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The Best '50s Martial Arts & Kung Fu Movies

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List RulesVote up your favorite martial arts films that were released in the 1960s

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!

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  • 1
    Seven Samurai
    60
    11

    Seven Samurai

    Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura

    Released1954

    Directed byAkira Kurosawa

    Seven Samurai is a 1954 Japanese Jidaigeki adventure film co-written, edited, and directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    Pendekar Bujang Lapok
    33
    14

    Pendekar Bujang Lapok

    P. Ramlee, Aziz Sattar

    Released1959

    Directed byP. Ramlee

    Pendekar Bujang Lapok is a 1959 Singaporean comedy film directed by P. Ramlee. It is the... more on WikipediaAmazon_watch buy button
  • 3
    Rashomon
    29
    11

    Rashomon

    Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura

    Released1950

    Directed byAkira Kurosawa

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  • 4
    The Kid
    25
    10

    The Kid

    Bruce Lee, Feng Feng

    Released1950

    Directed byFeng Feng

    The Kid, also known as Kid Cheung and My Son A-Chang, is a 1950 Hong Kong drama film starring... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    The Hidden Fortress
    28
    13

    The Hidden Fortress

    Toshiro Mifune, Takashi Shimura

    Released1958

    Directed byAkira Kurosawa

    The Hidden Fortress is a 1958 jidaigeki film directed by Akira Kurosawa and starring Toshiro... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Samurai Vendetta
    21
    15

    Samurai Vendetta

    Shintaro Katsu, Ichikawa Raizō VIII

    Released1959

    Directed byKazuo Mori

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  • 7
    Tiger from Tjampa
    16
    12

    Tiger from Tjampa

    Wahid Chan, Nurnaningsih

    Released1953

    Directed byD. Djajakusuma

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  • 8
    Huang Fei Hong Vied for the Firecrackers at Huadi
    18
    16

    Huang Fei Hong Vied for the Firecrackers at Huadi

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  • 9
    Heroine of Deadly Darts
    13
    11

    Heroine of Deadly Darts

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  • 10
    The Five Heroes’ Deadly Spears
    14
    14

    The Five Heroes’ Deadly Spears

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  • 11
    Rickshaw Man
    10
    11

    Rickshaw Man

    Toshiro Mifune, Chishū Ryū

    Released1958

    Directed byHiroshi Inagaki

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  • 12
    Kung Pow! Enter the Fist
    10
    12

    Kung Pow! Enter the Fist

    Steve Oedekerk, Philip Kwok

    Released2002

    Directed bySteve Oedekerk

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  • 13
    How Huang Fei Hong Vanquished the 12 Lions
    10
    14

    How Huang Fei Hong Vanquished the 12 Lions

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  • 14
    How Shaolin Monastery was Reduced to Ashes
    11
    18

    How Shaolin Monastery was Reduced to Ashes

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  • 15
    The Boxer of Nanhai
    7
    12

    The Boxer of Nanhai

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  • 16
    The Silver World of Stardom
    4
    9

    The Silver World of Stardom

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