Based on Louis Cha (Jin Yong) novel of the same name, Legend of the Condor Heroes (also called Story of the Eagle-shooting Hero, or Legend of the Arching Hero) is the first installment of three series produced by Zhang Jizhong. The other two installments are The Return of the Condor Heroes (2006) and The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (2009). To say this trilogy is popular is an understatement. It has been made into six films and nine TV series!
Li Yapeng plays Guo Jing a simple minded and honest hero, you just really like him right away. I’ve never seen the actor in anything other than this series but he plays it quite well. Guo Jing may not be that bright but he is a true hero with a moral character
Zhou Xun (The Banquet 2006, Painted Skin 2008, The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate 2011) as Huang Rong a cheeky young lady from Peach Blossom Island. This was the second time I had seen her perform. The first was in The Emperor and the Assassin.
Zhou Jie as Yang Kang the sworn brother to Guo Jing (who’s fathers where also sworn brothers). This is another actor who did a great job but I have not seen in anything other than this series.
There are so many great characters in this series from the Seven Freaks of Jiangnan, Ouyang Feng played by You Yong (Red Cliff), the comical Zhou Botong played by Zhao Liang (Swordsman 2012), to Hong Qigong chief of the Beggar Sect played by Sun Haiying. Each of the many characters has so much to add to the story that it makes it easy to immerse yourself into the world created by Jin Yong.
The introduction (above) is Heaven and Earth Lies in My Heart by Qiu Ye
If you like a detailed story filled with action, excitement, romance, betrayal then watch these 42 episodes at 45 minutes each. Shot on location in Inner Mongolia, Zhejiang and Red Hill Park. The locations are a beautiful backdrop filled with amazing actors in some of the best costumes you will find. I’m personally not the largest fan of the modern costumes in series. They are too brightly colored and not very historically accurate, more fantasy then realism. The music score is really nice and the few CGI used is not bad considering this is 2003. I would be surprised if you were disappointed by this series!
Wuxia Edge Comparison between the 2003 and 2008 versions
Drama Wiki Synopsis of Legend of the Condor Heroes (2003)
Wikipedia list of characters