Drunken Master

Drunken Master

Original Hong Kong movie poster
Traditional 醉拳
Cantonese Zeoi3 Kyun4
Directed by Yuen Woo-ping
Produced by Ng See-yuen
Written by Lung Hsiao
Ng See-yuen
Yuen Woo-ping
Starring Jackie Chan
Yuen Siu-tien
Hwang Jang-lee
Dean Shek
Music by Chow Fu-liang
Cinematography Chang Hui
Edited by Pan Hsiung
Distributed by Seasonal Film Corporation
Release dates
  • 5 October 1978 (1978-10-05)
Running time
110 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Box office HK$6,763,793

Drunken Master is a 1978 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Yuen Woo-ping, and starring Jackie Chan, Yuen Siu-tien, and Hwang Jang Lee. The film was a success at the Hong Kong box office, earning two and a half times the amount of Chan's previous film, Snake in the Eagle's Shadow, which was also considered a successful film.[1][2] It is an early example of the comedic kung fu genre for which Jackie Chan became famous. The film popularised the Zui Quan (醉拳, "drunken fist") fighting style. Ranked number 3 on totalfilm.com's 50 greatest kung fu movies of all time.


The film's protagonist Wong Fei-hung was a Chinese martial artist, a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner and a revolutionary who lived towards the end of the Qing Dynasty. He became a Chinese folk hero and the subject of several Hong Kong television programmes and films. Beggar So, who plays a supporting role in the film, is also another character from Chinese folklore and one of the Ten Tigers of Canton. The Beggar So character is often cast as an associate of Wong Fei-hung or Wong's uncle.


The plot centers on a young and mischievous Wong Fei-hung (sometimes dubbed as "Freddie Wong"). Wong runs into a series of troubles. Firstly, he teaches an overbearing assistant martial arts teacher a lesson. Next, he makes advances on a woman to impress his friends, and is soundly thrashed by her older female guardian as a result; his shame is compounded when these two are later revealed to be his visiting aunt and cousin, whom he had not met before. Lastly, he beats up a hooligan who is the son of an influential man in town. His father decides to punish him for his behavior by making him train harder in martial arts.

Wong's father arranges for Beggar So to train his son in martial arts. Beggar So has a reputation for crippling his students during training so Wong flees from home in an attempt to escape his punishment. Penniless, he stops at a restaurant and tries to con a fellow patron into offering him a free meal. As he was about to leave after his meal, he discovers that the man is actually the owner of the restaurant. He fights with the owner's lackeys in an attempt to escape. An old drunkard nearby is drawn into the fight and helps him escape. The drunkard turns out to be Beggar So, the Drunken Master. (Beggar So is known in some versions of the film as Sam Seed, So Hi or Su Hua-chi)

Beggar So forces Wong into his brutal and rigorous training programme. Wong flees again to avoid the torturous training and runs into the notorious killer Yim Tit-sam (known in some versions as Thunderfoot or Thunderleg) by accident. Yim is known for his "Devil's Kick", a swift and deadly kicking style which has never been defeated. Wong provokes and challenges him to a fight and is soundly defeated and humiliated. He makes his way back to Beggar So and decides to commit himself to the Drunken Master's training program.

The training resumes and soon Wong learns Beggar So's secret style of martial arts, a form of Drunken Boxing called "The Eight Drunken Immortals", named after the eight xian that the fighting style references. Wong masters seven of the eight styles with the exception of Drunken Miss Ho's as he feels that her style of fighting is too feminine.

Meanwhile, Yim Tit-sam is contracted by a business rival to kill Wong's father. Wong's father fights with Yim and is defeated and injured by him. Wong and Beggar So arrive on the scene on time and Wong continues the fight with Yim. Beggar So promises not to interfere in the fight. Wong employs the new skills he has learned and outmatches Yim's kicking style. Yim then resorts to his secret technique, the Devil's Shadowless Hand, which is too fast for Wong to defeat. Wong confesses that he did not master the last style so Beggar So tells him to combine the seven styles and create his own version of the last style. Wong follows the instruction and discovers his own unique style of Drunken Miss Ho, which he uses to overcome the Shadowless Hand and finally defeat Yim.



According to his book I Am Jackie Chan: My Life in Action, Chan nearly lost an eye after his brow ridge was injured.[3]

Fight scenes and martial arts

A number of notable fights are featured in the film, almost all of them with strong elements of comedy - from the game of Keep Away with Wong Kei-ying's cocky, but incompetent, assistant kung fu instructor, to the novel "head-fu" fighting style used by one of his opponents. The film features the Hung Ga system of fighting, which was historically practiced by Wong Fei-hung and his father Wong Kei-ying, both of whom are major characters in the film. The animal styles of Snake, Crane, and Tiger performed in the film are derived wholly from the Hung Ga system and bear only a tangential relationship to the Fujian White Crane, Lama Pai (Tibetan White Crane), Black Tiger, and Snake systems of kung fu. Monkey style kung fu, popular in Southern Chinese martial arts performances, is also shown briefly.

Numerous systems of kung fu include "Drunken Boxing" forms (e.g. Choi Lei Fut and Drunken Monkey), and the Taoist Eight Immortals are popular staples of Chinese culture and art. However, the "Eight Drunken Immortals" forms depicted in this film are likely the creation of director and choreographer Yuen Woo-ping and based on routines found in other systems.

The primary villain in Drunken Master is played by Hwang Jang-lee, a Korean martial artist specialising in Taekwondo and known for his high-flying kicks, which are prominently displayed in the film. The systems of "Devil's Kick" and "Devil's Shadowless Hands" employed by Thunderleg are entirely fictitious.

Box office

Drunken Master earned an impressive HK$6,763,793 at the Hong Kong box office.[1]

Sequels and spinoffs


As with many successful Hong Kong action films, several films were released in the wake of Drunken Master (and its sequel) that could be considered to trade on the fame of the original films. These had less in common with the original films than the spinoffs starring Yuen Siu-tien. They include:

Not all films that feature the Zui Quan "Drunken Fist" style (or variations on it) can be considered as imitators of the Drunken Master films. Films such as Drunken Monkey (2002) may feature a drunken style of kung fu, and in the case of The Forbidden Kingdom (2008), the same principal star, but they have a fundamentally different plot and sufficiently different title to separate them from Drunken Master.

Home media

Influence on popular culture


  1. 1 2 "HKMDb entry". Drunken Master (1978). Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  2. "HKMDb entry". Snake in the Eagle's Shadow (1978). Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  3. Jackie Chan. "Jackie's Aches and Pains: It Only Hurts When I'm Not Laughing". Random House. Retrieved 2012-12-19.
  4. "Johnny Chan (I)". IMDb.com. Retrieved 2016-09-15.
  5. "Drunken Master : DVD Talk Review of the DVD Video". Dvdtalk.com. Retrieved 2016-09-15.

External links

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/26/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.