Big and Little Wong Tin-Bar (1962)

My very first movie--I was just eight years old when I was cast for this role. At that time, it was common for film companies to come to opera schools to pick out kids to play child roles, and even though I'd only been there for a year, something about me must have impressed the director. (Samo also had a small part in the film.) A very famous Taiwanese star, Li Li-hua, played my mother. I guessed I impressed her too, because after Big and Little, Li Li chose me to play her son in a few other films. No action scenes yet, though! Even back then, I loved being on the set. It wasn't because I dreamed of being a movie star; that came later. I liked doing movies because it meant I didn't have to wake up at 5 a.m. I didn't have to practice. Sometimes, people even treated me to snacks. Of course, at the end of the day, Master would take any money I earned. But after being treated like a little prince all day, it was worth it.

The Love Eternal (1963, Love Eterne)

Another child role with Li Li-hua.

The Story of Qui Xiang Lin (1964)

Yet another child role.

Come Drink with Me (1966, also: The Girl with the Thunderbolt Kick)

A very famous film, directed by one of the great directors of Hong Kong cinema, King Hu. I was just playing a kid role again, but it was still great working with Cheng Pei-pei, the leading martial arts actress at the time. (Later, Cheng would appear in Painted Faces, a docudrama telling the story of our lives in the opera school. Cheng played a character based on the real-life opera teacher Fan Fok Fa; Samo played Master! Frankly, though, the movie didn't come anywhere close to showing how bad it was at the school.

Cast: Cheng Pei-pei

A Touch of Zen (1968)

Another famous King Hu film, which gave Samo his first major role, playing a Japanese swordsman. He was only sixteen at the time. My own part is just a tiny cameo.

Fist of Fury (1971, also: The Chinese Connection [USA])

In this film--probably the best-loved of Bruce Lee's movies, at least in Hong Kong--Lee plays a kung fu student who returns from a trip abroad to discover that his teacher was murdered by a rival martial arts school run by the Japanese. Lee then goes on a mission of vengeance, using disguises, detective work, and his amazing fighting skills. The film is based on a real-life folk hero from the 1930s named Chen Zhen, whose own legendary teacher was killed by a Japanese master.

I was just a stuntman on the film, but I doubled for the head villain himself, Mr. Suzuki. During the final fight scene, Bruce kicks me through a wall, my body flying fifteen feet before hitting the ground--at the time, that was the longest distance a Hong Kong stuntman had ever been thrown without some kind of safety device. I can also be seen, very briefly, in the opening scene, as one of the sparring students. Another of my opera school brothers, Yuen Wah, was fortunate enough to be picked as Bruce's stunt double, performing most of his acrobatic scenes. (Yuen can also be seen as the Japanese man who mocks Lee at the park entrance, referring Lee to the infamous No Chinese or dogs allowed sign.)

Cast: Bruce Lee, Nora Miao, Tien Feng, James Tien, Lo Wei
Director: Lo Wei
Producer: Raymond Chow
Writer: Lo Wei
Martial Arts Director: Bruce Lee

The Little Tiger of Canton (1971, also: Little Tiger from Canton, Cub Tiger from Kwang Tung, Stranger in Hong Kong, Marvelous Fists, Ten Fingers of Death; with additional footage, Master with Cracked Fingers, Snake Fist Fighter [USA])

This was my first chance at playing a lead role, even though the film wasn't released until long after, when I finally became a star. In the movie, a feud between Triad gangs leads to the death of my father, leaving me orphaned. After I grow up and learn how to fight, I return to avenge his death. In 1978, after I hit the big time with Drunken Master, some shifty producer added footage using a Jackie Chan "lookalike," and put together a "new" movie called Master with Cracked Fingers-also known in the United States as Snake Fist Fighter.

Cast: Jackie Chan (aka Chen Yuen Lung), Juan Hsao Ten, Shih Tien (aka Shek Kin), Han Kuo Tsi, Yuen Bill, Chang Chin, Kuen Yung Man.
Director: Chin Hsin
Stunt Coordinator: Chan Yuen Long, Se Fu Tsai
Producer: Li Long Koon

The Heroine (1971, also: Attack of the Kung Fu Girls, Kung Fu Girl [UK])

My first adult role on-screen, and my first chance to be a stunt coordinator. (This was also my first-time meeting Lo Wei--not that he remembered who I was, of course. Even if he does say that this was the film in which he "discovered" my talents.) In the story, Cheng Pei-pei plays a woman who comes to Beijing to assist the resistance movement against the Japanese. I played the Japanese villain, if you can believe that.

Cast: Jackie Chan (aka Chen Yuen Lung), Cheng Pei-pei, James Tien, Jo Shishido
Director: Lo Wei
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan

Police Woman (1972)

In this film, I play the sidekick of the female lead, appearing onscreen with a huge and unsightly clump of hair on one side of my face! The only good thing to come out of this flop was my friendship with the film's male lead, Chun Cheung Lam. During the production, he gave me acting lessons in return for me teaching him kung fu.

Cast: Jackie Chan (as Chen Yuen Lung), Chun Cheung Lam

Hapkido (1972)

Samo starred in this film--his first lead role--while I had a small cameo appearance. He plays one of three Chinese friends who travel to Korea to study hapkido, then return to China to open their own school. When one of the friends is killed by a rival Japanese school, the remaining two seek revenge. Angela Mao Ying, who is also in this film, was one of Golden Harvest's first stars. She had a black belt in hapkido, which gave stunt coordinators like myself a lot of room for creativity when we worked with her. In fact, in some ways, I identified strongly with her. At the age of five, she was enrolled in Taiwan's Fu Shing Academy, where she received hard training similar to my own. Later on, she became one of Hong Kong's top martial arts actresses, before retiring in 1986.

Cast: Samo Hung, Angela Mao, Carter Wong, Wei Ping
Director: Huang Feng
Producer: Raymond Chow

Not Scared to Die (1973, also: Eagle's Shadow Fist, Eagle Shadow Fist)

This movie is based on the true story of a group of Chinese performers who put on patriotic plays during the Japanese occupation of China; behind the scenes, the performers are resistance fighters who use their martial arts to strike back against the oppressive Japanese masters. My part is just a supporting role, and I even die in the end. At the beginning of the movie, though, I get to reexperience my school days, appearing in the opening scene in full Beijing opera costume and makeup. After the success of Snake in Eagle's Shadow, this film was rereleased as Eagle's Shadow Fist.

Cast: Wang Qing, Lin Xiu, Jackie Chan (aka Chen Yuen Lung)
Director: Zhu Wu (aka Heng Tsu)
Producer: Hoi Ling
Writer: Su Lan
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan

Enter the Dragon (1973, also: The Deadly Three)

In this most famous of Bruce's movies, an evil drug lord stages a kung fu tournament on his island retreat in order to recruit the best fighters for his criminal purposes. Bruce plays an undercover operative sent to gather evidence against the evil Mr. Han, while also seeking to avenge his sister's death at the hands of Han's henchmen. Again, I'm just a stuntman in this film. In the tunnel fight scene, I grab Bruce from behind, only to have him pull me back by my hair and snap my neck. Samo, on the other hand, gets to fight Bruce in the opening scene!

Cast: Bruce Lee, Shih Tien (aka Shek Kin), John Saxon, Jim Kelly, Yang Tse, Bob Wall, Peter Archer, Samo Hung
Director: Robert Clouse
Producers: Paul Heller, Fred Weintraub
Writer: Michael Allin
Stunt Coordinator: Bruce Lee

The Young Dragons (1973)

I was stunt choreographer for this film.

Golden Lotus (1974)

In this movie, I played a very small supporting role.

The Himalayan (1975)

A man and woman study kung fu with a holy lama in Nepal, then return to their native village to exact revenge against an oppressive town leader. I play a small role, and work as a stuntman on this film.

Cast: Angela Mao, Chen Sing, Tan Tao Liang, Samo Hung
Director: Huang Feng
Producer: Raymond Chow
Writer: I Kuang
Stunt Coordinator: Han Ying Chieh, Samo Hung

All in the Family (1975)

This is a very silly movie, and I'm lucky that not many people bothered to see it. Samo and I both had supporting roles--me as a rickshaw driver who tries to seduce both a mother and her daughter. I actually have a sex scene in it, and if you do manage to watch this film, you'll see why I decided never to do one again.

Cast: Linda Chu, Dean Shek, Samo Hung, Jackie Chan
Director: Chu Mu
Producer: Raymond Chow
Writer: Ken Suma

The Dragon Tamers (1975)

I was stunt coordinator for this film.

Hand of Death (1976, also: Countdown in Kung Fu, Countdown in Death, Shaolin Men)

In this film--John Woo's debut as a director!--Samo, Yuen Biao, and I all have small parts. I play lead actor Dorian Tan's trusty sidekick; the two of us are given the job of protecting a courier, bearing a top secret message, from death at the hands of the evil Manchus. Samo was the film's martial arts coordinator, and he does a great job. The movie wasn't a wild success, but it did have the distinction of being the first time all three of us brothers acted in a movie together.

Cast: Dorian Tan, James Tien, Jackie Chan
Director: John Woo
Writer: John Woo
Stunt Coordinator: Samo Hung

New Fist of Fury (1976)

My first film with Lo Wei was a sequel to the original Fist of Fury (which was called The Chinese Connection when it was released in the United States). I play the brother of Chen Zhen, Bruce's character from the original Fist. Unlike Chen Zhen, my character doesn't enjoy fighting, and has no interest in the martial arts-until a Japanese school begins to terrorize the local Chinese kung fu school. Then I go into training mode so I can defeat the Japanese. I felt very uncomfortable stepping into Bruce Lee's fighting shoes, but it was nice working with Nora Miao, one of the biggest martial arts actresses at the time.

Cast: Jackie Chan, Nora Miao, Lo Wei, Han Ying Chieh, Chen King, Chang Sing
Director: Lo Wei.
Stunt Coordinator: Han Ying Chieh

Shaolin Wooden Men (1976, also: 36 Wooden Men, Shaolin Chamber of Death, Young Tiger's Revenge)

I play a young man who has vowed not to speak until I have avenged my father's murder. In order to learn kung fu, I go to the Shaolin Temple, where I find work as a handyman. The master eventually takes pity on me and begins training me in martial arts. I become very skilled, and I'm eager to leave so that I can take my revenge. But for a student to leave the temple, he must first pass the ultimate test of the Wooden Men--a room full of clockwork robots, controlled with chains and pulleys. In order to defeat these nonhuman opponents, I must use several different forms of kung fu, proving that the best fighter is a well-rounded fighter. The film allows me to show off my mastery of all five "animal styles" of kung fu, as well as my skill with the staff. Unfortunately, it was a commercial flop.

Cast: Jackie Chan, Kam Kan, Simon Yuen, Lung Chung-erh
Director: Lo Wei
Writer: Chen Chi-hwa
Stunt Coordinator: Li Ming-wen, Jackie Chan

Dance of Death (1976, also: The Eternal Conflict

I was stunt coordinator for this story of a young woman who learns kung fu from two rival masters in order to defeat the villain responsible for killing her clan.

Cast: Angela Mao, Dean Shek, Chin Pei
Director: Chen Chi-hwa
Producer: Yen Wu Tun
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan

Iron Fisted Monk (1977)

Samo hired me as assistant stunt coordinator for this film, his directorial debut. Samo also plays the lead role, as a young man who learns kung fu at the Shaolin Temple to avenge his father's death at the hands of the Manchu. If the plotline sounds familiar, that's because this same basic plot was used hundreds of times in movies dating back to the beginning of the Shaw Brothers era. In fact, it's basically the same plot as my film Shaolin Wooden Men.
Director: Samo Hung
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan, Samo Hung

Killer Meteor (1977, also: The Killer Meteors, Jackie Chan vs. Wang Yu)

I play the villain in this film--an evil warrior named "Immortal Meteor," who terrorizes a small town. As in American Westerns, this means that I eventually go head-to-head with the Good Guy, "Killer Weapon," played by Jimmy Wang Yu, who was a big star back then. Even though Killer Meteors was made in 1976, it would be two years before it was actually released. I wish it had never been released at all!

Cast: Jackie Chan, Jimmy Wang Yu, Chu Feng
Director: Jimmy Wang Yu
Producer: Hsu Li Hwa
Writer: Ku Lung
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan

To Kill with Intrigue (1977, Jackie Chan Connection)

Hong Kong actress Chu Feng leads the Killer Bee Gang on a revenge mission to destroy my family. She kills everyone but me, falls in love with me, and later, saves my life by putting me through a torturous training regimen so that I can defend myself against some two-faced "friends"! We filmed this in Korea, where it was terribly cold. Our trampolines and film equipment froze, and the chill generally ruined everyone's mood. It was no fun making this movie. It's not that much fun watching it, either. A side note: The name of my girlfriend in the movie, Chin Chin, had to be changed for the Japanese version, because "Chin Chin" is the slang term for "penis" in Japanese!

Cast: Jackie Chan, George Wang, Chu Feng (aka Hsu Feng)
Director: Lo Wei
Producer: Lo Wei
Writer: Ku Lung
Stunt Coordinator: Chin Hsin, Chen Wen Lung

Snake and Crane Arts of Shaolin (1978)

Eight kung fu masters get together to write a book containing the secrets of each of their styles. When they are murdered, somehow I end up with the book. Everyone wants it, but of course they have to fight me first. I've mastered the techniques from the book, using Snake Style with one hand and Crane Style with the other, so I beat them all pretty easily. I consider this film my first dream project. My friend Chen Chi-hwa directed, so I was allowed more freedom in terms of character development and fight choreography. In the fight scenes, I used everyday objects as combat props-a martial arts style that I use even today. Even though this movie wasn't a box office hit (mostly because of lack of advertising), it did earn me more respect in the film industry, which I needed badly!

Cast: Jackie Chan, Nora Miao, Kam Kan
Director: Chen Chi-hwa
Producer: Hsu Li Hwa
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan, Tu Wei Ho

Half a Loaf of Kung Fu (1978)

I play a hapless wanderer who dreams of one day becoming a kung fu master. In the course of my journeys, I befriend a man and his daughter, and agree to help them fight off villains who are in search of their precious "jade and soul pills." In the process, I learn how to fight--reading the pages of a kung fu manual while dodging the attacks of my opponent! In this film, Lo Wei finally gave me creative control, mostly because he was fed up with me. As a result, the entire film is a parody of elements found in most kung fu movies. For instance, the opening credits of a kung fu film is usually a time for the hero to showcase his talents. In my film, I mock that tradition with oddball editing and gratuitous slow motion. You see two fighting Jackies coming from either side of the screen, edited so it looks like I'm under a strobe light; the two figures meld into one, and then split into two again. A sequence in which it looks like I'm attacking a combat dummy is revealed when the camera is pulled back to be me kicking and punching at a dummy that's only twelve inches high. Later in the movie, a gang of thugs beat me up, throwing me to the ground. I see a spinach plant growing next to me, get excited, and stuff handfuls of it into my mouth. The "Popeye" theme song comes on, and suddenly I'm transformed into a fighting machine, flexing my muscles and pounding on my opponents. Lo hated this film and refused to release it until much later, but I swear that this film is worth a rental. To quote a line from the film: "If I'm lying to you, I'm a son of a bitch."

Cast: Jackie Chan, James Tien, Lung Chung-erh, Kam Kan
Director: Chen Chi-hwa
Producers: Lo Wei, Hsu Li Hwa
Writer: Tang Ming Chi
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan

Magnificent Bodyguards (1978)

A woman hires me to escort her sick brother to the doctor, but in order to get there, we must pass through Stormy Hills, an area controlled by bandits. Imagine my surprise when I learn that the sick brother is actually a bandit too. The only thing that's halfway interesting about this film is that it was Hong Kong's first movie filmed in 3-D. It was obvious that Lo Wei was beginning to run out of ideas. (He even used the Star Wars theme as for the soundtrack music for the final fight scene--displaying an absence of originality, not to mention a lack of concern for copyright law.) There are some funny moments, though, even if they're not intentional. At one point in the film, unable to fight off our attackers, we flee into a temple and ring the temple bells to knock them out: "Well, all of them were pretty tough fighters, but none of them could survive my bells!"

Cast: Jackie Chan, James Tien, Dorian Tan (aka Bruce Liang)
Director: Lo Wei
Producer: Hsu Li Hwa
Writer: Ku Lung
Stunt Coordinators: Jackie Chan, Luk Chuen

Spiritual Kung Fu (1978, also: Karate Ghost Buster, Karate Bomber)

A meteor crashes to the earth, releasing five spirits who teach me "spiritual" kung fu, also known as the "Five Fists" style. I use these otherworldly techniques to retrieve a stolen kung fu manual for the Seven Fists style-a technique that's two whole fists deadlier than the Five Fists style. With this film, Lo tried to prove that he could make a comedy, but much of the humor was vulgar rather than funny. The only laughs in the film come from the special effects: the so-called meteor was a sparkler being waved around in front of a black backdrop, and the five spirits are actors in brightly colored wigs and shining hoop skirts.

Cast: Jackie Chan, James Tien, Shih Tien (aka Shek Kin)
Director: Lo Wei
Producer: Lo Wei
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan

Dragon Fist (1978)

My master is killed, so his wife, his daughter, and I set off to seek revenge on his murderer. When we find him, we discover that he's repented his sins, and even cut off his leg as penance. Then the one-legged master and I come together to defeat an evil lord who has poisoned my master's widow. By this time Lo was running out of money, so Spiritual Kung Fu and Dragon Fist didn't even get released until after the success of Snake in The Eagle's Shadow.

Cast: Jackie Chan, Nora Miao, James Tien
Director: Lo Wei
Producer: Hsu Li Hwa
Stunt Coordinator: Jackie Chan

Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978, also: The Eagle's Shadow, Bruce vs. Snake in Eagle's Shadow, Snaky Monkey)

I play a poor boy who works at a kung fu school; my only friend is my pet cat. I don't know any kung fu myself, but that doesn't stop the guys at the school from trying out their moves on me. One day, I come to the rescue of an old man who is being bullied by the mean-spirited students of the rival Eagle Claw school. It turns out he is the last living master of the Snake Fist Style, and he agrees to be my teacher. Unfortunately, the evil Eagle Claw master is on a mission to wipe out the Snake Fist Style, and he plans on killing both myself and my master. Eventually, I use Snake Fist, combined with tricks learned from watching my pet cat, to destroy him.

This movie was my first big hit! At this point, Lo Wei had directed me in so many flops that he had just about lost all faith in me ever becoming the star he had hoped. He loaned me out to Seasonal Films, glad just to be rid of me for a while. My favorite line in the movie comes when I'm using my newly learned Snake Fist against my opponent: "I'm a poisonous snake," I shout, and then give him a quick punch to the groin: "That's called finding the snake!"

Cast: Jackie Chan, Hwang Jang Lee, Simon Yuen Siu Tin, Ray Horan
Director: Yuen Woo Ping

Want more? The entire filmography, through Rush Hour, is in the book!

Use of this excerpt from I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action may be made only for purposes of promoting the book, with no changes, editing or additions whatsoever and must be accompanied by the following copyright notice: copyright ©1998 by the Ballantine Publishing Group. All Rights Reserved.

Animated Jackie