List of the Best Martial Arts Movies

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List of the Best Martial Arts Movies

Here is a list of the some of the best martial arts movies ever made. This list contains martial arts films seen as popular classics and/or highly rated by critics. Click on the titles of these famous martial arts films in order to see their movie trailers, basic storyline, rating from film review sites, etc. You should also visit our community section on "What movies inspired you to start martial arts training?".

Other Movie Sections

Most Popular or Highly Rated Martial Arts Movies (Not in Rank Order)

  • Bloodsport - A 1988 martial arts movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme. In this movie, Van Damme must fight a series of elite martial artists in the Kumite, an illegal martial arts competition.
  • Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon - A 2000 martial arts movie starring Chow Yun-Fat, Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi. When it was released, this martial arts movie became the highest-grossing foreign-language film in American history (as the movie was done in Mandarin).
  • Drunken Master - A 1978 martial movie starring Jackie Chan. In this martial arts film, a young man must learn the martial arts style of Drunken Fist Kung Fu (Zui Quan) in order to defeat an assassin.
  • Drunken Master 2 - A 1994 martial comedy starring Jackie Chan. This is a follow-on to the original Drunken Master.
  • Enter the Dragon - A 1973 martial arts movie starring Bruce Lee. This is one of Bruce Lee's best movies and is a highly popular Kung Fu movie.
  • Fearless - A 2006 martial arts movie starring Jet Li. In this martial arts movie, the Chinese hero fights foreign martial artists in order to help restore the country's pride.
  • Fist of Fury - A 1972 martial arts movie starring Bruce Lee. In this film, Bruce Lee plays a martial arts student who defends his master's honor against foreign aggressors.
  • Fist of Legend - A 1994 martial arts movie starring Jet Li. This martial arts movie is a remake of Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury.
  • Ip Man - A 2008 martial arts movie starring Donnie Yen. The movie focuses on the hero's use of Wing Chun to fight against Japanese occupiers of Foshan, China.
  • Ip Man 2 - A 2010 martial arts movie starring Donnie Yen.
  • Iron Monkey - A 1993 martial arts movie starring Donnie Yen. The plot revolves a doctor who steals from the rich in order to help the poor (a Chinese-version of Robin Hood).
  • Kill Bill - A 2003 martial arts movie starring David Carradine (famous for the Kung Fu TV series) and Uma Thurman. Uma Thurman is "The Bride" and is out for revenge.
  • The Karate Kid - A 1984 martial arts movie starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. This popular martial arts movie focused on a boy learning karate in order to defend himself against bullies.
  • Kung Fu Hustle - A 2004 martial arts comedy starring Stephen Chow.
  • Kung Fu Panda - A 2008 animated martial arts movie.
  • The Matrix - A 1999 martial arts movie starring Keanu Reeves. While this is a science fiction movie, it is also a wonderful martial movie. The hero, Neo, learns various martial arts in order to combat enemies in the computer generated "reality" of the matrix.
  • Once Upon A Time In China - A 1991 martial arts movie starring Jet Li. This film focuses on a fight against foreigners and local thugs who are terrorizing a Chinese city in the 19th century.
  • Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior - A 2003 martial arts movie starring Tony Jaa. It was a popular movie that revolved around Thai martial arts such as Muay Thai and Muay Boran.
  • Seven Samurai - A 1954 Japanese martial arts movie starring Toshiro Mifune. The plot revolves around a poor village that hires seven samurai to defend them against hundreds of bandits.
  • Tai Chi Master - A 1993 martial arts movie starring Jet Li. This film focuses on rebels versus an evil Governor and the eventually founding of Tai Chi.
  • 13 Assassins - A 2010 martial arts movie. The plot is focused on a group of samurai trying to bring down an evil lord who threatens the peace of Japan. Very bloody ending to the film.
  • The 36th Chamber of Shaolin - A 1978 martial arts film starring Gordon Liu. This film focuses on a young man who joins Shaolin Temple to learn Kung Fu and eventually defeat the Manchu oppressors.
  • Way of the Dragon - A 1972 martial arts movie starring Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. At the end of this martial arts movie, there is a famous martial arts showdown between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris - only one "survives".

Other Interesting or Noteworthy Martial Arts Movies

  • Above the Law - A 1998 movie starring Steven Seagal, a master in Aikido. This is Seagal's film debut.
  • Best of the Best - A 1989 martial arts movie focused on Taekwondo, misfit Americans and a powerful Korean team. This movie stars Phillip Rhee, James Earl Jones and Eric Roberts.
  • Billy Jack - A 1971 martial arts movie focused on a Hapkido expert fighting for Native American rights.
  • 5 Deadly Venoms - This is a classic Kung Fu movie where the fighters employ five different animal-based styles - centipede, lizard, scorpion snake and toad. It was filmed in 1978.
  • House of Flying Daggers - A highly-rated 2004 martial arts film with wonderful cinematography.
  • The Karate Kid (2010) - A 2010 martial arts movie with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. Decent movie but not as good as the original The Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio.
  • Kickboxer - A 1989 martial arts movie with a memorable scene of Jean-Claude Van Damme kicking a banana tree.
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist - A 2002 martial arts comedy that is a satire of classic martial arts movies.
  • The Protector - This 2005 martial arts film features Tony Jaa of Ong Bak fame.
  • The Raid - A 2011 Indonesian martial arts movie featuring a police squad that must escape an apartment building full of villains.
  • Return of the 36th Chamber - A 1980 martial arts comedy with Gordon Liu. In this film, the star learns "scaffolding" or construction Kung Fu in order to defend workers against evil overseers.
  • Rush Hour - A 1998 martial arts comedy starring Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker. Two detectives from Hong Kong and Los Angeles work together in order to rescue a kidnapped girl.
  • Sanjuro - A 1962 samurai movie starring Toshiro Mifune. This movie is seen as the sequel to Yojimbo.
  • Shaolin Soccer - A 2004 martial arts comedy that revolves around a soccer team comprised of misfit Shaolin Kung Fu experts. This page allows you to watch the complete movie for free via Hulu (but with Hulu ads).
  • The Tale of Zatoichi - This is a classic 1962 martial arts movie focused on a blind former samurai who is a master swordsman. The success of this movie generated numerous sequels. This page allows you to watch the complete movie for free via Hulu (but with Hulu ads).
  • Twilight Samurai - A 2002 samurai movie focused on a lowly samurai who cares deeply for his young daughters. A very tender movie.
  • Unleashed - This is a 2005 martial arts movie with jet Li as "Danny the Dog". When Jet Li is leashed, he is under control. When he is unleashed, watch out!
  • When The Last Sword Is Drawn - A 2003 samurai movie that focuses on a samurai willing to do anything for his family. This page allows you to watch the complete movie for free via Hulu (but with Hulu ads).
  • Yojimbo - This 1961 Japanese martial arts movie was the basis for Clint Eastwood's "A Fistful of Dollars". The movie starred Toshiro Mifune and was directed by Akira Kurosawa.

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