The 36th Chamber of Shaolin

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.jpg
36th Chamber of Shaolin poster
Traditional 少林三十六房
Simplified 少林三十六房
Mandarin Shǎolín sānshíliù fáng
Cantonese Siu3 Lam4 saam1 sap6 luk6 fong4
Directed by Liu Chia-Liang
Produced by Mona Fong
Run Run Shaw
Written by I Kuang
Starring Gordon Liu
Lo Lieh
Music by Chen Yung-Yu
Cinematography Huang Yeh-tai
Edited by Geung Hing Lung
Li Yen-Hai
Distributed by Shaw Brothers Studio
United States:
World Northal (dubbed)
Dragon Dynasty (DVD)
Release dates
  • 1978 (1978)
Running time
115 minutes[1]
Country Hong Kong
Language Mandarin

The 36th Chamber of Shaolin, also known as The Master Killer and Shaolin Master Killer, is a 1978 Shaw Brothers kung fu film directed by Liu Chia-liang and starring Gordon Liu.

The film follows a highly fictionalized version of San Te, a legendary Shaolin martial arts disciple who trained under the general Chi Shan.

36th Chamber of Shaolin is widely considered to be one of the greatest kung fu films and a turning point in its director's and star's careers.[2][3][4] It was followed by Return to the 36th Chamber, which was more comedic in presentation and featured Gordon Liu as the new main character with another actor in the smaller role of San Te, and Disciples of the 36th Chamber.


A young student named Liu Yude, later known as San Te, is drawn by his activist teacher into the local rebellion against the Manchu government. The government officials suppress the uprising and liquidate the school, killing friends and family members as well. San Te then decides to seek vengeance. Wounded in an attack by Manchu henchmen, he flees to the Shaolin temple and seeks training in kung fu. Initially the Buddhist monks reject him, since he is an outsider, but the chief abbot takes mercy on the young man and lets him stay. One year later, he begins his martial arts training in the temple's 35 chambers and advances more rapidly than any previous student. Along the way, he is depicted as inventing the three section staff.

However, as San Te nears the end of his education, the temple officially exiles him in a surreptitious way to allow him to aid the people against the oppressors. He returns to the outside world, namely to his hometown, and assists the people by teaching them martial arts. Before the political revolution he is inspiring to complete, he is forced into conflict with the Manchu governor. Finally, he triumphs and returns to the Shaolin temple, where he establishes the 36th chamber, a special martial arts class for laypeople to learn kung fu.


The film's trailer credits the cast as follows[5]



The film was released on VHS as early as 1993.[6] It was released on DVD in February 2000 by Crash Cinema Media under the title Shaolin Master Killer.[7] In 2007, it was released on DVD by Dragon Dynasty as The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.[8] It has also been released on Blu-ray as of 2 March 2010 from Vivendi Visual Entertainment.


36th Chamber of Shaolin is widely considered to be one of the greatest kung fu films ever made and a highly influential entry in the genre.[2][3][4]

According to the Harvard Film Archive, the film is an "exhilarating rendition of the legendary dissemination of the Shaolin martial arts" and an "absorbing account of [an] initiation into the vaunted Shaolin style, ... depicted here [as] an inner voyage of discovery."[1]

In 2014, Time Out polled several film critics, directors, actors and stunt actors to list their top action films.[9] The 36th Chamber of Shaolin was listed at 29th place on this list.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Shaw Scope: A History of the Shaw Bros. Studio". Harvard Film Archive. 2008. Retrieved 2014-04-12. A bald and tautly muscled Lau Kar-fai (Gordon Liu Jiahui) headlines this exhilarating rendition of the legendary dissemination of the Shaolin martial arts. Lau plays a real-life figure long-since transmuted into myth, a Chinese commoner on the run from Manchu oppressors (including a glowering Luo Lie) who seeks refuge at the Shaolin Temple. The film is an absorbing account of his initiation into the vaunted Shaolin style, known for its emphasis on the external and the physical. But as depicted here the training process is very much an inner voyage of discovery; the novice must work his way through a series of torturous “chambers” before becoming the newly minted monk, San De. 
  2. ^ a b Pollard, Mark (2007-06-26). "Movie Reviews: 36th Chamber of Shaolin". Kung Fu Cinema. 
  3. ^ a b Neveu, Janick (2003-08-27). "36th Chamber of Shaolin Review". Kung Fu Cult Cinema. 
  4. ^ a b Sanjuro (2003). "Reviews: The 36th Chamber of Shaolin". 
  5. ^ The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978) Trailer on YouTube. Retrieved 2014-04-12.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ Gibron, Bill (24 January 2008). "Digital Dynamite: The 30 Best DVDs of 2007". PopMatters. Retrieved 2014-04-12. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin represents a directorial tour de force for Chia-Liang Liu. It’s a sumptuous film to look at, a movie that takes its varying fight facets very seriously. 
  9. ^ "The 100 best action movies". Time Out. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 
  10. ^ "The 100 best action movies: 30-21". Time Out. November 3, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2014. 

External links[edit]