Directed by King Hu • 1979 • Taiwan, Hong Kong
Starring Hsu Feng, Sun Yueh, Shih Wu
This dazzling blend of caper intrigue, spectacular pageantry, and stunningly choreographed action from legendary director King Hu (A TOUCH OF ZEN) represents the peak of the wuxia specialist’s infusion of Buddhist principles into martial-arts cinema. During the Ming dynasty, a Buddhist abbot charged with protecting a sacred scroll prepares to name his successor. An aristocrat and a general arrive at his secluded mountaintop monastery promising to help in his search, but are in fact scheming to secure the scroll for themselves. As they set about recommending corrupt successors, rival bands of martial artists lie in wait to steal the precious artifact, and the monastery is soon transformed into an epic battleground, with each player caught in a web of conspiracy and betrayal.