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DAR Films: The 5 Greatest Bruce Lee Movies

By @TrueGodImmortal

Bruce Lee is a legend and he is one of the greatest icons to ever be a part of American culture. He was one of the most essential figures to the world and his theories and teachings made him very vital. Where he excelled the most was entertaining the masses through his lessons and his movie roles. With his legacy solidified in all aspects, I wanted to take a look back at his films and rank them from the worst to the best. He appeared in numerous films, but today, I'll rank his top five movies. What makes the list? Which films ranks at the top? Read on to find out.

5. Game Of Death (1978)

-Essentially the final film in his career, this was an incomplete movie that would have been huge if Bruce got to see it through. It was to be directed by Bruce and star him alongside a number of actors with name value, including an appearance from Kareem Abdul Jabbar. I have mixed feelings about this film honestly and how it was revised and finished and I wish they would have kept the initial 100 minutes of footage or at least the majority of it for the film. The original film footage that is utilized is fun, and allows for an epic battle between Bruce and Kareem, and of course, the infamous yellow suit that Bruce donned in the film has a legacy of its own. Still, Game Of Death feels pretty sloppy and poorly put together, despite having some top notch fight scenes. I can only wonder how great the movie could have been had Bruce lived to carry out his vision in the way he saw fit. Still, the fight scenes make this worth the watch.

4. The Way Of The Dragon/Return Of The Dragon (1972)

-Growing up, I was a huge fan of Bruce Lee and this was one of the first movies that I watched with him in it. I was of course late to the party on his films, but what I was unaware of is the fact that this movie wasn't received fondly by many aside from the big fight between Chuck Norris and Bruce near the end of the film. I'll be honest, upon my first time watching this movie, I found myself enamored with the fight scenes, though compared to the other films on this list, including Game Of Death, some of them fall short. Still, the story actually has an interesting pace to it along with an actual plot twist and betrayal near the end that you see coming, but it is well executed. The ending is a bit saddening in its own right, but one thing about the movies Bruce starred in, there were no real happy endings. In a way, that makes these films more realistic in their own right, and I think that is what lifts this film over Game of Death. The ending, the reality, and the final fight between Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee, which ends in the exact way you would hope (fuck you, Walker Texas Ranger). Return Of The Dragon/Way Of The Dragon isn't the best Bruce film by far, but it is always worth a watch.

3. The Big Boss/Fists Of Fury (1971)

-You would be forgiven if you thought this was the original Fist Of Fury. It is not. This film was called and mislabeled Fists Of Fury due to a mix up with transferring the film from Hong Kong to the U.S., but the real title is The Big Boss. This is a film that essentially was a breakthrough for Bruce in terms of movie success, and it actually holds up pretty well nearly 48 years later. Bruce is excellent in his role as an ice factory worker, and when we realize what is going on here, it is actually quite dark. The ice factory is a front from a drug smuggling business and the employees who find out the wrong way unfortunately end up missing and disposed of. As the employees and family members of Bruce's character Cheng start to disappear, he seeks answers. The character narrative for Cheng gets dark and somewhat strange, but when the finale hits, justice is served, but at a very high cost. Of course, this film is iconic due to the fight scenes and of course, the usage of the ice blocks throughout.

2. Fist Of Fury/The Chinese Connection (1972)

-I decided to include the U.S. name here for this, because many people have these films confused. If you live here in the United States like me, you have the films all confused and mixed up. I remember loving The Chinese Connection as a kid only to find out later that it was originally called Fist of Fury. As I've gotten older, I know the difference between these two similar films (Fist Of Fury and Fists Of Fury are two entirely different movies), and I just refer to them as their original names, as should you, but the truth about this movie is that it is a bit darker than the other Bruce Lee movies. While all of the films have a dark tone to them, this one is different, as Bruce stars as Chen Zhen, a student who feels he must defend the honor of his master after his sketchy death. The movie starts off well enough, with Chen attempting to marry his fiancee, but things take a sharp turn for the worse. Chen seeks revenge and has to showcase even more emotion than we had previously seen in a Bruce Lee film. I'll be honest, watching his character seek revenge is amazing and allows for some of the greatest fight scenes in any Bruce film, but I'll be honest, the ending always bothers me. After all that occurred, I wanted to see Chen ride off into the sunset successfully, and yet, the ending just takes away all of that hope. He is arrested and at first, you think there is something that will change, until you see the forces with guns aimed at him. Instead of going out that way, Chen rushes the forces and the sounds of gunshots can be heard as the credits prepare to roll. I would have rather Chen survived and avoided that fate, but of course, with most of his movies, the endings are always bleak and gloomy. Fist Of Fury however draws you in and keeps you engaged throughout, which makes for one of the best Bruce Lee stories period.

1. Enter The Dragon (1973) 

-Well, of course. Enter The Dragon is the greatest Martial Arts movie ever and it's not even close. As a result, we have to list this at the no. 1 spot and honestly, how could you argue against it? Bruce was coming into his own as an actor and with the supporting cast including John Saxon and Jim Kelly, this was well casted and executed perfectly. Starring as Lee, Bruce learns that Han, a suspected crime lord, has a tournament and competition and decides to check it out. Shortly before arriving, Lee learns that the murderer of his sister is working as a bodyguard for Han and decides to take part in the tournament. For me, the fight scenes are a plus, as the dialogue and the pacing of the film are the highlights and despite his early demise, Jim Kelly steals the show throughout. The final battle is iconic, as Bruce leaves us with some of the greatest visuals in his short film career, and this is probably the one film for Bruce that actually ends in a mostly decent way. Overall, this is a flawless martial arts film and easily the best Bruce Lee movie.


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