Considering that Bruce Lee is simultaneously known for being one of the greatest martial artists to have ever lived and dying before he’d ever have a chance to sell out in an Expendables movie, most every “cool” thing he has ever done on and off film has been painstakingly categorized and listed online. That said, we think there are still a few moments from Bruce Lee’s filmography people don’t remember or appreciate because sites never want to take the risk of not listing the mirror fight in Enter the Dragon as his best moment. As a result, they tend to gloss over moments like…
10. Intimidating a Guy by Punching the Furniture in His Office
Marlowe is a 1969 noir movie notable mostly for being one of the first American films to feature Bruce Lee in a starring role as Winslow Wong, a hyper competent mob enforcer rocking the sharpest turtle neck and suit combo this side of a pre-2011 Apple conference.
While Lee is only on screen for a few minutes, he makes the most of it by demonstrating his considerable martial arts prowess by punching literally every piece of furniture in the eponymous Marlowe’s office to intimidate him into taking a bribe. In just over 30 seconds of screen time, Lee: kicks a hole in Marlowe’s wall, backhands a coat rack and the coat on it, karate chops his bookshelf in two, scissor kicks a lamp clean off the ceiling and then punches through a window before striking a martial arts pose that causes a painting to leap off the wall in fright, all while Marlowe is still sitting there pointing a gun at him. After utterly failing to intimidate Marlowe, who never moves or shows surprise at Lee destroying half his office with backfists and knee strikes, Lee then puts on a pair of sunglasses and casually walks straight out of the office through the door he just punched a hole in. If you think a tubby man in pushing 40 not being scared of a mob enforcer who just demonstrated the ability to best a coatrack in one-on-one combat is unrealistic, just remember that later in the same movie Bruce Lee was…
9. Tricked into Kicking His Way Off a Building After Being Called Gay
After proving that he possesses the not-unintimidating ability to punch and kick stationary objects while screaming, Lee’s character Winslow Wong makes exactly one more appearance in Marlowe, towards the end of the film when Marlowe is in a fancy restaurant eating and generally not being as cool as Bruce Lee.
This time clad in a Colgate white suit and even fluffier turtle neck, Wong reiterates his offer of a bribe to Marlowe, who like before, acts indifferent to the fact he’s being threatened by a man who hours earlier demonstrated the ability to kick through a concrete wall. As before, Wong tries to coerce Marlowe by throwing a few kicks and punches inches away from his face, Marlowe responds by leaping onto a nearby ledge and asking if Wong is, and we’re not making this up, “just a little gay”. Enraged, Lee’s character delivers a final scream before attempting to kick Marlowe off the edge of the building, only for him to miss and fly aimlessly off the edge down onto the street below (5:38 into the above video). So the next time someone tries to tell you Bruce Lee is the best fighter in history because he beat Chuck Norris in one of his films, remind them that in an earlier film, he leapt off a building to his death because someone asked him if he was gay. Speaking of fighting another famous martial artist, who remembers the time Bruce Lee…
8. Killed Jackie Chan in Under Four Seconds
Fans of Jackie Chan, or this very website, probably already know that Jackie got his start in film as a stuntman. One of Chan’s earliest roles was that of a random thug in Enter the Dragon who attacks Bruce Lee when he isn’t wearing a shirt, noted by movie buffs as the number one cause of broken henchman pelvises in the early ’70s.
Unlike most of Lee’s enemies, who are dispatched with crippling, but otherwise non-fatal punches, Chan’s character (1:19 in) is elbowed in the gut before having his neck unceremoniously snapped like a dry and possibly malnourished twig, off screen while the camera zooms in on Lee making the face pictured above. But hey, it’s not like Lee’s foray into television and film was any less demeaning. We mean, how else would you explain him…
7. Constantly Punching Police Officers in The Green Hornet
The Green Hornet was a TV show from the late ’60s in which Bruce Lee played Kato, the ever reliable and vastly more skilled and charismatic sidekick to the eponymous Green Hornet, an overweight guy in a fedora and domino mask. Fun fact: in Hong Kong, the Green Hornet show was colloquially known by locals as “The Kato Show” because people there couldn’t believe the Green Hornet was the leader of the two when he didn’t ever really do anything in fight scenes.
While the Green Hornet and Kato are ostensibly considered to be heroes, the duo pretend to be villains to better infiltrate the criminal underworld and protect their secret identities, or at least, we think they pretend because Kato punches a lot of police officers during the show’s 26 episode run. On one occasion Kato runs out of a building screaming like a maniac and violently punches a police officer (who isn’t looking at him) in the groin before following up with a vicious three hit combo, and on another he kicks an officer in the face before knocking him out with a leaping elbow drop to the noggin, both of which seem sort of unnecessary when other episodes show that Kato has access to special throwing darts that can put people to sleep painlessly. Then again, it is kind of great that thanks to this show, we have actual footage of Bruce Lee responding to the command “Come out with your hands up!” with “AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”. The best part is, this is far from the most bafflingly dumb thing a Bruce Lee character has done. Not when there’s…
6. The Scene in Fist of Fury with a Double Twirling Choke-slam
The dojo scene from Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury in which Lee’s character beats up an entire room full of karate men with scream assisted punches, kicks, and elbows is rightly considered one of his best fight scenes. And while we agree that, that scene is great we think it’s weird that most people tend to focus on the part of the fight Bruce Lee breakdances his way across the floor while slapping people in the foot with nunchucks instead of the part where the above picture happens.
If you’re having trouble making out what the hell is going on here, that is Bruce Lee performing Zangief’s double lariat while holding two fully grown human beings (played by dummies) by the throat moments before hurling them both a dozen feet across the room. There’s no explanation for why Lee’s character is able to do this and it is promptly never mentioned ever again, leading us to assume he could have ended every fight in the movie with a twirling choke-slam, but chose not to out of some bizarre sense of honor that only let him do it once to make sure people knew. Speaking of making a statement, let’s talk about…
5. Kicking a Guy So Hard it Broke Someone Else’s Arm
Bruce Lee’s fight against his nemesis and mullet owner O’Hara in the film Enter the Dragon is easily one of the martial artist’s best known scenes. However, for anyone who has never seen it but is still inexplicably reading this, during the fight, Lee’s character, in an effort to punish O’Hara for his role in the death of his sister, punches his ego out of his body with a series of lightning fast snap jabs to the face and neck before relocating his chin four inches to the left with a backflip. Lee’s character then taunts the injured O’Hara into throwing out a flying kick, which he easily dodges by lying down on the floor and kicking O’Hara square in his meaty clackers. As O’Hara is struggling to stand back up after Lee kicks him again, this time in the face at, like, a million miles per hour, Lee sprints toward him and puts all of his power into a final, collarbone shattering side kick.
According to a later interview with Bob Wall (the guy who played O’Hara), that kick, and his reaction of being thrown several feet back, is 100% real. To explain, while they were filming that scene, Wall kept asking Lee to kick him as hard as he could because he wanted the fight to look real. When Lee expressed concern for Wall’s safety, Wall reassured him by saying that he was a professional who knew how to take a hit. Lee, somewhat unconvinced, threw out a few half-assed kicks with no real power behind them, prompting Wall to flub the reaction, forcing them to shoot the scene again. After like the sixth time this happened, Lee became frustrated and decided to just give Wall what he wanted and kick him as hard as he could, delivering the kick seen in the film in the next take. Wall, who was totally unprepared for how hard and fast Lee could really kick when he wasn’t worried about holding back, was thrown backwards with such force that one of the extras you see trying to catch him broke his arm.
4. Way of the Dragon: The Dragon Finds its Way
There’s a lot of things we pick up on in the alley scene in Way of the Dragon, in which Bruce Lee methodically takes apart an entire gang of knife wielding thugs with a series of crushing simultaneous nunchuck hits, but today we’d like to deconstruct what is possibly the most hilarious one sided and brutal beatdown of his career. More specifically, his “fight” against that guy pictured above.
Now we know judging people by their appearance is mean and to be fair, this guy does have a knife so he could conceivably pose a threat to, like, a baby or something, but we really don’t think the man wearing the tightest pants in the entire world seems like he planned on getting into a knife fight that day.
Lee’s character is actually so cock-sure that he’s going to win, that as the guy saunters over intent on stabbing him, he puts the nunchucks he’s holding behind his back while flashing a big, dumb grin. Lee’s character then proceeds to use the guy’s face as target practice for four consecutive unguarded nunchuck hits. Sure, there are people in Lee’s films who get worse beatdowns, but at least they were trying to fight back. This guy just sort of falls toward Lee while unrelenting nunchuck hits rain down on the back of his head at Mach 3. But this is far from Lee’s most embarrassing victory, because that honor clearly belongs to the time he won by…
3. Punching the Clothes Off a Man Dressed as a Cat
You’re probably thinking after reading that header that we have to be lying because you don’t remember a scene in one of Bruce Lee’s movies where he fights a man dressed as a cat, to which we say, clearly you never watched that one episode of The Milton Berle Show where he teams up with Adam West’s Batman.
In the 10 minute black and white sketch, Lee reprises his role of Kato to assist the Green Hornet with defeating a villain called Fink Pussycat who looks exactly like a child molester who tried to do that thing where girls wear a headband with cat ears on it and call it a Halloween costume.
After apprehending Fink Pussycat, Lee then threatens to “get him” with his kung fu, which he demonstrates by punching a nearby mannequin’s head off. When Fink tries to run away, Lee and the Green Hornet push him to the floor and begin ripping off his clothes, all under the watchful eyes of Batman, who enters when the director yells cut to shake Kato’s hand for a job well done. This is an image we want you to keep in mind when you read about how a decade later Lee was in a movie where he started…
2. Going to Town on a Guy’s Head with a Rusty Saw
The film The Big Boss, sometimes known as Fists of Fury in the west is regarded as the film that introduced Bruce Lee to both Eastern and Western audiences. With that in mind you’d think that there’d be a definitive edition of it on DVD or Blu-ray somewhere, right? As it turns out though, there isn’t and even the most comprehensive versions have at least some key scenes missing, like the one where Lee does what you see in that picture above.
According to film buffs, the still above is taken from a moment that originally occurred during this fight scene where Lee fights some bad guys in an ice factory at about the 1:07 mark. Despite graphic stills of this scene existing, to date, no known version of the film has ever surfaced with it still intact, leading to rumors that it was either cut from the original theatrical print by an overzealous official or it was simply removed for being too brutal in a film where multiple people are killed with an ice pick. Our personal theory is that audiences simply found it unrealistic that someone with Bruce Lee’s physique would need a saw to split someone’s face in half, because in the same movie there’s a scene where…
1. Bruce Lee Bares it All
A picture is supposed to say a thousand words, but in case you like context, let us explain the story behind this one. This picture crops up online every now and again and it’s often either dismissed as fake or said to originate from a porno that Bruce Lee starred in when he was still a struggling actor or something like that. The truth is that the image is real (you can’t fake those abs) and was cut from a scene in The Big Boss where Lee’s character visited a brothel immediately prior to fighting the final boss.
Like the saw scene, this scene can’t be found in any known version of the film due to it being cut by censors for its lurid content, which supposedly included graphic audio of Lee and the prostitute having such vigorous intercourse that a couple in another room peep through a hole in the wall just to see what’s going on.
But fear not fans of Bruce Lee’s abs, because while the scene was cut from the movie and will likely never be recovered or restored, part of it still exists in the original (not safe for work) Mandarin trailer which can, quite handily, be found today on YouTube. Now we’re going to be honest here, while we think the mirror fight is cool and that it undoubtedly makes Bruce Lee look like a badass, we don’t think it can hold a candle to a scene that has been deleted forever because it showed that Bruce Lee was too good at sex.