April 7, 2020 (NYC)- I never met a martial artist that didn’t like Chuck Norris movies. Chuck Norris represents the bridge between the low budget “Shaw Brothers” and “Golden Harvest” Asian, martial arts films of the 60’s and 70’s and the high budget action films of today. The latter group includes films like The Matrix, John Wick, and Ip Man.
Here are 5 Chuck Norris Films to get acquainted, or re-acquainted, with during this time when so many of us are home and our entertainment consumption level is up.
5. Way of the Dragon (1972)- This Hong Kong produced Bruce Lee film marks Chuck’s film debut. While it is not a Chuck Norris film, per se, it is a piece of martial arts film history. The 10 minute screen battle between Norris and Lee was said to have been a truly spirited brawl that makes the film worth seeing. This is also known as “Return of the Dragon“
4. Good Guys Wear Black (1978)- This was Norris’ breakthrough casting in a lead role. Norris plays a former US Intelligence officer investigating the murders of members of his Vietnam War platoon. This film solidified Norris and the genre as viable, marketable Hollywood assets as the film made considerable money for the studio at the box office the year it was released.
3. A Force of One (1979)- This film has Norris, a kickboxer, going undercover to help the police department route out a serial killer. Bill “Superfoot” Wallace, previously interviewed by Taekwondo Life Magazine, appears in the film. The action, the fighting, and the presence of these two, modern martial arts legends make this one really fun to watch. The final fight scene is one of my favorites.
2. Lone Wolf McQuade (1983)- Watching Chuck Norris pitted against Kung Fu’s David Carradine makes this one a must watch. The film also marks an elevation of Norris from a martial arts action star to an action and drama leading man. His performance as a Texas Ranger was compared to Clint Eastwood and opened the door to other roles, including a long running television show as another Texas Ranger.
1. The Octogan (1980)- This is far and away the best Chuck Norris film of all time. Norris is on a mission to stop a group of Ninja trained terrorists lead by his half-brother, played by Tadashi Yamashita. Great fighting, filled with action, and the presence of Lee Van Cleef, one the 20th Century’s best character actors makes this one worth the time. I hadn’t seen this in more than 30 years and it still held up.
You can not go wrong with any of the movies on this list. If you like these there are 25 other films in the Chuck Norris filmography you can get acquainted with.
Disagree with my list? Have other recommendations? I would love to hear from you.