24 Best Kung Fu Movies of All Time

Here’s Complex’s definitive round-up of all those whose kicks were fast as lightning. From 'Kung Fu Panda' to 'Fist of Fury,' these are the best kung fu movies.

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If you are a fan of Kung Fu movies, you know that it doesn’t start with high kicks and karate chops. It actually starts with “jacket on, jacket off.” Kung Fu is about dedication and hard work. It takes patience to become a master of anything. 

Starting in the 1970s and continuing steadily onwards, kung fu has remained an international cinematic interest, giving rise to three main stars. Bruce Lee is the ideal—a man with equal parts intense charisma and blindingly quick movies. Jet Li is the empty vessel—a man with a blandly benevolent personality, but who moves with unrivaled grace and power. And Jackie Chan is the comedian—a man who gets laughs first for his gleeful goofiness, then out of disbelief for the batshit stunts he completes. 

Kung fu is a very specific form of violence. Grounded in the pacifist, naturalist worldview of Buddhism, it requires discipline, patience and most of all, strength—mentally, to know when to use it, and physically, to act effectively when the time comes. Masters of kung fu tend to be reluctant fighters because they know violence usually begets more of the same.


When was the last time you saw a great movie? Better question, when was the last time you heard of a Kung Fu movie coming out? It’s been a minute, right? Sometimes we have to go back to what we know. If this list makes you want to search on Netflix for a good Kung Fu movie, then we have done our part. Here are the 24 Best Kung Fu Movies Of All Time

24. Kung Fu Panda (2008)

Kung Fu Panda

23. The Big Boss (1971)

The Big Boss

22. The One-Armed Swordsman (1967)

One Armed Swordsman

21. Master of the Flying Guillotine (1976)

Master of the Flying Guillotine

20. Tai Chi Master (1993)

Tai Chi Master

19. Wheels on Meals (1984)

Wheels on Meals

18. The Five Deadly Venoms (1978)

Five Deadly Venoms

17. Once Upon a Time in China (1991)

Once Upon a Time in China

16. The Shaolin Temple (1982)

shaolin temple

15. The Grandmaster (2013)

The Grandmaster

14. Fist of Fury (1972)

Fists of Fury

13. Fist of Legend (1994)

Fist of Legend

12. The Prodigal Son (1981)

Prodigal Son

11. The Way of the Dragon (1972)

The Way of the Dragon

10. Police Story (1985)

Police Story

9. Warriors Two (1978)

Warriors Two

8. Shaolin Soccer (2001)

Shaolin Soccer

7. The Legend of Drunken Master (1994)

Legend of Drunken Master

6. Iron Monkey (1993)

Iron Monkey

5. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)

36 Chamber of Shaolin

4. Enter the Dragon (1973)

Enter the Dragon

3. Kung Fu Hustle (2004)

Kung Fu Hustle

2. Ip Man (2008)

Ip Man

1. Kill Bill Vol 1&2 (2003-2004)

kill bill

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