Enter the Dragon is arguably one of the most iconic martial arts movies ever produced, and it celebrates its 40th anniversary this week.
Dragon was to be Bruce Lee’s final film. The Kung Fu martial artist died during post-production of the movie aged just 32-years-old, the film was released in Hong Kong the very week he died. Enter the Dragon was the first Chinese martial arts movie to be produced by a major Hollywood studio and was the start of a huge surge in Kung Fu and karate movies which peaked during the 1980s.
The film was co-written by Bruce Lee and he also directed the opening fight scene. Other notable stars of the movie are the American actor John Saxon of A Nightmare on Elm Street fame, and African American martial artist and actor Jim Kelly who appeared in films such as Black Belt Jones, Black Samurai and Afro Ninja. Kelly sadly passed away earlier this year aged 67.
Also appearing in Enter the Dragon was a young and uncredited Jackie Chan playing one of the main antagonist’s many henchmen/Bruce Lee cannon fodder.
When the film was originally released in the UK 40 years ago there was quite a bit of controversy concerning the levels of violence in the film. The BBFC forced the distributors to cut several fight scenes, with particular reference to the use of chainsticks, or nunchakas as they were widely known as. It seems the mid-seventies were plagued with gangs of youths in flared pants, wearing shirts with set-square collars, swinging homemade nunchaku about and most likely hurting themselves with them more than anyone else. Luckily the BBFC have relaxed the censorship of Enter the Dragon and you can now purchase it on DVD fully un-cut rated