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.