Duel to the Death

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Duel to the Death
Duel to the Death.jpg
American DVD cover
Traditional 生死決
Simplified 生死決
Mandarin Shēng Sǐ Jué
Cantonese Sang1 Sei2 Kyut3
Directed by Ching Siu-tung
Produced by Raymond Chow
Written by Ching Siu-tung
David Lai
Manfred Wong
Starring Norman Chu
Damian Lau
Flora Cheong-Leen
Music by Michael Lai
Cinematography Danny Lee
Lau Hung-chuen
Edited by Peter Cheung
Paragon Films Ltd.
Distributed by Golden Harvest
Release date
  • 13 January 1983 (1983-01-13)
Running time
86 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese

Duel to the Death is a 1983 Hong Kong wuxia film starring Norman Chu and Damian Lau. It is the directorial debut of Ching Siu-tung.


In 16th century, during the Ming Dynasty era, every ten years the greatest swordsman from Japan faces the greatest swordsman from China in a duel to the death for their nation's honor. As a duel approaches, Chinese champion Ching Wan (Damian Lau) and Japanese champion Hashimoto (Norman Chu) uncover a plot to rig the fight.

Ching Wan, known as "Lord of the Sword", is a peaceful and contemplative martial artist who has trained with Shaolin monks as well as a mischievous hermit. By contrast, Hashimoto is a pitiless and honorable samurai who kills his sensei as his final lesson before leaving for the duel. Meanwhile, ninjas led by a Japanese official collude with the Chinese wardens of the duel to kidnap famous fighters and sabotage the duel for Hashimoto. The honorable samurai, however, does not go along with the plan. Together, Ching Wan and Hashimoto fight the various conspirators and manage to free the captives. Afterwards, Ching Wan sees no point in going forward with the duel, but Hashimoto kills a Shaolin monk to force Ching Wan's hand. The two warriors engage in a gravity-defying sword fight around a rocky coastline. Both swordsmen become mortally wounded before they separate and quietly stare out into the ocean.


  • Norman Chu Siu Keung as Hashimoto
  • Damian Lau as Bo Ching-wan
  • Flora Cheong-Leen as Sing Lam
  • Paul Chang Chung as Master Han
  • Eddy Ko as Kenji
  • Yeung Chak-lam as senior Shaolin monk
  • Kwan Yung-moon as Shaolin abbot
  • Casanova Wong as Swordsman fighting flying ninjas
  • Hon Gwok-choi as Bo Ching-wan's master
  • Stephan Yip as Japanese troublemaker
  • Wilson Tong as Japanese troublemaker
  • Wan Fat as Hashimoto's samurai classmate
  • Lau Fong-sai as Hashimoto's samurai classmate
  • Gam San as Mr Fok
  • Tam Chuen-hing as swordsman drinking with Fok
  • Lau Yat-fan as sketch artist
  • Cheng Mang-ha as puppeteer's wife
  • Lee Kin-sang
  • Lau Chi-ho
  • Leung Shing-hung
  • Bruce Mang Long as swordsman
  • Keung Sau-yin
  • Kam Sau-fu


In 2014, Time Out polled several film critics, directors, actors and stunt actors to list their top action films.[1] Duel to the Death was listed at 92nd place on this list.[2]


  1. ^ "The 100 best action movies". Time Out. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  2. ^ "The 100 best action movies: 100-91". Time Out. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 

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