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The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated October 2, 2019 415 votes 276 voters 11.1k views 20 items

List Rules Vote 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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list ordered by
1
The One-Armed Swordsman ... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Jimmy Wang, Chung-Hsin Huang, Lisa Chiao Chiao

Released: 1967

Directed by: Chang 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, ...more
2
Come Drink with Me is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Jackie Chan, Cheng Pei-pei, Elliot Ngok

Released: 1966

Directed by: Sammo 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 ...more

More Come Drink with Me 

#64 of 67 Movies with the Most Hardcore Women #59 of 413 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies

3
Return of the One-Armed ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Jimmy Wang, Tien Feng, Lisa Chiao Chiao

Released: 1969

Directed by: Chang 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 ...more

More Return of the One-Armed Swordsman 

#177 of 413 The All-Time Greatest Martial Art Movies #54 of 131 The Best Wuxia Movies

4
The Invincible Fist is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
5
Dragon Inn is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Dragon Inn
6
The Magnificent Trio is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
The Magnificent Trio Lo Lieh, Jimmy Wang, Chan Hung-lit

Released: 1966

Directed by: Chang Cheh

7
The Steel Edge of Reveng... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
The Steel Edge of Revenge
8
Kill! is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Tatsuya Nakadai, Eijirō Tōno, Tadao Nakamaru

Released: 1968

Directed by: Kihachi Okamoto

Kill! is a 1968 film directed by Kihachi Okamoto, written by Akira Murao, Kihachi Okamoto, and Shūgorō Yamamoto and starring Tatsuya Nakadai.
9
Trail Of The Broken Blad... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Trail Of The Broken Blade
10
Ninja 2 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
11
ninja 5 is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
ninja 5
12
Karate: The Hand of Deat... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Karate: The Hand of Death Frank Blaine

Released: 1961

Directed by: Joel Holt

13
ninja 3 is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
ninja 3
14
Quick Draw Okatsu is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies

Released: 1969

Directed by: Nobuo Nakagawa

15
The Cobra is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
The Cobra
16
Female Demon Ohyaku is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Female Demon Ohyaku
17
Terror Beneath the Sea ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Terror Beneath the Sea Sonny Chiba, Franz Gruber, Mike Daneen

Released: 1966

18
Have Sword Will Travel ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
David Chiang, Hark-On Fung, Miao Ching

Released: 1969

Directed by: Chang Cheh

Have Sword, Will Travel is a 1969 action, drama and mistery film written by Kuang Ni and directed by Cheh Chang.
19
The Cave of the Silken W... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Chien Yu, Fan Ho, Wu Wei

Released: 1967

Directed by: Meng 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 ...more
20
Fencing Master is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '60s Kung Fu Movies
Fencing Master