The name Chang Cheh is synonymous with Shaw Brothers films. Director Chang made almost 100 films and is considered the “Godfather of Hong Knong Cinema.” Director Chang’s style of film has influenced filmmakers over the years including Lau Kar Leung, John Woo, Tang Chia, and countless others. Additionally, Chang Cheh was also a prolific writer whose name can be seen in the opening credits (along with Ni Kuang) of many Shaw Brothers movies. Chang’s influence on kung fu films cannot be overstated. His signature Heroic style deaths, panoramic shots, and magnificent spectacles continue to influence action film making around the globe.
One of the most unique gifts of Director Chang was his ability to identify and mold talent. Chang had his favorite actor or troupe of actors to work with during his tenure at Shaw Brothers Studios. He could turn background players into stars and knew how to get the best out of his camera men, actors, stuntmen, and fight choreographers. World famous names such as Jimmy Wang Yu, Ti Lung, David Chiang, Alexander Fu Sheng, Phillip Kwok Choy, Chen Kuan Tai, Lo Meng, and Chiang Sheng were just some of the few who who benefited from the influence of Chang Cheh.
Director Chang was responsible for my first exposure to kung fu movies; viewing The Savage Five with its emphasis on heroism, brotherhood, and strong team dynamics made me a lifelong kung fu film fan. As I got older and was exposed to more of his work ( Five Venoms, Ten Tigers of Kwangtung, etc.) I fell in love with his style of kung fu film. Director Chang was truly diverse and gifted in the art of storytelling!
On behalf of kung fu film fans the staff at the Dojo say: 谢谢张局长 ( Thank you Director Chang)!
Recommended Viewing (in no particular order)
Five Venoms (1978)
Ten Tigers of Kwangtung(1979)
Brave Archer (1977)
Shaolin Temple (1976)
Sword Stained with Royal Blood(1982)
Ode to Gallantry(1982)
One Armed Swordsman (1967)
Shaolin Disciples (1975)
Five Element Ninjas(1982)
Heroes Two (1974)
Boxer From Shangtung (1972)
The Blood Brothers (1973)
This is not an exhaustive list and it’s recommended to see as many Chang Cheh films as you can find!!!!!!