Ti Lung Top 5 Kung Fu Films Birthday Tribute

by Kim A. on August 19, 2016 · 1 comment in Buddhist Blog

Written by Kim A. and Kung Fu Bob (plus guest contributors)

The words most often used to describe Shaw Brothers kung fu acting legend Ti Lung (a.k.a. Tommy Tam Fu-Wing, Dick Loong, 狄龍) are majestic, regal, stoic, serious, and heroic. Indeed, his roles often feature characters that have these traits, but it is the charisma, energy, and dedication of the real man coming through which makes these fictional men come to such brilliant life. His first film role was in 1969’s Return of the One-Armed Swordsman, and he has appeared in over a hundred films since, many of them considered to be top classics within their respective genres. Yet, he shows no signs of stopping, recently starring in The Kid From The Big Apple (2016) for which he won “Best Actor” at the 7th Macau International Movie Festival (he can add it to his award collection alongside his Golden Horse and Asian Film Awards), and currently hosting, along with his son Shaun Tam Chun-yin, a weekly TV show “on maladies and remedies” called Health and Wealth on RTHK TV 31.


When it comes to kung fu movie performers we often get either a physically gifted, but not exceptional actor, or a great actor with mediocre action skills. Ti Lung is that rare individual that excels at both, and that is one of the reasons he’s a favorite of so many fans. He has a deep, soulful style of acting, and his real-life martial arts abilities include the study of Wing Chun, Tae Kwon Do, and others.


Although Ti has elevated many modern-day cinematic tales with his vibrant performances (1987’s A Better Tomorrow is a perfect example), we will be focusing exclusively on his kung fu films in this article. The idea to pay tribute to the man as he celebrates his 70th birthday (on August 19th) originated with Shaolin Chamber 36 contributor,  pro-writer, and Shaw Brothers fanatic Kim A. What better way to honor this stalwart actor and his massive career than to find out what his most beloved films are and discuss them a bit? So aside from our regular staff, we have also invited various industry people and fans to contribute their “Top 5 Favorite Ti Lung Kung Fu Movies” lists (some with comments), and at the end we will tell you which 5 ranked highest after all the votes were tallied up. A big thanks to Kim for brainstorming this project. We hope you enjoy it, and maybe read about some of Ti’s movies that you haven’t seen yet, but will want to.


Here we go. Ladies first… (and since it was her idea, we let Kim choose ten films instead of five!)

Kim A.

Journalist, SC36 staff writer, contributor to shawbrothersuniverse.com
SC36 articles:
Follow her on Twitter: @KymRoars

The martial artist who turned me onto the Wing Chun style is Shaw Brothers’ royalty Ti Lung. I soon discovered his wondrous skills with pole and bladed weapons, not to mention kicking too. Here is my list of favorite martial performances by the Lucky Dragon, Wing Chun and otherwise.

  • 1. The Delightful Forest (1971)

    Ti’s kicking skills and youthful energy are all over this violent version of Water Margin anti-hero Wu Sung’s antics in and out of prison and the title restaurant. Ti’s opening fight against Lau Kar Wing is terrific, as is his subsequent playful brawls again other Water Margin outlaws. He shows off the Mantis style Mandarin Duck Kick here (and would call back to this particular kick a few more times in his career.)

  • 2. Shaolin Temple (1976)

    Ti’s Cao Dezhong learns the Wing Chun fist set from an abbess, and boy, does he go to town on a tree and Wang Lung Wei’s traitorous student. Beautiful form and endlessly rewatchable.

  • 3. Shanghai 13 (1984)

    Ti Lung’s dock master (a.k.a. The Instructor) gives Quick Blade (Chen Tien-Chi) and Black Eagle (Chan Sing) (among others) a taste of his combat skills in this Sino war fight-fest from director Chang Cheh. It’s my belief that Ti worked with choreographers Lau Kar Wing (note the Mandarin Duck kick) and Chien Tien-Chi on this over 15-minute end fight. Chen Tien-Chi gives Ti Lung all kinds of neat moves to do and honors his pole weapons prowess by having the Instructor fight with a lead pipe against Quick Blade.  Everything Chen Tien-Chi throws at Ti Lung comes right back at him. Shanghai 13 is one of my kung fu blue blankets, and I utterly swoon over the mano-a-mano between Ti and Chen. 

  • 4. The Heroes (1980)

    Wu Ma’s terrific martial drama honors both his mentor Chang Cheh, and Ti Lung, who performs another beautiful demonstration of Wing Chun. Once again, Ti also shows off his accomplished pole weapon skills, this time with a Kwon Do. Seeing this display, it kills me that Ti never got to play Guan Yu (a famous historical general, still commonly worshipped with shrines to this day) during this time- a role he would’ve been perfect for.

  • 5. The Kung Fu Instructor (1979)

    Partner Ti with choreographer Tong Gai and you always get something special. Here, Ti performs some of his most magnificent staff work, along with other weapons and bare hands too. The celestial chair test is crazy and a joy to watch.

  • 6. The Spiritual Boxer (1975)

    Ti has a cameo in the opening scene as one of the real Spiritual Boxers training under martial holy man Yi Wo.  After his master anoints him with a charm of invulnerability, Ti’s boxer proceeds to mop the grounds of spearmen and easily slough off their attempts to stab him. In a performance that’s as much fun as it is otherworldly (Ti fully commits to being under Yi Wo’s mystical sway), Ti’s take on the invincible armor style is my most favorite of them all. I often replay this scene and imagine an entire movie featuring Ti, Chen Kuan-Tai, and Wilson Tong’s awesome nanwu. This sequence is 100% superhero to me, and I love it more with each viewing.

  • 7. Opium and the Kung Fu Master (1984)

    Choreographer par excellence Tong Gai’s third and last time in the director’s chair sees Ti Lung’s noble member of the Ten Tigers become addicted to Opium, and, while going cold turkey, relearn all of his kung fu. What makes this even more unique is the gentleman who plays the blind teacher (Tong Gai himself. I swear he is channeling Shintaro Katsu at times.)  In the title role, Ti Lung delivers one of his best performances as an actor and martial artist. You truly get the sense his fallen master has to relearn kung fu. His two fights against an equally splendid Chen Kuan-Tai (whose spear work and form are gorgeous) are as much about the characters as they are the fights. This aspect applies to most of Tong Gai’s choreography: the characters come through in their fight styles. 

  • 8. The Deadly Breaking Sword (1979)

    While I feel that in this, my favorite Shaw Brothers movie, the show is utterly stolen by Chan Wai-Man, Ti Lung’s insane sword style as the title character Tuan Chang-Qing, is a delight to watch. The spaghetti western showdown vibe of the opening and end fights (with their nods to Django), only make these addictive duels more entertaining with every rewatch.  In the opening contest, Ti looks like he’s almost floating when he rushes Chan Wai Man’s Lian San. Tuan keeps his sword sheathed until he’s ready to psyche out his opponent by partially revealing the blade. Then I note how Tuan must angle to break the blade into his opponent’s body. It’s a very arrogant style for the most snobby, stuck up jerk Ti Lung has ever played, and to me, Tuan’s swordplay technique is the perfect way of expressing this character trait. These maneuvers create one of the most fascinating and strange sword styles I’ve seen in a Shaw Brothers wuxia. Ti obviously had a lot of fun playing this character in every way, and you can see it in his acting and his duels. I love Tuan and not for the reason you may think. Ti Lung is so utterly pitch perfect as The Deadly Breaking Sword, I immediately defected to Lian San’s (dark) side. Dozens of viewings later, Lian San still has me in his pocket. Sorry, Tuan. 😉

  • 9. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

    I think I lost my collective marbles when I first saw Ti Lung’s Black Eagle Chik go to town with his 3-section metal staff.  I have yet to find those marbles once I realized that the man who injures Chik with his spear is Tong Gai. There are a lot of inventive fights and weapons in The Avenging Eagle, and when Chik wields his staff, you get a sense of how cold and unfeeling his assassin once was. 

  • 10. Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon (2008)

    It’s because of Guan Yu I found myself getting deeper into martial arts films. I was utterly delighted to discover Ti Lung portrayed the legendary man in this tweak on the youngest Five Tiger General from Three Kingdoms. Boasting the most unique and nasty looking Kwon Do I’ve seen portrayals of him wield, Ti’s mature aura immediately marks him as the General Guan. His pole work is quite good considering the tight space in which it’s utilized, and I love the fighting on horseback moments too. It saddens me Ti’s work here was merely a cameo. I actually believed he was Guan Yu and wanted to see more of his Kwon Do work, especially considering that he actually invented the weapon and it’s considered his trademark. Put a pole weapon in Ti Lung’s hands and he will wipe out the enemy. I just wish the director shot these fights more like filmmaker Sun Chung, allowing the viewer to see almost every stroke, parry, and strike. I’m spoiled now. I want a whole movie with Ti Lung’s Guan Yu. 
    Happy Birthday Sir!


TVP- The Vengeance Pack

German distributors of the excellent Shaw Brothers DVD/Blu-ray mediabook releases and all around kung fu cinema experts
And to order their releases:
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Five Shaolin Masters (1974)

  • 2. Delightful Forest (1972)

  • 3. The Blood Brothers (1973)

  • 4. The New One-Armed Swordsman (1971)

  • 5. King Eagle (1971)

Jay Lee

Hardcore Asian cinema fan, writer, martial artist
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Have Sword, Will Travel (1969)

    The first of the Chiang/Lung team-ups and one of the best.)

  • 2. The Duel (1971)

    Another memorable effort from the Chiang/Lung double act.

  • 3. The Delightful Forest (1972)

    Very underrated and very bloody solo vehicle for Lung.

  • 4. The Kung Fu Instructor (1979)

    Some great pole work with Lung in a master role.

  • 5. The Heroic Ones (1970)

    Even in a huge ensemble cast, Lung shines and makes his mark.

Kung Fu Bob O'Brien

Artist, SC36 writer/editor, admin of Kung Fu Fandom Forum, nunchaku beast
Instagram / Twitter: @kungfubobsart
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. The Delightful Forest (1972)

    Okay, so this doesn’t sound like the title of an exciting kung fu action drama, but I assure you, it is. Perhaps a better title for it would have been Hero Under Lockdown. Not only is this one of my favorite Ti Lung films, but also one of my favorite Shaw Brothers flicks. Kim already gave you the basic idea of the story, so I’ll just say that this is one of my go-to movies when I want to see a serious kung fu climax. Any time a movie ends with the hero writing a message in his own blood on a wall already splattered with the gore of his fallen enemies, you know you’ve just seen Hong Kong Cinema at its best.

  • 2. Blade of Fury (1993)

    Ti Lung only has a brief action scene in this movie, but this is one of my favorite roles of his. He plays Tan Si-Tung, a character that seems as deep and soulful as Ti is himself. His performance is moving and unforgettable.

  • 3. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

    This is the first film of his that I saw, and I never tire of watching it. The emotional journey that the character takes makes seeing him tear through his enemies, most of them his former comrades, all the more powerful. It doesn’t hurt that he’s teamed up with Alexander Fu Sheng and that Ti dishes out a lot of his vengeance using a shiny silver three-section staff.

  • 4. The Duel (1971)

    This is the perfect film for those who wonder why Ti Lung, David Chiang, and director Chang Cheh were referred to as “The Iron Triangle”. If you’re wondering what the big deal is with these guys’ collaborations, this is a terrific place to start. Big emotions, brotherhood, betrayal, kung fu rumbles, tragedy, and a bloody battle in the rain. Fantastic!

  • 5. The Shaolin Prince (1983)

    Though Ti was a little old at the time to be playing a young naive student (37), he commits himself well to the part, and shows quite a range of everything from slapstick comedy to hardcore, no-nonsense kung fu action. A thoroughly entertaining film from start to finish, with a great villain, engaging story, and a winning performance from Ti.

Raymond Farrell

Hong Kong film fanatic, master poster/autograph collector, father of future Fu masters
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Soul of the Sword (1978)

    He plays such an odd and unlikeable character. Cold and ruthless in his quest for fame.

  • 2. Opium and the Kung Fu Master (1984)

    A great showcase for Ti Lung’s acting and action credentials. Top notch villain in Chen Kuan-Tai, and great direction by the underrated Tong Chia.

  • 3. Vengeance! (1970)

    Couldn’t not have a Chang Cheh film, and what a film. Bloody, operatic, and filled with the motifs of Chang’s repertoire. In short, a masterpiece.

  • 4. Shaolin Prince (1983)

    Funny, action packed, intrigue, Tong Chia directing again… and Ti Lung and Derek Yee work nice together. Top film.

  • 5. The Magic Blade (1976)

    I love Chor Yuen’s collaborations with Ti Lung, but this is by far my favorite (followed by Clans of Intrigue). Ti Lung is like a Chinese Man with no name here. Nice twisty turny plot. Great production values. Chor Yuen’s wuxia regularly depict the soulless swordsman’s struggle to attain greatness in the martial world, and usually at the expense of all around them. This may be the best example of that. Plus, that sword! And oh what a poster!


James Durham

Webmaster of SoReelFlix.com, reviewer, killer shelf maker, rumored ninja

At first I thought I couldn’t put five Ti Lung films in order from 1 to 5, but I’ve managed it. Two “Tiger films”, one which was the first time I’d seen Ti Lung, and the other one being the last Ti Lung film I’ve seen /added to my collection of his films. It was hard picking just five from the great filmography Ti Lung has, and what is missing from my list, I’m hoping to see in others’ lists.

Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Ten Tigers of Kwantung (1979)

    The first film that introduced me to the “Legend of Screen Action”, star Ti Lung, was when I was on the hunt for anything dealing with the “Venom Mob”. This was at the start of my old school Asian action film discoveries, and Ti Lung starred alongside many of the kung fu stars that I like in this action-filled movie, totally kicking ass. Not only the first film I’ve seen with Ti Lung, but also my favorite.

  • 2. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

    Coming in at number two is this Ti Lung weapons-filled film that echoes the style of a Japanese samurai film in its plot, but action-wise it’s a Shaw Brothers classic all the way, filled with a ton of action featuring multiple fighters and various weapons. You’ve got to have this one in your collection.

  • 3. The Duel (1971)

    Number three has to be this film starring both Ti Lung and David Chiang, who starred alongside each other in a bunch of films I enjoy. This one comes to mind due to the fun knife action and the chemistry between both Ti and Chiang.

  • 4. The Blood Brothers (1973)

    Number four will have to be this guy here, starring a cast I love. Not only do we have the great Ti Lung alongside David Chiang, but we also get another star, this being my introduction to him; an actor named Chen Kuan-Tai. Having these three guys fighting side by side, three versus a hundred dudes with swords… who wins? But hey, we have a big twist, and a story that runs through via a flashback.

  • 5. Tiger Killer (1982)

    The latest Ti Lung film I’ve viewed was a pleasant surprise. Connected to the Chinese literary epic Water Margin story, as do a few other Ti Lung films, I feel this one may be underrated. The film doesn’t have a ton of action, playing mostly as a drama, but we do get to see Ti fighting a real tiger! What stands out for me is the energetic role laid out on the screen by Ti, running through an interesting story.

    Happy Birthday Ti Lung!

Ariel Jade 'The Hidden Master'

Fu film enthusiast /writer, mother of future kung fu master
Founder of the Official Philip Kwok Facebook page:

(in no particular order)

Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Shaolin Prince (1983)

  • 2. Five Shaolin Masters (1974)

  • 3. Flying Guillotine, Part II (1978)

  • 4. Shaolin Temple (1976)

  • 5. The Blood Brothers (1973)


SC36 staff writer, student, Asian film lover
SC36 articles:
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Opium and The Kung Fu Master (1984)

    Awesome kung fu movie. The anti-Drunken Master in some ways, showing how drug use ruins the martial spirit. Great acting and fighting by Ti Lung.

  • 2. Shanghai 13 (1984)

    All-star classic with high quality and quantity of action. Ti Lung shows up and kicks ass, contributing both to the star power and action power of this gem.

  • 3. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

    Great acting by Ti Lung who has excellent chemistry with Fu Sheng. Quality action and an engaging story.

  • 4. Shaolin Prince (1983)

    Maybe the most action packed film to star Ti Lung. Nonstop kung fu action from start to finish. The second Tong Gaai film on my list (he knows how to choreograph inventive fight scenes).

  • 5. Drunken Master II (1994)

    Maybe not the best “Ti Lung film” among the choices given, but quite possibly the “best kung fu movie on the list that happens to have Ti Lung in the cast”. Ti Lung’s role is great though.



Founder/designer/Abbot of SC36 and 36 Styles Apparel, admin of Kung Fu Fandom Forum, writer, web designer, DJ, kung fu film enthusiast, tech expert, excellent partner
SC36 articles:
36 Styles Apparel:
nstagram: @shaolinchamber36 / @36styles
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Shaolin Prince (1983)

  • 2. The Magic Blade (1976)

  • 3. Shaolin Temple (1976)

  • 4. The Savage 5 (1974)

  • 5. The Kung Fu Instructor (1979)

Mike Fury

Movie journalist, martial artist, stuntman, action choreographer, book author
Life of Action: Interviews With the Men and Women of Martial Arts and Action Cinema, book: http://mikefury.net/lifeofaction/

Ti Lung is an action icon in the truest sense. In fact, listing his best kung fu flicks is extremely tough because there are so many greats,  just as you’d expect from someone whose career was forged at the iconic Shaw Brothers studios. I also happen to love his later action and gunplay movies so it’s a shame to leave them out in any list. A Better Tomorrow (1986) is my number one John Woo film, and City War (1988) is still great, but these were the rules! For anyone exploring his wuxia work for the first time, or even seasoned fans going back through the vaults, here are my personal choices from his kung fu repertoire. Again, there are so many out there, but hopefully this covers varied ground. Hats off to the main man on his birthday!

Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. The Deadly Duo (1971)

    In this undisputed classic, Ti Lung and David Chiang lead a mission during the Sung Dynasty to rescue a kidnapped prince. Perhaps the leanest and most action-heavy of their team-ups with Chang Cheh, it boasts some exceptionally inventive fights and use of weaponry courtesy of genre master Lau Kar-Leung. 

  • 2. Blood Brothers (1973)

    Based on a historical scandal during the Ching Dynasty, this serves an unusually rich, complex narrative alongside the intense action one might expect. Plus, Ti Lung won Special Award for Outstanding Performance at the Golden Horse Awards for his role.

  • 3. The Sentimental Swordsman (1977)

    Full of colorful characters and surreal plot-twists, this remains a solid entry in the Shaw Brothers vaults, even becoming one of their highest grossing films and spawning various sequels. Looking back now, it paves the gap between earlier Kung Fu flicks and the later “Wire Fu” of the new wave, making it all the more relevant. 

  • 4. The Shanghai 13 (1984)

    An epic ensemble casts heads up this story of patriots vs traitors in 1920s Shanghai. The all-star lineup includes Andy Lau, Jimmy Wang Yu, Chen Kuan-Tai, Danny Lee, Leung Kar-Yan and, of course, Ti Lung, plus many more. By no means the strongest plot, it’s still a real blast and treat for old time fans, like a Kung Fu Expendables.

  • 5. Drunken Master II (1994)

    Still a major highlight from Jackie Chan’s immense career, with a distinguished Ti Lung in co-star billing. As evidence of its crossover appeal, the movie was named one of the top 100 films of all time by Time Magazine, plus it earned numerous awards including Best Action at the Hong Kong Film Awards. 


Martin Sandison

Freelance journalist, student of film and media, occasional SC36 contributor, cityonfire.com staff writer
SC36 article:
CoF Articles:
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

    My favorite Ti Lung performance.

  • 2. The Heroic Ones (1970)

    Large-scale SB action at its best.

  • 3. Shaolin Prince (1983)

    Insane fight-packed fantasy.

  • 4. Drunken Master 2 (1994)

    A stoic, nuanced performance as Wong Kei-Ying.

  • 5. Shaolin Temple (1976)

    My favorite of the Shaolin cycle movies.

Ken Hashibe

Student, SC36 staff writer, die-hard kung fu film fan
SC36 articles/reviews:
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

    One of the few kung fu movies where the story is on par (if not superior) to the fight scenes. It also features one of Ti Lung’s best performances.

  • 2. The New One Armed Swordsman (1971)

    Easily my favorite film from the One-Armed Swordsman trilogy.

  • 3. The Magic Blade (1976)

  • 4. The Kung Fu Instructor (1979)

  • 5. Shaolin Prince (1983)


Film lover, Webmaster/writer/creator of cityonfire.com, supreme graphic designer, suspected former Bruce Lee-alike
CoF articles:
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Vengeance! (1970)

    SpoilersWithin the first 12 minutes, Ti Lung is a mess, sliced up with his eyes poked out. He dies after taking out several enemies. But still, one of the best Shaw flicks he’s appeared in. The title says it all (for David Chiang’s character). 

  • 2. Five Shaolin Masters (1974)

    Ti Lung in an all-star cast! Director Chan Cheh breaks up the narrative by showing what happens to each of the five heroes after splitting up. This makes the film seem more fast-paced, and also increases the action quotient.

  • 3. The Duel (1971)

    The Godfather meets early Shaw Brothers heroic bloodshed (by way of knives, instead of Tommy Guns). One of Ti Lung’s and David Chiang’s coolest roles together.

  • 4. The New One-Armed Swordsman (1971)

    Film doesn’t start getting good until Fung (Ti Lung) shows up. This is where the party really starts (and when you realize you don’t miss Jimmy Wang Yu as much as you thought you did). 

  • 5. The Angry Guest (1972)

    Feels more like a down ‘n dirty Golden Harvest exploitation flick (i.e., “Stoner”) than your average Chang Cheh joint. Complete with ultra-violence, cheesy gadgets, vehicle chases, cheap Bond-ish set designs, colorful villains (Bolo at his hippest), and a raunchy sex scene that titty-squeezers will get a kick out of!


Super fan, kung fu and Asian film collector of the Gods
On-line movie store:
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. The Kung-Fu Instructor (1979)

  • 2. Opium and the Kung-Fu Master (1984)

  • 3. The Deadly Breaking Sword (1979)

  • 4. The Heroes (1980)

  • 5. Ten Tigers of Kwantung (1979)

Karlos Newton

Film and comic-book lover, author, SC36 writer/reviewer, soaring eagle
SC36 articles/reviews:
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Shaolin Temple (1976)

    My favorite Ti Lung MA film, my favorite of Chang Cheh’s Shaolin cycle, and one of my all-time favorite films –  period.  Ti Lung is pure ice-cold commanding charisma in this, with a truly amazing cast of Shaw’s finest to back him up. The film ratchets up the tension until the phenomenal battle where our Shaolin heroes face off against the Qing army in a dazzling display of newly acquired skills.  Just wonderful stuff, and I’m pretty sure George Lucas got the idea of Yoda from Ng Mui…

  • 2. The Duel (1971)

    Adrenaline fuelled lunacy with my numero uno pairing of the Dream Team, Ti Lung and his blood brother David Chiang.  With a body count through the roof, Chang Cheh mixes ultraviolence with his other trademark, doomed brotherly love, whilst every frame drips with style, Lung and Chiang shot as if they were the two most awesome cats on the planet.  And they probably were.

  • 3. Five Shaolin Masters (1974)

    Great prequel to Shaolin Temple. “Ma Fu Yi! You traitor!”  Once again, great cast, tremendous action and a strong story help this one to stand out.

  • 4. The Magic Blade (1976)

    A wonderful Clint Eastwood impression from Ti Lung, the unforgettable titular weapon, crazy characters and never ending action. What more do you need?

  • 5. Swordsman and Enchantress (1978)

    Nutty story from Gu Long, a great central relationship between the two main characters; Ti Lung brings the thunder and a real sweetness.  The only Shaw Brothers film that made me well up.


Andy Gorham

Kung fu/action film and comic-book fanatic,  jujutsu master, full-time cool dad
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

  • 2. The Magic Blade (1976)

  • 3. The Blood Brothers (1973)

  • 4. Ten Tigers of Kwangtung (1979)

  • 5. Vengeance! (1970)

Brian 'The Dragon' Smith

Bruce Lee expert/super fan, Asian cinema lover, boxing instructor, cool dude
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Opium and the Kung Fu Master (1984)

    Ti Lung, after over a decade of hits, returns in this tale of redemption, and showing why he was one of Shaw’s best leading action stars, ever.

  • 2. The Duel (1971)

    Ti Lung along with David Chiang, in the film that was my introduction to this dynamic duo. I loved the setting: rival clans with betrayal and love at the heart. Very heroic.

  • 3. The Magic Blade (1976)

    This is the Eastern version of Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name” character, and no better actor to hold this role than Mr. Ti Lung. It’s also no surprise this character shows up in other stories as he was very popular.  

  • 4. The Delightful Forest (1972)

    Surprisingly, I’d never enjoyed the pleasure of this classic until the Celestial remastered release in recent years; now, it’s one of my top three Ti Lung films. This action-filled movie is both funny and violence-filled at the same time. I loved the part where Wu Sung said “We must stop at every tea house and drink…” That was great stuff.

  • 5. The Blood Brothers (1973)

    Ma Hsin-Yi.  One name. This is, to me, Ti Lung’s breakout role, and made me say there’s only one other actor I like at this same level of performance: Bruce Lee. Ti’s intensity as the ambitious Ma resonates throughout the film, until it’s dramatic end. The reason why you know his performance was outstanding?  Though he was a villain, you still either rooted for him in the end, or at least still had empathy for his character.

    All these films are my Ti Lung go-to epics, even though I enjoy mostly everything he’s done, including films like A Better Tomorrow. He’s a great, legendary, artist. We’ve been lucky to have him.


Life-long film fan and collector
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Savage Five (1974)

  • 2. The Magic Blade (1976)

  • 3. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

  • 4. The Kung Fu Instructor (1979)

  • 5. Shanghai 13 (1984)


Paul Bramhall

cityonfire.com staff writer, teacher, author, world traveler, film programmer, Asian film nut, Korean cinema expert, final scorer
Cof articles/reviews:
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. The Magic Blade (1976)

    Imagine a spaghetti western styled wuxia, with a bearded and poncho adorned Ti Lung wielding a blade that spins on cue, and what you have is director Chu Yuan’s masterful 1976 interpretation of Ku Lung’s martial arts novel. Throw in characters like the Devil Grandma, and The Magic Blade has Ti Lung in what’s arguably one of his most iconic roles.

  • 2. The Duel (1971)

    My favorite of the “Iron Triangle” movies, Chang Cheh excels at both the themes of brotherhood and the level of bloodshed in this early ’70s production. Whereas (Spoiler Alert:) Vengeance! killed Ti Lung’s character far too early, leaving the blood splattered dagger action to David Chiang, The Duel has them sharing equal billing, leading to an epic finale that checks all the boxes.

  • 3. The Avenging Eagle (1978)

    Any movie directed by Sun Chung is usually worth a look, but when it also gives us Ti Lung as an assassin struggling with his conscious, then you pretty much have a must-see. Perfectly paired with Alexander Fu Sheng, Ti Lung masterfully wields a three-section staff, and Chung even experiments with some rudimentary bullet time style FX just for good measure!

  • 4. The Blood Brothers (1973)

    A personal favorite of mine, as it was the second Shaw Brothers movie I ever saw, after breaking my cherry with Heroes Two.  Ti Lung did so well in his role, playing a general who succumbs to his own greedy desires, that he won an award.  Throw in regular co-star David Chiang and Chen Kuan-Tai, and The Blood Brothers is hard to go wrong with.  

  • 5. Shaolin Prince (1983)

    After more than a decade of starring in Chang Cheh blood baths or honorable wuxia’s, Ti Lung thoroughly mixed things up by starring as the titular character in choreographer-turned-director Tong Gaai’s wacky kung-fu comedy Shaolin Prince.  Insane from start to finish, the film shows a side of Lung that we rarely got to see over the years.


Kung fu and samurai cinema madman, diver, illustrator/sculptor/photographer/musician, friend to the animals, top-notch teacher
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Tiger Killer (1982)

  • 2. The Magic Blade (1976)

  • 3. The Duel (1971)

  • 4. The Blood Brothers (1973)

  • 5. Avenging Eagle (1978)

Scott 'Asmo' Finch

Representing Asian cinema fandom Down Under, music maniac, kung fu practitioner, voice of reason amongst the madness
Click For Top 5 List
  • 1. Vengeance! (1970)

    This film delivers on the title. A lot of bloodshed suspended around an intriguing story. I almost feel like this was a precursor to Chang’s later films. Both Ti Lung and David Chiang performed admirably.

  • 2. The Blood Brothers (1973)

    A tale of brotherhood, full of complexity and unique turns. The characters are fleshed out quite well (perhaps because it was a historical drama) and while the three leads are equal, I feel that Ti’s character rises above.

  • 3. The Magic Blade (1976)

    To be number one. A story we’re all familiar with, told using jianghu as a backdrop. The pursuit of ultimate swordsmanship, set alongside a stoic hero coupled with lost love. Ti Lung’s character resembles many archetypal heroes of Westerns, but he puts his own spin on it, and is his own man throughout.

  • 4. Opium and the Kung Fu Master (1984)

    The master lost in the throes of addiction. A relatively unfamiliar (but perhaps all too real) tale. Ti Lung manages to convey the reality of addiction here. This is the film out of these five that I’ve seen most recently, but even if I go for a time without viewing it, it sticks in my head.

  • 5. Drunken Master II (1994)

    In many ways, the end of an era (or a tip of the hat to a golden age). Ti Lung puts all of his experience to use here, playing a great (if stern) father figure to Jackie’s Wong Fei-Hung. Wonderful to see him directed by Lau Kar-Leung one last time.


Kung fu brothers and sisters, after all the votes were tallied up, and according to the fans, these are…

The Top 5 Ti Lung Kung Fu Films

  1. The Avenging Eagle
  2. The Magic Blade
  3. Shaolin Prince
  4. The Blood Brothers
  5. Opium and the Kung Fu Master

(and for those that “just gots to know”…)

  1. The Duel
  2. Delightful forest
  3. Kung Fu Instructor
  4. Vengeance!
  5. Shaolin Temple


To all the people that took time out of their busy schedules to write and send in their lists, a great big thank you for contributing to this article. You all helped make it something special,  and we really appreciate it. Congratulations to SoReelFlix’s  James Durham- you won our “Contributor’s Drawing” and will receive a free 36 Styles THE MAGIC BLADE T-shirt!


Acknowledgements to the following sites and articles:



All photos (excluding the first two) are courtesy of Celestial Pictures LTD

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