Movies have been a popular past time in the United States and in other countries around the world since the invention of the motion picture camera. Even before sound was incorporated, movies have drawn flocks of people to theaters for a couple hours away from the real world. There are movies available to suite everyone’s taste too. Action new age spiritual movies, mystery movies, thrillers, science fiction, and animation are just a few examples of the choices available today. Among the myriad of movie types, Karate Movies have generated a cult like following and have made famous many actors who specialize in movies about Martial Arts.
Even if you are not fond of Karate Movies, chances are you have heard of many of them. Who has never heard of Enter the Dragon? Or how about Karate Kid? These movies and many other’s that featured karate have become icons and are watched over and over again by people who both enjoy and appreciate the genre.
Even if you have never seen a Bruce Lee movie, there can be no doubt you recognize the name. He was born in San Francisco, which many are surprised to learn, but grew up in Hong Kong before returning to the United States as a teenager. His father was an actor, so it is no surprise that Lee ended up on television and in the movies. Still, no one could have imagined his success with movies such as Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, and the previously mentioned Enter the Dragon. He died early at age 32 which may have been a contributing factor in his cult following, but he remains an icon to this day, primarily for his work in Martial Arts movies.
Chuck Norris is another actor who, while starring in a variety of movies through a storied career, and perhaps being better known by the younger generations for his work advertising home gyms, made a name for himself as a featured performer in Karate Movies. Chuck was born in Ryan, Oklahoma and served in the United States Air Force before appearing in his first movie in 1969 and getting his first starring role in 1977. Films such as An Eye for An Eye and The Way of the Dragon, in which he performed as Bruce Lee’s nemesis, along with other roles, each featuring his abilities in Martial Arts, made Chuck Norris a name recognized around the world.
Although he is not a new comer, having been in the movies in America since the 1970’s, Jackie Chan is another actor who has made his mark with his acrobatic style of karate as well as his comedic timing. Jackie’s major breakthrough movie called Snake in the Eagles Shadow, was released in 1978 and is widely considered to be the movie that established the comedic kung fu style.
Each of these world famous actors might have been otherwise unknown had it not been for the amazing success and popularity of Karate Movies, however each in his own way is in part responsible for the creation of the genre and bringing it into mainstream movie theaters both in American and around the world.
Other movies and television shows, while not necessarily considered to be Karate Movies, feature martial arts in a prominent way, and as a result deserve mention. The Matrix movies are a prime example and would have been far less successful without the heavy use of martial arts.