Happy 40th anniversary to Bruce Lee’s ‘Enter the Dragon’

Enter the Dragon is the granddaddy of all martial-arts films and brought attention to the genre in western culture. Without Enter the Dragon, contemporary martial arts movies would look drastically different. This film is not only the first English-language martial-arts film and the first ever Hong Kong/US martial arts co-production, but is also the most financially successful martial arts film ever released.

Happy 40th anniversary to Bruce Lee’s ‘Enter the Dragon’

The selling point for this movie is primarily the technical fighting skill of Bruce Lee. The plot is not all that memorable, but Lee’s “fists of fury” are unforgettable. Lee created his own fighting style called Jeet Kune Do known for minimal movement, maximum effect and extreme speed (which eliminated many ornamental movements). Lee’s fighting style focuses primarily on attacking your opponent when they are about to attack, which is the foundation of MMA fighting today.

After Lee’s tragic death following only five films, many directors and film companies attempted to replace Lee with imitators named Bruce Li or Bruce Lee. Although The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) emerged from this onslaught of Bruce Lee copies, most were worthless.

Until, of course, Jackie Chan emerged in 1978 to star in the great Snake in the Eagles Shadow and Drunken Master  — Jackie Chan had been a lowly stuntman in Enter the Dragon, but rose to help popularize the Kung Fu comedy genre  which involved more daring stunt work (such as Police Story (1985)). More recent films inspired by the fighting style in Enter the Dragon are Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), House of Flying Daggers (2004), Kill Bill (2003) and The Matrix (1999). These films draw upon the fast-paced, powerful movements, but they also bring in weapons as opposed to bare hands.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary and the influence it had on the fighting and film world, here is a sample of some of the top fight scenes inspired by Enter the Dragon’s Bruce Lee:

1. Enter the Dragon, Underground Scene: 

2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Knife Fight Scene

3. House of Flying Daggers, Blind Fight Scene 

4. Kill Bill, Trailer Fight Scene 


5.The Matrix, Subway Fight Scene 

Author Bio: Elizabeth Eckhart is a television and film blogger for GetDirectTV.org where she covers everything from movie releases to forgotten classics. Her favorite martial arts film is House of Flying Daggers. Though not practicing martial arts at the time, she greatly admires those who do for the skill and tradition behind their combat style.


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