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The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies

Updated October 2, 2019 638 votes 310 voters 13.9k views20 items

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

'60s kung fu, and other martial arts movies, represent some of the best titles in Hong Kong action-cinema history. American films are conspicuously absent from this list, as Hong Kong and Taiwanese filmmakers churned out captivating tales of betrayal, revenge, and romance throughout the decade.


What are the best ‘60s kung fu and other martial arts movies? The 1960s saw a return to the wuxia style of film making - a style that had been politically suppressed in the 1930s and ‘40s. Wuxia films contain elements of fantasy, often set in historical Chinese epochs such as the Ming Dynasty, and involve using weapons in combat, such as swords, spears, and staffs. Shaw Brothers Studios, the venerated Hong Kong film production company, is responsible for many of the greatest ‘60s kung fu and other martial arts movies. Their in-house directors went on to produce countless genre classics. King Hu, a Shaw Brothers director, helmed the classic wuxia film Come Drink With Me, noted for its use of a strong female protagonist.

Another big name in Hong Kong cinema was Chang Cheh, director of The One-Armed Swordsman. This seminal film represented a shift in the wuxia style, leading to a trend of male antiheroes, violent swordplay, and extreme violence.

 


Eventually, the wuxia films of the 1960s gave way to the gritty kung fu films of the 1970s, but not before leaving an indelible legacy. The movies on this list proved highly influential to future generations of filmmakers, and there are plenty of good ‘60s kung fu and other martial arts movies to choose from. Help us rank this list by voting up your favorites. Are you a wuxia supporter, or more of a kung fu acolyte? Let us know what you think in the comment section!

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    Lo Lieh, Jimmy Wang
    44
    13

    Released1966

    Directed byChang Cheh

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    Jimmy Wang, Chung-Hsin Huang
    43
    16

    Released1967

    Directed byChang Cheh

    One-Armed Swordsman is a 1967 Hong Kong wuxia film produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio. Directed by Chang Cheh, it was the first of the new style of wuxia films emphasizing male anti-heroes, violent...  more
  • 4
    Tatsuya Nakadai, Eijirō Tōno
    36
    9

    Released1968

    Directed byKihachi Okamoto

    Kill! is a 1968 film directed by Kihachi Okamoto, written by Akira Murao, Kihachi Okamoto, and Shūgorō Yamamoto and starring Tatsuya Nakadai....  more
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    Jackie Chan, Cheng Pei-pei
    27
    10

    Released1966

    Directed bySammo Hung, King Hu

    Come Drink with Me is a 1966 Hong Kong wuxia film directed by King Hu. Set during the Ming Dynasty, it stars Cheng Pei-pei and Yueh Hua as warriors with Chan Hung-lit as the villain, and features...  more
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    24
    11

    Released1969

    Directed byChang Cheh

    Return of the One-Armed Swordsman, also known as One-Armed Swordsman Return, is a 1969 Hong Kong wuxia film directed by Chang Cheh and produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio. The film is a sequel to...  more
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  • 10
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  • 11
    David Chiang, Hark-On Fung
    16
    8

    Released1969

    Directed byChang Cheh

    Have Sword, Will Travel is a 1969 action, drama and mistery film written by Kuang Ni and directed by Cheh Chang....  more
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  • 12
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  • 13
    Sonny Chiba, Franz Gruber
    9
    5

    Released1966

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  • 14
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  • 16

    Released1961

    Directed byJoel Holt

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    5
    7

    Released1967

    Directed byMeng Hua Ho

    The Cave of the Silken Web is a 1967 film directed by Ho Meng Hua and produced by Shaw Brothers Studio in Hong Kong. The film is based on an episode of the novel Journey to the West. The film is the...  more
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