The Brave Archer is part one of a trilogy (and two unofficial sequels) produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio and adapted from Louis Cha’s novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes. Out of all the Wuxia novels none have had so many film and tv adaptations as the Condor Trilogy.
The Brave Archer takes us from the beginning of Condor Heroes up to the point where Kuo Tsing (Guo Jing) and Huang Rong (Huang Yung) confront her father for the right to be together. The rest of the story takes place in The Brave Archer 2 (1978) and The Brave Archer 3 (1981) and the unofficial sequels The Brave Archer and His Mate (1982) and Little Dragon Maiden (1983). It’s a large story and frankly very ambitious of Shaw Brothers to adapt such a story for film.
With the exception of Yang Kang’s final costume in the film (shiny silver) the rest of the costumes are pretty conservative for a Chang Cheh film (see Five Element Ninjas for an example). He also managed to shove a large cast of characters without you feeling you needed a back story for each and everyone. Alexander Fu Sheng did a wonderful job playing the simple minded Kuo Tsing, and I can’t really say that I have a complaint about anyones acting in general. The Brave Archer is very enjoyable and I am very glad that Celestial Pictures has digitally remastered the film and made it available again.
Names of characters in parentheses are the Mandarin names for the characters whereas the other name is the Cantonese version of the characters name. The film was originally made in Cantonese however different sources will site the Mandarin names. Sources for cast come from Wikipedia, HKMD, and the intro cast credits of the film.
Alexander Fu Sheng (The Fourteen Amazons, Shaolin Martial Arts, The Deadly Breaking Sword) as Kuo Tsing (Guo Jing), called Tsing-Er by his teachers
Li Yi-Min (Shaolin Temple, Shaolin Iron Claws, The 7 Grandmasters) as Yang Kang
Ku Kuan-chung (The Spiritual Boxer, The Sentimental Swordsman, Bastard Swordsman) as Huang Yaoshi
Tien Niu as Huang Rong (Huang Yung)
Yu Hoi-Lun (credited as Helen Yu) (Swordsman and Enchantress, The Brave Archer Part II ) as Iron Corpse Mui Chiu-Fung (Mei Chaofeng). Pupil of Eastern Evil
Wang Ching-Liang (The Shaolin Avengers, Magnificent Wanderers) as Copper Corpse Chan Yin-Fung (Chen Xuanfeng). Pupil of Eastern Evil
Yeh Tien-Heng (The Sentimental Swordsman , Eagle’s Claw and Butterfly Palm) as Luk Shing-Fung
Danny Lee Sau-Yin (The Water Margin, The Brave Archer Part II, The Sword Stained with Royal Blood) as Ouyang Ke, Western Poison’s pupil
Ti Lung (Return of the One-Armed Swordsman, Death Duel, Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon) as South King Da Li country’s Emperor Duan Zhi Xing
Ku Feng (The Twin Swords, Golden Swallow, Legend of the Drunken Tiger) as The Northern Beggar; The Nine Fingered Beggar Hung Chi Kung
Yeung Hung (credited as Yang Ni-Chiu) (The Five Venoms, Shaolin Vs. Ninja, Shaolin Vs. Lama) as Taoist Yao Chu-Kei, pupil to Huang Chong-yang
Lee Siu-Wa (credited as Li Shao-Hua) (One-Armed Swordsman, Wong Fei-Hung: The Incredible Success in Canton) as Taoist Huang Chu-Yat
Tsai Hung (credited as Cai Hong) (Shaolin Temple, Kung Fu Means Fists, Strikes and Swords) as Chun Er or Flying Bat (1st Weird 7) Kuo Tsing’s Teacher,
Lam Fai-Wong (credited as Lin Huei-Huang) (Disciples of Shaolin, Soul of the Sword, Disciples of the 36th Chamber) as Scholar Chu (2nd Weird 7)
Jamie Luk Kim-Ming (credited as Lu Jian-Min) (Boxer Rebellion, The Sentimental Swordsman) as Nan Xi-Ren (4th Weird 7)
Lu Feng (credited as Lu Chu-Feng) (Ten Tigers of Kwantung, Two Champions of Shaolin) as Chang Ah-Sheng (5th Weird 7)
Chiu Chung-Hing (credited as Chao Jung-Hin) (The 7 Grandmasters, Drunken Tai Chi) as Chuen Jin-Fa (6th Weird 7)
Chow Git (credited as Jou Jie) as Han Xiao-Yin (7th Weird 7)
Bruce Tong Yim-Chaan (credited as Tang Yen-Tsan) (The Golden Sword, The New One-Armed Swordsman, Snake Shadow, Lama Fist) as Kuo Sau-Tien, father of Kuo Tsing
Chu Jing (The Fastest Sword) as Li-Pin, parent and sworn sister of Yang Kang
Dick Wei (credited as Tu Chi-Lung) (The Avenging Eagle, The Prodigal Son) as Yang Tieh-Sin
Lau Wai-Ling (credited as Liu Hui-Ling) (The Magic Blade, Return of the Sentimental Swordsman) as Bau Shi-Ruo
Kara Hui Ying-Hung (credited as Kara Hui) (Clan of Amazons, Dirty Ho, Wu Xia) as Mu Nian-Zhi
Yue Wing (credited as Yu Yong) (The Mad Monk, The Brave Archer Part II) as Jin 6th Prince / Yuan Ngan Hung Lit, Yang Kang’s Step Father
Fan Mei-Sheng (One-Armed Swordsman, The Fourteen Amazons, Flying Guillotine, Part II) as Odd Immortal Liang Ze Weng (Leung Sin-Yung) Prince Chiu ‘s three grandmaster
Chan Shen (Six Assassins, The Young Avenger, The Web of Death) as Spiritual Wisdom Ling Tze, Prince Chiu ‘s three grandmaster
Suen Shu-Pau (credited as Sun Shu-Pei) (Magnificent Wanderers, The Shaolin Avengers) as Hell Gate Dragon King Sha Tung-Tin, Prince Chiu ‘s three grandmaster
Far East Films review