"The Big Boss" (1971) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #131 Gem Mint 10.0


“The Big Boss“ (1971) aka "Tang shan da xiong", "Fists of Fury", "Fists of Glory", "Big Boss" "Big Brother of Tongshan"

Director: Wei Lo, Chia-Hsiang Wu

Writer: Wei Lo

Starring: Bruce Lee, Maria Yi, James Tien, Marilyn Bautista, Ying-Chieh Han, Tony Liu, Kun Li, Nora Miao, Shan Chin, Chia-Chen Tu, Chih Chen, Billy Chan, Kung Chan, Stephen Chang, Ching-Ying Lam, Cheng Ying Tu

Rated: R

Runtime: 1h 39min

Genre: Action | Crime | Drama | Thriller

Country: Hong Kong

Language: Mandarin | Cantonese

Available on: Various VOD platforms


"A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear."


You might like this if you like: Bruce Lee, Martial Arts, Martial Arts Movies, Kung Fu, China, Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller, 70s Films, Hong Kong Movies, Maria Yi, James Tien, Marilyn Bautista, Ying-Chieh Han, Tony Liu, Kun Li, Nora Miao, Shan Chin, Chia-Chen Tu, Chih Chen, Billy Chan, Kung Chan, Stephen Chang, Ching-Ying Lam, Cheng Ying Tu


Bruce Lee in "The Big Boss" (1971)


The first big Bruce Lee film I ever saw. I think it could’ve been the first R rated film I got to see as well. My dad showed me all of his films and Bruce Lee was the first poster I ever got and hung up on a wall. He really was my first hero. My first Asian hero for sure.

“The Big Boss” (1971) isn’t the greatest film of all time, nor is it my favorite of Lee’s, but it has a nostalgic magical feel for me when I watch it. I consider it his first one I usually like to show people when introducing him to someone.


"The Big Boss" (1971)


Bruce Lee, as a martial artist, is a always fascinating for me to watch. He really is an incredible human being that comes close to supernatural. As Quentin Tarantino called him in Joe Rogan’s podcast; “an incredible athlete”.

I’m not necessary here praising the story, more it’s historical impact and the the spark of Bruce Lee’s sadly short success in the world.


Maria Yi (left) Bruce Lee (right) in "The Big Boss" (1971)

The ice blocks were memorable to me visually as a kid. To this day, I still have never gotten to see ice blocks in real life quite like the ones in this film.

James Tien is a favorite that I’ve loved in “Fist of Fury” (1971), “Vengeance of a Snow Girl” (1971), “Dragon Fist” (1972), “My Lucky Stars” (1985), “Yes, Madam” (1985) & many others. Han Ying-Chieh was very memorable in this as ‘Feng Kwai-sher’ especially in the final moments.


Han Ying-Chieh in "The Big Boss" (1971)


The representation it has for introducing me to Bruce Lee will always remain why I love this film so much! Again, it’s not my favorite of films, but it’s still a worthy watch with some fantastic fight scenes!


Written by Sam Gall on 09/01/21


CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0


"The first R-rated movie I ever saw. My dad took me to see it in June, and Bruce Lee died in the next month." - Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com


"Efficiently paced, well-choreographed and full of entertaining moments featuring Lee, The Big Boss is the prototype for the template Lee would use over his next three features." - Nicholas Bell, IONCINEMA.com


"Rough in spots and rambling in others, it nevertheless benefits from Lee's effortless charisma and, of course, some rousing fight scenes." - Matt Brunson, Film Frenzy


"It's clear why The Big Boss became a smash hit... the unprecedented furious star power of an unleashed Bruce Lee." - Ed Travis, Cinapse


"The most grounded of Bruce Lee's films, right down to its somber, downbeat ending." - Tim Brayton, Alternate Ending


"It's Bruce vs. a whole army of lowlife thugs after they mess with his cousins, and Mr. Lee pulls off some truly amazing butt-kickery here." - Scott Weinberg, DVD Clinic


Official Trailer:


Behind the Scenes:


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