Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (1978)

Director Chor Yuen tackles the problem of adapting a well loved book to film pretty well. Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre is the third in the Condor Heroes trilogy.  To the uninitiated the Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre may seem a bit overwhelming with just the amount of named characters that come flying in and out of the film.  I’ve not read the book yet (I’m still waiting for a proper translated version) but I have seen  The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber (2009 TV series) so I had a better understanding of what was going on in this Shaw Brothers classic. This is certainly a fast paced film and some viewer may need to rewind a few times to catch all that is happening.

It was filmed entirely within the Shaw Brothers studio with some amazing sets.  They certainly spared no expense. The costuming and props were pretty amazing as well. The Action Choreography is great, they certainly attempt to give every sect their own individual style. I didn’t even recognize Norman Chu Siu-Keung as Green Bat or  Lo Lieh as Golden Hair Lion, although Golden Hair Lion is only shown very briefly.

A suggested watching order for the Shaw Brothers Condor Trilogy is as such

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Derek Yee Tung-sing as Chang Wu Ji and Karen Chan Ga-Yee as Yang Bu Huei

Chor Yuen (The Sentimental Swordsman,Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, Part II) Director, Script
Tong Kai (Two Swordswomen, The Assassin, Flying Guillotine, Part II) Action Director

Derek Yee Tung-Sing (The Sentimental Swordsman, Shaolin Intruders, Last Hero in China) as Chang Wu Ji
Candice Yu On-On (The Deadly Sword, Swordsman 2, The Deadly Sword) as Chou Chi Yeuk
Ching Li (The Thundering Sword, Duel of Fists, The Web of Death) as Princess Chiu Ming
Karen Chan Ga-Yee (Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, Part II ) as Yang Bu Huei/Yeung Bu Dui
Cheng Lai-Fong (Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, Part II) as Siu Chiu
Candy Wen Xue-Er (Swordsman and Enchantress, Sword Stained with Royal Blood) as Yan Li/Chu Er
Cheung Ying (Story of the White-Haired Demon Girl, Clan of Amazons) as Priest Chang San Fang
Wang Lai (The Lady Musketeer, The Fast Sword) as Abbess Mie Jiue
Helen Poon Bing-Seung (Crippled Avengers, Full Moon Scimitar, The Kid with the Golden Arm) as Chu Jiu Jun
Wong Yung (The Golden Sabre, Full Moon Scimitar) as Left Guardian Yang Siu
Norman Chu Siu-Keung (The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, The Brave Archer Part II, The Duel) as Green Bat Wai Yi Siu
Cheng Miu (The Magnificent Swordsman, The Flying Dagger, The 14 Amazons) as White Brow Eagle Yan Tin Jing
Lo Lieh (Golden Swallow, The 14 Amazons, Crazy Shaolin Disciples) as Golden Hair Lion Tse Shun
Yeung Chi-Hing (The Birth of the Monkey King, The Silver Arrow and the Golden Blade) as Monk Bo Doh/Shaw Bu Di
Chiang Nan (The Five Heroes’ Deadly Spears, The Legend of Madame White Snake) as Monk Pang
Keung Hon (The Web of Death, Flying Guillotine, Part II, Shaolin and Wu Tang) as Priest Tieh Kwun
Lam Fai-Wong (Shaolin Martial Arts, The Brave Archer, The Vengeful Beauty) as Ming Clan Five Fighters
Yuen Wah (The Duel of the Century, Shaolin Prince, Mr. Vampire) as Ming Clan Five Fighters
Ng Man-Tat (Handsome Siblings, Flying Dagger, Shaolin Soccer) as Doctor Wu Ching Niu
Cheung Wai-Yee as Wang Nan Gou
Stephan Yip Tin-Hang (Five Shaolin Masters, The New Shaolin Boxers, Duel to the Death) as Sheung Yu Chun
Ng Hong-Sang (The Web of Death, Abbot of Shaolin, Sword Stained with Royal Blood) as Wudang clan member
Lau Wai-Ling (Brave Archer, Return of the Sentimental Swordsman, The Brave Archer Part III) as Ji Shiau Fu
Ngaai Fei (The Sentimental Swordsman, The Deadly Breaking Sword) as Yan Lei Hang, Wudang 6th Master
Tang Tak-Cheung (Return of the One-Armed Swordsman, The Master of Kung Fu) as Mok Sing Kuk, Wudang 7th Master

Blood Brothers review

Far East Films review

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Wang Lai as Abbess Mie Jiue

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3 thoughts on “Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (1978)

  1. Pingback: Iron Monkey (1993) | wuxiacinema

  2. Pingback: Killer Clans (1976) | wuxiacinema

  3. Pingback: The Duel of the Century (1981) | wuxiacinema

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