Shaolin Temple (1976)

ST76 1

Shaolin Temple, or Death Chambers as it was sometimes released as,  is what many would consider your typical Kung Fu movie. The basic plot is the destruction of Shaolin by the Manchu’s and how Shaolin started teaching outsiders to preserve their ways.  Three peasants and five Ming Soldiers join Shaolin in order to defend themselves from the Qin’s and to protect Shaolin. What is really important about this film from a historical cinema point of view is it is the first film where the Venom Mob (the actors from Five Deadly Venoms) first star together.  This film is also a prequel to Five Shaolin Masters (1974) . Even though there are a lot of characters they really don’t focus on just one or two and allowed them all to have a part in the film.

The eight Shaolin masters of Shaolin Temple, left to right - Wai Wang as Hung Hsi Kuan, Chi Kuan Chun as Hu Huei Chien, Fu Sheng as Fang Shih Yu, Ti Lung as Tsai Te Chung, Wang Chung as Fang Ta Hung, David Chiang Da Wei as Hu Te Di, Tony Lau Wing as Ma Chao Hsing, Yueh Hua as Li Shih Kai.

The eight Shaolin masters of Shaolin Temple, left to right – Wai Wang as Hung Hsi Kuan, Chi Kuan Chun as Hu Huei Chien, Fu Sheng as Fang Shih Yu, Ti Lung as Tsai Te Chung, Wang Chung as Fang Ta Hung, David Chiang Da Wei as Hu Te Di, Tony Lau Wing as Ma Chao Hsing, Yueh Hua as Li Shih Kai.

Directed by Chang Cheh (One-Armed Swordsman 1967, The Water Margin 1972, The Brave Archer 1977, The Sword Stained with Royal Blood 1982)  with his great eye for detail and amazing action sequences.  The sets are lavishly done and we get to view many martial arts forms including some amazing Wing Chung, and Hung Gar.

Currently Celestial Pictures Limited own the rights to the entire Shaw Brothers Library and they did remaster Shaolin Temple but it is out of print and hard to get ahold of.  They only released it in DVD Region 1 & 3.  I’ve only managed to watch really bad online versions of this film.

Alexander Fu Sheng (The Fourteen Amazons, Shaolin Martial Arts, The Deadly Breaking Sword) as Fang Shih Yu
Chi Kuan-Chun (Marco Polo, Ways of Kung Fu, Lonely Famous Sword) as Hu Hui Gan
Wai Wang (A Sword for a Killer, The Flying Guillotine, The Vengeful Beauty) as Hong Xi Guan
David Chiang Da-Wei (Golden Swallow, Have Sword, Will Travel, Once Upon a Time in China II) as Hu De Di
Ti Lung (Return of the One-Armed Swordsman, Drunken Master II, Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon) as Cai De Zhong
Johnny Wang Lung-Wei (Five Shaolin Masters, Crippled Avengers, Project A II) as Ma FuY i
Yueh Hua (Shaolin Temple, The Web of Death, The Green Dragon Inn) as Li Se Kai
Wong Chung (Golden Swallow, The Wandering Swordsman, Flying Guillotine, Part II) as Fang Da Hong
Lau Wing (The Lady Assassin, (Shaolin Temple, Clan of Amazons) as Ma Cao Xing
Bruce Tong Yim-Chaan (The Deadly Duo, The Shaolin Avengers, The Brave Archer Part II) as Zhu Dao
Phillip Kwok Chun-Fung (Ten Tigers of Kwantung, The Kid with the Golden Arm, Crazy Shaolin Disciples) as Lin Guang Yao
Li Yi-Min (Shaolin Temple, The Brave Archer Part II, Drunken Arts and Crippled Fist) as Huang Song Han
Shih Szu (Trilogy of Swordsmanship, The Avenging Eagle, Flying Guillotine, Part II) as Yan Yong Chun
Ku Wen-Chung (The Thundering Sword, The 14 Amazons, The Sentimental Swordsman) as Shaolin Abbot Fang Wen
Shan Mao (The Golden Sabre, A Touch of Zen, The New Shaolin Boxers) as Shaolin Master Hui Xian
Chiang Sheng (Revenge of the Great Swordsman, The Legend of Madame White Snake, Ten Tigers of Kwantung) as Shaolin Monk Man Yue

Kung Fu Cinema Review

Shaolin Temple at IMDB

Shaolin Temple Review

Cityonfire Review

A fun fan made video with fight scenes.

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13 thoughts on “Shaolin Temple (1976)

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