Even before his early death at 32, Bruce Lee was a legend. He is the only Asian star who has developed a fervent, world-wide cult following (excepting the tremendously popular Jackie Chan).
He appeared in films already at a very early age. He came to the United States in the mid-Sixties, where he opened a martial arts school while studying philosophy at the university in Seattle. At that time he appeared in the TV series 'Batman' and 'The Green Hornet'.
His breakthrough came in 1971 with the Hong Kong action movies THE BIG BOSS and FIST OF FURY. Shortly thereafter Lee made his directorial debut with THE WAY OF THE DRAGON. After starting work on GAME OF DEATH, Lee was called to Hollywood to film ENTER THE DRAGON, the movie which made him an international star. Sadly, Lee died under mysterious circumstances (reportedly a brain stroke) shortly after finishing ENTER THE DRAGON.
There are countless films which exploited Lee's stardom. Some producers just took old or previously unused clips of his fights (even footage which was thrown away!) and integrated the scenes into their movies, some hired imitators (who called themselves Bruce Li or Bruce Lai). There are also several documentaries on the star, none of which are listed here. CINEMA OF VENGEANCE, a recent documentary on martial arts films, features Lee in a rare interview, which is definitely worth watching for his fans.
The following filmography includes only the films which Lee made from 1960 on. Earlier films of his showed him in minor roles, mostly as a young adolescent (reportedly, his "real" film debut was made in 1948!). Films which use some of Lee's scenes without his consent are completely disregarded here.
The Orphan (1960; act)
The Wrecking Crew (1969; chor)
Marlowe (1969; act, chor)
Walk in the Spring Rain (1970; misc)
The Big Boss (1971; act)
Qi Ling Zhang (1972; misc; aka Bruce Lee and I, Fist of Unicorn)
Fist of Fury (1972; act)
The Way of the Dragon (1972; dir, scr, act)
Enter the Dragon (1973; uncred codir, act, chor)
Fury of the Dragon (1976; act?)
Game of Death (1978; uncred coscr, act; Lee's scenes filmed in 1973)
The Silent Flute (1979; costy; aka Circle of Iron)
Fist of Fear, Touch of Death (1980; act; aka The Dragon and the Cobra)
© Ron Altman (last update 08/12/2002)