Guide Picks - Top Cult Martial Arts Movies
These martial arts movies retain a cult following, either because they're really good...or really bad. Either way, any of them make fabulous entertainment.
1) "Billy Jack"
"Billy Jack" tells the tale of a half-Native American, half-white martial artist who protects the local pacifists by beating up the mean rednecks that persecute them. Hapkido fight sequences courtesy of Grandmaster Bong Soo Han. The largest grossing independent film in history, "Billy Jack" is totally 70's, with a great "peace, man" message.
2) "Black Belt Jones"
Blaxpoitation meets chop socky as "Kung Fu Jim" Kelly takes on the mob in this 1974 classic. A blast! This movie is dyin' for Chris Rock to do a remake.
3) "The Street Fighter"
Shinichi "Sonny'' Chiba is one bad dude, a one-man kicking, ripping, and maiming machine. This 1974 film is one of the first movies to get an "X" rating for violence.Way intense.
4) "Five Fingers of Death"
I saw this in the theaters when I was a kid--it was one of the first Shaw Brothers movies to get theatrical release in the U.S., launching the 1970's karate craze. Gory.
5) "Lone Wolf and Cub"
Not just one movie, but a series, about an itinerant samurai who travels around the countryside, pushing his infant son in a baby carriage. 1972's "Lone Wolf And Cub: Baby Cart At The River Styx" is my favorite. Fantastic sword fighting action.
6) "Iron Monkey"
Before its recent theatrical release, before "The Matrix" and Yuen Woo Ping's rise to fame, this was a little-known cult movie. Just because everyone else has discovered it doesn't make it any less great--go watch it again! Star Donnie Yen's mom, Bow Sim Mark, is a world-renowned martial artist. Don't be telling him any "Your Momma" insults.
7) "Project A"
Everybody loves Jackie now. But before Dimension rereleased his 1990's films in English, he enjoyed cult movie star status. This movie is one of my favorite Jackie Chan films.
8) "Shaolin Master Killer"
One of the great old-school kung fu movies, "Master Killer" follows a young student through the trials of becoming a Shaolin kung fu master.
9) "The Crow"
Not exactly a martial arts movie, per se, but certainly a cult fave. Brandon Lee excels as the dark, vengeful Eric Draven in his last film, marred by his tragic accidental death.
 Related Guide Picks    Related Resources
• Most Influential Martial Arts Movies
• Top Five Steven Seagal Movies
• Martial Arts Actors and Actresses
• Martial Arts Movies

All content copyright © 1999-2008 James Hom