When it comes to Kung Fu movies the 70s really belonged to just two men, and one of them most of all. There were a lot of movie that came out during this decade and a lot of them were given a more western feel since people in the US had caught on and were demanding more and more films in this genre as the craze was catching on. Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, and many others were making their mark using this genre and were doing quite well for some time. The quality of the fighting scenes in each movie was about the same but was becoming slightly more pronounced since the influence of different directors and producers was starting to become noticeable the further west the action began to move. Some martial artists embraced this while others did not, but overall Kung Fu movies were starting to become a big business around this time.
Here are some of the best martial arts movies from the 70s.
5. The Big Boss
Cheng just wanted to change locations and get on with his life while keeping a pledge to his mother to not engage in violence. But when his adopted family is being harmed and he can’t do anything to stop it the pressure starts to mount slightly until finally he can’t take it anymore and has to help. When he’s promoted within the company he works for however it turns out to be a ruse, and the woman that warns him ends up dead, along with the rest of his family. At that point there’s nothing else to do but fight as he takes the conflict all the way to the top, killing the big boss before turning himself over to the police.
4. Drunken Master
A lot of people know about the Legend of Drunken Master but this one is a little different in that Wong Fei-hung is the type that is bound to run when things get rough rather than stand and fight. When he’s taken to Beggar So’s tutelage he tries to run again only to be beaten soundly by a criminal that is many times tougher than he is. Upon learning from Beggar So however Fei-hung manages to arrive just in time to save his father from the ruthless criminal that thrashed him so soundly the last time. After combining the seven styles of Drunken Boxing he learned from Beggar So he manages to defeat the criminal.
3. Five Deadly Venoms
Five former pupils of the Poison Clan have been using their skills for the purpose of wrongdoing and in his last moments the master of the clan sends Yang on a mission to see who he can trust to help him in his mission. Each one of the pupils has their own set of skills that can help them resist certain types of attacks or even torture, but each one of them has their own agenda as well. Throughout the movie it becomes obvious that Yang is going to have to be weary of each one of them until their true purpose is revealed, as every one of the pupils is out to do something that will conflict with the others.
2. Way of the Dragon
Tang is the guy you call when you have a serious problem and need it solved quickly. He’s not exactly the most serious individual since he does things in his own time and in his own way. But when he does set his sights on taking care of the gangsters that are disrupting the restaurant he’s been sent to protect he deals with them in short order both times. It’s when he’s forced to go against world-class martial artist Colt that the intensity really kicks up because this is the question that has been on the minds of many people throughout the years. Who would win in a real fight, Chuck Norris, or Bruce Lee?
1. Enter the Dragon
This is the one that cemented Bruce Lee’s legacy without a doubt. Lee plays a highly skilled fighter that is sent to a secret island to compete in a martial arts tournament held by the crime lord, Han, in order to expose Han’s drug trafficking and prostitution activities. Roper and Williams are there for their own bit of glory and to compete as well, though when Williams is killed Roper has a change of heart and is ready to take Han down. This film was the one that many people started looking to when the mention of Bruce Lee came up since it’s not just one of his best movies, it’s also the last movie he finished before his passing. That alone seems to give it a little more significance.
The 70s proved to be an interesting decade for Kung Fu movies, especially since the action started getting more intense.