Top 5 Shaw Brothers Movies every Martial Arts Fan Should See

Are you a fan of Shaw Brothers movies? Are you a martial arts lover? If you are reading this article it means you love at least one of them, right. So before starting you should know who the Shaw Brothers actually are?

In 1925, the three Shaw brothers—Runje, Runme, and Runde founded Tianyi Film Company in Shanghai, and then established a film distribution base in Singapore where Runme and the youngest brother Run Run Shaw managed the precursor to the parent company Shaw Organization. Shaw Brothers took over the film production business of its Hong Kong-based sister company, Shaw & Sons Ltd., in 1958. Over the years Shaw Brothers produced some 1,000 films, before film production was suspended in 1987 to concentrate on the television industry, through its subsidiary TVB. In 2011 Shaw Brothers was reorganized into the Clear Water Bay Land Company Limited, its film production business being taken over by other companies within the Shaw conglomerate.

So coming back to the topic here is our list of the  5 best Shaw Brothers martial arts movies


  1. The Flying Guillotine

Director Ho is very successful in creating an atmosphere of dread brought out of the frightful nature of the flying guillotine–it can get you anywhere and nothing can stop it. Fiercely original, the weapon itself is an impressive design and thanks to the high skill level of the Shaw Brothers’ props department, this imposing weapon looks like it could actually work. According to the director, the weapon did in fact exist.


  1. The Five Deadly Venoms

The Five Deadly Venoms was a huge international success for Shaw Brother studies and remains one the most influential Kung Fu cult classic of all time.

Directed by veteran Shaw Brother’s director Chang Cheh the film was based on a script by prolific writer Ni Kuang which was actually part of a loose narrative of stories dealing with a secret organization, known as the Poison Clan, that was out to take over the martial arts world through nefarious means.

The Five Deadly Venoms is more plot driven, It’s emphasis was more on actual character and intrigue then the average Kung Fu film of the time. Rather than introducing stock characters and filler between fight sequences, focus is on the Venom characters and the mystery surrounding their identities.

  1. The Assassin

In this movie, Yu is a two-armed swordsman who is betrayed by a jealous rival, but initially seeks a life of simple pleasures until an accidental meeting with another patriot sets him back on the road to bloody, brutal vengeance.

The Assassin opens with a large block of story text about the warring states of China, accompanied by a bombastic, epic musical score. There’s not a lot of action in this one, but the dramatic tension and the buildup actually makes the release of the fight scenes that much better, especially the final climax. And let me tell you, that climax is something special.

  1. One-Armed Swordsman

At a time when musicals and romances overshadowed action films and women ruled the Hong Kong silver screen, legendary director Chang Cheh burst onto the scene with One-Armed Swordsman. This riveting revenge thriller, filled with themes of heroic bloodshed and violence, reversed the Cantonese and Mandarin starlet-entrenched cinematic trends. It was also a pivotal transition between wu xia movies and kung fu films, and it introduced the world to the stoically charismatic Jimmy Wong Yu.

This breathtaking swordplay and kung-fu epic is notable for more than one reason. First off, it was one of the first big hits for director Chang Cheh and set the tone for the many kung-fu hits he would later direct.

  1. Dirty Ho

Dirty Ho is a masterfully choreographed comedic Kung Fu action movie. Director, Lau Kar-leung is arguably one of the greatest fight choreographers in Hong Kong cinema and his work in Dirty Ho is some of his best. Some may not appreciate the more comedic aspects of the film, but from art direction and cinematography to directing and acting, Dirty Ho is on an unrivaled superior technical level.

Here are 5 more movies that by Shaw Brothers that you should also watch –

    • The 36th Chambers of the Shaolin
  • Monkey Kung Fu (Stroke of Death)
  • The New One Armed Swordsman
  • The Boxer From Shantung


  • 3 Evil Masters


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