The Best Kung Fu Movies Of The 1980s

List Rules
Vote up your favorite martial arts films that were released in the 1980s

The best ‘80s kung fu movies, and other martial arts movies, embody the rugged individualism and spirit of the decade; a time when the most exciting films involved non-stop action and intense fight scenes. Many of these films are about one man taking a solo journey to defy the odds and defeat his enemies - and let’s not forget, getting the girl while he’s at it.

What are the top ‘80s kung fu and other martial arts movies? Jackie Chan's films dominated the silver screen in the 1980s and 1990s. In ‘85 he wrote, directed, and starred in Police Story, a film Chan would later say was his personal favorite. The film spawned several sequels, and kept Jackie Chan in the public eye throughout the ‘80s. For '80s martial arts stars, this decade was all about the hero's journey. Be it the underdog hero from the Karate Kid or the unstoppable powerhouse, Chuck Norris, audiences were treated to countless acts of individual bravery. You'll also find great kickboxing movies on this list as well.

If you’re familiar with ‘80s kung fu and other martial arts movies, you may know the work of legendary director Sammo Hung, a pioneer of the Hong Kong New Wave movement. Many of his classic films are featured on this list.

Vote up the best '80s kung fu and other martial arts films and vote down any that you think other fans should skip.

 

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  • Invasion U.S.A.
    26
    Chuck Norris, Richard Lynch, Melissa Prophet
    45 votes
    • Released: 1985
    • Directed by: Joseph Zito
    Retired CIA agent Matt Hunter (Chuck Norris) is forced back into the business when a villain from his past re-emerges. Soviet Mikhail Rostov (Richard Lynch), a terrorist whom Matt once caught, wants ...more

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    free

  • Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
    27
    Fred Ward, Joel Grey, Kate Mulgrew
    78 votes
    • Released: 1985
    • Directed by: Guy Hamilton
    A New York cop wakes up from a mysterious accident with a new identity. He finds himself in the employ of a secret unit which was set up to investigate a dangerous industrialist whose organization ...more

    Available On:

    free

  • American Ninja 2: The Confrontation
    28
    Michael Dudikoff, Gary Conway, Steve James
    29 votes
    • Released: 1987
    • Directed by: Sam Firstenberg
    American Ninja 2: The Confrontation is a 1987 action/adventure sequel starring Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, Jeff Weston, Gary Conway, Michelle Botes and Larry Poindexter. It was directed by Sam ...more

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    free

  • Five Element Ninjas
    29
    Michael Chan, Lo Mang, Ke Chu
    32 votes
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Chang Cheh
    Five Element Ninjas is a 1982 Shaw Brothers kung fu film directed by Chang Cheh. It was released in North America as Chinese Super Ninjas.
  • Pray for Death
    30
    Shô Kosugi, Michael Constantine, James Booth
    22 votes
    • Released: 1985
    • Directed by: Gordon Hessler
    Hoping for a simple life, Japanese family man Akira Saito (Shô Kosugi) moves his wife and two sons from Tokyo to Houston to open a restaurant. But beneath Akira's innocent exterior lies his secret ...more
  • Ninja III: The Domination
    31
    James Hong, Sho Kosugi, Lucinda Dickey
    27 votes
    • Released: 1984
    • Directed by: Sam Firstenberg
    Ninja III: The Domination is a 1984 film directed by Sam Firstenberg, and stars Sho Kosugi as Yamada, Lucinda Dickey as Christie, Jordan Bennett as Officer Billy Secord, and James Hong as Miyashima. ...more
  • Dragon Lord
    32
    Jackie Chan, Tien Feng, Mars
    42 votes
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Jackie Chan
    Dragon Lord is a 1982 Hong Kong martial arts film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the film. It was originally supposed to be a sequel to The Young Master and even had the ...more

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  • An Eye for an Eye
    33
    Chuck Norris, Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree
    37 votes
    • Released: 1981
    • Directed by: Steve Carver
    An Eye for an Eye is a 1981 American action film directed by Steve Carver, and starring Chuck Norris, Christopher Lee, Richard Roundtree, Matt Clark, Mako Iwamatsu, and Maggie Cooper.

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  • Silent Rage
    34
    Chuck Norris, Ron Silver, Steven Keats
    45 votes
    • Released: 1982
    • Directed by: Michael Miller
    A Texas sheriff (Chuck Norris) tries kung fu on an ax killer who, revived by doctors, cannot be killed.

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  • Gymkata
    35
    Richard Norton, Tadashi Yamashita, Tetchie Agbayani
    50 votes
    • Released: 1985
    • Directed by: Robert Clouse
    Gymkata is a 1985 martial arts film starring Olympic gymnast Kurt Thomas as Jonathan Cabot, an Olympic gymnast who combines his gymnastic ability with martial arts to enter a deadly competition in a ...more
  • Miracles
    36
    Jackie Chan, Anita Mui, Jacky Cheung Hok-yau
    38 votes
    • Released: 1989
    • Directed by: Jackie Chan
    Miracles is a 1989 Hong Kong action comedy film directed and written by Jackie Chan, who also starred in the lead role and worked as stunt co-ordinator. The film is set in 1930s Hong Kong and is a ...more
  • Nine Deaths of the Ninja
    37
    Vijay Amritraj, Sho Kosugi, Kane Kosugi
    21 votes
    • Released: 1985
    • Directed by: Emmett Alston
    Nine Deaths of the Ninja is a 1985 action/drama film written and directed by Emmett Alston.
  • American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt
    38
    Michael Dudikoff, David Bradley, Steve James
    23 votes
    • Released: 1989
    • Directed by: Cedric Sundstrom
    American Ninja 3: Blood Hunt is a 1989 martial arts action movie starring David Bradley, written by Gary Conway and directed by Cedric Sundstrom.

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  • Winners and Sinners
    39
    Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao
    31 votes
    • Released: 1983
    • Directed by: Sammo Hung
    Winners and Sinners is a 1983 Hong Kong action comedy film written and directed by Sammo Hung, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao. It was the first in the Lucky ...more
  • Avenging Force
    40
    Michael Dudikoff, Steve James, James Booth
    18 votes
    • Released: 1986
    • Directed by: Sam Firstenberg
    Avenging Force is a 1986 film directed by Sam Firstenberg. The screenplay was written by James Booth, who co-starred in the film. It is a sequel to the 1985 film Invasion U.S.A., which starred Chuck ...more