one armed swordsman lg2

There are a lot of firsts involved with the legacy of The One-Armed Swordsman, which is now on blu-ray thanks to Nova Media.  Obviously, it’s the first in the trilogy of Swordsman films, but (and more importantly) for Hong Kong cinema, this was the first film to make a million bucks in its initial domestic release.  Everyone was flocking to the theaters to see this grisly story of revenge.  Its popularity alone created the whole one-armed trope for the martial arts world.

"remains dramatically-charged, shocking with its handling of violence, and well-acted"

The One-Armed Swordsman was also the first wuxia film to concentrate on male anti-heroes; the first to make the shift to over-the-top violence; and the first in launching Jimmy Wang Yu’s career straight up into the stratosphere.  Here, he plays Fang Kang, a student of master Qi Ru Feng, who is shamed by some snobs who consider him beneath them due to his impoverished background.  He believes his only recourse is to run away from the school. 

And it is on a cold winter’s morning in which he loses his arm.  The scene is unexpected and remains shocking as his master's spoiled daughter, Pei Er (Angela Pan), is the one who chops and drops him out of a swell of rage.  Wu’s performance is solid as he finds himself in the middle of a whodunnit after finding a home with Xiao Man (Lisa Chiao Chiao), a peasant girl who falls in love with him and nurses him back to health.  She also provides him with the means to be stronger in his sword fighting skills than ever before.

It doesn’t take long for him to be on the road to recovery as he learns that some of his old master’s enemies - the Long-armed Devil (Yeung Chi-hing) and the Smiling Tiger Cheng (Tang Ti) - are knocking off students left and right.  Something is up and Fang Kang isn’t about to waste anymore time. one armed swordsman lg2

Directed by the one and only Chang Cheh and featuring some great fighting sequences, The One-Armed Swordsman is an unforgettable tale of lean and mean justice by way of the sword.  It is not soon forgotten thanks to its use of locations, widescreen theatris, brutal realism, and a narrative that knows exactly what to do to update the wuxia formula for audiences.

With the release of 1967’s The One-Armed Swordsman, the Shaw Brothers were sitting pretty.  And, once seen, it’s not hard to understand why.  The One-Armed Swordsman remains dramatically-charged, shocking with its handling of violence, and well-acted, with solid performances from Wang Yu, Tien Feng, and Chung-Hsin Huang.

It is now on blu-ray thanks to the efforts of Nova Media, who present the film with a bevy of supplemental items.

5/5 chops


one armed swordsman lg2

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Nova Media
Available on Blu-ray
- December 7, 2018
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
: Korean, Chinese, English
Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

After a martial arts protege suffers the avulsion of one of his arms, he demonstrates why the Chinese words for "crisis" and "opportunity" are the same, developing himself into a one-armed, one-man destruction machine. This dark, intense film, produced by the legendary Shaw Brothers, is considered an early classic of the martial arts genre.


Presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio, The One-Armed Swordsman, gets its hands bloody and never once rinses its fists as beauty is birthed in this same blood, all with its audience in mind.  It’s full of great atmosphere thanks to the spooky script and looks visually eye-popping due to the upgrade.  The visual poetry on display comes through in the village at the center of this meaty martial arts film, the crispness of the interiors and the haunting exteriors in which some barren hills become a playground full of blood, and the sudden violence which echoes throughout the film, including its big finale.  Black levels are strong throughout, bringing out nice details in both the loud and quiet moments of this epic adventure.  The tracking shots are glorious to behold in 1080p.


The audio is presented in a clean lossless Mandarin DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 audio track, a Mandarin Dolby Digital 5.1, and the subtitles are new English translations.


While this release features a sturdy slipcover, the lack of a commentary is disappointing.  What you do get is a brief supplemental item on styles of Kung-Fu fighting and some trailers.


  • None

Special Features:

  • Contemporary Styles Of Kung Fu-Wing Chun Kuen (15:45)
  • Original Trailer (04:03)
  • New Trailer (01:03)
  • The New One-Armed Swordsman (01:05)
  • Return Of The One-Armed Swordsman (01:05)
  • Shaolin Temple (0:55)
  • The 36th Chamber Of Shaolin (01:03)

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 5/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4/5 stars

 Film Details

The One-Armed  Swordsman (1967)

MPAA Rating: R.
115 mins
: Cheh Chang
Cheh Chang; Kuang Ni
Jimmy Wang Yu; Chiao Chiao; Chung-Hsin Huang
: Action | Drama

Memorable Movie Quote: "I've known your voice since we were children. Besides, you have only one arm. It'd be too much of a coincidence if it's someone else."
Nova Media
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 26, 1967
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
December 7, 2018
Synopsis: A noble swordsman, whose arm had been chopped off, returns to his former teacher to defend him from a villainous gang of rival swordsmen.


The One-Armed  Swordsman (1967)