Most Influential Martial Arts Films of All Time


jkorpel said:
I would have to say the Akira Kurasawa Classics: "The Seven Samurai", "Yojimbo", and "Sanjuro". These classic movies were the first to introduce the west to Bushido concepts.

I would also add "Harikiri" by Masaki Kobayashi. If you haven't seen this 1962 classic, its a must see.

For open hand martial arts it would have to be "Enter the Dragon"

Of course "Above the Law" because it introduced the world to my favorite Martial Art! Couldn't believe all the new students that showed up at my dojo after this movie came out.

Guess I'm showing my age here :)
Hi, jkorpel. I have no knowledge at all in the martial arts, but did want to welcome you to the forum. :) Showing your age? ;) You could have been 10 years old when those students showed up at your dojo, eh? :D Hope you enjoy yourself here on the forum. :)


Huge Member
The number one film is definitely ENTER THE DRAGON, however, Bruce Lee's earlier films such as The Big Boss and Fist Of Fury should also be included.

I can see why many martial artists would baulk at The Karate Kid being mentioned, but I kind of agree with it in some respects - like many kids of that age, I was impressed with the movie and it made me want to study martial arts and watch more martial arts movies. As a martial arts film in it's own right it is a load of honk, but I can see it's validity, especially amongst younger viewers.

Like Littledragon, I am also unimpressed with Chuck Norris. For an older guy he can still certainly move, but his movie fights are generally all the same with him taking on a bunch of guys in a bar/house/parking lot etc., beating them all with slow motion roundhouse kicks and then taking on the main bad guy at the end, getting beaten to the floor (a close up of his blood-stained face is inevitably shown) and then getting up and finding the strength to come back and win the fight.

I prefer Van Damme's earlier movies to Chuck Norris's - movies like Kickboxer, Bloodsport, AWOL and Double Impact actually show some nice techniques, and although Van Damme can't act for sh*t, I have been a fan of his movies from an early age.

I don't agree with the Matrix being included in the list, although it certainly revolutionised the sci-fi action genre, it is not a martial arts movie in it's own right.

Movies which were not included but should have (definitely) been are: Master With Cracked Fingers, Drunken Master, Once Upon A Time In China 1 & 2, Fist Of Legend and some of Seagal's earlier martial arts movies such as Marked For Death and Above The Law. Mark Dacascos has done some great martial arts movies and, although I wouldn't exactly call them classics, they are definitely under-rated.



Semper Fi
do some of you remember this old movie called "Gymkata",the hero
was Al Thomas,the famous Gym player?
There was also Richard Norton as the Villain!
What was funny was that Al Thomas was mixing Gym and Martial Arts,
and this at a time when Wushu(I mean Modern Wushu,Not traditional Kung-Fu)
barely existed.
For me the greatest Martial Art Movie of all time has yet to be made!!
However some Chuck Norris/Van Damme/Bruce Lee were very palatable!!!LOL!!!
Up to my Liking!!LOL!!!
i strongly agree with you Glimmer about Van Damme,I Like this guy's fights too!!!
You know what?He is in Cannes this year and since I am on Holiday I watch TV and try to videotape him on French TV!!!!
Since the other years when he was there he did something Funny I guess that won't be different this year!!!!!
The TV series "Mortal Kombat" had neat fights too!


Semper Fi
Hi Glimmer!
yeah I have seen Mark Dacascos,he 's very fast and efficient!
Crying Freeman was great!!
Do you know the Rhee brothers?
Simon and Phillip?
We could see them in Best of the Best!
That Movie was great!so many nice Kicks!
And the Bar Fight in this Movie?especially with Phillip Rhee and Eric Roberts!!
Taekwondo can be spectacular and this Movie is so Action packed as we say!!
Hey,What about the Ninja Movies with Michael Dudikoff?
I doubt Michael Dudikoff is into Martial Arts but the Big African-American Guy
with Him!He's so proficient,especialy witht the Butterfly Knives!!!
In One scene he tore a Guy's clothes off without touching him!!
Revenge of the Ninja is also cool!!More realistic Maybe!
And What about "Rage of the Tiger"?Where a Chinese Swordsman takes on
at least Two Hundred Villains on a bridge?


Huge Member
Yeah - the fight on the bus in Transporter is pretty good. Jason Statham trained hard for the fights in that movie.

I have never seen any of the American Ninja movies - they always looked a bit cheesy to me! Maybe I'll check them out on your recommendation.

I've never seen any of the Rhee brothers movies either. Sorry!



Littledragon said:
The majority of the list I disagree with. I agree with Master Killer, Blood Sport, Enter The Dragon, Billy Jack, and Enter The Ninja as Martial Arts revoultionizing films.

But they left out too many instead taken place by The Matrix, and bad kung fu movies like Lo Han's 5 Fingers Of Death.

What about the revoultionizing Jackie Chan films such as Drunken Master, Dragon's Forever, Police Story, Project A? Or Steven Seagal's Above The Law? Or Jet Li's Fist Of Legend?
i agree with you there.


New Member
Authentic Martial Artists

Influential films...

For me, along with Seagal, the top martial artist is Jet Li. He has such an authentic film style. Not surprising after his many years practising Wushu and his years in the films. Kiss of the Dragon, Romeo Must Die and Cradle to the Grave being prime examples. For me it's so important to see a punch or kick to have a realistic reaction. You see Seagal smack a man and he's down, end of story! What about Jeff Speakman (Ed Parker's student) he had a couple of great movies, especially his first - The Perfect Weapon. The unknown quantity is the new kid on the block, Tony Jaa in Ong Bak. He's meant to be stunning. For me all the film should cut the wire work, realism is what we want! Jet Li has often said he wants to cut down the wirework, he's good enough without it. You look at Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Hero and House of Flying Daggers, stunning though they are, I'm sure it lessens the credibility of martial artists. I mean I've been practising the martial arts for 22 years and the number of times people have knocked the arts and said the age old words "A good kick in the nuts would sort you out!" Oh dear, oh dear...

Speak to you all soon.



Smile dammit!
Well Ninj it has to be the obvious one,Enter The Dragon that brought oriental martial arts to the western masses.
Lee's teachings to his student at the start are well observed and accurate.


Twitter: adadrian
anyone remember the kung fu series of the 70's??

in my opinion they started a pretty huge trend
and of course bruce lee movies


ad_adrian said:
anyone remember the kung fu series of the 70's??

in my opinion they started a pretty huge trend
and of course bruce lee movies
Kung Fu with David Carradine? I liked that as a kid, and I knew even less then about martial arts then than I do know. That was a great show, grasshopper. :D You're right. That was definitely--as the title of this thread says--influential.


Twitter: adadrian
thats the one serena with david carradine!
i even watched the remakes of it
when he had a son peter caine


New Member
Serena said:
Thought some of you might be interested in this list. :)
So, what's your opinion? Agree or disagree?

I like how they included Steven Seagal as one of the "few talented martial artists to reach super stardom through film". ;)

Most Influential Martial Arts Films of All Time
April 2, 2005

Karate Kidz Online has compiled a list of the most influential martial art movies that have had the most significant impact on the world of martial arts.

These movies broke new ground and paved the way for a few talented martial artists to reach super stardom through film, such as Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Steven Seagal, Jean Claude Van Damm, Sho Kosugi and Jackie Chan. Never again will moviegoers see a low budget martial arts film hit the big time as the making of martial arts films have grown to hefty budgets and super effects such as scene in the films “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and the “Hero”.

With films like Quentin Tarantino’s “Kill Bill” Volume I and II, setting the pace for todays martial arts films, the actors, directors and producers of martial arts films of yesterday will go down in history as being the true pioneers of martial arts in film. So we have excluded recent titles from this list and will feature them in a separate segment focusing on the progression of martial arts in Hollywood.

This list is not in any particular order.
















Though many other martial arts films will be developed with huge budgets in mind, thanks to the “Matrix” and Mr. Quentin Tarantino and others will be made that will go straight to DVD, it is doubtful that they will ever have the impact of the above mentioned films.

Specifically regarding The Karate Kid. Yes, I agree definitley. Maybe non of you like it, but it's a classic. And I do agree. I also think Karate Kid III should be in it. Martial Artist Thomas Ian Griffith is in it, but the story teaches that karate is about honor and dignity and not just for fame in tournaments...Moving on, not The Matrix, definitley not.

You should have added Hero starring Jet Li. That's was a very inspirational movie towards martial arts and one of the best love stories I've ever seen. That should be added to the list.