Ever since he was a child, Quentin Tarantino was deeply mesmerised by the cinematic medium. The auteur found comfort not in blockbusters or action movies but in a wide variety of genres. Whether it was the operatic horror of Mario Bava or the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, Tarantino watched it all with a deep interest and all of it eventually came together to influence his own artistic vision as a director.
Tarantino is allegedly working on what is going to be the final project of his illustrious career and the director has already confirmed that there’s a good chance it will be Kill Bill 3. Through the original franchise, the filmmaker paid tribute to a genre that had inspired him a lot during his formative years and had inspired him to pick up the camera.
Kung fu films form a very specific subgenre of the wider landscape of martial arts flicks in Hong Kong. They represent a brand of action cinema that is actually critical of the wuxia genre’s inherent fantasy elements, insisting that the clichés of wuxia films were completely unnecessary while setting out to make a good contemporary action film.
Even back when he worked at a video store as a clerk, Tarantino recommended kung fu films to a lot of people and he even gained a great reputation for handing out stellar suggestions. Kung fu films were incredibly popular around the 1970s and Tarantino himself was extremely fond of almost all the Shaw Brothers productions he had managed to see.
Many of these films have had direct influences on his own work and Tarantino has always acknowledged that. In fact, he went on to the Pure Cinema Podcast to express how much he loves this genre and spoke at great lengths about his initiation into the world of kung fu films.
According to Tarantino, he had gone to the theatre to watch a different film but he happened to catch the trailer of Five Fingers of Death which opened his eyes to the potential of action cinema. Even when he was sent to live with his grandparents in Tennessee, Tarantino regularly checked the papers to keep track of the kung fu films that came out in the US.
Check out a list of some of the kung fu masterpieces that were recommended by Quentin Tarantino below.
Quentin Tarantino named the 10 greatest kung fu films of all time:
- Clan of the White Lotus (1980)
- The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978)
- Snake in the Eagle’s Shadow (1978)
- Fist of Fury (1972)
- Five Deadly Venoms (1978)
- Iron Monkey (1993)
- Shaolin Soccer (2001)
- Eight Diagram Pole Fighter (1984)
- Five Fingers of Death (1972)
- Fist of Legend (1994)