One-Armed Swordsman

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One-Armed Swordsman
Traditional Chinese獨臂刀
Simplified Chinese独臂刀
One-Armed Swordsman
One Armed Swordsman movie poster.jpg
Hong Kong film poster
MandarinDú Bì Dāo
CantoneseDuk6 Bei3 Dou1
Directed byChang Cheh
Written by
Music byWang Fu-ling[1]
CinematographyYuen Chang-sam
Kuang Han-lu
Edited byChiang Hsing-lung
Distributed byShaw Brothers Studio
Release date
  • 26 July 1967 (1967-07-26)
Running time
117 minutes[1]
CountryHong Kong

One-Armed Swordsman is a 1967 Hong Kong wuxia film produced by the Shaw Brothers Studio.[2] Directed by Chang Cheh, it was the first of the new style of wuxia films emphasizing male anti-heroes, violent swordplay and heavy bloodletting. It was the first Hong Kong film to make HK$1 million at the local box office, propelling its star Jimmy Wang to super stardom.

This film eventually becomes the first in the One-Armed Swordsman trilogy. A sequel was released in 1969 called Return of the One-Armed Swordsman, followed by The New One-Armed Swordsman in 1971, all directed by Chang Cheh. It has since achieved classic status in Hong Kong cinema. In the Hong Kong Film Award's 2005 poll, One-Armed Swordsman was voted as the 15th best Chinese language film.


The Golden Sword school is attacked by bandits. The servant Fang Cheng sacrifices his life to protect his master Qi Ru Feng. In gratitude, Qi accepts the dying Fang Cheng's son, Fang Kang, as his student. Years later, Fang Kang is scorned by his snobbish fellow students because of his poor background. Deciding that he will only cause trouble for his master Fang Kang leaves the school only to run into his classmates and his master's spoiled daughter, Pei Er. In the ensuing fight Fang's right arm is cut off by Pei Er, who is angry at his indifference towards her. Stumbling away, Fang falls off a bridge into the passing boat of a peasant girl Xiao Man.

Xiao Man nurses him back to health and the two fall in love. Fang Kang is nevertheless depressed as he is unable to practice his swordsmanship. Reluctantly, Xiao Man gives him a half-burnt kung-fu manual which she had inherited from her now dead parents. With its help, Fang Kang is able to master a new one-armed style of swordplay, making him stronger than before.

Meanwhile, master Qi Ru Feng is preparing for his 55th birthday and has invited all of his students to the celebration to choose a successor from amongst them so that he can retire from the martial arts world. However, his old enemies the Long-armed Devil and the Smiling Tiger Cheng are taking the opportunity to destroy Qi Ru Feng. Using a specially designed "sword-lock", they ambush and kill Qi's students travelling to the celebration.

Fang Kang inadvertently learns of the plot and, breaking his promise to Xiao Man not to involve himself in the martial arts world, rushes to save his master. He is delayed en route by the Long Armed Devil's accomplices and when he arrives the Long Armed Devil has already killed most of the students and wounded Qi Ru Feng. In a vicious battle, Fang Kang manages to kill the Long Armed Devil, but chooses to return to Xiao Man and become a farmer, instead of taking his master's place at the school.


  • Jimmy Wang as Fang Kang
  • Lisa Chiao Chiao as Xiao Man
  • Tien Feng as Qi Ru Feng
  • Angela Pan as Qi Pei Er
  • Yeung Chi-hing as Long Armed Devil
  • Tang Ti as Smiling Tiger Cheng Tian Shou
  • Fan Mei-sheng as Guo Sheng / Brother Hua
  • Wong Sai-git as Qin Da Chuan
  • Cheung Pooi-saan as Sun Hao
  • Fan Dan as Feng's rich disciple
  • Ku Feng as Fang Chang
  • Chen Yen-yen as Feng's wife
  • Wong Chung-shun as Wei Xuan
  • Cheng Lui as Deng Chong
  • Chieh Yuan as Lu Zhen
  • Wang Kuang-yu as Pei Xun
  • Tong Gai as Ding Peng
  • Lau Kar-leung as Ba Shuang
  • Hao Li-jen as Grandpa Wang
  • Chiu Hung as Ah Shun
  • Chai No as Brigand Chief Ma
  • Chow Siu-loi as Brigand Chief Xu
  • Hung Lau as Feng's disciple
  • Cliff Lok as Feng's disciple
  • Lau Gong as Feng's disciple
  • Siu Lam-wun as Feng's disciple
  • Hui Gam as Feng's disciple
  • Kong Lung as Feng's disciple
  • Yen Shi-kwan as Feng's disciple
  • Yuen Cheung-yan as Feng's disciple
  • Yuen Woo-ping as Feng's disciple
  • Chan Chuen as Feng's disciple
  • Lee Ho as Feng's disciple
  • Hsu Hsia as Feng's disciple
  • Chan Siu-pang as Feng's disciple
  • Lau Kar-wing as Feng's disciple
  • Tam Bo as Feng's disciple
  • Law Kei as Feng's disciple
  • Man Sau as Xiao Man's mother
  • Chui Chung-hok as one of 4 Law Brothers
  • Lee Siu-wa as one of 4 Law Brothers
  • Chui Hing-chun as one of 4 Law Brothers
  • Tung Choi-bo as bandit who delivers letter to Feng
  • Tsang Choh-lam as waiter
  • Yau Lung as servant
  • Ting Tung as servant
  • Chin Chun as street gambler
  • Mars as street kid with mask
  • Yeung Jan-sing
  • Gam Tin-chue
  • Yeung Pak-chan
  • Chan Siu-gai
  • Wong Mei


One-Armed Swordsman was released on 26 July 1967.[1] The film's box office success earned Chang Cheh the epithet 'One Million Dollar Director'.[1] The film was followed by two sequels, Return of the One-Armed Swordsman and The New One-Armed Swordsman.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "One-Armed Swordsman". Hong Kong Film Archive. Retrieved 8 July 2019.
  2. ^ Review at HKCinema - 40th Anniversary Retrospective

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