Wu Tang Clan & The RZA: 10 Kung-Fu Movies That Inspired Their Hip-Hop

By Cody McIntosh Published Jan 16, 2020

10/10 The 36th Chamber of Shaolin


UP FROM THE 36 CHAMBERS... IT'S THE GHOSTFACE KILLA. Both the namesake of their debut album, which is not only their most critically acclaimed record, but also definitely the fan-favorite, shortly followed by Wu-Tang Forever and Liquid Swords. It's, of course, a film done by the Shaw Brothers as with many on this list to be sure. It tells the story of a fictionalized story of San Te, a mythical master of Shaolin martial arts. It also received a more light-hearted sequel, called Return To The Thirty-Six Chambers. If you haven't seen this one, whether you're a Wu-Tang fan or a fan of Kung-Fu movies, this one is an absolute must-watch considering some people think that it very well may be the best Kung-Fu movie of all time.

9/10 Shaolin And Wu-Tang


The film Shaolin And Wu-Tang is another really important film to Wu-Tang's history. Anyone who's heard 36 Chambers will recognize this movie considering it's been sampled on "Bring Da Ruckus", "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'", "Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber", "Clan in Da Front", "Conclusion", and "Method Man (Remix). This film also starred the star of the previous film on the list, Gordon Liu. While it's arguably more important than the previous entry since this film is where Wu-Tang took their name from, the previous entry is generally considered the better of the two.

8/10 Executioners From Shaolin


Executioners From Shaolin is another Shaw Brothers film from 1977. It follows the story of Hung Hsi Kuan, and a generational struggle that the Shaolin are involved in to take out the followers of Pai Mei, and the lineage that will eventually become the martial arts style known as Pai Mei Kung-Fu.

You might recognize this film as the source of the sample on 36 Chambers that really lets you know "Okay, I'm in for a hype album" when you finally hear that "Tiger Style" sample hit on "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing To F' With". This song and this sample let you know that indeed, Wu-Tang should be held at a high regard.

7/10 Five Deadly Venoms


Five Deadly Venoms is another Shaw Brothers production about five fighters (the titular 5 deadly venoms) that all fight using unique animal-based Kung-Fu styles, such as centipede, snake, scorpion, lizard, and toad. Each one of these styles have specific attributes that are directly related to the animals they're named after, like the scorpion style character using a kick that is said to be able to paralyze its victims. Since 7 of Wu-Tang's members had served prison time, the RZA decided that the sample from the movie would represent that people were afraid of them, so he plopped it into the beat for the song "Intro (Shaolin Finger Jab/Chamber Music)

6/10 The Mystery Of Chessboxing


The name of the song "Da Mystery Of Chessboxin'" from 36 Chambers is a direct reference to the film The Mystery Of Chessboxing from 1979 which has the international title of Ninja Checkmate. The film features a villain known as the Ghostface Killer which is extremely reminiscent of oh wait... Ghostface Killah, duh.

The villain in the film is known for his distinctive 5-elements style and most of the film features our protagonist trying to get an old master to teach him the art of chessboxing, a rather strange sport that features the alternations of rounds of chess with rounds of boxing. A pretty uncreative name for such an odd sport, but it gets the job done.

5/10 Shaolin Vs. Lama


Samples from the film Shaolin Vs. Lama appear mostly on tracks from GZA and Raekwon which at first doesn't seem that important to Wu-Tang as a whole, but GZA and Raekwon are two of the most critically acclaimed members of Wu-Tang, releasing the hit albums Liquid Swords and Only Built 4 Cuban Linx respectively. The influence they've had on hip-hop as a genre really can't be overstated. The film tells of a battle between a young Shaolin apprentice who has to learn a new move to defeat the head of a rival gang, who also happens to be a Tibetan Buddhist Lama.

4/10 The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter


The Eight Diagram Pole Fighter is yet another entry produced by the Shaw Brothers on our list, and it stars Gordon Liu yet again, as well as Alexander Fu in his very last film appearance.


The film was released in 1984 and made in Hong Kong. The film is based on some of the ancient legends of the Song dynasty, specifically a text called Generals Of The Yang Family. The RZA said that if he had to pick just one Kung-Fu film that was most important to the formation of the Wu-Tang clan, it'd be this one.

3/10 Ten Tigers From Kwangtung


Ten Tigers From Kwangtung is a film that came out in 1979, and was directed by Chang Cheh. It tells the story of rivalries held between the Shaolin and Qing dynasty. It features a ridiculous roster of incredibly good martial artists that you can usually find appearing in a Shaw Brothers film. It's also the classic "Tiger Style" sample in "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F' With".

2/10 The Four Assassins


This film cast a western actor in an attempt to garner a larger audience. Another Shaw Brothers powerhouse, The Four Assassins tells the story of historical explorer Marco Polo's time in China (rather inaccurately) as he tries to thwart the 4 assassins that are coming for the Mongolian emperor's life. This film came out in 1975, and the name of the film serves as the title track for a Wu-Tang song.

1/10 Invincible Armor


Invincible Armor is a film that The RZA chose to sample explicitly because it's fairly obscure, deciding that by sampling it, hopefully he'd open a bigger audience up to watching one of his favorite Kung-Fu movies. The Invincible Armor is a 1977 film that tells the story of a man's struggle for his honor after he's falsely accused of a crime by a corrupt official.

About The Author: Cody is an author from Ohio. When he's not writing, he enjoys improv comedy, making music with friends, and consuming whatever media he can. Before working for Valnet mainly on the Screen Rant site, he got his writing experience in doing music

Views: 26


You need to be a member of Iconada.tv 愛墾 網 to add comments!

Join Iconada.tv 愛墾 網

愛墾網 是文化創意人的窩;自2009年7月以來,一直在挺文化創意人和他們的創作、珍藏。As home to the cultural creative community, iconada.tv supports creators since July, 2009.


  • Add Videos
  • View All