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The Best Kung Fu Movies of the 1980s

Updated July 8, 2019 3.2k votes 528 voters 22.0k views42 items

List RulesVote 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.

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 be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section!  

 

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  • 1
    Bloodsport
    157
    45

    Bloodsport

    Jean-Claude Van Damme, Forest Whitaker

    Released1988

    Directed byNewt Arnold

    Bloodsport is a 1988 American martial arts film directed by Newt Arnold, and starring... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    The Karate Kid
    141
    53

    The Karate Kid

    Elisabeth Shue, Ralph Macchio

    Released1984

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

    The Karate Kid is a 1984 American martial arts romantic drama film directed by John G.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Kickboxer
    118
    37

    Kickboxer

    Jean-Claude Van Damme, Lau Kar-wing

    Released1989

    Directed byDavid Worth, Mark DiSalle

    Kickboxer is a 1989 American martial arts film produced and directed by Mark DiSalle, and... more on Wikipedia

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  • 4
    Big Trouble in Little China
    129
    51

    Big Trouble in Little China

    Kurt Russell, Kim Cattrall

    Released1986

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

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  • 5
    Best of the Best
    96
    36

    Best of the Best

    James Earl Jones, Eric Roberts

    Released1989

    Directed byRobert Radler, Bob Radler

    Best of the Best is a 1989 American martial arts film directed by Bob Radler, and produced by... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    The Last Dragon
    93
    49

    The Last Dragon

    William H. Macy, Vanity

    Released1985

    Directed byMichael Schultz

    The Last Dragon is a 1985 martial arts musical film produced by Rupert Hitzig for Berry Gordy... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Police Story
    70
    39

    Police Story

    Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh

    Released1985

    Directed byJackie Chan

    Police Story is a 1985 Hong Kong action film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    No Retreat, No Surrender
    69
    41

    No Retreat, No Surrender

    Jean-Claude Van Damme, Kim Tai-chung

    Released1986

    Directed byCorey Yuen

    No Retreat, No Surrender is a 1986 American martial arts film directed by Corey Yuen in his... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    The Karate Kid, Part II
    74
    46

    The Karate Kid, Part II

    Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita

    Released1986

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

    The Karate Kid, Part II is a 1986 American martial arts film. A sequel to 1984's The Karate... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    American Ninja
    70
    44

    American Ninja

    Michael Dudikoff, Tadashi Yamashita

    Released1985

    Directed bySam Firstenberg

    American Ninja is a 1985 ninja action film produced by Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus's Cannon... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    Police Story 2
    49
    37

    Police Story 2

    Jackie Chan, Maggie Cheung

    Released1988

    Directed byJackie Chan

    Police Story 2 is a 1988 Hong Kong action crime comedy film written, directed by and starring... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Wheels on Meals
    44
    32

    Wheels on Meals

    Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung

    Released1984

    Directed bySammo Hung

    Wheels on Meals is a 1984 Hong Kong martial arts comedy film written and directed by Sammo... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Cyborg
    48
    40

    Cyborg

    Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dayle Haddon

    Released1989

    Directed byAlbert Pyun

    Cyborg, known in the UK as Cyborg 009, is a 1989 American martial-arts science fiction film... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    The Karate Kid, Part III
    51
    45

    The Karate Kid, Part III

    Ralph Macchio, Pat Morita

    Released1989

    Directed byJohn G. Avildsen

    The Karate Kid, Part III is a 1989 martial arts film, and the second sequel to the hit motion... more on Wikipedia

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  • 15
    Blind Fury
    45
    37

    Blind Fury

    Rutger Hauer, Terry O'Quinn

    Released1990

    Directed byPhillip Noyce

    Blind Fury is a 1989 American samurai/action film written by Charles Robert Carner and... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    The Young Master
    33
    27

    The Young Master

    Jackie Chan, Yuen Biao

    Released1980

    Directed byJackie Chan

    The Young Master is a 1980 Hong Kong martial arts film written and directed by Jackie Chan,... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Above the Law
    25
    17

    Above the Law

    Sharon Stone, Steven Seagal

    Released1988

    Directed byAndrew Davis

    Above the Law is a 1988 American action film written, produced and directed by Andrew Davis,... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Lone Wolf McQuade
    38
    34

    Lone Wolf McQuade

    Chuck Norris, David Carradine

    Released1983

    Directed bySteve Carver

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  • 19
    Enter the Ninja
    40
    38

    Enter the Ninja

    Franco Nero, Christopher George

    Released1981

    Directed byMenahem Golan

    Enter the Ninja is a 1981 martial arts film directed by Menahem Golan and starring Franco... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Revenge of the Ninja
    32
    27

    Revenge of the Ninja

    Professor Tanaka, Sho Kosugi

    Released1983

    Directed bySam Firstenberg

    Revenge of the Ninja is an action film starring Sho Kosugi as a ninja. It is considered part... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    The Octagon
    33
    29

    The Octagon

    Chuck Norris, Lee Van Cleef

    Released1980

    Directed byEric Karson

    The Octagon is a 1980 action film starring Chuck Norris, Karen Carlson and Lee Van Cleef. It... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Armour of God
    31
    29

    Armour of God

    Jackie Chan, Carina Lau

    Released1986

    Directed byEric Tsang, Jackie Chan

    Armour of God is a 1986 Hong Kong action film written and directed by Jackie Chan, who also... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    The Big Brawl
    27
    25

    The Big Brawl

    Jackie Chan, José Ferrer

    Released1980

    Directed byRobert Clouse

    The Big Brawl, also known as Battle Creek Brawl, is a 1980 martial arts film which marked... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    American Ninja 2: The Confrontation
    17
    12

    American Ninja 2: The Confrontation

    Michael Dudikoff, Gary Conway

    Released1987

    Directed bySam Firstenberg

    American Ninja 2: The Confrontation is a 1987 action/adventure sequel starring Michael... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Project A
    34
    38

    Project A

    Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung

    Released1983

    Directed bySammo Hung, Jackie Chan

    Project A is a 1983 Hong Kong martial arts action comedy film written and directed by Jackie... more on Wikipedia