the studio, but Alexander Fu Sheng and his chums are always worth watching and the action is typically great.
39. The Sentimental Swordsman (1977)
96 min | Action, Drama
The Sentimental Swordsman epitomizes the lone, virtuous, heroic swordsman with a twist. The Oedipus complexed swordsman played by the popular Ti Lung, is a hero with weaknesses; he drinks, ... See full summary »
Or Ti Lung vs. the Pink Blossom Bandit. A very dense story with fast pacing and colourful staging.
40. Jiang hu han zi (1977)
Not Rated | 94 min | Action, Comedy
Wealthy rebel Chu Tie Xia/Chu Te-Sa, conned out of assets by local merchants, is aided by 3 wandering con artists. Chu's talent with a bow and gold pellets and the Wushu of his 3 new companions unleash on the unsuspecting invading Mongols.
A lighter touch than usual for Chang Cheh. Expect lots of hijinks, lots of scamming, and ensemble players. Plus the oddest Mongol general you'll ever see...
41. Ba wan zui ren (1979)
Not Rated | 114 min | Drama
A probation officer tries to help a prisoner who faces harassment from corrupt guards and inmates.
A dark and harrowing prison drama is the Shaw answer to Midnight Express. Expect social commentary and nihilism, no martial arts here.
42. The Vengeful Beauty (1978)
82 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
After her whole family was slaughtered under the order of the emperor, a pregnant martial artist is on the run, and struggles to avoid being caught or back-stabbed by even her closest friends.
Another flying guillotine-themed story. Tight plotting, a pregnant heroine, and plenty of reasons to tune in.
43. E ke (1972)
R | 89 min | Action, Drama
Duel Of Fist was another hit from the "iron triangle" of director Chang Cheh and stars David Chiang and Ti Lung. And, as with all the director's classics, one good hit deserves another, so ... See full summary »
A simplistic modern-day sequel from the studio. Lung and Chiang go up against Japanese gangsters and it all plays out much as you'd expect.
44. Kid from Kwang Tung (1982)
R | 94 min | Action, Comedy
Novice director Hsu Hsia and three other kung-fu designers created this fight-filled tale of young rascal Wang Yu, caught between master martial arts actor Jen Shih-kuan and the incredible Huang Cheng-li.
A nice vehicle for the underrated Wong Yue. Expect student rivalry, a super Hwang Jang Lee villain, and even some hopping vampires thrown into the mix.
45. The Shadow Whip (1971)
78 min | Action, Drama