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Enter the Ninja (1981)

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After just completing his training at a ninja school, an army vet travels to the Phillippines and finds himself battling a land grabber who wants his war-buddy's property. He must also ... See full summary »


Menahem Golan


Dick Desmond (screen story), Dick Desmond (screenplay) | 1 more credit »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Franco Nero ... Cole
Susan George ... Mary Ann
Shô Kosugi ... Hasegawa
Christopher George ... Venarius
Alex Courtney ... Frank
Will Hare ... Dollars
Zachi Noy ... The Hook
Constantine Gregory ... Mr. Parker (as Constantin de Goguel)
Dale Ishimoto ... Komori
Joonee Gamboa ... Mr. Mesuda
Leo Martinez ... Pee Wee
Ken Metcalfe ... Elliot
Subas Herrero ... Alberto
Alan Amiel Alan Amiel ... Maroon Ninja
Douglas Ivan Douglas Ivan ... Maroon Ninja (as Doug Ivan)


After just completing his training at a ninja school, an army vet travels to the Phillippines and finds himself battling a land grabber who wants his war-buddy's property. He must also fight his rival. Written by Michael Pilkington <mjpilkington@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Ninjitsu, the darkest and deadliest of all the Martial Arts. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

2 October 1981 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ninja I See more »


Box Office


$1,500,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(uncut) | (edited for TV)

Sound Mix:



Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Franco Nero had no martial arts training, so he was doubled by writer and fight choreographer Mike Stone for the fight sequences. See more »


During the opening scenes, the white ninja is shown wearing a katana (long sword) on his back and a wakizashi (short sword) in his waist sash on his left side. The wakizashi mysteriously disappears and reappears throughout the initial fight scenes. See more »


Frank Landers: You know Mary Ann there are times when I... when I wake up in the morning and I look at this guy in the mirror and I say "What the hell are you doing with your life Frank?" and you know something, son of a bitch never answers me!
See more »

Alternate Versions

The UK version was heavily cut by around 4-5 minutes by the BBFC when submitted in 1981. All shots of weapons that were not allowed in UK film releases at the time (e.g. nunchakus, shuriken etc) were cut, as were some highly-dangerous combat techniques such as throat-cuts, repeated punches, ear-claps and limb-and neck-breaking. Also missing is a scene that contravenes the UK's Cinematograph Films (Animals) Act 1937, namely some genuine scenes of cockfights. Video releases, plus the MIA DVD, all featured the same cut print. The 2011 Optimum DVD restores the violence though 1 min 5 secs are cut to remove the cockfight footage. See more »


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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The inception of Ninja mania!
2 May 2006 | by HaemovoreRexSee all my reviews

Well here it is – this is the catalyst for the 1980's 'Ninja Craze' that swept the west by storm and spawned literally hundreds of similar themed movies from all around the world.

In addition this also happens to be the film that propelled its REAL star (an actor who was actually playing the role of the movies main villain!) to super stardom literally overnight (if only for a modest while) and made him forever synonymous with such roles. Who was this actor? Well it was of course the legendary Sho Kosugi!

While ninja had previously reared their heads on a number of occasions in western cinema, (probably most famously in the classic James Bond outing 'You Only Live Twice') THIS was the film that really catapulted them into the movie going publics eye. Such was the demand for ninja themed shenanigans following this films initial release that producers Golan-Globus were sagaciously swift to rush two sequels into production, namely The Revenge Of the Ninja (probably THE seminal 1980's ninja flick) and the sadly embarrassing Ninja 3: The Domination, again, both starring Kosugi (albeit in the more welcome role of the good guy)

But enough of the history lesson…..what of the quality of the film being reviewed here I hear you cry? Well as it happens, it's rather solidly entertaining stuff!

Franco Nero plays Cole, a westerner who through hard work and determination has against all odds (not to mention certain persons wishes) ascended to the top ranks of his ninja clan. Traveling to the Philippines to visit an old friend Cole finds that his deadly skills come in mighty handy when he is forced to stand against some local hoodlums. (In a morally ambiguous subplot he also manages to sleep with his best friend's wife – but we won't go there…..!!!)

In fact these hoodlums are merely puppets belonging to a much larger crime syndicate headed by a particularly ruthless boss (the always fun to watch Christopher George hamming it up wonderfully!)

Seeing that Cole is laying waste to his plans, the crime lord takes drastic measures and hires Cole's old nemesis from Japan (Kosugi) to take care of him.

Inevitably the two ninja must square off at the films climax with only one left alive by the final credits but which one shall be triumphant? Well you can probably guess…..

Aside from the odd casting of Nero in the lead (a great actor in his own right but woefully miscast here owing to the fact that he has blatantly no martial arts skills whatsoever) – it has to be said that this is a great movie and is intrinsic viewing for fans of the genre.

Of course the main attraction here though, is undoubtedly Kosugi himself, who succeeds in carrying a wonderful silent air of extreme menace in every single scene he appears in, in addition to entertaining us with some excellent martial arts demonstrations.

Great stuff!

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