Top 10 1980s Kung Fu Films

Top 10 Films takes a closer look at the world of Kung Fu with the founder of YouTube’s Kung Fu Kritic channel. Want to discover new Kung Fu or get an introduction to classic martial arts films from the 1980s…then read on…

10. Opium And The Kung Fu Master (Chia Tang, 1984)

best kung fu movies 1980sA very typical plot within the Kung Fu genre as two different warring factions compete over power. The film looks dated but considering the amount of martial artists present and the work that went into the production, Opium And The Kung Fu Master is a definite must-watch.

9. Martial Club (Lau Kar-leung, 1981)

best kung fu movies 1980sTwo schools of Fu fight each other for pride. Two students try to stop this rivalry but things only escalate from there into all out war! Brilliant action here along with a decent plot that keeps you going.

8. Zu Warriors From The Magic Mountain (Tsui Hark, 1983)

best kung fu movies 1980sWonderful Kung Fu action but Zu Warriors from The Magic Mountain is more along the lines of a special effects film. Being the 80s nearly everything is jaw dropping considering the time it was released! Come for the Fu but stay for the epic effects! The story isn’t half bad either.

7. Shaolin Temple (Chnag, 1982)

best kung fu movies 1980sA great film about revenge and what it means to a martial artist with the added bonus of being able to see a very young Jet Li! Good production value and solid Fu. If you’ve already seen a few martial arts films this would be a great film to add and give a little more history and background to other films that you’ve seen with Jet Li.

6. Miami Connection (Kim / Park, 1987)

best kung fu movies 1980sDefinitely more on the side of so bad it’s good. This film oozes the 1980s and even though there are some admirable elements of martial arts you’re still going to laugh more than anything. My favorite part has to be when these big muscular men sing their song about being friends forever!

5. Mystery Of Chess Boxing (Kuo, 1987)

best kung fu movies 1980sA must for any Fu fan or beginner! Classic moves with fantastic speed! Plus a great film to represent the ever-present plot point of revenge used in so many Fu Films!

4. Encounters Of The Spooky Kind (Hung, 1980)

best kung fu movies 1980sA supernatural entry that stands far above the rest! We get jumping zombies plus top notch action with production value that is quite high for the year it was released. Our lead and director is Sammo Hung what more could you ask for!

3. The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (Kar-leung, 1983)

best kung fu movies 1980sOne of the later Shaw Brother Productions but still top-notch! If your thing is montages about building up for an ultimate battle you’re going to be rolling in heaven for all of the fantastic practical martial arts moves that are learned here!

2. Kung Fu Zombie (Shan Hua, 1981)

best kung fu movies 1980sSupernatural elements abound in this film! Our hero must not only fight the living but also fight zombies! Make that vampire zombies with tons of practical special effects. Surely one not to be missed! Not to mention that we don’t have to sacrifice quality Fu for comedy thanks to our lead Billy Chong!

1. Police Story (Chan, 1985)

best kung fu movies 1980sDefinitely one of the cornerstones in Jackie Chan’s career! Basically it’s a film that sets up all of the different elements that make up his later films into their current format. We have an action-packed story about Jackie the policeman trying to protect a female witness while adding some good elements of humor with stellar action!

Written & Compiled by Kung Fu Kritic

Your turn? Name your fave Kung Fu films of the 1980s…

Discover More:
Top 10 1970s Kung Fu Films
Top 10 1980s Kung Fu Films
Top 10 1990s Kung Fu Films
Top 10 2000s Kung Fu Films

About the Author
Kung Fu Kritic is an expert on all things "Fu" and runs a popular You Tube channel dedicated to the genre. Check out the channel here.

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  1. Avatar
    Dan Grant Reply

    The funny thing is…I’ve probably seen most of these films, at least in parts. Saturday afternoon, in Windsor Ontario Canada, there was a kung fu marathon from noon until 4 every weekend. Two kung fu movies would play adn I’d watch as many as I could as a kid. I only recognize some of these titles and the ones I have seen were definitely good flicks. I know I watched a few Sony Chiba flicks as well.

    • Avatar
      Kung Fu Kritic Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the list 🙂 I’ve heard of the Glory days when Fu Films would have great marathons! Wish they would start those up again. I mean I know that there are networks that play a lot of Fu but it’s hard for the masses to get to it. Thanks for your comment 🙂

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    Lorent Reply

    nice. police story 2 was great too.

    • Avatar
      Kung Fu Kritic Reply

      Yeah I agree it’s up there for enjoyment 🙂

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    Pete Reply

    Great intro to kung fu. I’d suggest Jackie’s first big movie Young Master and Chang Cheh’s Five Element Ninjas would be worthy additions but not sure what I’d take out. Western films like Kickboxer and Remy Williams might be good films for people to try who are interested in martial arts movies.

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      Kung Fu Kritic Reply

      Yeah I had to toy with a lot of these. I mean I really think Police Story was a tiping point into Jackie’s career of what we expect from his films today otherwise I might have switched 🙂 Bit thanks for the imput, I appreciate it 🙂

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    Francis Reply

    Always had a soft spot of Wheels on Meals myself. Great top 10!

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