A Tribute to Bruce Lee
(Originally created to observe the 30th anniversary of the classic action film star’s death in July 1973.)
The comparisons between Lee and James Dean are inevitable. Both are cult figures who died young, after making only a relative handful of films. Both are credited with creating new genres and influencing many other actors. Both have been exploited in many ways.
But in Lee’s case, the exploitation has become completely out of control, resulting in a series of terrible films over which he had no influence (he served at various times as writer, filmographer, assistant director, producer, and fight coordinator on films made before his death), and which in many cases do not contain more than a few frames featuring him as an actor. Because his films have so many different titles which often sound similar, thousands of people have been duped into buying or paying to see these rip-offs during the past 30 years, thinking they were getting a real Bruce Lee film.
There are really only four legitimate Bruce Lee films, all released in 1972-73: Fists of Fury, Enter the Dragon, The Chinese Connection, andReturn of the Dragon (these are the English titles by which they are most generally known), of which Enter the Dragon is generally recognized as the most fully realized. A fifth film, Game of Death (1978), was pieced together after Lee started the movie but never finished it. It includes outtakes, stock footage, and look-alikes. It even includes scenes from Lee’s actual funeral.
In addition to these films, Lee can also be seen as Kato in The Green Hornet TV series from 1966, at the beginning of his career (after graduating from the University of Washington). He was the fight supervisor for The Wrecking Crew (1969), starring Dean Martin, and Marlowe(also 1969), in which he appeared as “Winslow Wong” in a very funny sequence in which he wrecks James Garner’s office.
His movies aside, Lee was a legendary martial arts expert and teacher to several stars, including Steve McQueen and James Coburn. He is almost godlike to martial arts enthusiasts around the world, and his death from brain edema in Hong Kong at age 32 is seen as mysterious, adding further to his legend. His son Brandon also died at a young age (31) from a shooting accident during the filming of The Crow in 1993.
Bruce Lee was also arguably the first Asian superstar, undoubtedly paving the way for Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan, both of whom he worked with in the 70s. He is also credited with almost single-handedly popularizing martial arts in the movies, the positive results of which we have seen in films such as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000) and The Matrix (1999).
Lee was also a champion cha-cha dancer — a fact which, depending upon your point of view, either detracts from his image as a fighter or adds to his legend as a man who could do almost anything! In any case, we invite you to visit some of the tribute sites and movie reviews listed below to enjoy a variety of points of view about this extraordinary man.
Bruce Lee Tributes/Pages
- Bruce Lee: Enter the Dragon – The official Bruce Lee site, named after his most famous movie.
- Little Dragon – The Bruce Lee Story – Joey’s site includes a nice 4-part biography, photo gallery, and video listing.
- All About Bruce Lee – Nice-looking, well-written site features a biography, filmography, articles and publications, photo gallery, posters, downloads, and links.
- Time 100 – Profile from Time Magazine’s feature on the 100 most influential people of the 20th century.
Other Bruce Lee Pages
- All-Movie Guide
- Bruce Lee: The Sleeping Dragon
- Hollywood Cult Movies
- Internet Movie Database
- Nick’s Bruce Lee Page
- Relationships With Bruce Lee – Analyze your relationships with Bruce Lee for presence and strength of mutual passion, intimacy, commitment, and synergy.
Selected Reviews of Bruce Lee’s Best Films
- The Big Boss (Fists of Fury, Tang shan da xiong) (1971) – Review by Almar Haflidason from BBCi.
- Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey (2000) – Review by Almar Haflidason from BBCi.
- Enter the Dragon – Review by Mike Jackson from DVD Verdict.
- Fist of Fury (Jing wu men) (1972) – Review by Almar Haflidason from BBCi.
- Game of Death (1978) – Review by Almar Haflidason from BBCi.
- Game of Death (1981) – Review from Dragon’s Den UK.
- Game of Death II – Review by Daniel Auty, The Spinning Image.
- Marlowe (1969) – Review by Dennis Schwartz, Ozus’ World Movie Reviews.
- Way of the Dragon (Return of the Dragon, Meng long guojiang) (1972) – Review by Almar Haflidason from BBCi.
Where To Find Or See Bruce Lee Films
Books By or About Bruce Lee
- Great Martial Arts Movies: From Bruce Lee to Jackie Chan and More – by Richard Meyers
- The Bruce Lee Story – by Linda Lee
- Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story – by Michael Jahn
- The Making of Enter the Dragon – by Robert Clouse
- Legend of Bruce Lee – by Alex Ben Block
Bruce Lee Movie Posters On The Web
From our Classic Movies Poster Store
(Click for larger view or to purchase)
All Bruce Lee Posters from our Classic Movies Poster Store.