6.1/10
15,544
122 user 47 critic

Game of Death (1978)

R | | Action, Crime, Drama | 8 June 1979 (USA)
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2:22 | Clip
A martial arts movie star must fake his death to find the people who are trying to kill him.

Directors:

Robert Clouse, Bruce Lee (uncredited)

Writer:

Robert Clouse (as Jan Spears)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bruce Lee ... Billy Lo / Hai Tien (original 1972 footage) (archive footage)
Gig Young ... Jim Marshall
Dean Jagger ... Dr. Land
Hugh O'Brian ... Steiner
Colleen Camp ... Ann Morris
Robert Wall ... Carl Miller
Mel Novak ... Stick
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ... Hakim / Mantis (original 1972 footage) (archive footage)
Chuck Norris ... Fighter (archive footage)
Dan Inosanto Dan Inosanto ... Pasqual / Third Floor Guardian (original 1972 footage) (as Danny Inosanto)
Billy McGill Billy McGill ... John
Sammo Kam-Bo Hung ... Lo Chen (as Hung Kim Po)
Roy Chiao ... Henry Lo
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung ... David (as Tony Leung)
Jim James Jim James ... Surgeon
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Storyline

In this movie, Bruce Lee is a very famous martial-arts master who stars in many films. After an unsuccessful murder attempt against him, everyone thinks his is dead, but he's just hiding, preparing his revenge... Written by Chris Makrozahopoulos <makzax@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Bruce Lee challenges the underworld to a Game of Death.


Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Hong Kong | USA

Language:

English | Mandarin | Cantonese

Release Date:

8 June 1979 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bruce Lee's Game of Death See more »

Filming Locations:

Hong Kong, China See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$850,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (original premiere) | (current existing footage) | (2000 incomplete) | (2000 incomplete) | (original cut) (1972)

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared in the original version, but refused to appear in the new version. In the new footage, his role is played by a double. See more »

Goofs

During Billy Lo's fight in the dressing room with "Killer Miller" there is wallpaper in the background of one shot even though the fight is taking place in a room with bare cement walls. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Director: Cut! Okay, that's a print. That was great, Billy! Okay everybody...
[stage light collapses, crew gasps]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The 4K restorations by L'Immagine RItrovata (as seen on the 2017 Shout Factory blu-ray) cut a half-second freeze frame shot of Billy Lo towards the end of the film when he thinks he has found Dr. Land's corpse. See more »


Soundtracks

Will This Be the Song I'll Be Singing Tomorrow?
Music and Lyrics by John Barry
Sung By Colleen Camp
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

As Brandon Lee once said: "Game of Death has 40 minutes of footage and the rest is junk"
16 March 2002 | by modiusSee all my reviews

Before Bruce Lee died he worked on scripts for Game of Death (also known under some titles as "song of the knife")...and shot some 40 odd minutes of footage including test screenings and actual fight sequences.

The idea of the film was to make a multi-layer, philosophical film made for the chinese and eastern audience to ask the question over martial arts style - the advantages and disadvantages of each style, as well as questioning the need for style anyway.

The film's main plot was to be based in Korea. Bruce Lee would be forced into storming a 4 or 5 storey Pagoda which is said to hold a infinite treasure with each level guarded by a different style.

The bottom floor would be held by hundreds of Karate students (much like the ending of Enter the Dragon), the first layer would be a style under the handle of "Gate of Enlightment".

The Second layer would be the Preying Mantis with elements of Wing Chun.

The Third layer would be a Philophino style whilst the Fourth, the Temple of Gold would be held by a Hapikdo expert (though I'm not sure about this).

The Fourth layer would be the Temple of the Unknown, guarded by one Kareem Abdul Jabbar - doing an unknown style.

Whilst shooting, most of the footage was lost to the ravages of time. And when Bruce Lee died, his fans cried out for any footage to be shown as a mark of respect.

The end footage of Bruce Lee fighting Jabbar and previous footage would be cut to bits by Robert Clouse and put into a new film under the same name. The end film is offensive and shatters the whole idea of the original GOD plot and story - but then again there wasn't enough info on the film to start with.

Bruce Lee fans were in uproar...the film was a shambles, yet was commerically succesful. Most of the film had no Bruce Lee in it, or had lookalikes or even worse used Stock Footage of old Bruce Lee films and interspliced it into the film.

The DVD, whilst is good, doesn't do much to help the film - there isn't enough info on the script notes...why is there so much text, why didn't they try to recreate the scenes, the floors or even re-do the film as new?

You'd be better off not to buy either the DVD or video version unless you want to waste money or actually are a die-hard bruce lee fan.

The DVD doesn't give you much - but then again there was never much to start with. You'd be better off looking on the Internet for the original GOD scripts and info or even multimedia - as even now on the web you can see the footage that Bruce Lee shot and never got into the original DVD or movie.

Overall this is a very, very weak film with a good score and bad camera angles and discredits Bruce Lee's image so much it becomes deeply offensive and patronising to the viewer.

In fact you could argue that this film singly-handly started the Bruce Lee imitators phenomnen.

Whether the film's patronising and offensive viewpoint is the fault of Robert Clouse, Sammo Hung who directed the fight sequences and drafted in the services of two look-a-likes or even the producer Raymond Chow is unknown, but what is clear is the fact they tried. and failed.

As Brandon Lee once said: "Game of Death has 40 minutes of footage, and the rest is junk". I couldn't agree with him more.

Overall: 2/10


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