Take a look at the below list of Top 10 Most Popular Best Martial Arts Movies of All Time till 2017. Martial arts films have come a long way over the years. The action is pretty much the same but with less wiring and fake maneuvers. The dialogue has improved tremendously. In the past, people watched kung fu movies for the action and definitely not the acting. Also, karate movies have helped to make some practitioners into household names.
The material here will list the top 10 best martial arts movies of all time. These films were not chosen on their box office numbers or by the amount of money they took in at theaters. The films are based on their cultural appeal and their relevance in the genre of martial arts flicks.
List of Top 10 Most Popular Best Martial Arts Movies of All Time till 2017
10. Drunken Master II
Jackie Chan has been a karate movie favorite for well over 40 years. Some of his early film roles helped to cement his long standing career. Chan reprised his role as Huang Fei-hung in the sequel which took well over 16 years to make.
The original Drunken Master was released in 1978 and Drunken Master II was released in 1994. Chan’s battle sequences are unforgettable and his skills are legendary. This film showcases Chan’s fighting ability and helps audiences to see why he is the one best martial artists of all time.
9. The Shaolin Temple
This particular kung fu movie was important to the world of martial arts. The Shaolin Temple film was released in 1980 and it told the real life story about how Shaolin monks were able to save the first emperor of the Tang dynasty. The film detailed the history of the Shaolin Temple.
Martial artist Jet Lie made his cinematic debut in this film. He was instrumental in helping this epic film to be the first martial artist flick to be recorded since the Communist took over China. It was also important for introducing the wushu fighting style to the world. The Shaolin Temple was a great film that had a lot of cultural significance to the people of China.
8. Police Story
Jackie Chan starred in the 1985 film, police story. Chan created a unique form of martial arts for this movie. It is called wu da pain. This fighting style was designed for fast paced action that would be needed to make modern day karate films up to date. Wu da pain mixed modern fighting styles with face-paced action and dangerous (but amazing) stunts.
Chan did not use stunt doubles or safety gear for this film. He elevated the kung fu fighting game by performing his stunts on his own. This film was important because it helped Jackie Chan to create a new form of movie fighting that would influence many other martial arts actors in the future.
7. The Chinese Connection
Enter the Dragon might have been Bruce Lee’s greatest film but The Chines Connection is the movie that really launched his career. In the film, Bruce Lee plays a hero of the Chinese nation who breaks the power of the Japanese rulers once and for all.
This film not only made Bruce Lee a household name all over the world; it also caused people all over the Chinese nation to become excited over this film. It created a huge wave of nationalism for people everywhere. Some of the fight scenes in the film have changed how karate fight choreography was performed in films.
6. Legend of the Fox
The 1978 karate film The Five Venom was an important film to the world of fight scenes. Chang Cheh starred in this film and he also started in the Legend of the Fox which was released in 1979. This film has some intricate fight scenes and it also endorses the comradery that exists between the martial artists. Legend of the Fox is considered one of the greatest kung fu movies in terms of the brotherhood that martial artists share.
Tony Jaa is a highly talented martial artist that used to be a stunt double. In modern times, Tony Jaa makes films that are really cutting edge and highly entertaining. He specializes in Thai kickboxing and extraordinary stunts.
Ong-Bak was one of Jaa’s biggest hits to date. This movie was loaded with action and very superb fighting skills. Ong-Bak did not use martial arts movie magic (wires and CGI animation) for the fight sequences. The warriors in the film choreographed the live combat sequences and Jaa’s performance helped to rank him in the same arena as Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. This is the one of Top 10 Most Popular Best Martial Arts Movies of All Time till 2017.
4. House of Flying Dragons
The House of the Flying Dragons is not a film about “flying dragons” but it is one of the best martial arts films ever created. This film was not just about karate chopping enemies and performing amazing martial artistic stunts; it is also about love. This is the first martial arts movie where the plot revolves around love and relationships.
This film received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. Many people praised the film for its originality and its unique plot. This movie made Zhang Ziyi a household name and it helped to change martial arts movies everywhere in terms of story lines and acting.
3. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Super star Chow Yon-Fat headed this martial arts classic about an important sword that goes missing and the faithful warrior who is dedicated to getting it back. This martial arts film was so compelling and great that it became the best foreign selling movie of all time within the United States. Critics everywhere enjoyed everything about the piece and gave it high remarks.
This film was based on a book with the same title which was authored by Chinese novelist Wang Dulu. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the fourth book in his Crane Iron Pentalogy series. The film won four Academy Awards and was nominated 10 times. Arguably, this could really be the best martial arts film of all time based on awards and formal recognition.
2. The Karate Kid (Original)
The original Karate Kid movie with Ralph Macchio and Noriyuki “Pat” Morita. When Macchio’s character (Daniel) moves to a new city and he is bullied by other kids, he goes to Mr. Miyagi (Morita) for help. Eventually, Daniel learns how to defend himself and he defeats the bullies.
The fighting sequences were excellent and the acting was good. While this movie did not win any awards it certainly helped bring the world of kung fun to many people all over the globe. The Karate Kid movie was exceptionally acted and the plot was simple but effective. This film will forever remain a favorite for many people. Actor Jayden Smith and Jackie Chan remade the Karate Kid in 2010.
1. Enter the Dragon
Enter the Dragon is the best martial arts film of all times. It was released in 1973 and it was the best work produced by Bruce Lee. While the movie “The Chinese Connection” helped to cement Lee’s career as a martial arts expert; Enter the Dragon helped to get it started.
What made this move such a great flick is that it was more than just a movie about karate fighters. This motion picture took karate to next level. At the time, people all over the world wanted to watch to learn about karate and see more martial arts films because of this movie.
At the time, Jackie Chan was an up and coming actor and martial artists; he made an appearance in this film as a henchman trying to take down Bruce Lee. The film also featured other great martial artists of the time – including Jim Kelly, Bolo Yeung and Sammo Hung. This film has been included within the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress and is the Holy Grail of all martial arts films.
These are the Top 10 Most Popular Best Martial Arts Movies of All Time till 2017. These karate films are groundbreaking flicks for their time. Some of them even had exceptional acting as well as great action. Be on the lookout for more great karate films in the future because they are coming to a theater near you.