The greatest ‘50s kung fu and other martial arts movies are a diverse group of films from all over Asia. Production companies in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan made influential and well-regarded movies full of epic battles, devastating betrayals, and beautiful fight sequences.
So what are the top ‘50s kung fu and other martial arts movies? In the 1950s, the Hong Kong film industry had not yet reached the levels of sophistication it would go on to achieve in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Many martial arts films of the ‘50s told the story of Huang Fei Hong, a popular Chinese folk hero and martial arts master. This character practically dominated the box office, appearing in countless films of the decade.
Japan also began to produce some of the best ‘50s kung fu and other martial arts movies. One director is responsible for a great many of these classic titles: Akira Kurosawa. Kurosawa directed Seven Samurai (the film that inspired the classic western, The Magnificent Seven), The Hidden Fortress, and Rashomon.
On this list, you’ll also find Bruce Lee’s first starring role as a 10 year-old boy in The Kid. Lee would go on to appear in many of the best ‘70s kung fu movies. Vote up the best martial arts films of the '50s, and let us know what you think in the comment section!